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Feb
12

Weekly Preview: To Tank or Not To Tank?

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The Rangers are 2-0 since releasing the memo and waving a symbolic white flag on the season.  Professional athletes are proud people however, and the Rangers responded by playing four pretty good periods out of their next six.  They largely deserved Friday night’s win over Calgary, and Henrik Lundqvist did his thing in Winnipeg, carrying the Rangers to a second straight victory.

Yesterday, the one and only @HockeyStatMiner posted this:

The schedule ahead, in terms of opponent’s record, isn’t exactly difficult.  It is conceivable that the Rangers head into the trade deadline on a bit of a run, which would be something.  But first things first, let’s take a look at the week ahead.

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Categories : Preview
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The on-ice issues plaguing the New York Rangers have truly come to a head, with the team playing listless hockey and getting blown out on a regular basis.  Everyone knows why this is happening, and it’s useless to discuss it further.  Once the dust settles on the impending sell-off, we’ll begin to assess what lies ahead.

Perhaps more concerning than the terrible hockey is the culture of the Rangers, which appears to be completely broken.

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Categories : Analysis
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Hate Week continues here at Blue Seat Blogs, and as Dave mentioned yesterday, the Rangers fully deserve it.  They are 2-5 since the bye week.  They are banged up, in part due to their own mismanagement of injured players.  They are running their 35 year-old generational goaltender into the ground in the name of desperation (“every point matters!”), then benching their third-leading scorer in a must-win game.

When this season began, the Rangers started so poorly that most fans and observers believed that they would bounce back.  The Rangers did, and put together an impressive streak that got them into playoff contention.  So who’s to say that this isn’t just another blip on the radar?  I give you the following (apologies for the shameless self-promotion): Read More→

Categories : Analysis, Rants
Comments (39)

The Rangers’ west coast swing has opened with a thud.  The undermanned Blueshirts lost 3-1 to the Avalanche on Saturday, then fell to the Kings last night 4-2.  The team was lethargic in Denver, and while last night’s effort was a bit more spirited, the process (NYR were badly out-attempted and out-chanced in both games) and results were bad.

As Dave mentioned earlier today, all of the signals are there that the front office is lining up the pieces to sell at the deadline.  And yet, this is the Rangers, so we’ll see.

In any event, the Blueshirts have two more games out west before the weeklong All-Star Break.  Before we get to the Skills Competition with a side of Kid Rock, let’s take a quick look at the next two opponents.

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Categories : Preview
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Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac

The Rangers badly needed to follow up Tuesday’s win over the Flyers with a solid performance, and bank two more points.  With the bottom-dwelling Sabres in town, the Rangers didn’t disappoint, winning 4-3.  Though the game was a little bit close for comfort, it was another encouraging performance from the Blueshirts, who seem to have bounced back after hitting rock bottom in Pittsburgh.

The Rangers normally rely on a balanced scoring attack, but they’ve found a top line and have started to ride its collective hot hand.  Rick Nash potted two more goals (he now has four in the last two games alone), and Pavel Buchnevich got the game-winner to stave off overtime after the Sabres tied the game 3-3 late in the third.  Let’s take a look at the goals.

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Categories : Game Wrap-ups
Comments (36)

Apologies, loyal readers, if the attitude of the BSB staff seems particularly dour right now.  But it’s pretty clear why that is: the New York Rangers have given us nothing to get excited about.

Recent results have been demonstrably mediocre, and the on-ice process has been horrid.  The Rangers, who have not won a game in regulation since December 19 at home against Anaheim, now find themselves in a pickle for playoff positioning.  Here are the Metropolitan Division and Wild Card Standings, as of Monday January 15.

Metropolitan Division Standings – January 15, 2018

Wild Card Standings – January 15, 2018

The Rangers begin the week with two games on home ice, before hitting the road for a four-game west coast road trip.  Let’s take a quick look at this week’s slate of games.

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Categories : Preview
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Paul J. Bereswill

At the end of tonight’s game in Arizona, the Rangers will reach the midway point of their 2017-18 regular season.  That means it’s time for some midseason report cards!  To kick things off, we’ll be focusing on the top six forwards.

Complicating matters slightly is the fact that the Rangers don’t have a strict delineation between their top six and bottom six.  There’s definitely a fourth line.  There’s Kevin Hayes handling tough match-ups on a nightly basis, but his wingers have rotated regularly.  So for the purposes of this exercise, let’s call the following players “the top six”: Mika Zibanejad, Chris Kreider, Pavel Buchnevich, Mats Zuccarello, Rick Nash, JT Miller and David Desharnais.  Yes, that’s actually seven forwards.  Just roll with it.

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The Rangers and Red Wings played another entertaining, low-scoring game on Friday Night.  Detroit ultimately prevailed in the shootout, 3-2.  Like the last time these teams met, Henrik Lundqvist and Jimmy Howard were a big part of the story.  This time however, the referees played a major role as well, adding drama and intrigue to this midseason matchup.

A questionable call on Brendan Smith (an illegal check to the head was called, when replays showed there was no contact to the head) sucked all the momentum from the Rangers as they pushed for a go-ahead goal in the third period.  Marc Staal also committed a tripping penalty with 1:20 remaining in the game, which bled into the overtime period.  Then the Rangers got a call, as Brady Skjei drew a penalty shot in overtime.  Unfortunately he couldn’t convert, and the game was decided in the coin-flip that is the shootout.

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Categories : Game Wrap-ups
Comments (45)

It’s hard to believe that we’re nearly at the halfway point of the 2017-18 NHL season.  As I type this, the Vegas Golden Knights are sitting alone at the top of the Western Conference, with 50 points from 35 games played.  The New Jersey Devils can’t stop winning (yuck), the LA Kings are back, and the Arizona Coyotes and Buffalo Sabres appear to be locked in a battle for the #1 pick in next year’s draft.  It’s been a strange year so far, to say the least.

The same holds true for our beloved Rangers.  Panic set in quickly in October, the ship was steadied somewhat in November, and December has been largely mediocre, but could have been much worse if not for guys named Lundqvist and Pavelec.  Here, in no particular order, are some thoughts on the Rangers, and the NHL as a whole.

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Categories : Musings
Comments (11)

Vinni Lettieri in preseason action vs. Philadelphia

The Rangers made a roster move this morning, recalling Vinni Lettieri from the Hartford Wolfpack.  Though we have no further information at this time, it’s safe to assume that Chris Kreider will miss Friday’s game in Detroit.

Lettieri was one of the bright spots in training camp this fall, and his good play continued into his first full season of professional hockey at the AHL level.  Lettieri has scored 12 goals and added 9 assists for 21 points in 31 games played for the Pack.

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Categories : Transactions
Comments (34)