Author Archive

Dec
15

A difference in goaltending styles

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Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images

So far this season, Henrik Lundqvist has received the bulk of the playing time for the Rangers.  Hank had played remarkably well considering the Rangers are currently dead last in the league in xGA/60 and 27th in the league in CF% (all stats per Corsica.hockey).  Alain Vigneault has leaned on Lundqvist heavily as the Blueshirts have tried to rebound from their putrid start to try to gain solid footing in the division race.  This adjustment has forced Ondrej Pavelec into a much lesser role than the organization originally intended, as they had hoped he would be a ~25 game backup.  So far, he has started only five games.

When the signing was originally announced, I wasn’t crazy about it.  Spoiled by four consecutive years of high-quality backup performances by Cam Talbot and Antti Raanta, I didn’t see the same level of success coming from Pavelec.  After all, Talbot and Raanta were both younger goaltenders hoping to take the next step in their development and be in a position to start.  With Pavelec, that ship had already sailed and he was looking to retain a roster spot in the NHL.  At 30, his style was what it was and had no real reason to make meaningful adjustments.

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Categories : Analysis, Goaltending
Comments (6)
Dec
08

Thoughts before the Caps game tonight

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NY Daily News

It’s been a bit of a slow week in Rangerland.  Credit only having two games since I last posted, I suppose.  The Blueshirts take on the Caps tonight, in the wake of Barry Trotz’ completely unnecessary criticism of Kevin Shattenkirk; the Rangers should have some motivation to make him eat his words.  In any event, I have some thoughts…

1. The Rangers have gone 7-3-0 in their past ten games and they are still sixth (!) in the Metro.  It just goes to show what a meat grinder this division is.  The five teams ahead of them are separated by a single point. A single point. At least the Rangers have games in hand on everyone but the Devils, who are still inexplicably sitting atop the pile.  The Rangers also have the second-best goal differential in the division, so hopefully regression will hit some of those other clubs a bit harder in the coming weeks.

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Categories : Musings
Comments (28)

NBC Sports

There is no way around it; Mika Zibanejad going down with a concussion is about the worst case scenario for the Rangers short of losing Henrik Lundqvist (especially on a senseless, late hit like that).  With already severely compromised center depth, both the short and potential long-term blow to the lineup is massive.  When the season started there were serious concerns about the lack of qualified replacements for Derek Stepan and Oscar Lindberg.  The Blueshirts were left with a ragtag group in the bottom six, and now their depth will be tested even further. Read More→

Nov
17

Some quick Friday thoughts

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(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Happy Friday, BSB faithful!  Through more or less the quarter season mark, it has been the tale of two campaigns for the Rangers thus far: the tire fire first twelve games, which saw the Blueshirts go 3-7-2 and the much improved last seven games, when they went 6-1-0.  The Rangers have jumped back into the playoff picture with the win streak, so naturally, I have some thoughts…

1. As Dave has mentioned several times, the need for another center (or forward depth in general) just isn’t going away.  Mika Zibanejad has been a revelation and Kevin Hayes has been a much more effective 2C than I would have imagined.  However, for this team to actually contend, they need to be able to create matchup headaches lower in the lineup. Read More→

Categories : Musings
Comments (63)
Nov
03

Let’s talk about Hank

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NY Post

Things rarely happen in a vacuum.  Events, arcs and narratives have context.  A light switch doesn’t flip.  Change is mostly gradual.  Over the years, Henrik Lundqvist’s career has been, by and large, an upward trajectory.  He emerged on the scene in 2005 in the midst of a waste land of early 2000’s indulgence.  He represented a young, homegrown core player and quickly became a fan favorite.  It was only up from there.

He quickly went from young talent to superstar.  As a ridiculously handsome human being, his off-ice exposure went through the roof and he represented hope for the franchise for the first time in a decade.

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Categories : Goaltending
Comments (31)
Oct
27

A bit about the goalies

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Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images)

Man, I suck at thoughts posts lately.  I started writing one, and then a hit a section on the goaltenders and things just spiraled out of control.  So, this post is about the goalies now. This is really more Hank focused than Pavelec, but I wanted to touch on him, as well.  I hope you enjoy.

First up, Ondrej Pavelec, who is exactly who I thought he would be.  Obviously, he has underperformed in a very limited sample size so far, but that isn’t really what I’m talking about. There was a play last night that really stood out for me.  In the third period, the ‘Yotes made a nifty little passing play that ended with Derek Stepan narrowly missing an open net to Pavelec’s glove side.  Pavelec tracked the first pass, but then, the second pass back door caught him flat footed and he kind of flailed from about 4 feet away from the puck.  Hank may not have gotten to the pass, but his body connection and puck tracking would have stayed engaged for the entire play.  Pavelec knew he was beat and gave up.

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Categories : Analysis, Goaltending
Comments (89)

Happy Friday, BSB community!  I started writing this as a “thoughts” post, since it’s tough to do actual analysis at this stage of the season, with the sample size being so small.  My first thought started with Alain Vigneault, and just never really left that topic, so I guess this post is about the head coach now.  So, maybe it still is a “thoughts” post, just a “thoughts about Alain Vigneault” post.  Sorry about that.  I hope you enjoy.

This season has a very small sample size of data to this point, but for the head coach, we have four seasons worth of data to draw from.  I think, and I’m going into speculation mode here, that we ended up feeling a little bait and switched from what our initial expectations of what his coaching philosophies were.  Remember when Torts was let go and we were sold on Vigneault based on his “progressive” approach to data and matchups?  He tried to leverage zone starts and seemed to be more open-minded to data-driven deployment, so we all felt that we were getting a “Moneyball”-type coach who would maximize the information available to try to gain an edge.

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Categories : Coaching, Musings
Comments (52)

This past weekend we all bore witness to a monumental collision between politics and sports.  You all know the backstory.  I don’t need to rehash that here.  The fascinating and horrifying thing to behold during all of this was the uncomfortable punditry watching every move of the sports entertainment industry.  Watching solidarity and derision, anger and hubris collide in this fashion was something I never expected to see as a sports fan.

As an attorney, watching people twist and contort the first amendment to suit their personal political beliefs was difficult, as well.  The anger and confusion about what the protests actually represent caused additional upheaval.  Back in 2014, Colin Kaepernick of the San Francisco 49ers took the stance that he was no longer going to stand for the national anthem prior to NFL games as a show of support for the people of color in this country who are victims of oppression, police brutality and injustice. It was out of this concept that #TakeAKnee was born. That was three years ago.

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Categories : Rants
Comments (265)
Sep
22

Making sense of the defensive options

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SNY.com

So far in this young training camp, Rangers fans a have been treated to a new-look defense.  Youth and mobility have been the themes of these new additions, but there are still a few hold over veterans who aren’t an obvious fit for the roster and some question marks about some of the younger guys the organization has brought in.

Just to qualify this discussion, it has been two pre-season games.  At least for the young guys, the sample size is far too small to draw any reliable conclusions about their effectiveness or ability to thrive against full-time NHL competition.  We haven’t even seen Alexei Bereglazov yet.

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Categories : Defense
Comments (46)

Photo Credit; New York Rangers

After a long and arduous offseason, the Rangers finally kick things off on the 2017-2018 season on Monday against the Islanders.  There has obviously been a ton of coverage over the summer on the Blueshirts’ moves and non-moves, but as the season approaches, I have some thoughts… Read More→

Categories : Musings, Preseason
Comments (44)