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For the first time since Lockout II, we as Rangers’ fans embark on a season in which we have no realistic expectation of contention.  Last year, many of us could see leaks in the ship, but there was still talent in the lineup and a generational goaltender to keep our delusions intact.  Twelve months, an open letter to fans and a massive roster shake up later, we know that our beloved Blueshirts are rebuilding.

This is a transitional year in more ways than one.  While the team did a nice job in turning veterans into young assets and re-loading through the Draft, many of the organizations’ tippy top prospects aren’t ready for the bigs, just yet.  A couple are over in Russia and a few are in the NCAA/Junior ranks for the 2018-2019 season. As we wade into this unfamiliar territory where we know the team isn’t going to contend, but we aren’t really watching the full potential of the future either, I’ve been thinking about what are productive takeaways to be watching for next season. Read More→

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As expected, Henrik Lundqvist’s acrobatic windmill save took out Chris Kreider exploding onto the scene in 2012. Now we have a tough one, with the epic “Can You Hear Us” chant taking on Kreider (again), this time his tying goal in Game 3 against Montreal. Both were amazing moments, but both preceded defeat in their games.

I was at the Can You Hear Us game, and it was one of the best moments I’ve had at a game. Of course it ended in the 2OT loss, and then the night ended for me by being the last person at MSG, and security coming up to me (and Becky) and saying we need to leave. I just kinda sat there, stunned. Kudos to Becky for leaving me alone and letting me sulk.

(8) Can You Hear Us

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Aug
16

Revisiting the expansion draft

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A little over a year ago, we were all experiencing our first expansion draft in the digital age. We were able to discuss, speculate, and predict everything from protection lists to mock drafts with strangers across the internet. The rules were made public, and the protection lists were eventually made public as well. We had conversations for months.

In the end, the Rangers lost Oscar Lindberg to expansion. Based on who was made available, it was really only a decision between him and Michael Grabner. There was a possibility that Vegas would have taken Jesper Fast, but Lindberg –the center– was always the more logical choice. In the end, it was between the young center and the speedy winger.

But let’s play a game here. What if Vegas took Michael Grabner instead?

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With the first round of the left side completed, it’s time to start the first round of the right side. First up is Henrik Lundqvist’s windmill save against Montreal in 2014 going up against Chris Kreider bursting on the scene with his goal against the Caps in 2012.

(1) Lundqvist’s windmill save

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Aug
15

Looking at PTO options for camp

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kari lehtonen

We are halfway through August, which means hockey is about one month away. This is around the time when guys who haven’t signed yet are looking for any chance they can get. That means professional tryouts (PTOs) are going to start hitting the news pretty soon. The Rangers have a lot of question marks at camp, and should one or a few of the kids not be ready for prime time, the Blueshirts will need bodies to fill roster holes.

Troy Brouwer (RW)

Brouwer is the first name that jumps out on the list, not because of effectiveness, but because he has name pedigree –for better or for worse– and players that get bought out usually wind up finding a home pretty quickly. Brouwer’s contract paid his $4.5 million per year before he was bought out, and it’s safe to say he wasn’t worth that contract.

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We have the last matchup in the first round of the left half of the bracket, and it might be a runaway. We have the #2 seed, which is Ryan McDonagh’s OT winner in Game 5 in 2015 against Washington taking on Mike Rupp scoring twice in the 2012 Winter Classic. Rupp is a forgotten hero of that 2012 Winter Classic, giving a Jaromir Jagr salute after one of his goals as well. As for the McDonagh goal, it’s self explanatory.

(2) Ryan McDonagh wins it in overtime in Game 5 against Washington

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tyler seguin

Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Like most Rangers fans, we here are not really expecting the Rangers to be legitimate contenders in the 2018-2019 season. They won’t be tanking, and in fact their forward group –and Henrik Lundqvist– has the ability to carry them to a surprise playoff appearance. That said, it’s not expected, so there’s already an eye on next year, the trades that can be made, and the free agents available.

Unlike this past offseason, where the prize free agents weren’t really prizes at all, next year’s crop of free agents is a big budget team’s dream. Artemi Panarin, at just 27 is just one of the many headliners of a class poised to make boatloads of money. The Rangers have been directly connected to Panarin already, or at least we want to think that. But any team looking to add elite talent will have the ability to do so without surrendering assets.

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So far, no upsets in the top play bracket, but we may get one here. Next up is the first of the 7/10 match ups, as we have the Mika Zibanejad OT winner against the Habs taking on the Rangers going undefeated outside.

Zibanejad’s OT winner set the stage for the Rangers to upset the Habs in the first round of the 2017. It was the last hurrah of this Rangers era, as they dispatched the Habs before their weaknesses got the best of them against the Senators.

The Rangers won a pair of Winter Classics in exciting fashion, with Henrik Lundqvist stopping Danny Briere in the final minute of the 2012 game to win it, followed by JT Miller winning the 2018 game in overtime. The Rangers also won a pair of Stadium Series games against the Isles and the Devils in 2014.

(7) Mika Zibanejad wins it in overtime

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Aug
13

Do the Rangers need elite talent to win?

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Over the past few months, we’ve been wondering where the Rangers will get that elite talent that supposedly going to launch the club into Cup contender status. It’s an interesting question, primarily because it touches heavily on small sample sizes, which is inherent in playoff hockey. Sure, if everything were stretched out for say, 82 games, the better team would win. That’s not the point though – you need to be able to sit in the pressure cooker for a maximum of seven games and make it through to the other side victorious.

So all discussions of what makes a Cup-winning team that special blend are just going to be a bit inconclusive. We simply can’t know for sure, because even though we’ve been doing this for 100 years we haven’t – not with the salary cap, the current influx of talent from around the world, modern training and equipment, and so on.

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Another round in the books, as Henrik Lundqvist’s back-to-back shutouts in 2013 topped the Chris Kreider/Carey Price incident. That play joins Martin St. Louis on Mother’s Day and Marian Gaborik’s 3OT winner in the next round. Today it’s a bit of a lopsided matchup, as Brad Richards’ tying goal with 6.6 seconds left takes on the Rangers clinching the President’s Trophy in 2015. Neither of these need much of an introduction.

(3) Brad Richards’ tying goal with 6.6 seconds remaining

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