Photo: NJ Star-Ledger
The playoffs are right around the corner, and the Rangers are in the thick of things, competing for not just a playoff spot, but competing to avoid the two wild card spots and dates with either the Penguins or Bruins. Over the past few seasons, 92 points has been the “guaranteed” position. Hit 92 points, and you get to the playoffs. Fall below, and you need help. That’s where the Rangers need to get to.
With 78 points and 12 games remaining, the Rangers would need 14 of the possible 24 points to hit that mark. Considering the schedule, with just four games against playoff teams remaining, they should be able to hit that mark. After all, that requires a measly 5-3-4 record. Certainly doable considering their toughest opponents will be Montreal, Columbus, and Philly: Three teams that I believe are no better –if not worse– than the Rangers.
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With the Rangers playing the Rangers rejects (or is that the Blue Jackets playing the Blue Jacket rejects?) on Friday it seemed like a good chance to throw up a Musings ahead of Friday’s game in Columbus. So, let’s get to it.
The fact that there is even a debate as to who won the Nash deal (so far) is proof enough that Nash has underwhelmed so far in New York. Nash was by far the best player moved in the deal but while the ex-Rangers in Columbus have developed quite well Nash has left the Rangers fans always wanting more.
Given the likelihood of Brad Richards leaving in the summer, you think the Rangers would live either of Dubinsky or Anisimov back? Dubinsky has 41 points so far, as he’s playing major minutes and a good two way game for Columbus while Anisimov is on 19 goals for the season and playing a very solid year to date. Both would still be solid players for the Rangers.
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Moving on up?
Admin note 1: The upgrade had some issues last night, and will continue into today. I am disabling comments on this post for now, as this is currently on the old database. This post will reappear on the new database when this is complete.
Admin note 2: Comments have been activated. The migration is near complete, but there will be limited functionality until it is complete.
Before we jump into this week’s musings, I first want to thank everyone for their patience as our site’s server was recently upgraded and we were unable to post anything for the last 24 hours. As Dave stated yesterday, hopefully this upgrade will help the site run a little smoother and faster.
Back to business. Below are this week’s random thoughts on the state of the Rangers. As always, feel free to pop off in the comments section below.
The last Stral?
This past week Larry Brooks reported that Anton Stralman turned down a three-year, nine million dollar contract offer from the Rangers. Two thoughts on this. First, Stralman isn’t worth much more than that. While he’s been a dependable defensemen, Diaz and Klein – both right-handed shots – make Stralman expendable. Both guys were accustomed to playing around 18 minutes a night prior to their trade to the Rangers.
The other interesting thing about this news was that Stralman’s agent denied the report, which leads me to believe the Rangers leaked this to Larry Brooks and not Stralman’s camp. I don’t know how the rest of you feel, but I’m getting pretty tired of these public contract negotiations which seem to be happening more and more with our current players. I wonder if they’re getting sick of this too.
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Talbot’s cap hit is just $565,500 next season
When Henrik Lundqvist re-signed with the Rangers for seven years, $59.5 million on December 4, one of the possible dominoes was the team trading backup goalie Cam Talbot this summer.
Talbot has produced at probably an unsustainable level. With just one season separating the 26-year-old from unrestricted free agency, you have to assume Talbot is eyeing a chance to compete for a starting job. Recouping some value by dealing a blossoming netminder still in his prime years for a draft pick seemed like it could be sensible since Talbot would never be able to assume the crown in New York.
However, the reasons in favor of keeping Talbot keep adding up.
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As I’ve been known to do sometimes, I’m going to ignore the work of my esteemed co-writers (in this case, Kevin) and offer my thoughts on a landmark day in Rangerland. So, if you’re not looking for more analysis of the Trade Deadline, tough. Read it any way. Here’s my thoughts on Wednesday’s trade deadline activity, mostly Cally, but other thoughts as well.
- As much as I want to be upset and nostalgic about Cally’s departure, I’ve been unable to muster it. After hearing Cally’s post-trade comments, coupled with the fact that when push came to shove he was unwilling to come down from his unrealistic (for any team but Buffalo) contract demands, it became all business for me.
- I was very encouraged by the first appearance by Marty St. Louis. He was aggressive, involved and looked very dangerous. He did appear to be trying a little too hard to bury one in his first appearance. I think he’s going to help balance out the Top-6 and give the team three dangerous looks to throw at opposition defense. Read more »
He will be signed (Photo: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images North America)
Chris is still MIA, so if you happen to be walking through the city and see a lost Welschman, please direct him back to his laptop so that he can continue writing the musings. I know you like his ramblings more than mine. But for now you will need to make do with me.
- This whole Ryan Callahan thing is getting blown out of proportion. Take a step back, read my post this morning, and realize that no team that is a legit contender trades their captain. This is just the media hyping things to sell page views, in my humble opinion.
- No one has really mentioned Dan Girardi in a while, but that’s likely because he is getting overshadowed by Cally. Hey, I’m all for that. One less rumor to continually write about until my fingers bleed.
- I am sticking with my prediction: Girardi re-signs before the roster freeze, and Cally before the trade deadline. I know that doesn’t give me much room for error, since the roster freeze is tomorrow, but I am sticking to it.
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The Rangers probably won’t win the Stanley Cup this year – but their chances would go from slim to almost none without Ryan Callahan
Unfortunately, we were not able to get the goal breakdown last night since Dave was traveling for work, Chris was traveling for pleasure, Suit had a hockey game, Becky was working late, etc, etc. Check back later this afternoon for an abbreviated recap.
One of the chief arguments for trading Ryan Callahan and/or Dan Girardi is that the Rangers aren’t a contender this year even with those veterans on board, so the team should trade one or both to set itself up for the future.
The organization has made it very clear that winning now is the goal, a philosophy many pessimistic fans don’t agree with because they don’t see the roster as talented enough to take home the ultimate prize. To me, that’s the wrong way of looking at it.
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- You got questions. The Suit has answers.
Happy Monday Rangers fans. I hope everyone had a fun and safe Super Bowl Sunday. We received a few good questions over the past few weeks, so hopefully I can provide some good answers as the Rangers continue their push towards the playoffs.
You’ve written that the Rangers play an ‘overload defense’ but NBC continues to label the Rangers as team that plays man-on-man coverage, which is it?
When it comes to defensive zone coverages, a lot of coaches just don’t want their clubs playing one way anymore. Alain Vigneault is one of those coaches. Without getting too repetitive, as I’ve covered this before, AV has our boys playing an overload defense when the puck is along the half wall. However, when the puck ends up down low, they switch to man-on-man. Recognizing the overload vs. man-on-man vs. zone isn’t too hard to spot.
The overload has defenses outnumbering the opposition (e.g., 3-on-2, 2-on-1) in certain parts of the ice. Man-on-man coverages mean players defend evenly and will follow their check. There is often a lot of movement around the slot, almost resembling a cyclone with guys swirling everywhere. Zone means skaters will defend a patch of ice, so defenses end up looking like a more static geometric shape (e.g., box+1, triangle+2, etc.).
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Last Sunday, instead of posting about happenings around the NHL, I was out on the field doing first hand work for a post. I shuffled up on the 4 train to Yankee Stadium not to watch the boys in pinstripes bat around and eat some delicious garlic fries, but instead, in the dead of winter, to watch some good old-fashioned pond hockey. Pond hockey on a baseball field, in front of 50,000 people. Big pond, eh?
The experience, from beginning to end, was absolutely incredible. Having not been lucky enough to experience the Winter Classic in 2012 in Philadelphia, I had no idea what to expect going in. Days of stalking the weather report didn’t do much justice – 5 degrees here or there means nothing when you’re debating 3 or 4 layers of leggings – especially when you’ve got to factor in adrenaline based on the amount of Henrique jerseys in the vicinity. Needless to say, the morning was filled with nervous excitement.
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Derek Dorsett could be a difference maker (Source: Jared Wickerham/Getty Images North America)
The Rangers facd the toughest possible opponent tonight. When an elite team like the Blues head to town fresh off a mauling, they will be conscious of stopping the rot before it starts. This will be a great benchmark game for the Rangers. Can they go toe to toe with a contender? Can they put behind them their own disappointing game? Tonight’s game is the definition of a character test.
Kevin Klein’s arrival meant the end of Michael Del Zotto, but does it also signal the end of Anton Stralman? Stralman is reported to be looking for $3 million plus at season’s end, despite being distinctly average for the most of this year. Would the Rangers be willing to lock up what are essentially two third pair guys for what would be $3 million each?
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