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Around this time yesterday morning, Bob McKenzie was asked if the Rangers should be buyers or sellers at the deadline. His answer was what you’d expect:

This should come as no surprise to you, if you’ve been paying attention to the current situation of the team. The Blueshirts are a bubble team, where a shrewd few moves –and a few ballsy roster decisions– could turn them into a legitimate contender. Knowing James Dolan, that’s probably the route they will take.

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Hartford Wolf Pack 2, Bridgeport Sound Tigers 1 (SO)

Bridgeport, CT, January 10, 2018 – Marek Mazanec made a team season-high 46 saves for the Hartford Wolf Pack Wednesday night at the Webster Bank Arena, in a 2-1 shootout win over the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.

Mazanec also went 3-for-3 in the shootout, and rookie forward Ryan Gropp had the shootout’s only goal, on his first career pro shootout attempt. Peter Holland scored a shorthanded goal for the only Wolf Pack tally in regulation, and Travis St. Denis had the only Bridgeport score. Kristers Gudlevskis made 25 saves for the Sound Tigers, who outshot the Wolf Pack 47-27.

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Categories : AHL
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ryan mcdonagh

The Rangers have a problem on the blue line. We can spend years debating what the issue(s) is (are), but the fact remains that there is a problem. Be it personnel, coaching, or system, the problem exists. It is an undeniable fact, and has been for a few years now.

We’ve gone through many iterations of defense combos on the blue line in the first half of the season. The only fact we have come across in those 42 games is that the Blueshirts are going to stick with their current crop, and not call up any prospects to potentially be an upgrade (barring injury). So we are left with one option: Find the most effective pairs, and stick with them.

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Categories : Defense
Comments (13)

pavel buchnevich

The Rangers have hit the midseason point of the year, and have a perfectly timed bye week to celebrate. I say it is perfectly times because it gives us a chance to do all the report cards before the Rangers play another game. Rob did the top-six forwards on Saturday, I covered coaching earlier in the week, and now it’s time for the bottom-six forwards.

The Rangers have had a whole lot of players in the bottom six. But given who Rob covered in his post, let’s limit the bottom-six to the guys that he didn’t cover. I think that makes sense, right?

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Categories : Forwards
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Henrik Lundqvist named a 2018 All Star

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Henrik Lundqvist will be the Rangers’ lone representative at the 2018 All Star Game, having been selected for a now fourth time (2009, 2011, 2012, 2018). Hank has single-handedly kept the Rangers relevant this season, being pummeled by shots all year and still posting a .924 SV%.

Hank also has a 19-10-4 record with a 2.54 GAA. His GAA is only that high because the team doesn’t play defense, ever. He is legitimately the only reason why the Rangers are in the playoff hunt this season. This is a well earned honor.

Categories : Awards
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henrik sedin daniel sedin

With the Rangers in the middle of their bye week, we are able to take a step back and assess where they are at the midpoint of the season. The good news is that we know what the Rangers are. The bad news is that we may not like what they are.

The Blueshirts are a team that will live and die by their ability to get quality scoring chances. They don’t get quantity, but when they get quality, they go in the net. Combine that with Henrik Lundqvist, and you get a team that, if they get hot, can make a run. That said, the overall process is lacking, and that begins with roster construction.

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It’s time for true accountability

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alain vigneault

In case you missed it on Sunday night, Rangers Twitter was turned upside down when Alain Vigneault made a pair of roster decisions that, for all intents and purposes, made little sense to a good number of people. The first was scratching Pavel Buchnevich (third on the team in goals and scoring), and the second was benching Brendan Smith for Steven Kampfer.

On the surface, there really is nothing wrong with the decisions in a vacuum. Logically speaking, Buch had been struggling to score lately, and there was likely a need to get Kampfer in a game before the bye week. That’s perfectly fine, if those reasons were given by the head coach when pressed on the issue. Instead, we got a vanilla “I liked the matchup” response. He dodged the question with, in my opinion, a bull**** answer. He insulted my intelligence in the process.

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Categories : Rants
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Pack get crushed by Utica

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Utica Comets 5, Hartford Wolf Pack 1

By Ben Harff

Hartford, CT, January 7, 2018 – Reid Boucher scored a hat trick and added an assist for the Utica Comets, and Michael Carcone had a goal and two assists, in a 5-1 Utica victory over the Hartford Wolf Pack Sunday at the XL Center.

Utica opened the scoring 4:35 into the first period, when Boucher, in his first game back from a recall stint with the parent Vancouver Canucks, ripped a shot in the top corner past the glove hand of Wolf Pack goaltender Alexandar Georgiev. Assists were credited to David Dziurzynski and Jalen Chatfield.

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Categories : AHL
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Rangers return Vinny Lettieri to Hartford

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The Rangers have returned Vinny Lettieri to the Hartford Wolf Pack. The winger was recaleld on December 28, playing in three games with the big club. He recorded a goal and an assist with eight shots on goal.

It seems odd that the club would send him back down after a strong showing, but I honestly can’t figure out how this team makes roster decisions anymore. What I do know is this won’t be the only time we see Lettieri in New York.

Categories : Transactions
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Midseason Report Card: The coaches

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alain vigneault

Photo: Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images

Note: West coast games stink. I was asleep long before the game ended. I figure this post will suffice, given the bizarre roster choices made last night.

The Rangers have hit the midseason point of the year, and have a perfectly timed bye week to celebrate. I say it is perfectly times because it gives us a chance to do all the report cards before the Rangers play another game. Rob did the top-six forwards on Saturday, and it’s my turn to cover coaching.

The Rangers have four key coaches: Scott Arniel (powerplay/forwards), Lindy Ruff (PK/defense), Benoit Allaire (goalies), and Alain Vigneault (head honcho and decision maker). I promise to be as impartial as possible.

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Categories : Coaching
Comments (72)