Dec
24

Recap: How the Leafs Stole Christmas

December 24, 2017, by

AP Photo/Julie Jacobson

It is with a heavy heart that I inform you the New York Rangers are at it again. You can stop me if you’ve heard this one before but the Rangers, unable to connect on passes and playing without urgency for the vast majority of the game, relied on Henrik Lundqvist to make otherworldly saves and ultimately dropped the game despite their star goalie’s best efforts. It’s a tale as old as time, and frankly, I’m getting a little bit sick of it. I’m guessing you are too.

It all started in the first period, when the Rangers, despite keeping things relatively even in terms of shot attempts and even pulling ahead at one point in scoring chances, allowed the Leafs on more than one occasion to set up their cycle game in the Rangers’ zone. Against an average team this might not be that big of a problem – sure it’s a bad habit, but if you keep them to the outside and depend on your goaltender for sensational saves then it’s not so bad, right? Well, the Leafs have guys like Auston Matthews and William Nylander, and you’ll never guess who set up who to put the biscuit in the basket. Not an auspicious start to the evening.

Things weren’t much better in the second, although you can almost forgive the Rangers for the second goal of the game. Aside from the fact that the Rangers allowed Toronto to simply walk them all over the ice, the Rangers also had a great habit of taking tons of penalties throughout the game, and the second goal Toronto scored occurred on the man-advantage. It’s easy to give up powerplay goals though, and Hank, who was phenomenal last night (have I mentioned that?) was screened on the play. This one I’m not so mad about, but still, not great when you’re already down by a goal.

There was hope though, and it was sparked by our favorite Ivy Leaguer’s ability to get to the tough areas of the icy and jam a garbage goal home. While Jimmy Vesey isn’t my absolute favorite player (Merry Christmas, Pavel), even I can admit that he has a very particular kind of effectiveness – he goes where other guys won’t and gets shots off when other guys might look for the pass. This exceptional ability (he reminds me of Brandon Dubinsky or Ryan Callahan in the best ways) to push and push until something breaks through got the Rangers on the board and put together the necessary framework to start a comeback. The Rangers were still ceding tons of shot attempt throughout the second, and they did still give up a third goal to Auston Matthews, but from that point on they led in scoring chances, at least until the end of 40 minutes. Take a bow, Jimmy.

Unfortunately from that point on things kind of flatlined for the Rangers in terms of both getting the puck to the net and the actual quality of those shots. Still, the Rangers kept hope alive when the Leafs made a bad clearance from down low in their own zone and turned the puck over. A couple of excellent one touch passes kept the puck in the zone, with Chris Kreider bouncing the puck from along the half boards down below the goal line, where the newly-demoted Pavel Buchnevich showed great hustle and exceptional awareness when he beat the flat-footed Leafs defender to the puck and immediately sent a no-look pass through the legs of Roman Polak to the slot, where JT Miller picked it up, held it for a moment in order to get some control on the puck and pick his shot, and then rifled it past Anderson.

Things sure felt like they were preordained in favor of the Rangers at that point, when, as the jumbotron still had the camera on the celebrating bench and the announcer was calling out Miller’s name, Michael Grabner blew by a defender as he was entering the zone and sent an absolute laser beam into the back of the net. It was not to be however, due to the worst offsides review I’ve ever seen. It wasn’t that there wasn’t a player offsides – Kevin Hayes was clearly over the line.

What was so frustrating about this call was the expansive definition of “the play” being offsides. Michael Grabner was on one side of the ice when he entered the zone with that blinding speed, and Kevin Hayes was nowhere near him – he was on the opposite wing just kind of standing there (which is fine by the way, it’s how the Rangers often set up a zone entry). Now obviously there was the far out possibility that Grabner would send the puck all the way from one wing to the other, for a bizarre but clean break in (usually you don’t see cross-ice passes at the blueline). But any reasonable person would say that “the play” was on the opposite end of the ice, with uh, ya know, the puck and the puck carrier making the entry.

Again, Kevin Hayes was offsides, but he had absolutely nothing to do with what would have been the tying goal – “the play” was only offsides if you arbitrarily consider every player on ice, from the guy coming off the bench way behind everyone to the guys standing idly on the opposite wing just in case, to be a part of the “the play”. Common sense does not rule in today’s NHL however, and the review was quickly over; the Rangers had lost this one.

From there we saw something we had not seen from the Rangers pretty much all game: some urgency. The Rangers began to get actual substantive zone time, setting up their cycle game following a couple of speedy, well-executed zone entries. It wasn’t enough though, and as the clock wound down on regulation there was a bitter taste in the mouth of every denizen of the Blue Seats (and probably every section, but that’s not where I was sitting last night, so I can’t speak for them).

The Rangers had once again sat back throughout an entire game, playing with little sense of urgency or poise on the puck and instead opted to depend on their all-time great goalie to win the game for them. Henrik Lundqvist was visibly frustrated (at one point he threw his stick so hard and far that the linesman had to return it to him, only to get him a new one when the first one appeared to be cracked) and so were we. While this game was largely on the players, it’s hard not to see some fallacies in the way the coaches played this one.

First of all, just to get this out of the way, there was a too many men on the ice penalty during a crucial moment that stymied the Rangers attempt at a comeback. It’s the coaches job to manage guys’ ice time, including how many guys are getting ice time at once.

Beyond that though there seems to be a “win now” attitude already taking hold in December. Night in and night out we’ve seen the team rely on Henrik Lundqvists outlandish talent to keep them in it, with the team, from the top down, seemingly OK with that game plan. He’s being worked into the ground, on pace for more games than he’s played in at least the last few years if not longer; no goalie can play that many games with that level of effort and intensity and still be fresh for a long playoff run. Alain Vigneault simply does not have the answers anymore – despite the Rangers solid record over the past dozen or more games he seems to be aware that, ever since the Rangers kept his job alive with a win over Vegas on Halloween, he’s playing for his continued employment.

Even though he lets on very little, it can’t be too hard to figure out that, at least since they gave up around 70 shot attempts against Dallas, the Rangers’ game plan is unsustainable. After some embarrassing losses despite playoff-level goaltending performances, there’s no way that AV doesn’t have a sense of what’s going on. Given all of that, it’s not surprising that he’s in a “win now” state of mind, but what Jeff Gorton needs to recognize is that if you’re already at that point in December you’re too far gone. The Rangers do of course need to win as many games as possible, but if your sense of desperation has come on that strong at this point in the season it’s time to make a change. Whether that’s a big trade or firing the coach to send a message something’s got to give. Win or lose (and it’s going to be “lose” for a long time more than “win” if things don’t change) they simply can’t keep playing this way. Bah humbug!

"Recap: How the Leafs Stole Christmas", 4 out of 5 based on 9 ratings.
Categories : Game Wrap-ups

49 comments

  1. Richter1994 says:

    Great seeing you Pat.

    This is a bad team from the coach on down.

    I loved the Matthew’s goal. 4 Rangers on the other side of the Ranger’s net, leaving one of the best players all by himself to take his time and bury a goal.

    Hayes, who was merely a bystander, stands offsides. Not skates offsides, stands offsides.

    Too many men penalty in a close game.

    Staal and Holden, the D men that the coach trusts the most, totally over matched by the Leafs’ speed.

    3 PPs and a 5 on 3 in the first period alone, and they can only manage 11 SOG.

    One goal game? Put your best offensive player on the bench for the 3rd. Right. 3rd best offensive player? Put him on the 4th line to start the game.

    What’s the over/under in games before Henrik buckles and can no longer stand on his head to keep the Rangers in games? Because it’s coming.

    • Pat says:

      Good seeing you too my man, and happy holidays!

    • Bloomer says:

      If you witness the game Richter you would of noticed that the leafs were also coughing up the puck and providing the Rangers with scoring opportunities. Their goalie Anderson also stood on his head at times and came up with some incredible saves. The Rangers came within a skate blade of coming away with a draw in this one.

      The difference in this game was the Rangers poorly executed powerplay. They also took a couple of really stupid penalties which sucked away momentum. Av continues to use Desharnais on the powerplay when they need some size to win loose pucks and screen the opposition goalie. Vesey JT Nash Krieder and Hayes should be getting more minutes on the PP.

      • Richter1994 says:

        The Leafs were perfect bro, no question. But they were much faster and held the puck a lot more than the Rangers did. The difference was by a lot the first 2 periods.

        It wasn’t until the 3rd period that the Rangers were pressing to try and tie the game that they had the puck more often.

  2. Richter1994 says:

    To echo our brother Jerry in the previous thread, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all. And honor our military and emergency responding service people with a prayer of hope, thanking them and wishing them God’s speed while they protect us and help us.

    Love you all, even AV supporters and Hank Haters, LOL. 🙂

    Thank you to Dave and all the writers that give us a great forum to talk Ranger hockey and bitch and complain and vent.

    • King Sieveqvist ! King Sieveqvist ! says:

      right back at ya Richter, even all the butthurt hank lovers …. and MC , lol … Merry Christmas , maybe AV will let Pav play 10 games this year ?

  3. Richter1994 says:

    To echo our brother Jerry in the previous thread, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all. And honor our military and emergency responding service people with a prayer of hope, thanking them and wishing them God’s speed while they protect us and help us.

    Love you all, even AV supporters and Hank Haters, LOL. 🙂

    Thank you to Dave and all the writers that give us a great forum to talk Ranger hockey and complain and vent.

    • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

      From this AV supporter, I wholeheartedly agree on every point. God Bless our military and all those who keep us safe.

      And yes, thank you to the AMAZING folks at BSB, and all of you out here. For a Rangers fan living 1500 miles away and on the road frequently, with no Rangers fans to regularly talk to and vent with, you guys fill a major void for me. Best blog out there. Keep up the great work and the fantastic topics and discussions!

  4. Bill says:

    “worst offsides review”
    “the expansive definition of “the play” being offsides”
    There is nothing about “the play” in the rules or in any interpretation of them (Rule 83.1). Offside is absolute. The puck must precede all players on the attacking team into the zone. (Yeah, you can skate backwards into the zone with “possession and control” of the puck.)
    It was a dumb mistake by Hayes, period.

    Maybe what you are thinking about is the player in the crease, but not in the play. That’s different.

    • Pat says:

      “After video review, the play was offsides” – the ref last night, and most nights

      What I’m getting at (and perhaps I should’ve worded this more carefully) is that broadly speaking there’s clearly an understanding of the rules emanating from the strict letter of the law – refs have tons of discretion in other areas of the game, but either choose to or are directed not to use any during an offsides review. Even going by what you said, there’s still an implication of the play being offsides – where the puck is, the play is (I’m thinking specifically of guys getting hit “behind the play”, meaning away from where the puck is). This strikes me as a little bit odd then, in that the puck and the implicit play radiates this kind of “onside/offside” force touching every player on the ice regardless of functional relation to the puck (as opposed to interference calls, for example), but only in offsides calls. It’s purely positional, and there’s no discretion or common sense understanding involved. It’s not outlandish to say that “the puck” and “the play” are typically interchangeable, and therefore “the play” should include just players directly involved in it. It is outlandish, to me at least (because while we’re getting nit picky about words, I’d like to point out that this opinion is couched in subjectivity, it was the worst offsides call that “I’ve ever seen”) to say that a goal shouldn’t count because someone who had nothing to do with the puck entering the zone and no causal effect on whether the puck went in the net was in violation of a rule.

      In any event, happy holiday!

      • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

        Pat-

        I understand your point, but offside is offside. That would be like saying that in football, if offensive holding happened on the WR on the left side and the play was heading towards the right side, then the play should be allowed to stand. Obviously, that’s crazy.

        Instead of harping on the merits of whether a review should have happened, you should have roasted Hayes, who’s egregious and lazy mistake singlehandedly cost the team the game. Instead you focus on the merits of review. Seems to me you are misdirecting your frustration, which should be on the player, as opposed to the rule.

  5. Bobby B says:

    Tough loss at home, coming away with no points. Amazing what a gift it is to have an Auston Matthews type ( true superstar) on your team, a true difference maker. The King was his usual spectacular self, but as Richter1994 said, this is getting OLD!!!!. Hank is 35 yrs old, father time and recovery time are knocking at the door, He can not continue to do it alone for the majority of the game, waiting for the Rangers to show up and start playing, which seems to be their MO this year. How this team is not playing with passion from the doping of the puck is beyond me?, You need to talk with the head coach about that. I echo the words of Boomer Esiason ( NY sports radio host, huge Ranger fan, season ticket holder for years, he was at last nights game) We love our Rangers, we are always optimistic every year ,we are usually in the mix for the Cup. The optimism is not in abundance this year something is missing. The team needs to get younger and faster, and meaner, come trading deadline ( Nash, Staal, and maybe even McDonagh & Hank (only if he wants to get a sniff at the Cup) need to be dangled to the true Cup contenders. This year the Rangers are pretenders, not contenders.

    • Bloomer says:

      Boomer should stick with football. The Rangers have lots of team speed and with the exception of Nash and Henk are a young hockey team.

  6. roadrider says:

    Agree completely about the offside challenge on the disallowed goal. If the refs called it in real time – fine, Hayes was offside, But on review, if it had nothing to do with the play the goal should count. I would go further and say that the offside challenge rule needs to go. It should be like ball/strike calls in baseball – unreviewable. The way it is now it would be as if in baseball you could challenge ball/strike calls in an at-bat after a guy hits a home run. That said, Kevin Hayes – WTF WERE YOU THINKING ABOUT!!!! (His response – to quote Paul Newman in Cool Hand Luke – “Well, cap’n, I guess you could say I wasn’t thinking”).

    I have no problem with the Rangers leaning on Lundqvist. He’s, by far, their best player. But that doesn’t mean that they don’t owe him better support. I mean he can’t win the game all by himself. The team, outside of the goalie, was mostly flat for the first 40 minutes last night. Out skated, out hustled and outsmarted by Toronto – and give them credit they made the Rangers look bad. And it wasn’t just the defense. Name me one forward who was worth a damn in the first two periods.

    I don’t even know what to say about the breakdown on the Matthews goal. yeah, I know, 2 D chased the puck to boards but that’s apparently the system, which means the forwards have to cover for them and both Hayes and Grabner were playing with themselves while the most dangerous player on the ice was standing in front of the goalie. I’ve been a long-time Hayes supporter, but buddy, you’re really trying my patience.

    And the too-many-men penalty in the final minute was just too much for me. I’m not an AV basher but sloppy stuff like that is on the coach. You can be outplayed and out hustled but your team should be able to figure out how to change players without being called for a bench minor at a critical time.

    I only see one positive in this in that the Rangers did not let the game get completely away from them and could have conceivably come away with a losers point or an OT/SO win. That’s mostly due to Hank but again, who else is going to carry them?

  7. Pat says:

    I guess what i’m trying to say is that despite there being a line on the ice, nothing is really absolute. That probably has a lot to do with my worldview more generally, but yeah I simply don’t buy the idea that some things are totally concrete and others are totally nebulous.

  8. Pat says:

    Ok I’m done being that jerk who defends himself in blog comments – seriously guys, have a happy and safe holiday season. I can’t thank you all enough for listening to my stupid thoughts on hockey. You’re all great people, and I wish you the best.

  9. Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

    I’m having some posting issues….so trying again….

    Some food for thought here to my Rangers brothers and sisters as we all prepare for what I hope for all of you is a wonderful holiday season—

    Average point total the last four seasons under AV through 36 games—

    42.75 points

    Rangers current point total through 36 games—

    42 points

    And this is happening in a year when pretty much everybody assumed the Rangers would regress somewhat and be at best a borderline playoff team. They are on track for a 96 point season—pretty much right on target for what most people expected. This should come as a shock to nobody.

    In AV’s first season, through 36 games, the Rangers had 34 points, and looked as dead as a doornail. We all know what happened that season.

    Is this team flawed? Yes it is. But we expected that. And remember, most of this season has been played so far with arguably one of our two best players (not named Hank) compromised or out—Mika and McD. Yet here they are, ahead of the Pens who pretty much everyone assumed would run away and hide in the Metro this season.

    We have not seen this team at its best yet. Not even close. I would not be at all surprised if trades are coming. Perhaps reinforcements from Hartford if the kids are actually ready. It is WAY to soon to start calling for panic move mid-season coaching changes that rarely accomplish anything except cause chaos and negative regression. Barring a complete collapse, AV deserves to finish out the season, and then we will see where things stand.

    I hope all of you have a fantastic and safe weekend!

    • Richter1994 says:

      I don’t think major changes are coming nor should they come. I think the roster is playoff worthy enough with some tweaks needed.

      But I’m sorry, I hear what the coach says and it’s very disturbing to me. Comments like “I trust Marc Staal” or “Holden is dependable” make me think that he’s lost his mind.

      These are not “50/50” comments where you say, “ok it could go either way.” These are comments of someone who is completely out of touch with what goes on during the games.

      E3, come sit with me home game after home game and I will point out everything that I say as they happen, because they happen every game and all game long.

      Miller on the 4th line?
      Zib benched in the 3rd?
      Carey in the line up?
      Staal and Holden on the ice at the end of close games?
      DD on the PP?
      Defensive structure that rivals the Arizona Yutes?
      Egregious and lazy turnovers all game long?
      No forecheck on a game by game basis?

      These are all on the players? Or the guy that should stop being a “let the players police themselves” type of coach and finally gets involved? Because these issues are global, not communal. In the aggregate and not specific.

      The offenders, except for the couple that are completely over matched in this NHL, are different every game. Zero continuity, except for Henrik, who makes the team look good. But he is close to “losing it.” You can see it in his body language.

      So all the AV supporters, instead of telling me how nuts I am and how dumb I am, and how I’m just picking on the coach, please answer my accusations in a way that even debates what I say here, by pointing out examples of where I am wrong. I would love to hear it.

      And please, save the regular season record. The teams he had in Vancouver, which were much better than the Ranger teams, should have won a Cup.

      And any coach can win regular season games with the best goalie in the world.

      Question: How many games did the Rangers win where they actually outplayed the opponent this year? Bet it’s less than 10.

      • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

        Nobody is saying you nuts or dumb. Hardly. I just don’t agree.

        Point by point…

        Miller on the 4th line? Why not? He was awful last game. Many coaches do this, not just AV. Miller is not some generational player who should be immune to this. There are no stars on this team. AV wants four lines that can play. So who’s on what line with this team is way overblown.

        Zib benched in the 3rd? Mika was terrible last night, and it’s evident he isn’t yet himself. Maybe the break will help him. You are overreacting.

        Carey in the line up? What is your issue with him? Max effort guy. Solid on the 4th line. The better option at the moment is who? And please do not mention any minor leaguers who aren’t really ready.

        Staal and Holden on the ice at the end of close games? Again, overrated. We should sit together at a game and I will ask you to bring a pad and chart the defensive deployment, shift by shift, so we can see who was out the shift before and the shift before that. And last year in the playoffs….three different deployments. All of them failed.

        DD on the PP? Yeah, well, that one you may have a point. :).

        Defensive structure that rivals the Arizona Yutes? Or maybe, we all overrated this defense, we miss Girardi and Klein more than you care to admit, and Gorton did a poor job here, especially in terms of signing Smith.

        Egregious and lazy turnovers all game long? Not good….on players and coaches equally. But more on the players. AV can’t bench everyone.

        No forecheck on a game by game basis? No team has sustained forecheck every game every shift. Does it need to better? Yes. On everyone involved. Hard to forecheck though when you defense is lousy and if they break the forecheck, then you risk odd man rushes. It’s a fine line.

        • Richter1994 says:

          ok, point by point, lol:

          Is that the way we design line ups now? Take a guy that didn’t do well the previous game and demote him? Let me ask you, in that mess against the Devs, how did the coach pick the one guy he thought was responsible for that game and demote him?

          Zib has the best shot on the team. They were down 2 goals then 1, I really don’t care how he played the rest of the game. You could have benched Nash, Hayes, and Kreider from the top 9 too, who did nothing during the first 2 periods as well. But the coach decided that Zib and Buch (his new whipping boy) and 2 of the most offensively gifted players on the team, on the bench, needing a goal. Great.

          BECAUSE HE’S A BAD HOCKEY PLAYER. Using an E3 example to prove it: How many NHL games has he played? At 29 years of age?

          God’s honest truth, neither one should be on the team. I refuse to believe that ANY ONE from Hartford can do worse. I really can’t.

          DD, we have an accord. lol

          I gave you D pairs in another thread, put them together and LEAVE THEM ALONE

          Ok, I accept that on the turnovers.

          Not every shift, that’s impossible, but forecheck takes effort from the players and a game plan from the coach. Both at fault here.

          • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

            The one consistent thing about AV is that he will send messages to his best players. He did that with the Sedins early in their careers as well. A benching from AV usually means “you are one of my most talented players, but you are not giving me or the team what I need at the moment. You need to give more”. Why is this a bad thing for a coach to do? Isn’t that the essence of coaching….to get the most out of your best players? What’s the point of benching a Carey, a DD, a Staal, a Holden, or last year a Girardi? These guys are playing about as well as they are capable of playing. So unless you are trying to shorten the bench, benching them to send them a message likely accomplishes nothing.

            Take a look at blogs and articles from around the country for other teams. The exact same things involving demotions and benchings have come up with Babs, Torts, Q, Peters, McLellan, Weight and Hakstol. And that’s just the stories I’ve seen. There are probably others too. So my point is, this is NOT exclusively an AV thing. Coaches all over the league do this. So whomever will eventually replace AV will likely do it as well.

            If anything, I wish he’d do it more. The free pass he largely gives to inconsistent players like Hayes and Kreider really rankles me. But you can only bench so many guys.

            And can we please stop treating Miller like he’s Messier. If Messier were sent to the 4th line, that would be a story. Miller? Please. Just a good but not great player that isn’t substantially better than most of his teammates, and I’m sure is mentally tough enough to handle a little “demotion”. And guess what….Miller scored. So I guess the message was received. How about some props to the coach?

            You are totally overrating what Buch is today. He is a very young, incomplete and erratic player who needs to not be overused. Mika is COMING OFF A CONCUSSION for crying out loud! He has shown no indication that he is the pre-concussed Mika yet. We’d better all hope and pray that he recovers quickly, because if he doesn’t regain his elite form from earlier in the season, then our season is most definitely over.

            You are totally going “Captain Hyperbole” on Carey, just like you did on Girardi vs Clendo. Carey has been fine. He’s not been bad. He’s also not great. He’s fine for his role and there are much bigger issues then the likes of Paul Carey at the moment.

            The only way the forecheck works effectively is if all four lines are clicking and effective. This allows AV to balance ice time and then deploy the forecheck more effectively. Ineffective play, combined with a plethora of penalties, makes it real tough to roll four lines, and then makes it almost impossible to forecheck effectively.

      • roadrider says:

        Richter I agree with you that AV’s comments are a bit hard to understand but what do you expect him to do, rip his players in the press? For better or worse they’re what he’s got and undermining them in public is not going to help things much. I’m not going to try and defend every single one of AV’s decisions, and yes, there are some that leave me scratching my head. But understand that many of these decisions may not even be what the coach would prefer if head better choices but he’s hamstrung by the roster construction, lack of depth and who knows what else goes on behind the scenes.

        I do disagree with you about Carey – he’s done well in his role and deserves to be in there. Would I prefer a better player? Sure, as soon as you find one that’s available for a reasonable cost and fits within the cap structure let me know. I’m sure your response is going to be Lettieri – and that might not be a bad idea but I’m going to give the Rangers’ player personnel folks the benefit of the doubt on that one. They might be wrong but not for any reason that I would know about

        Its fair to wonder why Zib was benched in the 3rd period last night but according to Larry Brooks he was having trouble keeping up with the pace so it may be that he’s not quite back to game condition yet. And the Miller-Kreider-Buch line did produce a goal so the move could be said to work out in that sense.

        I also disagree that the turnovers and lack of fore checking are not on the players. To me, that’s their responsibility. The coach can’t play the game for them. How do you know that the bad play is a result of what the coach wants as opposed to what the players are failing to execute?

        You have more of an argument about the defensive structure which is, apparently, what the the coaching staff wants and, given the shortcomings of the Rangers’ blue line guys is probably not the best choice. But again, if the D have been tasked with chasing the puck then the forwards have to cover for them and last night we saw yet another example of that not happening on the Matthews goal.

        Anyway, I share your frustration with how this season is going but I do see a bright spot in how the Rangers have made lemonade out of lemons even if its fair to say that they have won games where they didn’t play all that well. Remember, according to the rules all you have to do is have more goals at the end of the game than your opponent, They don’t ask how, only how many.

        • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

          Well said as per usual RR. Agree with pretty much every word.

        • Richter1994 says:

          Another good post my friend. This is what I like to see, good debate against my opinions.

          Merry Christmas to you and your family.

  10. Stevem says:

    A very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you Pat, and all at BSB, and everyone on the board. I thoroughly enjoy reading the blog posts and chatting with all you great fans on here. I think we have the most knowledgeable people on here, and although we may not all agree on certain aspects of our team, it’s always fun to be here and to have some healthy debates.. in the end.. we all want one thing.. and that’s the Chalice.. so again, may God bless all of you and your families, and God bless all who serve in the Military who keep us safe. LGR!! Let’s come back after the break and (hopefully) tear s**t up!!

  11. Leatherneck says:

    1) Merry Christmas to all,

    2) And no I am not a ( Leaky, Hank, King, Lundqvist ) hater….lol,,, I really don’t hate him, my gripe is with the fans who love him and all blame is on all others, the fans who have anointed him to what he is not.

    3)This team won’t win the cup, we need to sell.

    4) Zuke as much as I love him is starting to make me get really mad at him…shoot the damn puck….way too many 2 – 1’s with Zukey leading it and we get no shot on goal. This has become a pattern with Zuke

    5) Graves, Pionk and D’Angelo towards the end of the season, gone McD, Staal and Holden

    6) AV see ya too

    7) Why is Kampfer not in for Holden????? Kampfer filled in really nice and outplayed a vast majority of the D

    8) Obviously Pavelec is not trusted by AV or Lundqvist wouldn’t play so much (Trouble here big league)

    9) WE NEED RIGHT HANDED FORWARDS WITH TALENT

    10) Grabner was meant to be a Ranger, I don’t understand why he never really made an impression with the other teams he played with. So if he goes to another team he probably will revert back to his old status.
    (Think Benoit Pouliot) he was meant to play in a Ranger Jersey…decided to go for bucks and has become irrelevant.

    11) Nash, resign him for less…if not trade him…I prefer him to stay but not for the 7 mil plus. He is not as bad as many consider him to be.

    12) And finally Ranger fans, we have to be awful and bottom dwellers for a few seasons to see a Stanley Cup more often than once in every 50 years. Let’s go Rangers!!!!

    • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

      1) right back at ya Leather!

      2) still fail to understand your issue here. Hank has been the Rangers best player for twelve years…hands down. No one else even close. He’s a sure fire first ballot HOFer. All this is pretty indisputable.

      3) that’s complicated. It depends on where the team is at the deadline, the health and status of the major contenders, and what the return would be on any potential deal. It’s not as black and white as you make it out to be.

      4) completely agree, but it’s not just Zuc. It’s a team wide epidemic for years now since Torts chased Gabby out of town, mitigated slightly once MSL came on board, but only briefly. The mindset of this team is “pass first”. When it’s all clicking, it can work and we have seen how productive it can be at times. But this team has to work much harder than most of the top tier teams to finish on chances. Hayes drives me crazy in that regard as well. Shoot the puck!

      5) Graves has been an NHL rumor for years now. Not sure he will ever amount to anything more than a borderline type player. ADA and Pionk TBD. Staal is not going anywhere until at least the summer, but will the Rangers be willing to add more dead cap money to the ledger sheet? Holden could go at the deadline but certainly won’t be re-signed next summer. McDonagh is complicated. Will he be willing to stay at a team friendly number? Does he want to go home to Minnesota? What would a potential McD trade look like in a return? It’s no automatic that the Rangers will or should deal him.

      6) again, all depends. “See ya” in favor of who? That is still the unknown. How the team does second half and in the playoffs, and then who is available, will determine that call.

      7) I somewhat agree with you here. I thought Kampfer was ok when he played. I don’t think Holden is nearly as bad as some make him out to be, but I wouldn’t mind seeing more of Kampfer.

      8) yes and no. Bad start necessitated this approach. Pavelec is not as good as Talbot or Raanta. Playing Hank a lot now until the All-Star Break should be no issue with all the off time. But if the Rangers don’t open up a cushion by the end of January and Hank also has to play constantly down the stretch, then I agree. Trouble.

      9) YES

      10) YES. But, I doubt the Rangers will keep him, as I assume he will look to cash in on his two big Rangers seasons.

      (Why does AV get NO credit for Grabner? Because you can be sure if the reverse had happened, and he left the Rangers and became great, everyone out here would be all over that narrative.)

      11) agree. But I think they may well let him walk, or would deal him at the deadline if the right deal was out there. Depends on how the rest of the season goes.

      12) possibly…but the problem is, that strategy guarantees nothing. Look at Edmonton. That’s a tough sell to make to management, and likely, the GM won’t survive it. I think circumstances will dictate strategy in that regard. The Rangers have a far better record than they had at this point in 2013-14, and they made it to the SCF. Given the right circumstances, I could see a deep run. Or I could see a playoff miss altogther. Could go either way.

      But if we do miss, we aren’t winning any Cups if our lottery-level pick is a Dylan McIlrath type over a Tarasenko type. That singular miss to me has cost us at least one Cup, if not two, under AV. Proving that tanking for picks does nothing if you don’t make those picks difference makers.

    • King Sieveqvist ! King Sieveqvist ! says:

      The blinders are in the way and they don’t see it Leather , they think its hate … lmao
      Merry Christmas to all ! Even the butthurts and MC

      • Richter1994 says:

        It’s hate because it’s unjustified.

        We criticize top paying players when they under perform vs their contract. Henrik has been the Rangers’ best player every year he’s been here, basically, yes, better than Jagr when he was here.

        So what’s the issue? Bad goals? ALL goalies give up bad goals. If there were equal acknowledgment for his greatness as there is fr his badness, then the criticism can be taken more seriously.

        As much as I have issues with the coach, I do praise him when I think it’s warranted. There has to be some balance.

        Merry Christmas to you and yours.

        • King Sieveqvist ! King Sieveqvist ! says:

          So what you are saying it’s never his fault and you can’t ever say or criticize his play because he played good for a while ? That’s blinders my friend and kinda why leather , myself and a few others put the jabs out there . I don’t hate him but hate that he shrugs the shoulders when he makes a save or looks into the sky like he’s special . Have to remember he’s getting paid along with every other player for that matter ( if it’s entry level or high dollar) to play a game !!
          Yes every goalie lets a bad one in , we’re just here to remind you that but everyone gets hell bent over it …. Lol … Have a great Christmas !

          • Richter1994 says:

            But what about circumstances? So if he gets barraged by shots, is exhausted, and let’s in a bad goal then it’s his fault? Is there any accountability for the rest of the team?

            Blaming the goalie is a very simplistic approach because he’s the only one that can stop a goal from happening.

            Does it not matter that he faces the most high danger shots in the league? That’s pretty bad. The leafs the other night outchanced the Rangers in high danger shots 13-5. THIRTEEN TO FIVE. Nothing? lol

            Thank you for reminding us and Merry Christrmas my friend.

            • King Sieveqvist ! King Sieveqvist ! says:

              And the ones from behind the net and the softies when he doesn’t see many shots ? Again the other team is gonna get shots on net just like our team does ( I can’t help every other teams goalies are Vezina winners that night 🙂 ). Does he play great ? Yup .. Can he play bad ? Yup … But for some reason he doesn’t play bad in the eyes of this forum , lmao

  12. Richter1994 says:

    From Adam Rotter’s blog (read the 5 on 5 stats, scoring chances and high danger chances, and tell me the Rangers could stay with the Leafs, lol):

    Ryan McDonagh said that the Rangers followed up their game against the Devils with a “so-so” effort against the Leafs. (NYR Game Notes)

    McDonagh said that the Leafs took away the Rangers time and space and that the Rangers hurt themselves by passing up shots and not converting on the PP. (NYR Game Notes)

    At 5 on 5 the Rangers were out-attempted 45-38, out-shot 28-23 and the Leafs had an edge in scoring chances 26-15 and high danger chances 13-5. (Natural Stat Trick)

    Henrik Lundqvist said that the Rangers needed a strong game to win and that while they played well at times, the last two games were “kind of a reminder for us of how hard we have to work and how well we have to play to get points.” (NYR Game Notes)

    Lundqvist said that the Rangers didn’t give up and worked really hard to make a comeback, “especially in the second half of the game.” (NYR Game Notes)

    Leafs coach Mike Babcock said that Lundqvist played “unbelievable” and made a number of big saves in the third period. (NYR Game Notes)

    Adam Rotter: The Rangers left players open in their own zone and struggled to get into the offensive zone for parts of the game. They had their chances, starting with the 5 on 3 in the first period and then with their push in the third. They did tie the game but Kevin Hayes was offside and then the Rangers couldn’t find another one. They were sloppy overall and it cost them. You can talk about all of the hockey the Rangers have played in the last two weeks but Henrik Lundqvist has played more and tougher minutes than anyone and has been far and away their best player. Lundqvist is setting the example with his work ethic and how he is playing and everyone else needs to match up to that when they start playing again.

  13. Pas44 says:

    out coahed.

    and… another game where the role of a player in #61’s position on this roster made no game breaking plays…

    #42, wow he just can not play like he did last year eh!

    #22, every team wanted him, we got him, wtf happened!

    someone on this blog disagreed with me, but #17 was missed.

    I wish someone dropped the gloves mid 2nd to make something happen, OH WAIT, AV is our coach….

    sad… to see #30 witnessing his destiny of not lifting the cup…

  14. Hockey Sittoo says:

    Happy Holidays all! That was a tough loss and I agree that outside of Hank there was very little urgency through the first 2 periods. Hayes’ offside was borderline inexcusable imo. With respect to Henrik, this break is coming at a very important time for him. Yes he is continuing to play at an otherworldly level, but he is becoming increasingly and obviously angry and frustrated. I don’t think I have seen him that agitated, in general and at the refs, in years. Dare I say he needs to “relax!” Overall we can’t forget that they have played a lot of hockey at a very high level since Halloween. They have put themselves in the middle of the playoff hunt with a very flawed roster. Yes, they are leaning on Hank too much, but what else is new? Mika did not look well last night and Mac (and many others) was struggling mightily until the 3rd. Shatty’s confidence is in the cellar. A break is what the doctor ordered for all of them and us…

    • King Sieveqvist ! King Sieveqvist ! says:

      Shatty is kinda shitty 🙂 , they could have just put DeAngelo there and saved a ton of money,let him learn !
      Merry Christmas Sittoo

  15. Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

    I don’t know if any of you guys saw this, but I loved this story about the Lundqvist twins and the different paths they wound up taking. Something to read with your Egg Nogg tonight in case you’ve had enough of “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas”. 🙂

    http://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/nhl/big-read-how-hockey-sent-the-lundqvist-brothers-down-different-paths/

  16. craig says:

    Let’s be realistic, the Rangers are a decent team but will NOT win the cup as is. What good is advancing to the first or second round of the play-offs again? Isn’t it about winning the Stanley Cup? In a seven game play-off series, with some of the top teams like Washington, Toronto, Columbus, Tampa, Nashville, or even, yes the Islanders (just to mention a few), they most likely would be eliminated. Start rebuilding NOW for the next few years. Get rid of the aging players and their contracts, decent but not great players, and start drafting quality players. It has been 28 years since a Cup was brought to New York because of the same approach of putting a team together. Isn’t it time to take a different approach and start to build a dynasty at the sacrifice of being just good and winning a few more games now and going nowhere? When are they going to build a better pool of talent from Hartford? It is time for change and rebuilding! Same old, same old is not cutting it anymore! I am sick and tire of just making the play-offs. New York fans are dedicated and deserve the Cup in New York, not every thirty years! The Toime to begin is NOW!!!

  17. Chris F says:

    When has offsides ever only been limited to “the play”?

    I can’t recall there ever being a time when a player being uninvolved in the play made it acceptable for him to be offsides. Why is this an issue with the “modern NHL”?

    I didn’t see the play, so maybe I’m missing something, but it sounds like you’re griping about the way offsides has always been called and blaming the modern NHL for that.

    • Richter1994 says:

      Yep, Hayes was offsides and it was the right call. For the fact that he was standing offsides watching the play makes it even more ridiculous on his part. Clueless gaffe.

  18. avsucks says:

    Watching the off sides with hayes was a total bummer.
    Merry Christmas.