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Mid-season Report Card: Jeff Gorton

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When I was in school I took a course pass fail. This turned out to be a good idea, because it was an incredibly demanding Latin American history course, and I was totally out of my depth, having just transferred from a fairly big state university where everything was large lectures to a small liberal arts school where classes were much more intimate, but I digress.

At the end of the semester I needed an extension on the final paper, and because of that I didn’t get the final word on whether I passed or failed when I was supposed to – I got an incomplete. If you can’t see where I’m going with this one already, just pretend that Jeff Gorton was me in Latin American History, and that his final evaluation is pending the completion of his work. That’s right, he’s getting an incomplete this semester.

There’s two ways you could really tackle this I think, and both lend themselves to this conclusion pretty well.

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Blue Seat Blogs-cast – Happy New Year and Midseason Review

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On our first episode of 2018 (did you miss us?) Pat, Dave, and Rob look at where this team is roughly halfway through the season in terms of offense, defense, and coaching. 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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How Jeff Gorton Can Make This Team His Own

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It’s no secret that the Rangers are, despite being a good team, lackingĀ something. There’s been a lot of debate as to what exactly that something is, with much of the blame as of late going to the defensive corps (which is probably somewhat deserved), the lack of forward depth (a definite concern, as evidenced by Zibanejad’s absence), and of course the coaching (you already know). Just yesterday we heard from Chris about how the Rangers could be a Stanley Cup dark horse if only they had that extra something. Well, there may be a somewhat simple, elegant way to solve these issues, a move that would solidify this team as Jeff Gorton’s own.

If you’ve been watching the IIHF World Junior Championship, you probably caught something yesterday that came as a bit of a surprise: Team Czech Republic beat Team Finland in the quarterfinals to advance to the semis. Now, while they’ll unfortunately be playing Canada in their semifinal matchup, there is something of note here. The Czech team has, without any true superstars (save Filip Zadina, who is expected to go top-10 in this upcoming draft), made some serious noise at this tournament, and their success must be credited in part to their head coach, Filip Pesan.

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Categories : Musings
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Recap: How the Leafs Stole Christmas

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AP Photo/Julie Jacobson

It is with a heavy heart that I inform you the New York Rangers are at it again. You can stop me if you’ve heard this one before but the Rangers, unable to connect on passes and playing without urgency for the vast majority of the game, relied on Henrik Lundqvist to make otherworldly saves and ultimately dropped the game despite their star goalie’s best efforts. It’s a tale as old as time, and frankly, I’m getting a little bit sick of it. I’m guessing you are too.

It all started in the first period, when the Rangers, despite keeping things relatively even in terms of shot attempts and even pulling ahead at one point in scoring chances, allowed the Leafs on more than one occasion to set up their cycle game in the Rangers’ zone. Against an average team this might not be that big of a problem – sure it’s a bad habit, but if you keep them to the outside and depend on your goaltender for sensational saves then it’s not so bad, right? Well, the Leafs have guys like Auston Matthews and William Nylander, and you’ll never guess who set up who to put the biscuit in the basket. Not an auspicious start to the evening.

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Categories : Game Wrap-ups
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Rangers drop Kings to snap losing streak

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rangers kings Rick nash

The Rangers are currently sitting pretty in a wild card spot, and it’s thanks to the fact that, despite their unfortunate loss to Ottawa the other night (and a real clunker against Dallas, although I’m inclined to write that off as “those happen sometimes”) they keep picking up points where they need them, sometimes against teams they should lose to like the Kings. It was sweet revenge indeed against a team that still leaves a bitter taste in all of our mouths after what happened in 2014.

The Pacific-leading Kings had Marian Gaborik on something of a hot streak with a goal and an assist (insofar as that’s a hot streak – remember that this was a low scoring game), but the Rangers were able to put the Kings away late in the third period with a beauty of a goal from Rick Nash, who is now the all-time leader in game winners for the Rangers (but remember folks, he’s not clutch). Some quick thoughts on the game:

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Categories : Game Wrap-ups
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It’s something many of us know-it-all number crunchers said: Michael Grabner simply wouldn’t be able to score this year the way he did last year. It tied into laments about the state of the forward corps, the fact that the Rangers didn’t offload him to a real contender (or some wannabe) at the deadline for a million first round picks, and came with an air of certainty often attributed to smugness by those less inclined to numbers. Well, it’s safe to say us spreadsheet samurai were wrong, and Michael Grabner is at least so far putting on a repeat performance. So what’s going on there?

First of all let me just say this – I’m happy to be wrong, and I’d imagine I speak for pretty much all of us in that regard. Nonetheless, it is something of a curiosity, because last year he finished the season with an individual shooting percentage (at even strength too, so no shorthanded or empty net situations inflating the numbers here) of 16.28%. To put it a little bit more intuitively, he was getting a goal more than every ten shots, which, even by Alain Vigneault standards, is high.

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Categories : Players
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rick nash rangers sharks

Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac

The Rangers are going to have a lot of decisions to make this trade deadline, which although I realize is a ways away, is still worth discussing given how some of their players on expiring contracts are playing. The two players in particular who I’m thinking of are of course Rick Nash and Michael Grabner, who have been excellent secondary scorers for the Blueshirts thus far this season. Both players have similar skillsets and similar output (at least at first glance) thus far, so I thought it would be interesting to delve a little bit deeper into what the Rangers might want to do with one or both of them.

Given this whole “rebuild on the fly business”, and given that the playoffs are anything but a given at this point, the Rangers should at least think about trading an expiring asset in return for something good come the end of winter.

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On this episode Pat, Becky, and Dave discuss whether or not the Rangers have actually improved of late and the continued need for a true top-nine center. As always you can find us right here, on SoundCloud, and on iTunes. Feel free to leave us a comment, a review, or @ us on Twitter too!


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So what now?

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jeff gorton

The dust has settled a little bit on this past week, which started with a lot of smoke and rumors about AV potentially being fired, the Rangers making a big trade, or both. None of this has transpired – in fact the Rangers put together an exciting comeback against the red hot Vegas Golden Knights and managed to stymie the NHL’s most dynamic scoring duo, Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov, while pulling off an OT win in Tampa Bay. They go for their third straight win against the Florida Panthers tonight in South Florida, which if they manage it will have the team looking not so bad at all. So this raises the question – what now?

Well let’s start with the win against Vegas. Sure the Rangers managed to put their foot on the gas pedal towards the end of the game, scoring some nice goals to change what seemed like a foregone conclusion of a loss. This win in particular was significant, as Larry Brooks’ column about AV being on the hot seat had just come out the day before. The conventional wisdom was that if the Rangers lost against Vegas, AV would be fired. So much for that.

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Categories : Musings
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Where there’s smoke there’s fire, and on this episode Pat, Becky, and Dave break down all of the drama surrounding AV’s potential departure, Glen Sather and co’s trip to Ottawa for the Senators/Canadiens game, and potential trade scenarios as this team enters what could be a transitional phase. As always you can find us right here, on SoundCloud, and on iTunes.


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