Archive for Analysis

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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Jan
27

The Power of a Promise

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(Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images)

A pall has descended over Rangerstown, and it’s sucking the fun out of the game. The Rangers are barely winning anymore, they’re doing that thing again where they totally mismanage injuries, Henrik Lundqvist is on pace to play way too many games, Cody McLeod is now a New York Ranger, and AV is still around, up to his old tricks.

The team, seeming lacking in any sense of direction or coherence, is now rumored to be decidedly in the selling camp as we approach the deadline, and likely beyond that to the draft. You’ll have to excuse me for being cynical about whether any of that comes to pass, or whether any of it is well executed, given the state of things. The Rangers have somehow taken a consistently good thing and in one season (but actually over the course of many seasons, which I’ll get to) turned it bad. How did we get here?

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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)

derek stepan

How did we get here? How did the Rangers get this bad?

Don’t let their record fool you, outside of a fun stretch in November, which saw the Rangers’ SH% normalize and a related offensive outburst, the Rangers are not a .500 hockey team. They’ve been allowing a record number of shots, both attempts and on goal, and have looked like a cellar-dweller more than a Stanley Cup hopeful. If not for the Vezina caliber season of Henrik Lundqvist, the Rangers would be in the cellar, slightly above Buffalo.

The reason we are here is simple. The Rangers, during their successes of 2013-2015, learned a series of lessons and adjusted accordingly. The problem is that they learned the wrong lessons, and their adjustments made them worse, not better. The warning signs were there as early as 2015, but went either ignored, or worse, unnoticed.

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Comments (91)
Jan
12

Mid-season report card: the goalies

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Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images

The Rangers went into this season with question marks surrounding both of their goaltenders.  Henrik Lundqvist was shaking off questions about an uncharacteristically poor season last year, and Ondrej Pavelec, Benoit Allaire’s latest pet project, had one foot out of the NHL.  There were good reasons for fans and pundits alike to be skeptical of the stability in the Ranger crease, especially with Lundqvist turning 36 this season and the ridiculously high-quality backup goaltenders the Rangers have had the past four years.

At the halfway mark of the season, it seems that many of those fears have been unfounded (mine included), as both goaltenders have been strong through the team’s first 42 games. Let’s a dig a little deeper at each of their respective performances, shall we?

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rangers kings Rick nash

(Apologies for the sporadic output lately but unfortunately, wedding planning can’t be handled over spreadsheets.)

After a shaky start to the season that led to many calling for the firing of coach Alain Vigneault, the Rangers have righted the ship and have reeled off 18 wins in the last 27 games. While the resurgence of star goalie Henrik Lundqvist has played a major role in the team’s drastic change in fortunes, it would be a disservice not to look under the hood of how the skaters in front of him have performed.

With their recent uptick in performance, the Rangers have now moved into the top ten in goals for and goals against (ranked 7th in both stats). However, as I stated earlier this season, while stats themselves are critical to understanding a teams performance, understanding how they got there is just as important.

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Categories : Analysis
Comments (35)
Dec
21

The Rangers are an enigma

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henrik lundqvist

As fans, we love seeing the Rangers win. As smart fans, we love it more when they win and have good process on the ice. I still love the wins, but as bad process has continues to trouble the Rangers, I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop. That shoe, of course, is Father Time coming for Henrik Lundqvist. So while I wait for that, I consistently check on-ice process, hoping for an improvement.

The Rangers are a weird team and Alain Vigneault is a weird coach. This is a club that, for the past three seasons, has consistently outperformed basically every stat that we use as predictive measures, at least in the regular season. Outside of the 2013-2015 runs, the Rangers haven’t exactly performed well in the playoffs. There has to be a reason why they consistently outperform their stats in the regular season, though.

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Categories : Analysis
Comments (62)
Dec
17

Gropp scores as Pack lose in shootout

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Springfield Thunderbirds 2, Hartford Wolf Pack 1 (SO)

Springfield, MA, December 16, 2017 – A Hartford Wolf Pack offense that scored a season-high seven goals against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Friday night at home could only manage one Saturday night at the MassMutual Center, in a 2-1 shootout loss to the Springfield Thunderbirds.

Marek Mazanec made 42 saves in his third straight start in the Hartford net, and Ryan Gropp scored the only Wolf Pack goal. Samuel Montembeault got the win in goal for Springfield, stopping 32 shots in regulation in overtime and going 3-for-3 in the shootout. Bobby Farnham scored the only Thunderbird goal, and Francois Beauchemin had the only goal of the shootout.

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Categories : AHL, Analysis
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Dec
15

A difference in goaltending styles

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Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images

So far this season, Henrik Lundqvist has received the bulk of the playing time for the Rangers.  Hank had played remarkably well considering the Rangers are currently dead last in the league in xGA/60 and 27th in the league in CF% (all stats per Corsica.hockey).  Alain Vigneault has leaned on Lundqvist heavily as the Blueshirts have tried to rebound from their putrid start to try to gain solid footing in the division race.  This adjustment has forced Ondrej Pavelec into a much lesser role than the organization originally intended, as they had hoped he would be a ~25 game backup.  So far, he has started only five games.

When the signing was originally announced, I wasn’t crazy about it.  Spoiled by four consecutive years of high-quality backup performances by Cam Talbot and Antti Raanta, I didn’t see the same level of success coming from Pavelec.  After all, Talbot and Raanta were both younger goaltenders hoping to take the next step in their development and be in a position to start.  With Pavelec, that ship had already sailed and he was looking to retain a roster spot in the NHL.  At 30, his style was what it was and had no real reason to make meaningful adjustments.

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Categories : Analysis, Goaltending
Comments (6)
Nov
24

The scoring concern at even strength

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chris kreider

The Rangers are a weird team this year. I’ve been saying that a lot, but it’s especially true. We are used to strong even strength scoring and a poor powerplay. But this year it’s in reverse. The Rangers can’t score at even strength but the powerplay is one of the best in the league.

Alain Vigneault lives and dies by the counter attack at even strength, and so far this year it has been a relative failure. It’s not for lack of chances, either, as the Rangers are 6th in xGF/60 in the league. It’s that they haven’t finished at the rate they usually do.

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Categories : Analysis
Comments (35)