Game 14: Hello, old friend

November 2, 2017, by
dan girardi

Photo: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images North America

The Rangers are in Tampa tonight to take on the very good and very talented Lightning. The focus of the game is going to be on Alain Vigneault, as another poor showing may put his job in jeopardy. That said, if he was on a game-to-game leash, I feel like the no-show in the first period against Vegas would have done him in. But what do I know?

One of the other stories will be Dan Girardi. Girardi was a lifelong Ranger, but was bought out last summer in the cap crunch for the Rangers. No matter which side of the fence you fell on regarding Girardi’s last three years in New York, he was always a warrior on the ice who left it all out there. That part has never been in question.

Bolts Systems

Jon Cooper has the Lightning playing a pretty similar system as the Rangers. They run an overload 1-2-2 forecheck, but will mix in a 2-1-2 as well. They do this quite often against the Rangers actually. In the defensive zone, they mix zone and overload coverage depending on puck location. On special teams, they run a 1-3-1 power play and rotate between a diamond and box penalty kill depending on opposition setup.

Bolts Lines

Vladimir Namestnikov-Steven Stamkos-Nikita Kucherov
Ondrej Palat-Brayden Point-Yanni Gourde
Chris Kunitz-Tyler Johnson-Ryan Callahan
Alex Killorn-Gabriel Dumont-J.T. Brown

Victor Hedman-Jake Dotchin
Mikhail Sergachev-Anton Stralman
Braydon Coburn-Dan Girardi

PP1: Kucherov-Stamkos-Killorn-Namestnikov-Hedman
PP2: Point-Palat-Gourde-Johnson-Sergachev

Andrei Vasilevsky gets the start.

Rangers Lines

Chris KreiderMika ZibanejadPavel Buchnevich
Rick NashKevin HayesMats Zuccarello
Jimmy VeseyDavid DesharnaisJT Miller
Michael Grabner-Boo Nieves-Jesper Fast

Ryan McDonaghNick Holden
Brady SkjeiKevin Shattenkirk
Marc StaalSteven Kampfer

PP1: Nash-Miller-Buchnevich-Zibanejad-Shattenkirk
PP2: Hayes-Desharnais-Kreider-Zuccarello-McDonagh

Henrik Lundqvist gets the start.

Scratches/Injuries: Paul Carey (healthy), Brendan Smith(healthy)

Crazy Prediction: Girardi scores the game winner, because of course.

Game time is 7:30pm. Be sure to follow on Twitter for gifs, and on our Snapchat for in-game.

Categories : Game Thread


  1. NYRfaninDC says:

    Those D-pairings. Yikes. I know Smith hasn’t been playing that well of late. McD-Holden? Staal-Kampfer? It’s amazing how quickly we’ve gone from thinking that we had one of the deeper D corps in the Metro to the nightly crapshoot it is now. Smith not playing well plays a lot into that, as he was pretty much pencilled in as #1 or #2 RD. Shatty’s been playing pretty poorly on the back end as well.

  2. Chris F says:

    We’re going to get eaten alive.

    • Stevem says:

      Yeah Chris, this may get very ugly, very early..

    • Richter1994 says:

      Not feeling good about beating up on 4th string goalies and worn out road teams Chris?

      • Chris F says:

        I think the 4th string narrative is a bit overblown, as most of our goals that game were solid goals.

        But, no, Tampa is no Vegas. We’re in for a massive challenge tonight.

  3. SalMerc says:

    The Stamkos line is lethal. Look for them to make any pair look silly, but a matchup against Stall and Kampfer might be horrific.

    Time for Nash to bury a few.

    • NYRfaninDC says:

      I don’t think we talk about it enough: Letting Stralman walk while re-signing Staal and Girardi was probably one of the worst decisions by the Rangers management. He was unflashy, in a good way, and so solid. With him, AV probably doesn’t mismanage Yandle or Shatty, because he has a “trusted veteran” that could actually be relied on.

      Oh, and the Eric Staal move. That’s probably the worst.

      • Richter1994 says:

        Yep, that started the decline NYR, they picked G over Stralman. And Stralman begged the Rangers to re-sign him.

      • wwpd says:

        I think we talk about it enough. For years and years we’re talking about it!

  4. Reenavipul says:

    Wasn’t a cap crunch, it was taking away AV’s toys.

    • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

      I’m sure that’s exactly what Gorton was thinking. I’m sure he said, “you know, I don’t really trust AV, but I’m going to give him a massive raise and extension anyway, while at the same time, I’m going to make sure he doesn’t have the players he wants to have”. Yep, I’m sure you’re right. Sounds like the conversation any sane GM would have with himself.

      Of course, now Girardi is one of Cooper’s “toys”. And for some bizarre reason, the supposedly worst defenseman in hockey is playing every night, and for some toatlly unknown reason, not one team has figured out how to exploit this supposedly “boat anchor” player and the Bolts have maybe their best team ever.

      Wow, maybe if I can get myself into shape, I can play for TB too…they are just so good, even a caveman can play for them and they can still win!!!!!

      • Snake says:

        That is awesome. The most sarcastic post accurately pointing out the silliness about Girardi on here over the past two years that could have been written.

      • Reenavipul says:

        And after 1 game with Hedman, Cooper determined Girardi’s optimal usage where AV couldn’t in 2+ years: 3rd pair, 16 minutes a night; lowest usage since his rookie year.

        But by all means, please blather on about all and sundry.

        • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

          But he’s still out there…the supposed worst player in the league. Not out of league. Not a 7D. The whole phony narrative was just that…a phony narrative.

          Exactly what choices did the stellar Rangers defense provide the coaches that would have been a better option? Oh I know, Clendening! McIlrath! A career 7D and a minor leaguer no one wants. Sure.

          Based on comments from Hank and the way McDonagh has played since the “pylon” left the scene, I’d bet anything that if you asked them in a private moment, probably those two and every Ranger would take Girardi back in a heartbeat. We are a worse team at the moment because of his absence, fancy stats be damned.

          • Reenavipul says:

            Too bad they couldn’t take a pay cut to make it happen.

            I’ll forward these comments to team Trump after the indictments come down.

      • Richter1994 says:

        Ah bro, G went from top pair on TB to 16 minutes per night.

        They’re saving him for the playoffs, lol.

        Is AV going to share his $4M per with you after he gets fired? lol

  5. Bloomer says:

    Tampa can score in bunches but they also can be exposed defensively. If the Rangers can tighten it up defensively and keep it close checking they can beat the Lightning.

    • Richter1994 says:

      Tonight, don’t be surprised if a TB player takes a shot and the puck splits into 10 little pucks, scoring 10 goals at one time. A la Bugs Bunny.

  6. Peter says:

    Sounds to me like Dan Girardi made out well and that is a wonderful thing. He was a very good player for the Rangers who came to play every shift of every game. While I am glad that the Rangers made the move of buying him out, I will always remember the solid player Dan was for the team.

    The Bolts are playing extremely well. At this juncture I will be happy if the Rangers come out and give it their best shot to make a game of it tonight. A win would be sweet icing on the cake and even better.

  7. Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

    I hesitate to post this, because hey, he could be hours away from being canned for all we know, but I think folks are making a mistake believing that AV is literally game to game. That was nothing more than speculation when Brooks reported it. If the team was done with him, then why is he still here? They have an interim option in Ruff.

    All the reporting I’ve seen, such as Craig Custance yesterday, seems to suggest the Rangers really do NOT want to move on from AV, and despite the nonsense speculated out here, there is NO indication whatsoever that he has lost the room in any way. (McDonagh and Staal’s recent comments seem to strongly suggest that AV still has plenty of support and his message has not gotten stale)

    Now, if the losing continues, then probably they will have no choice. But there’s nothing at the moment that seems to indicate a change is imminent and in the best interest of this team, at least from management’s and players’ perspectives.

    (And as I said, I may have just sealed AV’s fate by posting this!)

    • Bloomer says:

      Maybe you have sealed AV fate eddie. But don’t count out that the Rangers may just get better as the season progresses. They had a poor start as they didn’t come ready out of training camp. Tonight is a huge test of what the are made out of. The outcome of this game will likely forcast what the remainder of the season will be like.

      • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

        Absolutely possible Bloomer…on all counts.

        However, I did point out on one of the previous blog pages that I didn’t agree with your point about their conditioning. That doesn’t seem likely. Teams that are in poor condition don’t usually have the wherewithal to rally back as often as the Rangers have. Their issue for the most part has been their starts, which suggests a lack of mental preparation more than physical.

        • Bloomer says:

          Nothing wrong with the Rangers start tonight as Kreider scores on a 3-1 break. The Hobbit playing with fire in his belly.

    • Chris F says:

      I agree completely.

      There’s really no indication that he’s game-to-game, and canning him just to hand this same stale roster over to a mediocre coach isn’t a well-thought out plan.

      • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

        I think they will only fire him if A) this all goes terribly off the rails or B) he loses the room. We know from reporting in the case of Giants coach Ben McAdoo, he seems to have totally lost the room. I find it hard to believe that the same is going on with the Rangers if there is no reporting that even hints at it.

        If I’m a betting man, I suspect AV lasts for a while longer…maybe the whole season. Ranger management seems to be very methodical with these matters. I think they wait until the summer when they have a full field of options to choose from—and that’s only if they miss the playoffs altogether.

        • Njb45 says:

          We will see, your point is valid. But really do believe the time has come. Happens to all coaches

    • Richter1994 says:

      I think the Captain of Titanic made an announcement:

      “No worries, we just took on a little water. Go about your business.”

  8. Stevem says:

    Crazy Prediction: Girardi scores the game winner, because of course.

    Or an Al Macinnis like hat trick.. if anyone remembers from years back

  9. Spozo says:

    Did I really just hear that the lightning have gone with 7 defensemen a few times this season?

    I thought only moron coaches do that!

    • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

      When John “Genius” Cooper does it, it’s inspired. Only when AV does it is it’s considered moronic.

  10. Lace says:

    Rangers always get killed by ex-NYR. Seems like TBL EX-NYR kill the NYR.

  11. Chris F says:

    Pretty solid first 10 minutes so far.

  12. Dan says:

    End of 1st period … And that’s why we’re all so frustrated right now. That was the best period of hockey they’ve played all freaking season. Where was that play in October???

  13. Spozo says:

    The definition of frustration is watching this team suck for the entire season then play a spirited game like this.

    • Richter1994 says:

      I don’t get it either. Where has this been? Even win oneo r two more games and they are in good shape going forward.

  14. Chris F says:

    Bad Kreider, bad!

    • Bloomer says:

      He made a good effort coming back just took the wrong man. Good game so far. I wonder if Tampa Bay will win the Stanley Cup before Girardis window closes.

      • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

        If Staal had made that error, or Holden, the blog would be erupting. When Kreider (or Miller or Hayes) makes a mistake, we hear crickets.

        • Chris F says:

          ‘Tis true, Eddie.

        • Bloomer says:

          Rangers forwards are unfamiliar with the concept of backchecking. Obviously Krieder still trying to figure out his assignment. The man unmarked and without the puck is the one that will score. Who would of known.

        • Reenavipul says:

          If a defenceman is chasing the play like that, then they deserve to be roasted.

          Beyond that, your point makes perfect sense, because Fast does it often and pretty much gets a free pass.

  15. Peter says:

    The boys showed up tonight right from the start. They look like the team I remember tonight.

  16. Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

    Another giveaway by Kreider. Almost cost another goal. Again…..crickets.

    I’m just bustin on him and all those who overate him. In truth, he’s been playing much better the last few games. I didnt have a chance to weigh in on the Kreider debate the other day. To me, the issue was never about whether he is good or not. Of course he’s good. But like Miller and Hayes, my question is, what is his upside? Or is this all there is? Folks want to see the Rangers make a trade to upgrade the lineup at center. Great. But that’s not going to happen by offering Kampfer and Holden.

    You have to give to get. Kreider and Miller, along with Nash, McDongah, maybe Zuc, represent the best guys to deal IF you want to get a major asset back in return. Sometimes you just need to change the mix.

    Kreider is a good player. What he is NOT is untouchable.

    • Bloomer says:

      No player is untouchable. Ranger bloggers just want good players in return. Not washed up has been. Game is getting lively, players showing some spirit.

    • Reenavipul says:

      Kreider has been playing well all season as his net front play has gotten goals for others even when he wasn’t getting on the score sheet. Now that he is getting on the score sheet, he’s suddenly playing better?

      Turn in your hockey fan card.

      • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

        Yeah, I’m sure that every talent evaluator absolutely believes that Kreider has been “playing well all season”. Please. He’s had some moments, with or without the scoring. That’s not the point. He needs to be better. Good (or sometimes good) isnt good enough.

        And the bigger point is what you are missing. My point is simple. Kreider is NOT good enough to be considered an untouchable player. He may well be the Rangers most tradeable asset. The question is, for whom? That’s all I’ve said.

        • Reenavipul says:

          Anybody who knows something about hockey beyond the idea it’s played on ice and is fast sees it. His screens set up at least 2 of Ziba’s goals in the 1st week and has done the yeoman work in front that he hasn’t done in the past.

          Obviously your mileage varies. With your body of work, I’d be looking at the judge and not the subject.

          • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

            Disagree. But either way, still doesn’t make him an untouchable player…which again is my only point.

            But then again, if the Oracle says it is so, then who am I to argue?

            • Reenavipul says:

              The only point you usually have is the dunce cap you’re donning.

              You talk about having to give to get, but nobody is willing to give up any sort of player in terms of production, term or cost, so you’re gonna get 2 quarters and a 50 cent piece on the dollar or pay 6 bits for a buck(something the Rangers can’t afford to do right now.)

              • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

                You are more than welcome to wear my dunce cap any time. In fact, based on some prior comments you have made, it would fit you quite well.

                ….when you insisted that Staal was going on LTIR when he wasnt.

                When you insisted that the best course of action was to let Raanta and Hank play half of the games foes the stretch last year, even though any person who knows anything about how to get Hank ready knows that after sitting out with an injury, he would need plenty of work to be sharp.

                Girardi, which you were dead wrong about.


                McIlrath…..VERY WRONG!

                Oh Hockey Oracle, me thinks you need to have a little humble pie and realize you are not always right, believe it or not.

    • Mancunian Candidate says:

      Hey, would you look at who scored a big goal for the NY Rangers. Chris Kreider. Imagine that. A streaky player throughout his career, being streaky again. And against high quality competition again to boot!

      • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

        As I said about Miller, he just increased his trade value. 🙂

        He’s playing well. Let’s see him sustain it and really raise his game. Rangers need someone to do that to legitimately compete.

  17. Chris F says:

    Bad Hayes, bad!

  18. Spozo says:

    At least we won’t hear from leather tonight.

    • Chris F says:

      But, I mean, that waived off goal was SOFT!

    • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

      Hey, there’s still a chance. If Hank let’s up a goal in the OT or SO, I’m sure Hank will still be a bum in his eyes.

      • Leatherneck says:

        You are such a hypocrite…you make my point everytime you post…crickets for you too when Leaky screws up…but ah so loud when it’s the rest of the team

        Good win tonight…top down

        • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

          Hank has a much longer leash then the rest of the pretend stars on this team. That’s usually the case with any future HOFer.

  19. Bloomer says:

    Stralman still looking for his jockstrap. Thanking his goalie for bailing him out all game.

  20. Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

    WHAT A WIN!!!!!!!!!!

  21. Chris F says:

    F@#$, YEA!

    What a game!

  22. Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

    Regardless of what happened in the silly 3 on 3, getting a point on the road against that tremendous opponent with all that the Rangers have been through this first month of the season…..well, that was one incredibly impressive effort.

    One point was fine…two points is even better. Now build on this, beat a very beatable Panther team, then suddenly, it’s a new season.

    This game restored my hope.

    Oh btw, my prediction….AV’s not getting fired tonight. 🙂

    • Mancunian Candidate says:

      Instead of being blasé about the coach surviving this week, E3–consider this instead:

      Kreider and Miller showed up tonight. Hank is starting to be Hank. Buchnevich is where he should be in the lineup, and look at the result–the team plays its ass off against a very talented Lightning squad. Maybe it’s as simple as that for the Rangers, if the right players get the right amount of icetime the team will be successful. That being said, if I never see Nick Holden in a blueshirt again I’ll be a happy fan.

      The positives tonight had nothing to do with the coach. The team won this game tonight, and this will be the start of something good for them. If the KZB line gets disassembled again, it will be foolish.

      • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

        I agree with most of what you are saying, except one thing. Why are the losses always on the coach and the wins are all about the players?

        Rangers players record—


        AV’s record—


  23. Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

    Also, just curious, since half of you (at least) think the coach has totally lost the room and his message has gone stale, would you characterize this as the greatest win in history by an NHL team that has supposedly quit and/or tuned out their coach? 🙂

    • Bloomer says:

      He didn’t lose the room. Just him and his squad were still on the golf course putting birdies when a hockey season started.

    • Reenavipul says:

      No bigger indictment of a coach is a team who plays to the level of their opponent. To their credit, they jumped on the Coyotes somewhat.

      • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:


        They just beat the best team in hockey. So how does that rank in terms of “indicting” the coach? Did they rise to the level of TB because they hate their coach? Because they love their coach? Or maybe your whole narrative is totally overblown on this subject, as per usual.

        • Reenavipul says:

          When you can beat the best team in hockey in a hard fought 60 minute game but can’t be bothered to show up until too late(if at all) against, say, Montreal. Or San Jose.

          That is playing to the level of your opponent. It means the boys can be up to play against good teams, but not so much against lesser lights. Which means the coaching staff doesn’t(or in this case, can’t be bothered) know how to get a team ready or motivated to perform every game.

          Sorta like the Bills tonight.

          • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

            Simplistic answer….players win the games, coaches lose the games. Of course! That’s it! Thank you for that well thought out analysis!

    • Richter1994 says:



  24. Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

    One more question, this one for Bobby and Rich and the others who say the Rangers are “too soft”. Still think so? They were pretty feisty tonight that’s for sure. In fact, has there been a game all year where they have been “out-physicaled”?

    It’s not about whether the Rangers are physical enough. It’s whether the Rangers are talented and disciplined enough.

    • Reenavipul says:

      Isles, St. Louis, Columbus off the top of my head. Knowing your teammates have your back really helps build an esprit de corps.

      I guess they don’t teach that in stickball.

      • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

        Stickball is fun. You should try it!

        But now a word from our sponsor…..

        “He can diagnose a player’s injury without even examining him.

        He knows more hockey than every coach and GM combined in this league.

        He is…the most interesting hockey fan…in the world.”

        Have a Dos Equis and chill out!

  25. Leatherneck says:

    Leaky gets a pass from me tonight

    He played well…just don’t play the puck

  26. Chris F says:

    Hank: (paraphrasing) “We won because we stuck to our game plan and executed.”

    Would that be AV’s game plan?

    • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

      No. It’s a coup. They all hate him. AV purposely tries to lose because he wont play the best players. They developed their own game plan and aren’t listening to him.

      (I’m filling in for Rock so trying to be as irrational as possible). 🙂

    • Richter1994 says:

      Give the coach and all credit, but Henrik still had to stand on his head. See, that’s the point, when Henrik plays like last night then the whole team looks good.

      Both goalies were outstanding last night. But I will say that the Rangers’ gap control was much better last night as they did not let TB skate freely.

      • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

        Yep. 100% agree. Same deal for 12+ years. For the most part (and yes, fans of Talbot and Raanta, they were big as well), as Hank goes, so goes the Rangers. The Rangers talent wise aren’t good enough to consistently carry Hank to victory, which is why he’s always had to bear a disproportionate share of the burden.

  27. Ranger17 says:

    Glendening Waived by Arizona .WOW

    • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

      Unbelievable. But not surprising. And THIS is the guy that everyone insisted MUST play over Girardi, otherwise AV is a risk-averse moron. And I thought I heard that the Coyotes GM was a new age fancy stats guru and Clendening would prove how good he was in that system. Guess not!

      The good news for Clendo is, he’s only played in six organizations in parts of four seasons. That means he still has 25 more teams yet to go. At this rate, I’m thinking give him another 7-10 years, he could play for everyone!

      And just think, one day, there might be the Travelling Clendos Fan Club making appearances at arenas around the country!

      Clendening, McIlrath, Etem. The list of nonsense goes on and on! AV vindicated….again.

    • Richter1994 says:

      AV has AZ Yutes stock.