Archive for Playoffs

May
27

Who to root for in the Stanley Cup Final?

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Hopefully by this point we’ve all come to terms and accepted our beloved Blueshirts’ early and unfortunate playoff exit, enabling us to once again enjoy the game of hockey for what it is. It’s been a couple of weeks, and lucky for us there’s still some great playoff action to be enjoyed.

Rejoining the rest of the hockey world for the Stanley Cup Final might be tough however if you aren’t sure which team to support. If you find yourself struck by this deep existential conundrum, look no further, because I’ve got you covered.

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May
24

Gauging Brendan Smith’s next contract

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Brendan smith

Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images

As Jeff Gorton, Glen Sather, and Alain Vigneault meet to discuss the offseason plans, one of their major talking points will surely be the blue line. The futures of Dan Girardi and Marc Staal will certainly be the focal point, but there is still a need retool the defense to something that resembles a Stanley Cup blue line.

A good portion of that discussion will be centered around retaining Brendan Smith. As Pat pointed out earlier this month, retaining him is critical. While the cost was steep (2018 2nd and a 2017 3rd), that is sunk cost at this point. The main reason, at least to me, why he needs to be retained is because he is a solid top-four option on the right side, something the Rangers sorely need.

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Categories : Offseason, Playoffs
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May
12

Conference Finals Predictions

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Battle of the Superstars

Although we’re all still questioning and dealing with the grief of the Stanley Cup being out of reach in New York, the show must go on. It’s moving on without our Rangers, and quite quickly at that. Tonight starts the Western Conference Final, and the battle for the East begins tomorrow night.

Many of the staff here at BSB are dealing with the undeniable sadness of seeing a defeated Henrik Lundqvist, and simply cannot think about the future of this playoffs at present time. Three of us were able to pull together the courage to get our predictions out there. As always, leave yours in the comments.

Ottawa Senators vs. Pittsburgh Penguins

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henrik lundqvist mark stone

Credit: AP / Sean Kilpatrick

While many like to focus on one specific reason behind the demise of the Rangers, it is always a combination of reasons that leads to a team’s demise. Some performances or decisions have more of an impact than others, but there is never one sole reason why a team loses a series. As much fun as it is to point fingers, the reality of the situation is that the Rangers had multiple things that caused them to lose a series that they should have won.

1. Coaching

Of course we need to begin with coaching. Alain Vigneault is a good coach, but severely flawed. His flaws are his own undoing. I dove into this yesterday, but AV’s reliance on experience cost him this series. This had many different impacts, from lineup composition to in-game deployments.

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Categories : Playoffs
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alain vigneault

Throughout the series against the Senators, the one word that consistently came up is experience. “The Rangers will win this series because of experience.” “The Rangers will be able to come back from down 2-0 because of experience.” “The Rangers won’t blow leads because of experience.” “The Rangers won’t panic and will come out firing in Game Six because of experience.”

What the $#&*$#&$ are you guys talking about?

None of that is true. The Rangers were a flawed team for sure, but their coaching cost them a pair of games and a series victory in five. Then their “experience” led to them not showing up for the first two periods last night –which I put solely on the players. How do you not show up for an elimination game?– which in the end cost them the series.

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Categories : Playoffs
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May
09

Thoughts heading into Game 6

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mats zuccarello

Photo: Jim McIsaac/Newsday

The Rangers are facing their first elimination game of the postseason tonight, down 3-2 to Ottawa with Game 6 tonight at MSG. To be bluntly honest, this series should be over already, but the Rangers have been unable to hold a lead in two games, thus giving the Senators a ton of momentum and life in a series that they have led for just 13 minutes. But them’s the breaks in the playoffs. Naturally, I have some thoughts.

1. Of course I have to start with Alain Vigneault. I stand behind my assertion that this series would be over if AV got out of his own way. He was quoted stating that experience only matters if you’re executing, but the experience he is relying on is not executing. It’s time to change things up. If AV adjusts his deployments, doesn’t staple Brady Skjei to the bench, and sits Marc Staal if/when defending a lead, then the Rangers have a legitimate shot. If not, then the players need to outplay their coaches mistakes.

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Categories : Playoffs
Comments (122)

Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

Alain Vigneault has certainly earned the criticism levied against him for the Rangers’ crushing defeats in Game 2 and Game 5 in Ottawa. It’s fair to argue that if the Blueshirts fail to turn this series around that the coach should be handed his walking papers. I certainly think he should.

But in hockey, a coach’s role in his team’s success or failure is very difficult to quantify. Hockey is an extremely fast and fluid sport, where the onus is primarily on the players to put forth the requisite effort, but also execute in their plays and positioning with and without the puck. It’s a read-and-react sport, and those reads need to be made while playing at a breathtakingly quick pace. Yes, Vigneault could certainly help the cause by putting the best players on the ice in the right situations, but it’s also not his fault that this happened:

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Categories : Playoffs
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Daily News

After a miserable showing in the first two games of this series, the Rangers have been dominant for the past two in evening the series up. Heading back to Ottawa, there have been several changes made by the coaching staff that has paid dividends on the scoreboard. Obviously, the players need to execute, but having an effective game plan can go a long way toward putting the players in a position to succeed.

There has been a lot of talk around here about adjustments, or lack thereof. We have seen specific weaknesses of this team exploited over and over again with seemingly no recognition from the coaching staff or front office. The thing about adjustments is that they are incremental. They are local. They matter in the minutia, as opposed to the big picture.

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nick holden

The performance of the Rangers’ defensive pairs has been a pain point for many this playoff season. Most Ranger fans agree that the Nick Holden/Marc Staal pair has been awful (I’ve written many words about them). That the Brendan Smith/Brady Skjei pair has been solid (and them). That Dan Girardi, while not exactly amazing, has had a better playoffs than anticipated. And Ryan McDonagh is awesome.

But is that really true?

The playoffs are a whole difference animal, where PDO has a huge impact on how we perceive performance. In the playoffs, which are essentially four mini seasons of seven games, you’re better off being lucky than good. Poor results overshadow great process. And great results overshadow poor process. There simply isn’t enough time for the numbers to correct themselves. It skews how we view success, and it’s completely expected.

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Categories : Analysis, Defense, Playoffs
Comments (27)
May
04

Thoughts prior to Game 4

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rangers canadiens

Photo Credit: AP / Paul Chiasson

The Rangers have a chance to tie the series tonight after getting themselves in an 0-2 hole. Considering the way they played in Game 3, anything is possible. This, of course, assumes that the coaching staff doesn’t get in their own way. But naturally, I have some thoughts.

1. Starting with the obvious, the Rangers need to ensure they play the same way they did on Tuesday in Game 3. Anything less and it gives the Senators room to make it a 3-1 series lead. They found what works, and they need to step on the Sens’ throats and push and not let up. Keep pushing with speed. Keep getting those key dumps to break the trap. Keep that pressure up. And most importantly, keep that cycle in the offensive zone. Craig Anderson is weak when you make him move. That’s nine goals in two games. Keep the pressure. Keep limiting the Senators to the outside.

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Categories : Playoffs
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