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adam graves

After a brief hiatus, the Blue Seat Blogs #TBT series returns.  Our first two editions revisited memorable Rangers regular season wins.  But because being a Ranger fan involves a little bit of masochism, this week’s trip back takes us to the most recent nadir of Rangers hockey: the early 2000’s.

After winning the Stanley Cup in 1994, the Rangers declined slowly and then all at once, as the core of Mark Messier, Brian Leetch, Mike Richter and Adam Graves aged.  Rock bottom wouldn’t truly come until 2004, but if you lived through this era of Rangers hockey, you likely have done your best to delete it from your memory.

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Categories : Offseason
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Welcome back for another edition of Blue Seat Blogs’ Throwback Thursday.  In last week’s edition, we revisited Nikolai Zherdev’s last gasp, game-tying goal against the Penguins way back in 2008.  This week, we jump forward in the time machine nearly four years to reminisce about another memorable matchup with a division rival.

For fans of a certain age, hockey hatred was learned not by watching Rangers-Habs or Rangers-Isles, but Rangers-Devils.  While the rivalry has lost some steam in recent years, Rangers-Devils still evokes a distinct type of of animus among the Garden Faithful.

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Categories : Musings
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Remember me?

Folks, it’s July.  And not just July, but the MIDDLE of the July, which is the worst time of year for a hockey fan.  The fun part of free agency is over with, the #hockeyinsiders are on vacation, and the players are enjoying some free time before getting serious again ahead of the new season.  The clock ticks ever so slowly towards October 5th.

In order to pass the time, I thought it would be fun to take a weekly stroll down memory lane, at least until we have some more substantial and current Rangers-related issues to discuss.

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Categories : Musings
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Are the Rangers Better Today?

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The dust of free agency is beginning to settle, and the 2017-2018 edition of the New York Rangers is beginning to take shape.  The Blueshirts did what they historically do and landed the biggest fish in the free agency pond, though this time they didn’t overpay.  The prize was Kevin Shattenkirk, who joins his favorite boyhood team at the perfect moment for both parties.

The upgrade from a top pairing of Ryan McDonagh-Dan Girardi to Ryan McDonagh-Kevin Shattenkirk is almost laughable in nature.  Shattenkirk is one of the most complete defensemen in the NHL, capable of playing big minutes in all situations, and a lock to deliver consistent power play production.  He’s a fluid skater, a right-handed shot, and if his July 1st interviews are any indication, he couldn’t be more excited to be joining the Rangers.  This was the perfect signing in practically every way.

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justin williams

As we barrel towards July 1, Rangerstown has been ablaze with discussion about how to fill in the vacancy left by the departure of Derek Stepan.  The crop of available centers notoriously thin, headlined by 37-year old Joe Thornton.  Other options include Martin Hanzal, Mike Fisher, Sam Gagner, and old pal Brian Boyle.  While all are solid players in their own right, none of them really move the needle for the Rangers, who are “rebuilding on the fly” but also trying to remain in contention (as evidenced by yesterday’s re-signing of Brendan Smith).

There’s only one name in the free agent crop of forwards that has intrigued me since season’s end: Justin Williams.  I realize that the mere mention of his name is like a dagger to the heart for many of us who still feel the dull pain of the 2014 final lingering, but hear me out.

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Categories : Offseason
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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
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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
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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
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