Author Archive

Apr
18

Remembering John Amirante

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John Amirante died on Tuesday. I’ve been thinking about it almost nonstop, and the feeling of grief still hasn’t left me. I’d only met him twice, briefly, and aside from that I’d only ever heard him do one thing: sing “The Star-Spangled Banner” before Rangers games. Still, John Amirante was more than just the guy who sang the national anthem before Rangers games. He was a part of the Rangers family, what the Rangers meant.

I choose those words carefully, because right now, there’s no guarantee he’ll still be a part of what it means to bleed blue in this ever-changing era. Our team, the sport of hockey, and the world we live in are rapidly shifting, all given to us by our forebearers, many of whom are still with us but many of whom, like John, have either moved on or will be moving on as the pages turn. As this passage of time occurs we must commit ourselves to remembering and retelling their stories, over and over again, to keep them with us and one day pass them on to those who come next.

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Categories : Uncategorized
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It’s been a short while since Alain Vigneault was fired as the Rangers’ head coach – hopefully the feeling of relief (or whatever you may be feeling) has settled in a little bit and you’re ready to look toward the future. Along those lines I thought it’d be fun to take a look at a few coaching options for our beloved Blueshirts, but to make things interesting let’s stick to Rob’s rule of “never coached an NHL game”.

I’m following this dictum for a couple of reasons. The first is that I genuinely believe that the Rangers would be better off trying somebody new, provided they do their homework thoroughly and have a good idea what they’re in for with a strong candidate. The other reason is convenience: you probably have heard enough about Darryl Sutter, he of two Stanley Cups with the Kings, or even Bill Peters, rumored to have an out clause with the transitioning Carolina Hurricanes. So let’s make some new friends, shall we?

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Categories : Offseason
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On this emergency podcast we break the news that Alain Vigneault has been fired by the New York Rangers (just kidding, you knew that already) and unpack his tenure and undoing as Rangers head coach, while looking ahead towards the future. As always you can find us right here, on SoundCloud, and on iTunes. Feel free to leave us a comment or a review as well!

 

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Apr
07

Prayers and Funds for the Humboldt Broncos

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I didn’t have the chance to write anything about the Rangers last night or this morning but just wanted to throw up a quick post regarding the tragic bus accident that took the lives of 14 members of the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team in Saskatchewan and injured 14 others. I can’t really find any words to express how deeply upsetting this is, so I figured this might help instead: below is a link to the gofundme page set up to raise money for any expenses incurred by family members of the team, and if you have the means I’d encourage you to donate. Hockey is a tight knit community and even though we’re far away I’d imagine this one hits close to home for a lot of us. Let’s all say a prayer for the Humboldt Broncos.

https://www.gofundme.com/funds-for-humboldt-broncos

Categories : Uncategorized
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Mar
31

Diamonds in the Rough

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lias andersson filip chytil

The future is now, folks – Lias Andersson and Filip Chytil are both on-ice members of the New York Rangers and for the most part, the fanbase is pleased as punch. After a pretty disappointing year (nonsensical coaching, injuries to star players, general malaise) we finally have something genuine to be excited about, something not couched in caveats or qualifiers. I too, am excited, but unfortunately I have to be the bearer of bad news: although Andersson and Chytil have certainly shown great promise, they’re still diamonds in the rough.

Let’s start with the bad news: last night both Chytil and Andersson got caved in as far as shots go, with Chytil being on ice for 11 shots for and 16 shots against, while Andersson was on ice for 11 shots for and a whopping 21 shots against. Expected goals is a little bit better, with Chytil being on ice for 0.94 xGF and 1.00 xGA, with Andersson being on ice for 0.52 xGF and 1.80 xGA. Not exactly a great night, but Chytil did have his first NHL goal, and made some nice plays with Mats Zuccarello, and the Rangers broadly got hammered in terms of shots and expected goals, so there’s that.

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Categories : Players
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rangers coyotes

AP Photo/Rick Scuteri

Welcome back all to this week’s edition of How Not to Rebuild. After two riveting examinations of the laughably bad Edmonton Oilers and the actually-just-kind-of-OK Carolina Hurricanes, I figured we’d go back to another team that is really, truly, not very good. For this week I figured it’d be appropriate to take a look at the Arizona Coyotes, our favorite desert hockey team (as opposed to the LA Kings, who are no friends of ours here, or the Vegas Golden Knights, who are just sort of bizarre).

The boundaries we’re going to place on this analysis is the 2012-13 season to present, given that in 2011-12 they made it all the way to the Conference Finals, having lost the previous two post-seasons in the first round. So really, not as if they had a ton of sustained success in the first place (their 2009-10 playoff berth was their first since 2001-02) but whatever, playoffs are playoffs (or so I’m told). It’s worth pointing out that things don’t break down as easily in terms of the rebuild lining up with coaching/management changes either, as Dave Tippett was coach from 2009-2017 and Don Maloney was GM from 2007-2016, with the former being replaced by Rick Tocchet and the latter by the infamous Computer Boy, John Chayka. In any event, let’s take a look at their draft history first.

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Categories : Around the League
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AP Photo/Gerry Broome

Continuing on in the series about how not to rebuild a team, I thought it’d be interesting to take a look at the Carolina Hurricanes in the wake of their firing of their general manager, Ron Francis. What makes the Canes especially interesting is that they’re not in an Edmonton or Buffalo situation – they’re a decent team with decent players, it’s just that every year they seem to be on the cusp and can never quite get over the hump. Why is that?

Let’s start with the good – Ron Francis has done a fine job of managing his salary cap, the details of which can be found here, on CapFriendly, with the real big doozy here being Jordan Staal’s long-term contract, signed before Francis became GM. After that their next highest paid forward is Victor Rask, who, although he isn’t exactly star talent, is hardly what’s ailing the Hurricanes, at least in terms of dollars and cents. Justin Faulk’s contract is reasonable for the kind of player he is, and the Pesce and Slavin contracts are (at least in my opinion) veritable steals as far as locking down two excellent young d-men go for many years at reasonable cost. Really, aside from that Staal contract, the next big issue is the risk Francis took on Scott Darling, who although he’s had a rough year, could conceivably bounce back (or not) depending on a coaching change, the personnel in front of him, etc.

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Categories : Around the League
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Now that we’re in a veritable rebuild I thought it would be fun to take a look at some cautionary tales, teams that have attempted to rebuild and failed, in order to determine what went wrong and how the Rangers should avoid making those some mistakes (all this of course, with the idea of Gorton or someone high up in the Rangers’ front office is reading this, because there’s a non-zero chance of that happening). This is going to be something I try and stick to, because I’d like to be able to really give some time and thought to why and how exactly teams have blown it in blowing it up. With all of that said there really is no better candidate for a cautionary tale deep dive than the Edmonton Oilers.

The Oilers have been rebuilding now for more or less a decade, depending on when you consider the rebuild to have started. A good trail marker along the mountain trek that is the Oilers rebuild is the Ryan Smyth trade: they gave up a heart and soul player, someone who had set records and given his all to the team through some very successful years (including a run to the Stanley Cup Final that ended in heartbreak at the hands of the Carolina Hurricanes), all for Ryan O’Marra, Robert Nilsson, and a first round pick that they’d use to select Alex Plante. This break with the previous era came shortly after the Oilers traded another mainstay in Chris Pronger, who brought back Joffrey Lupul, Ladislav Smid, and three draft picks (the draft picks ended up going to various other places in exchange for various other pieces, the details of which can be found here).

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Categories : Analysis
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Mar
03

Kicking Things Off Right

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Friends, as we enter into this rebuild it’s important to consider what we lost and what we got in return. While we did sell off Nash, Grabner, Holden, McDonagh, and Miller, we ended up getting a boatload of picks in return (we now have three first rounders, two second rounders, two third rounders, and then one each in rounds four through six, with our own seventh rounder having been traded away as part of the Mika Zibanejad deal – a fair enough swap I’d say) but we also got some roster players, and so far it’s been going alright.

While guys like O’Gara and Lindgren may be underwhelming (I think Lindgren will be alright, but I know others aren’t so crazy about him) with regards to Namestnikov and Spooner, the future is looking bright. Now, both of them will have to be re-signed long term, providing the Rangers intend to keep them and not flip them both at the draft along with every prospect and pick they have for the first overall, but as far as production goes they’ve been pretty solid so far.

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Categories : Analysis
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Feb
26

Rangers Trade Ryan McDonagh to Tampa

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ryan mcdonagh

Update: This deal includes JT Miller. Per Bob McKenzie, the return is Libor Hajek, Brett Howden, Vladislav Namestnikov, 2018 1st round pick, conditional second round pick

For the second straight captain, the Rangers have made a deal with the Tampa Bay Lightning. McDonagh will reunite with the last Rangers captain Ryan Callahan, Dan Girardi, and Anton Stralman in Tampa.

It’s hard to know what to say about Ryan McDonagh – I could hit you with all the numbers like I did with Nash, but that really wouldn’t do him much justice. He’s been a joy to watch on both ends of the ice, and I can still remember fondly when he put the league on notice in 2012 by playing almost a full 60 minutes in that triple-OT game against Washington. He’s our captain, and now he’s someone else’s. We’ll give you more analysis on what we’ve lost and what we’ve gained as the dust settles on everything, but as always feel free to leave your thoughts below. Thanks for everything, Mac.

More to come.

Categories : Transactions
Comments (190)