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Thoughts heading into Game 4

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Good morning, BSB community.  It’s game day.  That means the Rangers have a chance to stop the bleeding, get back to basics and level the series before returning to New York.  As a general rule, I am not a superstitious person.  However, every time I turned Game 3 on, something horrible happened to the Rangers.  So, I sucked it up and accepted my fate as a cursed fan and stayed away.  Then OT happened and they still lost.  Now I feel stupid and I didn’t even watch most of the game.  With that in mind, this will be a very conceptual thoughts post. Read More→

Categories : Musings
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Scouting the opposition: Ben Bishop

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After their historic comeback against the Capitals, the Rangers have punched their ticket to the Eastern Conference Final against a very skilled and very deep Tampa Bay Lightning team.  There will be narratives about reuniting with old friends and a lopsided season series, but those will generally be media fluff.  However, there has been legitimate debate about the impact that Tampa Bay goaltender Ben Bishop has had during his first playoff run as a starter.

His numbers so far in this postseason are very good.  However, his stats haven’t exactly lined up with the eye test to this point.  Let’s dig into his game a little bit and figure out exactly what the Rangers are up against.  I actually did a breakdown of Bishop’s style way back in 2012, when he was first breaking into the league with Ottawa.  Much has changed, however.  Since this is our third goalie scouting report so far this postseason (Fleury, Holtby), you know the drill by now: Stance, Crease movement/depth, Equipment, Puck-handling ability and Exploitable Weaknesses.  Here we go… Read More→

Categories : Goaltending, Playoffs
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Scouting the opposition: Braden Holtby

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It took seven grueling games, but the when the Capitals defeated up the upstart Islanders on Monday night, D.C.’s finest secured a date with the Rangers for the fifth time in seven years. This brings us to our second round goaltending preview of Braden Holtby.

When I sit down to write these posts, I always take a look back to see if I’ve done previews before and see how my current analysis stacks up against my observations from prior seasons. I realized this time around that I’ve already done two (!) previews of the twenty five year-old Saskatchewan native. Those prior looks can be found here and here. Seems like only yesterday he was making his playoff debut.

After flashing serious potential in his first few seasons on a defensively porous Capitals team, Holtby put everything together this season under Barry Trotz. His numbers (2.44 GAA and .923 save percentage) were both single season bests. Additionally, he started 72 games this year, by far a career high (we’ll get to that later). He really cemented himself as an upper-echelon goaltender this season. Read More→

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Thoughts heading into Game 5

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Here we are. It’s Friday and the Rangers are heading home one win away from dispensing with the Pittsburgh Penguins in the opening round. Naturally, I have thoughts…

  • I didn’t get home Wednesday night until the first intermission. Although I had it on the DVR, Twitter was kind enough to let me know I hadn’t missed anything.
  • Marc-Andre Fleury has been surprisingly good so far in this series. I know The Suit is not a fan, but you have to give credit where credit is due. His angles have been sharp, his movements have been controlled (for the most part) and he really hasn’t given away anything to New York.
  • In that same vein, Henrik Lundqvist has been even better. With the Pens being forced to come 200 feet all series, since, you know, none of their defenseman can move the puck, Hank hasn’t had to do a ton. When he has been called upon, though, he has shown no rust from his nearly two month layoff. Hopefully the rest helps him as the playoffs march on.

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Categories : Musings
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Finally, after 82 games and 187 days, the Rangers now know they will be facing in the first round of the playoffs. After a relatively strong start to the season, the Pittsburgh Penguins, suffering from a number of significant injuries, limped into the 8th and final playoff spot on Saturday. In preparation for the start of the series on Thursday, we will be running some preview posts so we can see what lies ahead for the Blueshirts in the opening round.

First up is an analysis of Marc-Andre Fleury, who will have the esteemed honor of playing behind an absolutely injury ravaged defense. Fleury had a nice renaissance of sorts this season, posting numbers far above his career averages (2.32 GAA/.920 sv% vs career averages of 2.59 and .911, respectively). He was far from the problem for the Penguins this year. I actually did a preview of Fleury way back in 2012, and the scouting report has definitely changed a bit. Quick refresher if it’s been a while; I’ll cover Stance, Crease Movement/Depth, Equipment, Puck-Handling Ability and Exploitable Weaknesses. Let’s get after it… Read More→

Categories : Goaltending, Playoffs
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Much to write about nothing

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Last night the Rangers lost to the Ottawa Senators in the first meaningless game they have played in a long time. I didn’t watch a single minute. I was taking full advantage of the luxury of not having to worry about how the Rangers did and just simply enjoyed that absolutely sensational hockey being played around the league.

I was mainly focused on the Bruins-Panthers matchup, Detroit-Montreal, and of course, LA versus Calgary. With so much congestion in the bottom part of the conferences, eliminated teams playing spoiler and seed shuffling taking place all the way to the last day of the season, it’s a good time to be a hockey fan. Read More→

Categories : Musings, Playoffs
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When I sat down to write this post, I thought we might be at a place, 77 games in (and a Metro Division Title), that I could start to preview potential first round goalie matchups. Then, I looked at the standings. There is so much congestion in the bottom of the of the division spots and the wild cards that I honestly didn’t know where to start.

Obviously, the Panthers aren’t catching the Penguins, Islanders or Caps. There is an extreme long-shot that they would even catch Detroit. At this point, the odds are clearly looking like the Rangers will play the Bruins in the first round.  However, the B’s have been playing much better lately and find themselves tied in points with the third place Red Wings for the last division spot in the Atlantic (albeit with one less game). They are only two points back of Pittsburgh for the second wild card, as well. Read More→

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Thoughts on a lazy Friday morning

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Good morning, BSB faithful. I scrapped my whole intro because it was terrible and I haven’t had enough caffeine, yet. So, here are some Ranger-related thoughts to kick off your Friday…

  • The whole “goalie controversy” thing is already getting old. Dave touched on it already, so I don’t have much too much to add. Basically, no one is saying that Cam Talbot is not a good goalie. I’m also not even saying conclusively that he won’t bring as much value over the next 6+ year as Hank will, considering their difference in age. While Talbot has played great, he has still played in less than 100 NHL games, and less than 30 as a “starter”. Passing over a Hall of Fame goaltender right in the middle of a competitive window for Talbot is not the move here, no matter how well he is playing.
  • Martin St. Louis’ injury really wrecks the flow of the roster. With the Nash/Brassard/Zuccarello line and the Hagelin/Hayes/Miller line developing solid chemistry and a consistent scoring threat, it’s a shame to have to break one of those up. Get well soon, Marty. You haven’t played up to your usual standards, but your bring depth and balance.
  • I would obviously prefer that the Rangers call up Oscar Lindberg to play on the fourth line and move either Dominic Moore or James Sheppard up to the third line, but I know it’s a pipe dream with Tanner Glass on the roster.

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Categories : Musings
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When Keith Yandle was acquired from Arizona prior to the trade deadline, the focus became on the formidable blue line corps the Rangers now possessed (once all the Anthony Duclair consternation died down, that is). With John Moore headed to the desert, Matt Hunwick became a depth guy and Dan Boyle’s minutes were about to become much more sheltered. All was well.

At the end of Wednesday night’s game in Washington, Kevin Klein left the ice and was headed to New York for tests. When the results came back, it was 3-4 weeks on the shelf with the ever mysterious “upper-body injury”. Panic ensues. Don’t get me wrong, Kevin Klein has been very solid for the Rangers this year, even if his torrid goal scoring pace (predictably) slowed down.

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Categories : Injuries
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Thoughts following the trade deadline

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The trade deadline came and went on Monday this season with a flurry of activity and some very big moves. Since I usually will write my articles for Friday, I haven’t really had a chance to weigh in at this point. I know that there has been a couple games in the interim, but since the Rangers don’t play again until Sunday, I’m just going to share my post deadline thoughts anyway…

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Categories : Musings
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