Archive for Musings
As the NHL heads into All-Star weekend, regular season games have been suspended until Tuesday. With the loss to the Flyers on Wednesday, the Rangers go into the break in fourth place in the Metropolitan Division, nine points back of the Caps for the top spot. With sixty percent of the season behind us and just a month to go before the trade deadline, I have some thoughts…
1. Even though it was a small sampling of games over the past week or so, it was nice to see a real bounce back in performance from Henrik Lundqvist. He has looked much sharper since the barnburner against Dallas. Much more poised on his feet, more precision in his angles and movement and more in sync with the team in front of him.
On the podcast last night, Becky and Pat brought up an interesting discussion about who their dream Ranger would be. It’s an interesting topic, as there are many different opinions of what player will solve all the problems that ail the Rangers. It’s also a fun discussion too, as it’s a battle to try to get your favorite player on the Rangers.
For Pat, his dream Ranger is one of Erik Karlsson, PK Subban, or Steven Stamkos. At the deadline though, he’s significantly more realistic, preferring Cody Franson or Kevin Shattenkirk in the summer. Ryan Graves actually made his list too. Talking about a reboot of the defense.
Unless you’re blind, you’ve noticed that the Rangers have a huge issue on defense. It doesn’t matter what you think about Henrik Lundqvist’s future, it’s painfully obvious that for the Rangers to be a better team and have a legitimate shot at a Stanley Cup, they need to make drastic changes on the blue line. This is beyond deployment, it’s personnel based, and the need is dire.
There are some quick fixes that can be done to make the Rangers into more of a contending team. This would mean giving up a young top-nine forward for a young top-four defenseman and then making a separate deal for a solid bottom pairing defenseman. That, at the very least, is what is needed to turn the current version of the Rangers into a true Cup contender this season. They need not one, but two defensemen.
With the Columbus Blue Jackets having just wrapped up a historic win streak, former Rangers head coach and current Jackets skipper John Tortorella has been in the media lately talking about the character and identity of his team. As a bona fide nerd and believer in statistical analysis I’d typically be dismissive, even mockingly so, of Torts’ typical emphasis on things like “playing the game the right way”, but lately I’ve been reconsidering my stance.
The discussion around intangibles in hockey can be a polarizing one, and while I’m not sure I’m convinced that teams should pay premiums for the character of their players I’m by no means hesitant to say that these sort of things matter. Their on-ice impact is ephemeral and often over-stated, but even the most hardened spreadsheet fanalysts ascribe meaning to the game that ultimately can be tied back to qualities of character.
The Rangers have been incredibly up and down the past few weeks. Which version of the Rangers is the real version we can expect to see down the stretch?
There is no way of predicting the end of the Rangers’ season. I truly believe the blueline will look significantly different come February and we do not yet know how the top nine forward set up will shake out when all are healthy.
How will this influence the team’s ability to match up against the Caps, Pens, Habs and yes, the Blue Jackets?
Reading back that first comment – only the Pens scare me. Even the Pens however have their flaws, their warts. There is no perfect team in the East. That’s why Rangers fans should remain optimistic.
Happy 2017, BSB faithful! Now that that the dumpster fire that was 2016 is in the books, time to get back to business. The Rangers have had something of an interesting week; a horrific showing against Buffalo, a nice bounce back win against Philly, some defensive adjustments and a looming matchup with the red-hot Blue Jackets. Unfortunately, the Caps bludgeoned Columbus last night, so we won’t get to see our potentially record breaking showdown, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have some thoughts…
1) Since the back-to-back shellacking’s against Minnesota and Pittsburgh, the Rangers have had a very soft schedule, and for the most part, have taken advantage. There were some suspect performances along the way, but you could do a whole lot worse than 4-1 through that stretch.
Happy New Year, folks! It’s finally 2017, which means that we will finally stop seeing an end to those ‘2016 is the worst ever’ memes, and if that’s not reason enough to smile, I don’t know what is.
Here at BSB, we believe in the power of the New Years resolution, a romantic concept that the best is yet to come. New Year, New Us. We’ll optimistically go over some things that we hope members of the Rangers and staff have made as a resolution.
Alain Vigneault: of many, many resolutions I hope for our fearless coach, let’s begin with holding true to your word. Many of us are waiting for your friend Dan Girardi to actually sit the second of a back to back, or even to just rest his 32-year-old warrior legs. Let the man take a break. Read More→
It’s been a bumpy few games for the Rangers. First they allowed touchdowns to Pittsburgh and Minnesota, then they needed to rely on two sloppy goals against a backup goalie on a mediocre team in order to right the ship. After a few weeks of strong defensive play, they regressed back to their old selves. It wasn’t pretty, and I have some thoughts.
1 – I’ve been harping on this for a while, but if it isn’t clear to you that the Rangers need an upgrade on defense, then please tell me why you disagree (politely). The effort against Ottawa was atrocious, and fast forwards will continue to burn the likes of Kevin Klein and Dan Girardi on a regular basis. It’s no coincidence that playoff teams like Pittsburgh can basically score at will against the Rangers. They need to get some mobile defensemen that can get sticks in lanes and force the rush to the outside.
Happy Festivus everyone! In true Festivus spirit, let us use today to air our grievances. There are many grievances us Rangers fans have with the team, the fans, the Garden, and the NHL. Or perhaps you just want to air your general life grievances, that’s cool too. After all, today is a day of grievance discussion. As for me – well I have a few.
Grievance #1 – Injuries
Seriously Rangers. Stop getting injured. It’s not funny anymore. Every time I watch a game, someone else gets hurt. Mika Zibanejad broke his leg. Rick Nash hurt his groin. Pavel Buchnevich was kidnapped by Putin. Rick Nash hurt his other groin. Enough is enough. Quit it.
Last night during the Rangers 2-0 win over the Dallas Stars, Henrik Lundqvist was absolutely decimated by an extremely dirty hit from Cody Eakin (see below). Lundqvist left the ice for league mandated concussion protocols, but returned approximately five minutes later to ultimately finish the game and the shutout.
There does not seem to be much doubt around the league that the hit was deplorable and Eakin is deserving of supplementary discipline. However, it has again spurned the discussion of the Rangers’ response to the hit and the role of goaltenders and their safety outside the sanctum of their crease. I’d like to talk about both of those things today.