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Should the Rangers Trade Derek Stepan?

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Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Hey folks, and welcome to a new weekly series where we’ll take a look at potential trade candidates on the Rangers roster and explore the reasons for and against trading them this offseason.  Of course, the case for making a trade is inherently dependent on the value of the return, but this column won’t speculate on that.  Instead, I’ll focus on the merits of the individual player himself in a fun (and dare I say, hot take-ish) way.  It should also make for some interesting debate in the comments.  So, here goes:

Yes, the Rangers should trade Derek Stepan

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Categories : Offseason, Players
Comments (88)

Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

Alain Vigneault has certainly earned the criticism levied against him for the Rangers’ crushing defeats in Game 2 and Game 5 in Ottawa. It’s fair to argue that if the Blueshirts fail to turn this series around that the coach should be handed his walking papers. I certainly think he should.

But in hockey, a coach’s role in his team’s success or failure is very difficult to quantify. Hockey is an extremely fast and fluid sport, where the onus is primarily on the players to put forth the requisite effort, but also execute in their plays and positioning with and without the puck. It’s a read-and-react sport, and those reads need to be made while playing at a breathtakingly quick pace. Yes, Vigneault could certainly help the cause by putting the best players on the ice in the right situations, but it’s also not his fault that this happened:

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Categories : Playoffs
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Rangers vs. Senators – Forwards Preview

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It’s been well-documented at this point that the Rangers ousted the Canadiens in the first round by prioritizing skill throughout their lineup at forward.  Montreal was a well-coached team with outstanding goaltending, but they were simply unable to match New York’s depth.

Though they employ a structured, defensive style of hockey, the Ottawa Senators pose a very different challenge for the Rangers to deal with in the second round of the playoffs.  Head coach Guy Boucher is well-known for not just his neutral zone trap, but also juggling his lines.

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Categories : Forwards, Playoffs
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The New York Rangers were 17 seconds away from grabbing a 2-0 stranglehold on their opening round series with the Montreal Canadiens, but the Stanley Cup Playoffs are rarely so straightforward.  Tomas Plekanec scored a late equalizer to send the game to overtime, and Alexander Radulov won it for the Habs in the first overtime period to tie the series at 1-1.

The Rangers were the masters of their own demise, playing an extremely tentative third period while holding a 3-2 lead, seemingly inviting pressure from the desperate hosts.  Rather than staying aggressive on the forecheck and holding onto possession – two things the Rangers had excelled in doing to start the series – the team chose a more conservative route, icing the puck constantly and rarely threatening Carey Price’s net.  Needless to say, the strategy backfired. Read More→

Categories : Game Wrap-ups, Playoffs
Comments (181)

The question of whether the Rangers could flip the proverbial switch had been asked, rightly, of a team that had little to play for over the last six weeks of the regular season. It took about a period, but the Rangers did just that, playing a very solid road game and taking a 1-0 series lead over the favored Canadiens, winning game one by the final score of 2-0.

The winning goal came from an unlikely source: Tanner Glass.   Glass has been a lightning rod for debate among the Blueshirts faithful since his acquisition, but there was no questioning his impact on this game. Read More→

Categories : Uncategorized
Comments (101)

Playoffs are Coming…

Ahh playoff time. The time is finally here for us to throw our covers to the wind and let our crazy fly free. The time of year when you can banish shirts to the bottom of the drawer if the Rangers lose when you wear it, when you swap Febreze for Tide if those jeans haven’t lost since March. A time when it’s acceptable to literally put an opposing trinket on ice… in your freezer.

It is also the time when your friendly basement-dwelling nerds here at BSB (except for Justin, inexplicably, always) predict who will win it all — round by round. Let us know your thoughts for the upcoming eight series in the comments. Happy Hockey Season, part 2!

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Categories : Around the League
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Mike Stobe/Getty Images

The regular season finally came to an end, with the Rangers defeating the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-2. With both teams resting some of their top players, the game took on the feel of a preseason contest, though the Blueshirts definitely iced a better lineup and mostly dominated play.

Trying to assess the team or identify anything of significance from this game would be a fool’s errand, but there were some standout performances. Ryan McDonagh dispelled any notion that an injury might hamper his playoff push, as he notched a goal and an assist. Jimmy Vesey also stood out in his role on the left wing of Mika Zibanejad and Rick Nash, a line that figures to be kept in tact when the playoffs begin on Wednesday or Thursday night. Read More→

Categories : Game Thread
Comments (6)

Before I begin, I’d just like to say thanks to the readers and my fellow BSB writers for the warm welcome.  Like the rest of the staff here, I’m just a devoted fan with thoughts about the team, and I appreciate the opportunity to share some of those thoughts with you.

My weekly post is going to follow a theme, where I highlight one reason for optimism, along with one cause for concern.  Let’s dive right in:

Reason for Optimism: the playoffs are (almost) here, and the Rangers are healthy.

After a long six-month season, the Rangers are back in the playoffs for the 11th time in the 12 seasons since the 2004-2005 lockout. This itself is remarkable, even in a league that allows more than half of its teams into the postseason, given the salary cap restrictions and the relative role of luck involved in getting there in the first place.  The one constant throughout those dozen years has been Henrik Lundqvist, who has returned to the Rangers after missing two and a half weeks with a hip injury.

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Categories : Analysis
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Photo: Ryan Kang/AP

The Rangers fell short in Anaheim on Sunday night, losing to the Ducks 6-3 and delaying their chance to clinch a playoff spot by at least one more day. Henrik Lundqvist reassumed his customary starting goaltender spot after an eight game absence, and some rust was certainly evident.  Though none of the goals were directly the fault of The King, he was victimized by some big rebounds and traffic in his crease, allowing five goals on 33 shots.

There was some news before the game even started that caused a stir. Dan Girardi was scratched from the lineup, as Alain Vigneault shocked the masses and benched the veteran in favor of Kevin Klein.  More notable than the move itself was Vigneault’s reasoning, as he cited Girardi’s sub-par performance – not his injury – as the primary reason for the decision.  Regardless, Klein didn’t exactly acquit himself well (though he too just returned from a long layoff) and wasn’t helped by a rare off-night from captain Ryan McDonagh.

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Categories : Game Wrap-ups
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MSG woes continue as Rangers fall to Bolts

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Credit: Jim McIsaac

The Rangers dropped a tightly contested 3-2 result to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday, unable to complete the sweep of their three game season series with the Bolts. While the result on its own isn’t disastrous, the main concern for the Blueshirts is their continued mediocre play at Madison Square Garden, as well as a lack of ability to sustain a full, 60-minute effort.

In some ways, the Rangers lost this game in the first period. While they were utterly dominant, generating 23 total shot attempts and 11 scoring chances, they went to the locker room tied 1-1. As the game wore on, the Lightning tightened up defensively and were able to capitalize on their chances, while the Rangers let their few golden opportunities go begging.

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Categories : Game Wrap-ups
Comments (39)