Archive for Musings

The Rangers were unlucky to come out of Detroit with only one point. Then again, how often have we been able to say in the recent past that a Rangers team would be disappointed to come away from Detroit without the points despite out skilling and out skating the Wings? Call it progress.

I saw someone call Wednesday’s game a preview of the Eastern Conference Final. If that becomes fact the Rangers would be delighted with that opportunity. The Wings are a very talented team but over seven games, and with Henrik Lundqvist in net, the Rangers would be confident they would progress.

Yandle watch: You just know a handful of fans are already moaning thathe hasn’t registered ten powerplay points yet… Yandle has adjusted quickly especially when you consider he’s had almost no practice time. It’s hard not to get excited about the upside of this team.

James Sheppard had a solid debut and he looks like he’ll bring a healthy dose of hockey IQ to the Rangers. He keeps it simple, makes smart plays and looks defensively reliable. One game does not a career Ranger make, but it was a promising start for sure.

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So much has gone on around the league over the past few days it’s worth a brief muse because so much affects the Rangers.

Deadline prices are getting crazier by the year yet the talent level is increasingly worse. When a player (no matter how talented) who hasn’t played all season and is approaching 40 fetches a 2nd round pick and a conditional extra pick, prices are too rich for the Rangers. Kimmo Timonen was a fine player and can still play but you could see last year he had clearly lost a step. The Hawks felt he was worth the investment but the Rangers shouldn’t buy ‘a name player’ for the sake of it.

Who are the Rangers biggest threats in the East? The only team that intimidates me are Tampa. They can score in bunches, are quick and deep and Ben Bishop has often had the Rangers number regardless of the team he’s suited up for. Are they beatable? Yes, but the Rangers slack play in their own zone over the past few weeks would really be exposed by a team whose best player (Stamkos) is only just peaking.

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When Henrik Lundqvist went down with his vascular injury earlier this month, everyone panicked. And I do mean everyone. Even I panicked, and I usually don’t panic (even if I am stubborn as a mule). But Cam Talbot has been serviceable in his time as a starter, posting a 5-1-1 record thus far, making the Rangers 6-1-1 in February.

It’s not like Talbot has been beating bad teams either, he was in net for wins over Boston and the Isles. He played, in my opinion, his best game of the season against Nashville, a 3-2 loss. He hasn’t been stellar, allowing three or more goals five times, but he’s made key saves when he has needed to, and that’s the important takeaway.

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I’m spoiling you. As I head to New York myself on Tuesday morning I thought I would muse for the second time in a week. Sometimes we go weeks without ‘musings’ sometimes I have a lot I want to say so let’s jump into it.

Marc Methot gets 19.6 million, makes Ottawa make Glen Sather look savy. I too am absolutely sensitive about Marc Staal’s contract. He comes with a huge health warning and will probably never be the truly dominant player he could have become but Marc Methot getting close to 5m a year makes Staal’s deal look more than fine (health allowing). Staal has more offensive upside than Methot and teams also pay for numbers.

If they’re comparable defensively it’s probably only because Staal has had a couple so-so years recently. In addition, Methot may be one of the few top four defenseman around the league that is even more injury prone than Staal. The price for defensemen continues to get out of control.

The Rangers may be quiet at the deadline through no fault of their own. Many of their apparent targets are gone. Santorelli is in Nashville, and a few players linked to the franchise like Patrick Kaleta are injured past the deadline.

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Feb
13

Thoughts after five Hank-less games

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Before we get started, I just wanted to take a minute to lament west coast games. Last night wasn’t even a proper 10:30pm west coast game, and I still hated it. It forced me to admit that I am an old man when I fall asleep half way through the third period and miss everything. It’s stupid. All games should be played based on Eastern Standard Time. Get off my lawn!

Ok, onto some actual Ranger-related thoughts after five Hank-less games…

 

  • Wow, Kevin Hayes.
  • Speaking of Hayes, I’m going to state the obvious and talk about how great that third line has looked. JT Miller needs to stay in the lineup.
  • I think Chris Kreider has an unbelievable amount of talent. However, he seems to be developing into a seriously one dimensional player. He can use speed to the outside and fire off a slightly off-angle shot. If he doesn’t get to the front of the net, it’s a pretty exciting build up, but nothing usually comes of it.
  • I’m going on record and saying Marty St. Louis is in a slump. Far from done. Although, that turn over on the Av’s second goal last night was borderline inexcusable.
  • Cam Talbot has looked very good in Hank’s absence. He has good composure, positioning and is prone to the big save. The key will be how consistent he can be if Hank is out for more than 10 games or so. That is the real separator of starting-caliber goalies.   Can they rely on him night in night out?
  • Rick Nash is awesome. I love that I get to say that now almost every time I write one of these posts.
  • Speaking of Hank, his injury is one that is rarely seen in hockey. I’ll be cautious whenever he returns and I don’t know how confident we can be that he will be fully healthy when the time comes.
  • I need to starting seeing some losing out of NYI, PIT and WSH very soon. I’m getting sick of their crap.
  • The fanbase seems to be very split on how intense this year’s trade deadline should get. As long as Tanner Glass gets a good seat in the press box to watch from, I’ll be good.
  • We are officially in the grind portion of the season. Especially without Hank, it’s tough to get up for a run through Feb/March. It’s about collecting points and jockeying for the highest conference position possible. Still on pace to fight for the top if games in hand are won.
  • It never ceases to amuse me how much my wife loves watching the dad’s up in stands during their visits.
  • How about that Evander Kane trade? I’m not going to like seeing Buffalo on the schedule in a couple years.
  • I’d love to see MacKenzie Skapski get some action. For one game, let’s see what the kid’s got.

Rangers are right back at it tomorrow against the lowly Coyotes before a big tilt (relatively speaking) against the Isles at the Coliseum.

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We haven’t had a musings in a while now have we? There’s lot’s to talk about in Rangerland so let’s just jump straight in.

Let’s start with a non Ranger topic, the Evander Kane – Tyler Myers trade. I think it’s a win-win for the clubs, both with deep prospect pools albeit one club (Winnipeg) is further down its development path than the other (Buffalo). Given that the centre pieces of the deal (Kane, Myers and to an extent, Bogosian) were all either damaged goods or underperforming assets, both clubs came out of the deal in pretty good shape.

Regardless of how deep a prospect pool is, let the cautionary tale be Edmonton. Does anyone completely trust Buffalo to get things right even if they land uber prospect Connor McDavid?

Addressing Cam Talbot’s shaky stretch of play. Yes, he should have stopped Erik Cole in the Dallas game and he certainly gave up a couple soft goals against the wilting Leafs. That said, the Rangers are likely more than happy with Talbot and so should you be. You can make a strong case that without Talbot the Rangers lose both those games (no points). The team in front of him hasn’t played well enough which has without doubt affected his first ever stretch as an NHL starter.

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The New York Rangers finally got their collective acts together last night, and it resulted in a strong 3-2 win over the Boston Bruins. It was, for the most part, a strong team effort. They had some gaffes, but Cam Talbot made some strong saves and the Rangers capitalized on their chances. But the team we saw on the ice likely won’t be the team on the ice for the playoffs.

With deadline day approaching, there has been a lot of discussion about who the Rangers can trade in a deal. The Rangers have been linked to the Arizona Coyotes, likely for Antoine Vermette. Mike Santorelli has been thrown around in discussions, as has Andrej Sekera. But we’ve covered that a lot, I want to talk about some of the kids.

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I hope everyone has cured their post-Isles-loss-hangover, because tonight the New York Rangers take on the Montreal Canadiens. Since it’s Thursday, and I pretty much exhausted my list of super-fantastic posts that get me yelled at, I think it’s time I do a musings.

  • In case you missed it, NHL.com is going to be undergoing a major overhaul, specifically on its stats page. You know what’s being added? #fancystats, that’s what. Corsi, Fenwick, potentially PDO, and a few others will be up and ready for everyone to view. So for all of you saying Corsi/Fenwick tell us nothing, give it up. The NHL agrees that it does.
  • Now the big question: When they add these stats, will they do it properly? Will they default to 5v5 CF/FF? Will they give us score adjusted metrics? Will zone starts be available? What about quality of competition/teammates? The NHL can do one of two things: make a great resource for casual fans who haven’t learned the new stats, or botch it completely.
  • Another big question: What will happen to sites like war-on-ice when this goes live?

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The Rangers, barring more trade robbery from Glen Sather, should stay quiet as the NHL trade deadline approaches. Several rumours are beginning to circulate around the Rangers and usually there’s no smoke without fire. Indeed, a lot of these rumours come from good sources (McKenzie, Dreger etc) but despite the rumours this Rangers team is well placed to compete for the Cup as currently constructed.

There needs to be a careful balance between competing now and long term. The Rangers have stripped themselves of assets in recent seasons with trades for, among others, Rick Nash and Marty St Louis and at some stage the cupboard will need more top end talent. While the Rangers do have a few solid prospects on the cusp (Skjei, Duclair, Buchnevich etc) there’s not a huge amount of prospects en route that are certainties to make the Rangers.

Given what the Rangers have at their disposal to make a trade (not much, unless you think Sather will ship out a core roster part such as Carl Hagelin mid-season), there’s not a huge amount out there that would represent either a massive upgrade or value for money and does anyone want to see another early draft pick sent to a club such as Arizona for four months of Antoine Vermette? Vermette is a good player for sure but surely not the kind of player that will put the Rangers that much closer to the Cup. Don’t think Arizona are going to give away their players either.

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Jan
23

Thoughts heading into All-Star Weekend

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After a tremendous stretch of hockey going all the way back to December 8 and winning 16 out of 19 games, the Rangers get a much deserved break for All-Star weekend. Once they get through the festivities, they face a tough trip to Long Island to get a second crack to show the upstart Islanders who New York’s real team is. Since there isn’t much specific analysis that the crew hasn’t covered since the OT win again Ottawa, I have some thoughts…

  • While I agree that the All-Star Game is kind of silly and since the implementation of the shootout, the Skills Competition has lost much of its luster, the All-Star Weekend is still a great concept for the host city. I was in Ottawa a couple years back when the All-Star Game was held there, and the whole city really came together in a celebration of hockey. We fans might not care at this point, but I’m sure the city of Columbus cares a great deal.
  • That said…those jerseys. Yikes. Remember the days when the All-Star jerseys were modeled after old school sweaters? Those were sharp. I’m sure even The Suit approved. These looks like the hockey equivalent of a site worker’s safety vest.
  • I’m glad Henrik Lundqvist decided to skip the weekend once Jimmy Howard went down. Over the past few seasons, he hasn’t gotten much in the way of rest this time of year. Between the Olympics and other All-Star festivities, he has been a busy guy in February. It’s only a couple days, but it could go a long way in recharging him for the stretch run.
  • You have to be impressed with Matt Hunwick’s play of late, no?

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