Archive for Musings

michael grabner

Stop me if you’ve heard this before: The Rangers are a wildly mediocre team with major holes that and are not ready for a realistic shot at the Stanley Cup. The team we see before us is the culmination of learning the wrong lessons from tough losses over the past few years. It is the end result of ignoring process for goaltending-masked wins.

Regardless of how the Rangers got here, they are here now. The Blueshirts, despite the standings, are not a realistic shot to win the Cup. They struggled with Mika Zibanejad went down. They’ve been struggling since Chris Kreider went down. True contenders don’t fall off a cliff when they lose a top-six forward. The Rangers have, twice.

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Jan
04

How Jeff Gorton Can Make This Team His Own

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It’s no secret that the Rangers are, despite being a good team, lacking something. There’s been a lot of debate as to what exactly that something is, with much of the blame as of late going to the defensive corps (which is probably somewhat deserved), the lack of forward depth (a definite concern, as evidenced by Zibanejad’s absence), and of course the coaching (you already know). Just yesterday we heard from Chris about how the Rangers could be a Stanley Cup dark horse if only they had that extra something. Well, there may be a somewhat simple, elegant way to solve these issues, a move that would solidify this team as Jeff Gorton’s own.

If you’ve been watching the IIHF World Junior Championship, you probably caught something yesterday that came as a bit of a surprise: Team Czech Republic beat Team Finland in the quarterfinals to advance to the semis. Now, while they’ll unfortunately be playing Canada in their semifinal matchup, there is something of note here. The Czech team has, without any true superstars (save Filip Zadina, who is expected to go top-10 in this upcoming draft), made some serious noise at this tournament, and their success must be credited in part to their head coach, Filip Pesan.

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Jan
02

Thoughts on the Winter Classic

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Photo Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

The Rangers needed overtime, but they came away with the 3-2 win over Buffalo yesterday in the Winter Classic. They improved their outdoor record to 4-0, which covers two Winter Classics and a pair of Stadium Series games. Undefeated outdoors, as We Bleed Blue has coined, is a nice moniker to have.

I have a confession to make though. I could not watch the game yesterday. I was away for the holiday, and believe it or not there was no TV. I followed updates on Twitter and the gifs from @hayyyshayyy (a must follow). So if you were hoping on thoughts specific to yesterday’s game, I am sorry but that won’t be happening. But I prefer to give some thoughts on the Winter Classic itself.

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Dec
29

Some Friday thoughts

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www.NHL.com

The Rangers showed improved process on Wednesday night, winning a nail biter against Washington in a shootout.  They look to build on that game tonight against the Red Wings in Detroit.  The big news the past few days was the loss of Chris Kreider to a blood clot in his arm.  With these developments and the Winter Classic coming up, as you can imagine, I have some thoughts…

1. First, the Kreider injury.  This is one of those situations where the health of a human being supersedes anything hockey related.  First and foremost, you hope Kreider makes a full recovery, simply because blood clots can be extremely dangerous.  Complications can lead to stroke or heart attack.  Get well soon, Mr. Kreider. Read More→

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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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Dec
26

Post-Christmas Rangers Wish List

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I hope everyone had a good holiday yesterday. It’s been a rough go of it late for us Ranger fans, as we’ve been watching the Blueshirts get shelled every night. We are at a point where Henrik Lundqvist might just go back to Sweden and say, “screw it.”

We all have our wish lists for this team. I figure I would go through mine, even if it is a little late. I hear Santa likes to deliver some tardy Christmas gifts if you ask nicely.

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rick nash kevin hayes

Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac

Over the weekend, news broke that the salary cap for next season might hit as high as $82 million, with a low of $78 million. This is mostly due to the success in Vegas, which no one is sure is sustainable, but for now impacts the salary cap in a positive manner.

For the Rangers, their offseason look is interesting. They have a bunch of key RFAs they will need to re-sign (Miller, Hayes, Vesey, Nieves, Skjei). Vesey and Nieves likely won’t command more than $3 million combined, but the trio of Miller, Hayes, and Skjei could get pricey fast.

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Dec
08

Thoughts before the Caps game tonight

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NY Daily News

It’s been a bit of a slow week in Rangerland.  Credit only having two games since I last posted, I suppose.  The Blueshirts take on the Caps tonight, in the wake of Barry Trotz’ completely unnecessary criticism of Kevin Shattenkirk; the Rangers should have some motivation to make him eat his words.  In any event, I have some thoughts…

1. The Rangers have gone 7-3-0 in their past ten games and they are still sixth (!) in the Metro.  It just goes to show what a meat grinder this division is.  The five teams ahead of them are separated by a single point. A single point. At least the Rangers have games in hand on everyone but the Devils, who are still inexplicably sitting atop the pile.  The Rangers also have the second-best goal differential in the division, so hopefully regression will hit some of those other clubs a bit harder in the coming weeks.

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Nov
17

Some quick Friday thoughts

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(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Happy Friday, BSB faithful!  Through more or less the quarter season mark, it has been the tale of two campaigns for the Rangers thus far: the tire fire first twelve games, which saw the Blueshirts go 3-7-2 and the much improved last seven games, when they went 6-1-0.  The Rangers have jumped back into the playoff picture with the win streak, so naturally, I have some thoughts…

1. As Dave has mentioned several times, the need for another center (or forward depth in general) just isn’t going away.  Mika Zibanejad has been a revelation and Kevin Hayes has been a much more effective 2C than I would have imagined.  However, for this team to actually contend, they need to be able to create matchup headaches lower in the lineup. Read More→

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The Rangers have pulled themselves together for a lengthy win streak, currently at six games as they enjoy a few days off for needed rest. From an abysmal start, the past two weeks have proven to be just what the doctor ordered in getting the Rangers back in the thick of things.

The Rangers’ play has become much more cohesive, and fans in general should be excited about this progress. The standings have progressed nicely, as shown below (far right column indicates points on the first column, indicating standings as of November 1):

This week the Rangers will be on the road for two games, something unusual for the team who has only seen five away games in 18 this season. Let’s take a look at what they’ll be facing.

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