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Don’t fret about the first game

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kevin shattenkirk

Friends, it’s finally that time of year again. Regular season hockey is upon us, and boy does it feel good. Except depending on your persuasion, you may not agree with that because the Rangers did in fact drop their home opener against one of the worst teams in the league, the Colorado Avalanche. What I’m here to tell you is this: worry not, because it’s only one game, and even if that still does matter to you, there’s no reason to worry. Allow me to explain.

First, it’s important for me to say up front that I don’t believe you can really tell much about a team after the first game, and maybe even the first 5-10. It’s an 82 game season plus playoffs; there’s plenty more hockey to be played just as a matter of numbers. Going beyond that, guys are rusty, many members of the team have never played with one another before, and even though we did get to see some guys display their skills in the preseason, it takes some time to click. You might say that the New York Rangers are professionals and these things shouldn’t be issues for them but let’s be honest, they’re human. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and truly exciting hockey certainly won’t be either.

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Categories : Musings
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Blue Seat Blogs-cast – Season Opener, Roster Questions, Let’s Go Rangers!

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Welcome back to the Blue Seat Blogs-cast! On this episode we discuss lingering roster questions and get excited for the home opener on Thursday! Plus we went with brand-spanking-new headsets for better audio!

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anthony deangelo

The preseason has wrapped up, and the regular season is just around the corner, which means it’s time to speculate about the way this lineup is going to shake out. Now, even though I personally enjoy wild speculation, as it happens, the premier online stats database is back online after a summer hiatus, so we’ll be making somewhat educated guesses today. As an aside, I highly suggest you play around with Corsica, as I’ve learned a ton just exploring the numbers on there. What I’m interested in exploring today is something a little less sexy than how Filip Chytil will do, or who’s going to lead the team in points – what we’re going to be talking about today is how well Anthony DeAngelo might play with Marc Staal.

The top two pairings for the Rangers this season are pretty much set, with McDonagh/Shattenkirk and Smith/Skjei being more or less guaranteed at this point, although maybe there’s a little variation within that set of four players depending on the scenario or how AV is feeling. That leaves Anthony DeAngelo, who had a standout showing in preseason, to be paired most likely with Marc Staal. In a perfect world he’d be with someone like Pionk, but given that one of Staal or Holden is likely to play (I’d imagine hell freezes over before AV sits BOTH of them in the press box) and given that Staal is much more likely to play than Holden for a host of reasons, it’s looking like DeAngelo is going to be paired with Staal. So how will he fare?

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Categories : Defense
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Could Filip Chytil make the team?

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filip chytil

Photo: NYDN

Friends, I’m going to be honest. When I heard that the Rangers would be taking Filip Chytil at 21st overall my first reaction was “Who?” I’d imagine I wasn’t alone in this, as the Rangers seemingly went against the conventional wisdom circulating around draft time (with both of their picks actually) and maybe disappointed some of us when they didn’t go for a Liljegren or a Yamamoto. The hype began to build however around Chytil as broadcasters compared him favorably to players like Auston Matthews (actually Chytil’s own comparison) and Ondrej Palat (Bob McKenzie’s comparison) and news began to trickle out that if he had declared for the draft the following year he would have likely been taken in the top 5 in what is by all accounts a stacked draft. Team Chytil began to coalesce quickly, and he has not disappointed thus far in the preseason.

His creative vision and strong play on the puck has been easily noticeable in the preseason games he’s played thus far, and he uses his size (200 pounds at age 18!) and skating effectively. He scored a nice game-winning goal the other night after playing catch with Mats Zuccarello all up and down the ice that evening against the Devils, and against the Islanders in Bridgeport he played a crucial role in the Rangers’ dazzling (but unfortunately unproductive) powerplay in the second period. He’s making quick, effective decisions with the puck, and even saw time on the penalty kill alongside Pavel Buchnevich (imagine if those two turn into two-way threats?). To put it succinctly, he’s impressed so far in the preseason, and would be making a strong case for himself regardless of the Rangers’ roster situation.

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Categories : Players
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Metro Division Preview

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Since hockey season is almost upon us (certainly the preseason at least) I figured it wouldn’t be a bad idea to write a quick preview of the Metropolitan Division, to refresh all of the things that went down this summer in our hockey backyard. It can be tough to remember every offseason transaction, so why not compile them all in one place and offer a little bit of analysis? Anyways, here’s your 2017-18 Metropolitan Division.

New York Islanders

This team got undeniably better, on the addition of Jordan Eberle alone. His chemistry with John Tavares is going to cause problems for teams around the Metro, and when you factor in Josh Ho-Sang the Isle’s scoring depth just became a force to be reckoned with almost over night. Still, although they’ve improved substantially up front, they’re the Islanders, with such luminaries as Dennis Seidenberg and Casey Cizikas down the depth chart, which is to say they’re not exactly stacked as you move down the lineup. I’d project them to make some noise as the playoff push begins to come together, but ultimately they’re a bubble team at best.

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Categories : Around the League
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5 Signs it’s almost hockey season

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It’s Labor Day weekend, which means that summer is over. What that means is that although we’re still a couple of weeks away from preseason, hockey is almost upon us. In case you don’t believe me though (I mean I can hardly believe we’re at this point either) here are some signs that hockey season is right around the corner.

  1. It’s (hockey) sweater weather – Although we had something of a mild summer here in the New York Metropolitan Area (don’t think I forgot about you Long Islanders/Northern NJ types) there were a few weeks there in July that were quite hot. Even when things weren’t scorching temperatures were still at least 80-something degrees. That seems to have tapered off as of late, with weather as low as the high 50s. All of that means it’s finally appropriate to don your favorite extra layer: your Rangers jersey.

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Categories : Offseason
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Don’t Worry About Bobby Farnham

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Bobby Farnham

This week has been chock full of important Rangers news, like the recent signing of Bobby Farnham to a PTO. While this may be cause for concern among some fans, I’m here to tell you that it’s all going to be fine. Farnham is likely just a body for preseason and maybe the AHL (if that), and while he might be someone AV tries out on the fourth line at absolute worst he’ll be Daniel Paille – around for a little while and eventually gone, as the ill-fitting nature of his inclusion on the roster becomes apparent.

Let’s start with the primary reason why they likely signed Farnham, who is more or less just an enforcer (although he scores once every year or so). Preseason is coming up, and since not everybody on the first team will show up in the few games that precede opening night against the Avs, somebody (literally almost anybody) needs to play hockey alongside the various youngsters that get a look. So enter Farnham, a warm body who’ll help to fill out the lineup in case any of the regulars have nagging injuries, oversleep, etc etc.

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Categories : Preseason
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Why the Rangers should sign Jaromir Jagr

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Photo Credit: Ken Goldfield/NY Daily News

It’s August, which means the hockey world is beginning to gear up for the preseason in hot anticipation of their new rosters. One mystery that still hangs in the air like an Islanders fan yapping about how their fourth line is the best in hockey remains however: Jaromir Jagr is unsigned. It’s a truly bizarre thing, and although there may be a few reasons teams are hesitant to sign him there are also plenty of good reasons for a team like the Rangers to add the living legend to their roster.

Let’s get it out of the way right now – no he is not going to score as many goals as he did his last go around with the Rangers. Last season he put up 8 goals and 25 assists at even strength, with an additional 8 goals and 5 assists coming on the powerplay. That’s still a pretty respectable total for a player his age however, and there’s no doubt that he’d be playing in a depth role on the third or fourth line were he to return to NY. So while he won’t be quite as magic as he was during his first tenure with the Rangers, he won’t have to be and could still put up some solid points anyway.

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Categories : Offseason
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Options at Center

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jt miller

Trading Derek Stepan and losing Oscar Lindberg to Vegas sent a shockwave through the Rangers lineup this offseason, leaving two major holes at center and turning what was one of the Blueshirts’ biggest strengths into what could be their biggest weakness. Although the Rangers did acquire David Desharnais to help fill a bottom six role there remains one slot at center to be filled, and I thought it would be a good idea on this hot summer day to sketch out some of the options the team has for filling that gap.

The first is trading for a top-six center. The most obvious name on the market is Matt Duchene but unfortunately you’ve got to give to get. Still, considering the Rangers’ considerable depth on wing and new found glut of defensive prospects, theres pieces in place to make a deal happen. I still think this one is unlikely to happen, but it’s certainly a possibility.

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Categories : Forwards
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marc staal
The dog days of summer are once again upon us, with little news breaking or fun happening. This week the only bit of excitement to go down was Mika Zibanejad renewing for another five years at $5.35m per. Since that wasn’t enough though what I’m going to do here is propose some more fun and games – and something that would actually make the team better to boot. That’s right folks, it’s time to toil in futility and speculate about a Marc Staal buyout.
Now, I know what you’re thinking, we already had our shot at buying out Staal and clearly he’s still on the team. The buyout window is closed and our beloved cyclops is still a New York Ranger. However, thanks to the aforementioned Zibanejad deal the Rangers now have a second buyout window and shifting circumstances make buying out Staal’s contract a prudent thing to do.

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Categories : Offseason
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