Game 63: Jean Ratelle gets the honor he’s long deserved

Jean Ratelle is possibly the greatest scorer in Rangers history. A critical part of the goal-a-game line with Rod Gilbert and Vic Hadfield, Ratelle played 16 seasons with the Rangers before the gut wrenching trade that sent him and Brad Park to Boston. But tonight isn’t about that trade. It’s about Ratelle’s #19 getting its proper spot in the rafters where it has long belonged.

Ratelle is second in franchise history with 336 goals, third in franchise history with 817 assists, and sixth in franchise history with 862 games played. For someone with his pedigree and contributions to the club, it is truly a shame that it took the Rangers so long to retire his number. Better late than never, and this is an honor well deserved.

Red Wings Systems

For those that don’t follow Prashanth Iyer, you should. He does a great job breaking down everything Detroit.

The Wings run a 1-2-2 forecheck, which is fairly standard. But Blashill is very aggressive, and encourages the first defenseman to get involved at the blue line, instead of the red line. That means more pressure on the Rangers blue liners to make proper decisions with the puck. The Rangers deploy a similar forecheck, but are less aggressive with their defensemen, preferring to pressure at the red line, instead of the blue line. The risk of Blashill’s scheme is that quick passing can lead to odd-man rushes with that aggressive defenseman.

In the defensive zone, the Wings play a hybrid overload/low zone collapse. They overload the strong side, much like the Rangers. When the puck gets below the goal line, the forwards collapse into low zone coverage. That’s where the Rangers differ, as they switch to man coverage when the puck gets below the goal line. Although it was admittedly hard to see what kind of scheme the Rangers ran early in the year, they’ve been significantly better at their switches lately.

The Wings run a variety of breakouts, all detailed here. This is common for a lot of teams, and the way Prashanth breaks it down is very relevant, as the Rangers play a 1-2-2 forecheck. The Rangers have had a strong forecheck the last few games, so expect them to pressure those first two passes on the breakouts. For more breakout plays, see this post from Suit.

On special teams, the Wings run a 1-3-1 powerplay. This has been standard for multiple teams since the Bolts started using it a few years ago. The Wings don’t have that one sniper they try to feed, so they rely on quick passes to breakdown the penalty kill. Considering how amazing the Rangers’ PK has been, the best bet is to stay out of the box.

On the PK, the Wings are one of the few teams that don’t run some form of hybrid system.They run a straight wedge+1, which is similar to the diamond force the Rangers use. Both have a “roamer” designed to force the play, while the remaining three defenders take out the high percentage shots. The difference is that the Wings will only use their forwards as the “+1” whereas the Rangers will rotate out based on puck location, including defensemen. The wedge is simpler to execute and more conservative, but the diamond force creates more turnovers.

For more on these systems, check out our Hockey Systems page.

Red Wings Lines

Gustav Nyquist-Henrik Zetterberg-Anthony Mantha
Tomas Tatar-Dylan Larkin-Andreas Athanasiou
Darren Helm-Frans Nielsen-Justin Abdelkader
Tyler Bertuzzi-Luke Glendening-David Booth

Jonathan Ericsson-Trevor Daley
Dany Dekeyser-Nick Jensen
Nicklas Kronwall-Xavier Ouellet

PP1: Tatar-Zetterberg-Nyquist-Abdelkader-Kronwall
PP2: Athanasiou-Larkin-Nielsen-Mantha-Ouellet

Jared Coreau gets the start.

Rangers Lines 

Chris KreiderMika ZibanejadPavel Buchnevich
Jimmy VeseyKevin Hayes-Mats Zuccarello
JT Miller-David DesharnaisJesper Fast
Cody McLeod-Ryan Spooner-Vinny Lettieri

Brady SkjeiNeal Pionk
Marc StaalTony DeAngelo
Rob O’Gara-John Gilmour

PP1: Nash-Zuccarello-Zibanejad-Miller-Skjei
PP2: Hayes-Desharnais-Lettieri-Gilmour-DeAngelo

Henrik Lundqvist gets the start.

Scratches/Injuries: Kevin Shattenkirk (knee), Ryan McDonagh (lingering something or other), Ondrej Pavelec (knee), Steven Kampfer (hand), Paul Carey (healthy)

Crazy Prediction: Spooner scores in his Rangers debut..

Game time is 7pm. Be sure to follow on our Snapchat for in-game shenanigans.

"Game 63: Jean Ratelle gets the honor he's long deserved", 5 out of 5 based on 3 ratings.

28 thoughts on “Game 63: Jean Ratelle gets the honor he’s long deserved

  • Feb 25, 2018 at 5:39 pm

    Meanwhile in Boston, Nasher is skating with Krejci and Debrusk while Spooner is skating with the janitor and peanut vendor

    • Feb 25, 2018 at 5:54 pm

      B’s losing to Buffalo 2-0, Nasher is -1

    • Feb 25, 2018 at 6:28 pm

      You epitomize the worst in Rangers fans. The contempt for the team oozes from your idiotic comment.

      • Feb 25, 2018 at 9:18 pm

        Settle down.. it was a joke

    • Feb 25, 2018 at 7:03 pm

      Hilarious comment!!!!!! Classic!

  • Feb 25, 2018 at 6:38 pm

    I got introduced to hockey and grew up watching the GAG line when cable TV first hit the mainstream back in the 60’s.

    Well-deserved Jean Ratelle

    • Feb 26, 2018 at 12:25 am

      grew up with the rangers in that era & if only hockey & the world had MORE people like jean ratelle it would be such a better place. he & jean beliveau were the most unbelievable hockey gentlemen ever. a huge credit to the game !!!!— if the rangers are thinkin, wouldn’t it be great to have a nice 5 to 10 minute clip of what the GAG line achieved during those years, i remember jumping out of my seat a number of times during their telecasts & radio broadcasts. great to have them back together next year !!! gotta admit, i appreciated them all but vic was my favorite.

  • Feb 25, 2018 at 7:10 pm

    I’m glad Ratelle finally got his well deserved honor. It was long overdue. Glad to hear Vic will be next. Hopefully Brad Park and The Car joins them soon too.

    • Feb 25, 2018 at 7:46 pm

      watching rangers hockey since late 60’s……Brad Park was the leagues best defenseman behind Bobby Orr!!!!! Park and Ratelle were the heart and soul of those rangers teams………Both long overdue honors!!!!!…along with Hatfield……Marv Albert needs to join them, his calls of the GAG line goals and rangers games were ”’Tremendous!””…..esp to us who could only listen to home games on radio!!!

    • Feb 25, 2018 at 8:51 pm

      Well, technically both of theirs numbers are retired…

  • Feb 25, 2018 at 7:20 pm

    Lately watching the Rangers, GAG is taking on a whole new meaning.

  • Feb 25, 2018 at 7:40 pm

    Looks like Hatfield is joining the rafters

    • Feb 25, 2018 at 8:28 pm

      Looks like our friend is helping things out ??

  • Feb 25, 2018 at 8:28 pm

    Ohhhhhh Leaky Leaky…..shaking head

    Spozo….bad goal bad time…..get it now?

    • Feb 25, 2018 at 8:32 pm

      When would it have been a good time to let in a goal?

      • Feb 25, 2018 at 8:33 pm

        When ur up like 5-0

        • Feb 25, 2018 at 8:36 pm

          So what you’re saying is like 95% of goals allowed, by any goalie, ever, are at a bad time?

          • Feb 25, 2018 at 8:42 pm

            We are playing Howard,highly unlikely he’ll let a soft on in.

  • Feb 25, 2018 at 8:36 pm

    That is one he wants back,and so do I .Another night of Howard stoning us .Is the GAG still the only line to ever have &55tt

  • Feb 25, 2018 at 8:40 pm

    To ever have 3 players all score 40 goals each as a line

  • Feb 25, 2018 at 9:06 pm

    Ok Lundqvist Rangers catch a break on the offside goal. No more soft goals please ffs

  • Feb 25, 2018 at 9:23 pm

    Gilmore caught flat-footed takes a stupid interference penalty. The kid had got a lot to learn. He needs more time in the minors.

  • Feb 25, 2018 at 10:12 pm

    Great to see Spooner with a couple helpers

    • Feb 25, 2018 at 10:19 pm

      Spooner fits in nice. Rangers showing tonight that they are not ready to mail in he season. Gilmore showing he’s not ready for the big show.

  • Feb 25, 2018 at 10:56 pm

    Watching the gentleman that he is, I was moved to see how Jean still ozzzzzzes class…….Great to see Vic’s reaction when the announcement was made by Rod that his number will be retired, Vic’s name along with Mess. These two (Vic & Jean) were, and will always be my favorite Rangers, in the same group as Andy, Harry, Brad Park, Leetch, Graves, and Mess. It’s long overdue, and I’m glad I got to see it, made me choke up a bit!!!!!!

    • Feb 25, 2018 at 11:02 pm

      I’m with ya Walt. No one more classier than Ratelle. Agree 10,000% with your comment

    • Feb 25, 2018 at 11:02 pm

      Park should be up in the rafters.

  • Feb 26, 2018 at 11:29 am


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