Archive for Musings
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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?
Note: There won’t be a goal breakdown for last night’s 4-1 win over Anaheim. Dave usually gets the west coast games, but he’s sick and was in bed before the game started. It looked to be a solid win over a solid team, giving the Rangers some “street cred.”
It’s Thursday and we haven’t done a proper hardcore muse for a while so forgive me while I ramble. Forgive me also, that this was written before Wednesday night’s game away to Disney’s Ducks so musings won’t be influenced by the jaunt to Anaheim. Let’s get into it.
Earlier this week I was discussing who was the best all round defensemen in the league (at the moment) with a friend. I was trying to – impartially – state the case for Ryan McDonagh being top five in the league. Bias? Maybe some, but is he at that level?
Ryan Suter, Drew Doughty and maybe Duncan Keith are above McDonagh when considering each player’s impact at both ends of the rink but are there many more? Kronwall comes close but doesn’t have the mobility of McDonagh and then there are a handful of very promising, almost elite young players near to McDonagh’s level (Ekman-Larsson for example) but the point remains; when you consider age, their play at both ends, hockey IQ, size and mobility there are not many I’d put above McDonagh.
By my poor math, Rick Nash is on course for 54.66 goals this season. Can he break Jagr’s record?
Welcome to 2015, BSB faithful. 2014 is now behind us, which is a little weird, to be honest. It was a pretty interesting year, all told. We got a Stanley Cup Final run, a traded Captain, Stadium Series Games, troublesome contract negotiations and much more. But, it’s now ancient history, so let’s talk about some of the topics burning in the New Year…
- Obviously non-Rangers related, but is it just me, or has the Winter Classic jumped the shark? Sure, it’s still interesting, and playing hockey outdoors will always be awesome, but the whole thing was just “blah” this year. Maybe it’s the rotating hosting of Bettman’s favorite teams. Or Pierre Maguire’s obnoxious voice. Or the fact we didn’t get a 24/7 because no one knows what EPIX is.
- Back to Rangerland. Oh, look Tanner Glass sits and the Rangers get back to winning. I’m kidding, the whole thing has gotten a little out of hand. We all know Tanner Glass is god awful at the occupation he makes over a million dollars a year at. Yet he continues to play, and it doesn’t make that much of a difference. Until it does, against good teams, in the playoffs. Figure it out, AV.
- I will be very interested to see how Sather (or his successor?) handles the long term construction of the blue line. Ryan McDonagh and Dan Girardi are the only two players locked in long-term, and it seems with every game that Marc Staal is inching toward the door. Kevin Klein is around for the mid-term, but not a cornerstone piece. Dan Boyle likely won’t be here beyond next season. Matt Hunwick isn’t a long-term solution. Would have been nice if John Moore turned that smooth skating and size into more useful hockey skills.
- The forwards are in a slightly different boat with a glut of talent on the wings and very little depth up the middle. At some point, the front office needs to turn that strength into assets that are needed, but there really is not much available on the market. High-end centers are the league’s most valuable commodity, and while Derick Brassard and Derek Stepan have been very serviceable in the Top-6, this team could really use a true 1C. Something tells me Jim Nill is too smart to give away Tyler Seguin.
- Henrik Lundqvist has played much better lately. He is still prone to the odd soft goal or two, but I feel like if we traded that goal every couple games for one of the absurd saves he makes going in, no one would be complaining. No one likes soft goals, but he hasn’t allowed them in situations which cost the team games.
- Wouldn’t it be nice if this actually got Chris Kreider going?
- Rick Nash is still a monster. It had to be said.
- Don’t you love how these west coast games conspire to throw a wrench into the schedule? Not only does it suck having to stay up for them, you get a string of non-conference games against tough opponents. We should be getting the opportunity to improve our playoff positioning with matchups against the Isles, Caps and Penguins right now. But nope, here come the Sharks, Ducks and Kings.
- I’m not going to completely rip off Chris’s setup here and throw a bunch of questions out, but there are a few things I’m curious about how the community feels:
- Do you think this team as constructed can make another run?
- With that in mind, trade deadline wish list?
- Do you think Chris Kreider is more valuable long-term on the roster or as a trade asset?
- What would be your minimum required asset to rid the team of Girardi’s contract?
- What would you look for in a potential Marc Staal trade?
- And finally, the question bomb: if you could flip Henrik Lundqvist (and his contract) for John Gibson, would you do it?
I hope those who celebrated Christmas yesterday had a lovely holiday. For those who celebrated Hannukah, I hope you had a lovely eight days leading up to Festivus. Before the holiday break started, the Rangers won seven in a row, including a big divisional matchup against the Caps on Tuesday night. There has been a roster freeze in effect until today, but it didn’t really affect the Rangers. News has been slow, but it doesn’t mean I don’t have random thoughts to go through on this slow day.
- I hope you all like the new site design. It will take some getting used to. Everything used to scroll chronologically, and for the most part it still does. The difference is the image scroller at the top, which will have the six most recent featured posts. A featured post will be our standard posts that you see twice per day, and it will also include any big news/transactions.
- The list underneath is in chronological order and will include any other post (lineup changes, FanDuel notices, minor news) and any featured post after the six most recent. Again, it will take some getting used to.
The New York Rangers have spun off six straight wins against teams that they really needed to beat to remain relevant in the Metro Division. The win that started it all was an overtime win against the Penguins, followed by wins over Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, and two over Carolina. The wins bumped them to 38 points in 31 games, good for 4th in the division and the 2nd wild card spot in the conference.
The good thing is that the Rangers have two games in hand on all teams ahead of them in the Metro, and three games in hand on the Boston Bruins (37 points), who will eventually climb back into the playoff picture once Florida and Toronto falter. However, it would be nice to slip into third place with a win tonight against the Caps (40 points in 33 games).
If the Rangers win tonight against Washington, there’s a chance they can win out the rest of the month. Games against the Devils and at Dallas/Florida remain following the Christmas break. The Devils can’t score, the Stars can’t play defense, and Florida has eight loser points. Let’s not count chickens before they hatch though.
You will notice that the Rangers didn’t really gain much ground in the division with those wins. That’s because the Pens, Isles, and Caps all kept pace with win streaks of their own. That’s why tonight’s game is very important. A win in regulation is critical.
Although you can’t really nitpick on the current six-game win streak, the powerplay has been bad (as Suit pointed out this morning) and the wins haven’t all been pretty. The Rangers hit an unlucky streak against Carolina but still came out with wins. The good thing is that they absolutely dominated them, so while there were some lazy spots, it wasn’t a case of the Rangers playing down to their opponent.
Puck possession certainly has been trending in the right direction. The chart below shows FF% (the first of the two charts) at even strength when the score is within 1 goal (five-game rolling average):
The second chart shows FF% density. The highest point in this chart is the most frequent FF% for the Rangers, which is slightly below 50%. Their average is right around 50%. Ideally you want that to be higher, but it has certainly moved in the right direction the last few games (see the top chart). It’s worth noting that the bottom chart is in all scoring situations, so score effects isn’t taken into account.
The Rangers are certainly moving in the right direction, and the best teams beat up on the bad teams while treading water against the good teams. There’s cause for optimism here, but the Rangers need to continue putting up W’s to stay relevant in the Metro. The Pens and Isles aren’t going anywhere.