Author Archive

Apr
27

Scouting the opposition: Craig Anderson

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James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

The Rangers are moving on to Phase 2 of their “skip the Metropolitan and tear through the Atlantic” master plan to win the Stanley Cup. Their next opponent is the Ottawa Senators. After dispatching an injury-riddled Bruins’ club in six games, the Sens aim to punch a ticket to the Conference Finals.

A big part of Ottawa’s success in the first round was the solid play of goaltender Craig Anderson. He has become something of a cult hero in the Canadian capital due to his wife Nicholle’s courageous battle with a rare form of cancer (nasopharyngeal carcinoma). Her treatments are progressing well from all accounts, and on a personal level, the Anderson family is easy to root for and we should all hope that everything ends well in a difficult circumstance. Read More→

Categories : Goaltending, Playoffs
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Apr
14

Thoughts prior to Game 2

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Montreal Gazette

To the surprise of many, the Rangers went out and stole game one against the Canadiens at the Bell Centre on Wednesday night, shutting out the Habs 2-0 on the back of the ever so rare Tanner Glass goal and turn-back-the-clock brilliance from Henrik Lundqvist. With game two looming this evening, I have some thoughts on game one and where the team goes from here…

1. Forgive me for beating a dead horse, but the performance of the defense was nowhere near what is necessary to get past this round. Nick Holden was abysmal. I would like to see Clendening in for him, but honestly, I think I would take Klein over what I saw from Holden Wednesday night. Read More→

Categories : Musings, Playoffs
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Apr
11

Scouting the opposition: Carey Price

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www.cbc.com

The Rangers have had their first round opponent set in stone for a while now, so we have all had time to make peace with the fact that we will be watching the very best goaltender in the world try to dash the Blueshirts’ playoff dreams. The last time these two teams met in the postseason, Carey Price was knocked out of the series early by Chris Kreider, so the Rangers have never really had to deal with him in a full series. That is about to change.

Price is coming off a tremendous year for a very flawed Montreal club. As Dave mentioned in his systems preview, the Habs do have quite a bit of talent all over the ice, but relatively little depth. When (potentially) rolling four lines capable of scoring, Price’s job will be to mask (pun intended) that lack of depth. Read More→

Categories : Goaltending, Playoffs
Comments (11)
Mar
31

On chemistry

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New York Post

Since the analytics movement began a few years ago, there has been a pretty consistent back and forth amongst the old and new school about the proper way to go about assembling a hockey team. The old adage is that you can’t build a team on a spreadsheet. More goes into it than that. On the other side of the coin, you take what you can quantify and use the most important data as the backbone for the team’s construction. At the end of the day, it all kind of boils down to “how do you quantify chemistry, character and heart?” It is even possible? Read More→

Comments (51)
Mar
24

Some late March thoughts

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After a semi-frustrating loss to the Islanders on Wednesday, the Rangers now have eight games left in the regular season. They have a 12-point lead in their spot for the first wild card and a 14-point lead for the second wild card. At this juncture, it’s pretty clear they are going to be playing the winner of the Atlantic Division, the only question is whether Montreal will be able to hold on or if Ottawa will overtake their current three point lead. At this weird spot in the season, I have some thoughts… Read More→

Categories : Musings
Comments (76)

www.nhl.com

With the Vegas Golden Knights now confirmed as the NHL’s 31st franchise, one of the major story lines of this coming offseason will be each organization’s preparation for the Expansion Draft.  Even though the draft does not take place until June, the strategic implications for each club have been a hot button topic for both fans and media, alike.  Salary cap simulator and contract tracking site, CapFriendly launched an expansion draft tool back in November, and according to their figures, over 30,000 simulations have been run to date.  Needless to say, the upcoming draft has been of interest, pretty much all season.

During the general managers meeting in Florida a little over a week ago, a report came out that the league was considering not publicizing each’s team protected list ahead of the draft. For those who may not know, each team is allowed to protect currently rostered players in one of the two following formats of the team’s choice: 7 forwards, 3 defensemen and 1 goaltender, or 8 total skaters (forwards/defensemen) and 1 goaltender.

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Comments (15)
Mar
03

Some quick Friday afternoon thoughts

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I know, I know, Dave just gave his thoughts on the deadline yesterday, but Dave and I are not the same person.  Deal with it.  It’s been a couple days since the deadline has passed, and I have had the ability to process the Rangers moves (and non-moves) and as you can imagine, I have some thoughts…

1. Considering Alain Vigneault’s track record with defensive deployment, it’s understandable for fans to be skeptical about the actual impact of the Brendan Smith trade. With someone like Shattenkirk, it would be a no-brainer to put him on the first pair. With Smith, depending on your view of his skill level, he could play anywhere from 1RD to 3RD. It seems like the Wisconsin connection with Ryan McDonagh has him ticketed for the first pair, which is a good thing. I don’t believe that Smith is an actual 1RD by any stretch, but since the Rangers gave up some relatively significant assets to acquire him, I’d much rather he push guys down the line up, than lengthen it from the bottom.

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Categories : Musings
Comments (43)
Feb
17

Friday afternoon thoughts

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Newsday

Last night, the Rangers lost a disappointing game to the rival Islanders in Brooklyn. The loss snapped a six game winning streak in which the Blueshirts were able to move into a temporary three-way tie for second place in the Metro. Since it’s Friday and we are all looking to kill some time at work, I have some thoughts…

1. I am not a big believer in picking your preferred playoff matchups. I generally find it to be a fool’s errand, but this season, I really can’t see any upside in trying to vie for position in the stacked Metro division. Nothing good can come from the meat grinder of potentially playing the Penguins, Blue Jackets and/or Capitals in the first two rounds.

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Categories : Musings
Comments (43)
Jan
27

Thoughts heading into All-Star Weekend

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As the NHL heads into All-Star weekend, regular season games have been suspended until Tuesday. With the loss to the Flyers on Wednesday, the Rangers go into the break in fourth place in the Metropolitan Division, nine points back of the Caps for the top spot. With sixty percent of the season behind us and just a month to go before the trade deadline, I have some thoughts…

1. Even though it was a small sampling of games over the past week or so, it was nice to see a real bounce back in performance from Henrik Lundqvist. He has looked much sharper since the barnburner against Dallas. Much more poised on his feet, more precision in his angles and movement and more in sync with the team in front of him.

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Categories : Musings
Comments (40)
Jan
20

The state of Henrik Lundqvist

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Hank and his fugly new pads (Newsday)

One of the biggest hot button issues surrounding the Rangers this season, and especially during this recently slide has been the struggling Henrik Lundqvist (last night’s solid performance notwithstanding). Larry Brooks even wrote a click bait article (which I’m not going to link to) about the issues in the Ranger crease.

There is no question that Lundqvist has been sub par this season. By any available metric, his performance has been below average, and significantly so when compared to his career performance numbers. In a vacuum, a .902 save percentage is not acceptable for any NHL goaltender, but this is not any NHL goaltender we are talking about.

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Comments (79)