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Photo Credit:Cesar Diaz/Latinosports.com

Yesterday afternoon, the Yankees won on Opening Day for the first time in the last seven years.  In honor of this momentous occasion, I am here to deliver a PSA: do not compare the Rangers’ re-build to what the Yankees did.  Ever since the Rangers announced their intentions to recognize and re-build a flawed roster, some fans have been comparing the Rangers’ sell-off to what the Yankees were able to accomplish in 2016.  This is really not a fair comparison.  For those non-baseball fans amongst us, the Yankees, after several years of mediocrity (sound familiar?) made the difficult decision to buck New York sports tradition and have a deadline sell-off when it was clear they were not going to be able to contend.  They held three of the best relief pitchers in the game as trade chips for the stretch run.  Read More→

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wrongsideofthepond.com

Happy Friday, BSB faithful!  The Rangers will take on the Blues on Saturday, but that’s not what I am here for today.  We all know the Rangers suck and are rebuilding/re-tooling/limping toward the finish line, etc.  Tomorrow night won’t change anything there.  So, to keep some levity in an otherwise morose time in Rangerland, I want to engage in a hypothetical exercise.  Yesterday on Twitter, Tyler Dellow posited a notion of the NHL moving to a 40 team, dual-league relegation model, similar to the way European soccer leagues operate.  As a break from the normal Rangers-related content around here, I thought it would be fun to explore the feasibility of this idea.  Let’s take a look… Read More→

Categories : Business of Hockey
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Mar
09

Scattered Friday Thoughts

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Last night the Rangers were absolutely dismantled by Rangers-South the Tampa Bay Lightning in predictable fashion.  This was an ugly one to watch, as the Blueshirts were helpless to defend wave after wave of offensive attack.  No one said rebuilds were easy.  As we start to move towards the twilight of a lost season, I have some thoughts…

1. There has been a lot of talk about the most beneficial way to play the remainder of the season.  Logic would dictate that the Rangers should lose as many of the remaining games as possible and improve their odds of a higher draft pick.  Makes perfect sense.  The problem is the players on the ice will and should try to win.  You can’t throw games in professional sports.  The team on the ice is going to be outclassed most of the time, given the way the roster was gutted, and we can all root for losses.  Expecting professionals to go out there and throw in the towel isn’t something that should be on our radar.

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Categories : Musings
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Feb
23

First impressions of Alexandar Georgiev

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(Photo by David Kirouac/ Getty Images)

Last night, in an otherwise meaningless game, goaltender Alexandar Georgiev made his NHL debut, stopping 38 shots in an impressive performance.  The young Russian was originally an undrafted free agent who attended the Rangers prospect camp this past summer, after an impressive stint in the Finnish Liiga.  Georgiev didn’t come completely out of nowhere; he helped backstop Russia to a silver medal in the 2016 World Junior Championships.  So, what do the Rangers have in this young tender?  Let’s take a look. Read More→

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Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac

Quite a bit has happened since I penned this piece back at the end of December about Henrik Lundqvist’s workload.  At the time, the Rangers were sitting in fourth place in the Metro division, with a semi-comfortable grasp on a playoff spot and only four points out of first place in the division.  They were sitting in the first wild card position, with a healthy Kevin Shattenkirk and Chris Kreider.  Lundqvist was on pace for 68 starts.

Since then, Shattenkirk has been knocked out of the lineup with a knee injury that required surgery (and basically every other defenseman, for that matter), Chris Kreider was diagnosed with a blood clot disorder that also required rib surgery.  The Rangers have plummeted in the standings and now sit in last place in the Metro.  Management has even come around, essentially preparing the fan base for a rebuild and writing a memo and holding a press conference signally that the team would be selling at the deadline.  Lundqvist is still on pace for 68 starts. Read More→

Categories : Goaltending
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(JUSTIN TASCH/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS)

In case you missed it, yesterday saw some significant happenings in Rangerland.  First, the Rangers placed Brendan Smith on waivers and called up Neal Pionk.  Soon after, Jeff Gorton and Glen Sather showed up at practice and issued a joint statement about the future of the franchise.  There was a tepid (re: non-existent) endorsement about AV’s future and much Twitter ink spilled about what it all means.  As you can imagine, I have some thoughts…

1. If you read the memo that the Rangers organization released, a couple of things jump out. First, it seems the organization is trying to gauge fan reaction to the notion of a rebuild.  There is enough qualifying language and vague platitudes in the memo to reverse course if the reaction to the release was pure outrage at abandoning a season where they aren’t completely out of it.  Read More→

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Feb
02

Trading Lundqvist is a fool’s errand

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Photo Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

With the possibility of the Rangers selling for the first time in forever coming more acutely possible, the focus from the fan base has understandably turned to hypothetical returns for the teams’ more attractive trade chips.  Naturally, the logical discussions (many of which have been examined in this space) involve Ryan McDonagh, Rick Nash, Michael Grabner and Mats Zuccarello.  One target that a fairly vocal minority of the fan base has consistently brough up has been, oddly enough, Henrik Lundqvist.

Now, the reasons why Hank’s detractors (or trade advocates) feel moving the King would be a prudent move aren’t all that far-fetched.  He takes up a significant amount of cap space.  His overall performance has delayed a (probably necessary) rebuild longer than it should have taken.  The organization clearly wants to win as long as they have a generational talent on the roster, etc., etc.  These are valid opinions.

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Jan
26

Tear it down

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(GENE J. PUSKAR/AP)

Even With last night’s win against the Sharks, the Rangers head into the All-Star break in a complete free fall.  We have all known for months that the process has sucked, and Henrik Lundqvist had been keeping the team afloat.  Well, now that Chris Kreider is hurt and a consistent rotation of random injuries keep hitting the roster, the team has had to bring up a carousel of AHL talent.  The goals are starting to dry up and Alain Vigneault’s “quality over quantity” system has stalled.

For the past several years, the deployment and systems philosophy had run contrary to our conventional understanding of hockey analytics, and the Rangers’ relative success had many analysts questioning whether the team existed between the lines of the current stats.  While it still might be a true statement, this years’ incarnation (which had apparent depth issues from the outset) has put any evanescent hopes of contention firmly out of reality. Read More→

Categories : Rants
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Jan
19

Random Friday Thoughts

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Photo credit: Julie Jacobson

With their nail biter win last night, the Rangers have now won two in a row and the process looks a lot better than it did a week ago, despite a rash of injuries.  The Blueshirts have four games remaining before the All-Star break, all against Western Conference opponents.  Should be an interesting week. Anyway, I have some thoughts…

1. It’s nice to see Rick Nash see some reward for his effort.  According to Matthew Barlowe (@matt_barlowe), Nash leads the Rangers in discrepancy between his iXG (expected goals) and actual goals.  The implication here is that Nash is snake bitten, which is certainly true, but I think there is also reality that he just simply isn’t the finisher that he used to be.  He still creates, as he is 26th in the league overall in iXG, and we are seeing some of that statistical correction this week, with four goals in his past two games.  This raises his season total to 13 on the season, which increases his pace to just over 23 goals for the season.  Obviously, not what you would expect for a $7.8 million cap hit, but this is still a very useful player the team should re-sign if the cost is reasonable.

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Categories : Uncategorized
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Jan
12

Mid-season report card: the goalies

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Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images

The Rangers went into this season with question marks surrounding both of their goaltenders.  Henrik Lundqvist was shaking off questions about an uncharacteristically poor season last year, and Ondrej Pavelec, Benoit Allaire’s latest pet project, had one foot out of the NHL.  There were good reasons for fans and pundits alike to be skeptical of the stability in the Ranger crease, especially with Lundqvist turning 36 this season and the ridiculously high-quality backup goaltenders the Rangers have had the past four years.

At the halfway mark of the season, it seems that many of those fears have been unfounded (mine included), as both goaltenders have been strong through the team’s first 42 games. Let’s a dig a little deeper at each of their respective performances, shall we?

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