Feb
12

Weekly Preview: To Tank or Not To Tank?

February 12, 2018, by

The Rangers are 2-0 since releasing the memo and waving a symbolic white flag on the season.  Professional athletes are proud people however, and the Rangers responded by playing four pretty good periods out of their next six.  They largely deserved Friday night’s win over Calgary, and Henrik Lundqvist did his thing in Winnipeg, carrying the Rangers to a second straight victory.

Yesterday, the one and only @HockeyStatMiner posted this:

The schedule ahead, in terms of opponent’s record, isn’t exactly difficult.  It is conceivable that the Rangers head into the trade deadline on a bit of a run, which would be something.  But first things first, let’s take a look at the week ahead.

Tuesday 2/13 @ Minnesota Wild (30-19-6) – 8:00 PM ET

The Wild present an interesting match-up.  In many ways, they’re Rangers West, relying on a quantity over quality approach.  To wit: at 5v5, Minnesota’s CF% of 46.08 is 30th in the NHL, ahead of only the Rangers, while their xGF% of 51.65 ranks 11th.  The Wild are a very good home team (just four regulation losses in 28 home games), and the Xcel Energy Center is home to one of the best regular season atmospheres in the league.  That said, the Rangers just handled business in Winnipeg, so anything is possible.

Thursday 2/15 @ New York Islanders (27-24-6) – 7:00 PM ET

In a season full of low points, rock bottom may have been the hideous 7-2 loss to the Islanders a month ago.  The Rangers were truly exposed in that game, and had no answer for Matthew Barzal, who torched the Blueshirts for 5 points.  Amazingly, Barzal has had another 5-point game since then, but the Islanders as a team have matched the Rangers’ mediocrity.  The Isles’ raw goal differential is -17, worst in the Metropolitan Division, and they too struggle in terms of puck possession.  Barclays Center is always littered with enough Rangers sweaters to tip the balance of fan support, and hopefully the team on the ice has revenge on its mind.

Saturday 2/17 @ Ottawa Senators (19-26-9) – 2:00 PM ET

Afternoon hockey in Ottawa!  Who’s stoked?  If you’re feeling down about the state of the Rangers, just check the timeline of @BonksMullet for the latest and greatest from Sens GM Pierre Dorion, who was just granted a contract extension.  The Senators are in a bad way and are thus #allinforDahlin.  They rank at or near the bottom of the NHL in almost every traditional and advanced category (third-worst record and raw goal differential, worst 5v5 xGF%).  Still, Erik Karlsson exists and this is the NHL, so nothing is guaranteed.

Sunday 2/18 vs. Philadelphia Flyers (27-19-9*) – 12:00 PM ET

The Rangers demolished Philadelphia 5-1 in January, but since then the Flyers have gone on a run.  Their streak, coinciding with a Devils slump, means that Philly holds third place in the Metro at the time of this post (*record above does not include Sunday night’s result vs. VGK).  The Flyers are still top heavy, relying on their first line, power play and steady goaltending (yes, it’s true) to get results.  Conversely, the Rangers may be able to take advantage of their own power play opportunities, as the Flyers sport a penalty kill success rate of 74.4%, third-worst in the NHL.

Predictions

MIN 4 – NYR 2

NYR 5 – NYI 4 (OT)

NYR 3 – OTT 2

PHI 3 – NYR 2 (SO)

Leave your predictions in the comments below, and enjoy a hockey-filled week, gang.

"Weekly Preview: To Tank or Not To Tank?", 5 out of 5 based on 4 ratings.
Categories : Preview

39 comments

  1. Richter1994 says:

    I don’t think the players tank but once the purge happens then it will happen naturally, I assume, lol.

    Give the team credit, they were basically told that they were not good enough and they responded by playing very spirited hockey.

    And, oh, yes, um, the coach…

    • Mintgecko says:

      AV is going to be around for a while during this rebuild. It’s clear that the team and management doesn’t despise him like haft of the NYR fanbase. I don’t see a natural tanking mainly due to the core of names who are in between 25-21. I’m more than sure that the young D and Shatty will help give the team a boost. This will be a 50% of a rebuild on the fly imo.

      • Richter1994 says:

        Could be, it depends on who ends up going. The “plan” is for Nash, Grabner, McD, Holden, and DD to go in trade.

        From what I hear, Gorton wants a new coach but Sather loves AV, so making the playoffs probably saves his job. I won’t go into my opinion on that, lol.

      • flatbush says:

        AV has to go. He was too stubborn to play rookies and stayed with vets who brought nothing. Now he’s forced to use rookies so he has nothing to do with the two wins, as Hank is the main piece. When Mac and Stahl come back he should not be so eager to put both back. If anything one can take Holdens spot. Clean sweep on top. Screw Sather!

  2. Agentsmith says:

    First off great lede with release the memo. Players released their rebuttal.

    Now the question of tank vs not to tank shouldn’t be confused with sell or not sell.

    Theoretically they can give up 47 shots and win 2-1 after a sell off too.

    Botton line is They need 45 saves to win games right now. Until that gets down to around 25 they won’t win a damn thing. That means a mass overhaul starting with the vets.

  3. Eugene says:

    Dive Dive Dive 🙂 If needed get Ziba “injured” 🙂

  4. Andy says:

    glad to see them win a few games. They have been watchable. The kids were all right.. They made some mistakes but that’s to be expected. But nothing has really changed for our chances of winning the cup…still time to sell

  5. craig says:

    Winning without McD, interesting. The young defense looks pretty good so far. They have speed. Nash and McD, will be history soon, as will others. I hope they get a real good return in the trades. Beginning of a new Ranger era!

    • Mintgecko says:

      I think Zucc is more of a goner

      If JG had balls than he would use either Kreider or JT for the rebuild. Try and get Point in a Mcd package deal and move Mika to his wing with Buch.

    • Andy says:

      in fairness winning without Mc Donaugh, Shattenkirk, Staal or Smith…

    • upstatetom says:

      mcd needs to be put with a defensive d-man so he can take more to the offence !! & grabner needs to be put on the half- assed power play. at least tried there !!

  6. D C says:

    Ideally we get into the top 8 come draft time, talent drops off a little bit after that.
    Not sure that’s going to happen with the type of season Hank is having. It’s impossible for me to root against them but the way I look at it, the more we lose, the better chance we have at Dahlin..
    Gotta tank.

  7. amy says:

    it is time to get younger and faster playing without the captain has made Nash and Zucc play better and the younger legs have helped as well let’s see what happens in Minny tomorrow night

  8. sherrane says:

    You mention they are 2-0 after the memo. No doubt pro athletes can get motivated by having their management say, “We aren’t good enough”. But Brendan Smith has been one of the most significant problems with this team. Kampfer is a borderline NHL player, but he has been better than Smith. The Rangers are 19-20-5 with Brendan Smith playing and 8-4-0 when he doesn’t.

  9. Walt says:

    My response to odielicious post from last night, and I stand by it:

    odi

    “Kids were kids…made some grave mistakes but recovered and/or Hank bailed them out”.

    How the hell are they to learn, if not to make mistakes, have them shown what they did wrong, and try again. I saw some life out there, something that’s been missing for some time. Maybe AV feels the heat under his ass, and simplified the game yesterday, because they didn’t have too many of those stretch passes, just quick short outlet passes, or skated the puck out of the zone. The kids played with spunk, when was the last time anyone said that of Staal????????? Just my thoughts!!!!

    As for tanking, I wouldn’t be so upset if they went into a funk after the trade deadline, did a swan dive, and positioned us for a better prospect in the draft. We aren’t going anywhere with this current team, as constructed, so let the improving begin now!!!!!!

    • D C says:

      Agree with your point on Staal, after these last couple games its become more than clear that a buyout needs to happen. I’d much rather take my lumps with kids playing than him.

      • Walt says:

        DC

        Not to pick on Marc, but his vision is impaired, has concussion history, never was a fast skater, it’s time to see the light, and let him go. I’d not be surprised if they don’t keep Staal on the LTIR, he gets 100% of his money, and the team gets cap relief, win-win as I see it!!!!!!

        He’s had some good years for us, but since his brother gave him that concussion, Marc hasn’t been the same man………Thank him for his services, and march on the hopefully another cup real soon!

    • Mintgecko says:

      They should turn Gilmour into a forward if Staal has to play for some oddly reason. It’s not about jump or spunk, it’s about those kids who really help push the pace with their speed and breakout passing.

      Anytime I see Bieska skate for the Ducks I ask where is that mobility and speed. You wouldn’t think someone like that is about turn 40 years old soon.

      • Walt says:

        Mint

        Anytime I see Bieska skate for the Ducks I ask where is that mobility and speed. You wouldn’t think someone like that is about turn 40 years old soon.

        There are far, and few, between players like that, but I could see Mac Truck, if he stays healthy be in that category, like Ray Bourque did!

  10. Bloomer says:

    The next games will be tougher then it’s looks. Three of the four teams are fighting for a playoff spot and their upper management haven’t provided letters that the franchise is going into a new direction. I am do not expect the Rangers to win any of the next 4 games.

  11. Leatherneck says:

    Strategically they have to tank…..and we need to rebuild, not re tool

    Signing Grabmer after trading him is an absolute

    I would add Zuke to the list too, and I love this guy

    • Rich S says:

      I have been saying it for 2 years now…..Grabner is a keeper!!!! Sign him for 3-4-5 years…..he is ”’our” elite player……a threat to score every time he touches the puck!!! Should be next captain!!!! I want the young players to see his effort every game!!!
      As far as rebuild……nash, zucc, mcdonagh, holden, stall, can go..even Hank, but no one takes that contract!!!
      Zib and Fast trade only if the price is right can also go…..
      Kredier and Miller too much speed and talent and our only physical forwards need to stay…..as does vesey- [our future captain], buch, hayes, letteri, ……
      Next year we add andersson, chytil , ronning and a matt martin type forward and the returns from the trades…….
      Defense will eventually have Sean Day….the big russian and boy would manson look good in rangers uniform…..I want the undertaker back also to protect all these young players……

  12. joe from newburgh says:

    The way I read the memo, almost everybody on the team is available in a trade, IF the price is right. That’s the big “if” … getting a good return on any of the deals. This is not a situation where we’re selling just to get rid of players or payroll. We’re selling to improve the team, which means holding out for the pieces we want, not just accepting another team’s castoffs.

  13. Enrico says:

    I was lucky enough to meet Kevin Hayes and Jonny hockey after the Calgary game. Vesey was also there by the end of the conversation and it was very cool getting a chance to talk with them. Vesey and Hayes both said that the team loves AV and doesn’t think he’s going anywhere. They both thought that would be a major mistake. I didn’t ask many questions but I did listen to what they were saying and even got autographs from them. Hayes said they think it’s comical that some fans don’t like the coach. It was a great 20 minutes for me and Vesey looks much bigger up close

    • Peter says:

      That is extremely interesting inside info! Thank you for sharing it. It should give us pause when we want to say that the team is tuning out AV. It is apparently not the case.

    • upstatetom says:

      then why doesn’t the team play harder ???

      • odielicious says:

        I have said it a 1000 times but no one wants to listen. Mac quit and his boy from college did the same thing. And if the Captain can quit and no repercussions come from it then no one else is going to play hard. It is a big EFF you to Management not AV.
        They messed up, management that is, and nothing simple can fix it. To many slaps to the face of your captain and this is what happens. The guys are pissed off.

  14. Peter says:

    I have been enjoying the wins the team has managed with the young players playing. They are giving it their all and it shows. Sure they make mistakes. Luckily Hank has been playing well and bailed them out.

    I have no doubt that they will get schooled some nights by the best teams. That is all part of growing up and learning the game. They did beat a good team last night. I won’t be surprised if they get blown out by someone soon. This is a team in transition and it won’t look the same as it does now on opening night next season.

  15. Chris says:

    I am interested to see what happens this summer. I think there is potential for this team to stack up and make the playoffs next year as a legitimate threat to go further than round 1. As for a deep playoff I wouldn’t get your hopes up but any playoff experience would be great for the young players.

    I also wonder if we are safe to assume Kreider and Shattenkirk are done for the season barring a miraculous run the playoffs?

  16. odielicious says:

    I am trying not to be a pessimist but this franchise is doomed as long as Sather can put his hands in the cookie jar.

    I really hope Gorton is the man in charge and final say in this rebuild effort. Then I have faith it will succeed and we can have another 10 yrs of success or so. Just need to stop giving these 10 yr contracts to guys in their late 20’s. Franchises can’t do that anymore. Comes back to bite them to hard.

    Tank or no tank we are not going to finish in the Top 20. Just won’t happen to many good teams ahead of us with easier schedules. Don’t delude yourselves. I stated a week or 2 ago we needed to go 24 and 11 to even have a shot at a playoff spot. It would be an absolute tare to get there. I would rather just watch the kids get 20 minutes each a night and see what we have. Regardless of the score. Av can coach he is just limited with his options and so he should play the kids more.

    • Leetchie Nut says:

      Sather is Gortons boss! Jeff will never be “in charge” unless he is actually in charge. Why do you think Glen stood there for no reason at the press conference other than to say Jeff has a lot of work to do. Gee, wonder why? Bc his boss who has to approve every decision just said so. Sather is ANYTHING but a hands off boss. That’s very clear.

  17. Leetchie Nut says:

    Tanking would only remotely make sense if there was no lottery. With one, utterly stupid idea besides being ridiculously unprofessional