Archive for State of the Rangers

scott stevens

One of the major storylines surrounding the Rangers under Alain Vigneault was that the club was soft, vanilla, and easy to play against. It led to creating a false need for guys like Tanner Glass, Cody McLeod, and other face punchers that couldn’t do much else. The false need was created by the incorrect assessment that being tough to play against means fighting.

Let’s unpack this a bit. Yes, there is a need for physical play. It’s hockey, after all. However the term “tough to play against” has evolved. It goes beyond traditional fighting and hitting. This makes logical sense, since the game itself has evolved.

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coaches

Photo by Scott Levy/NHLI via Getty Images

Apologies for the delay on this one, as the news came a while ago. Cleaning house continues for the Rangers, as Scott Arniel and Daryl Williams were both let go. Arniel has been with the Rangers since Alain Vigneault took over for the 2013-2014 season. Arniel was largely in charge of the powerplay and the forwards.

Williams joined the Rangers one year after Arniel, leaving Vancouver to do so. Arniel and Williams were AV’s top two assistants.

Lindy Ruff remains with the team.

Categories : Coaching
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Apr
07

Rangers fire Alain Vigneault

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alain vigneault

The Rangers have fired head coach Alain Vigneault. This is an expected move, with the organization heading in a completely different direction than the coach. GM Jeff Gorton was non-committal on AV when the rebuild announcement was made, and this confirms that AV is not in the future plans.

Despite his issues in the past two seasons, AV leaves the Rangers as one of the most successful coaches in team history. He led the team to a Stanley Cup Final and an Eastern Conference Final in back to back seasons. He wasn’t the right coach anymore, and if not for some bad luck in 2015, may have a Stanley Cup on his resume.

The coaching search begins now.

Categories : Coaching
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rangers jets mika zibanejad

During the glory years of 2013-2015, the Rangers boasted a very deep center group. Players like Derek Stepan, Brad Richards, Derick Brassard, Dominic Moore, and Brian Boyle provided critical depth in arguably the most important position on the ice. When Moore and Boyle left, Kevin Hayes and Oscar Lindberg took their place.

Henrik Lundqvist will forever be remembered as the only reason why the Blueshirts were perennial playoff contenders since Lockout, The Sequel (not to be confused with Lockout, Part III). However the center depth was just as critical, and was one of the major reasons for the drop-off this year.

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Categories : Forwards
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alex georgiev

No, this isn’t a post about Henrik Lundqvist. So Hank haters need not apply. When the season started, though, the Rangers were set with Hank in net as the starter and Ondrej Pavelec as the backup. It was a risk, but it paid off as Pavelec –after a rough start– started to show that he was a fairly capable backup. If not for some odd obsession with starting Hank every effing game, Pavelec would have seen more action.

Then the knee injury happened, basically shutting him down for the season. Up came Alex Georgiev on February 9, who basically sat on the bench for a while before getting his first start on February 22. He got back-to-back starts, stopping 90 of 97 shots. It was an impressive debut on a team that bleeds gives out more shots than LMFAO.

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Categories : Goaltending
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Mar
17

Alain Vigneault Still Looms

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Being a Rangers fan over the last few weeks has proven to be a strange existence. A lot of what we’re experiencing has the feel of Seinfeld’s Bizarro World: scoreboard-watching for repercussions on the draft lottery (as opposed to the playoffs), knowing that wins – while often fun – are not the best medicine, and still getting strangely upset at the Blueshirts’ glaring deficiencies while knowing that they’re an objectively bad team at present.

One key thing that remains is the presence of Alain Vigneault.  Indeed, there has been a lot more speculation about AV’s future than one would expect given the situation the organization is in.  A lot of people have pointed to Jeff Gorton’s non-committal comments last month as a sure sign that Vigneault would be fired at season’s end, but other than that, there seems to be a somewhat strong possibility that he may stay.  As Bob McKenzie noted on Wednesday night on NBCSN, the coach’s contract runs through the 2019-20 season at an estimated $4 million per year.  The Rangers would likely have to fork over a lot of that cash up front if they were to let him go.

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Feb
23

First impressions of Alexandar Georgiev

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(Photo by David Kirouac/ Getty Images)

Last night, in an otherwise meaningless game, goaltender Alexandar Georgiev made his NHL debut, stopping 38 shots in an impressive performance.  The young Russian was originally an undrafted free agent who attended the Rangers prospect camp this past summer, after an impressive stint in the Finnish Liiga.  Georgiev didn’t come completely out of nowhere; he helped backstop Russia to a silver medal in the 2016 World Junior Championships.  So, what do the Rangers have in this young tender?  Let’s take a look. Read More→

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Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac

Quite a bit has happened since I penned this piece back at the end of December about Henrik Lundqvist’s workload.  At the time, the Rangers were sitting in fourth place in the Metro division, with a semi-comfortable grasp on a playoff spot and only four points out of first place in the division.  They were sitting in the first wild card position, with a healthy Kevin Shattenkirk and Chris Kreider.  Lundqvist was on pace for 68 starts.

Since then, Shattenkirk has been knocked out of the lineup with a knee injury that required surgery (and basically every other defenseman, for that matter), Chris Kreider was diagnosed with a blood clot disorder that also required rib surgery.  The Rangers have plummeted in the standings and now sit in last place in the Metro.  Management has even come around, essentially preparing the fan base for a rebuild and writing a memo and holding a press conference signally that the team would be selling at the deadline.  Lundqvist is still on pace for 68 starts. Read More→

Categories : Goaltending
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(JUSTIN TASCH/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS)

In case you missed it, yesterday saw some significant happenings in Rangerland.  First, the Rangers placed Brendan Smith on waivers and called up Neal Pionk.  Soon after, Jeff Gorton and Glen Sather showed up at practice and issued a joint statement about the future of the franchise.  There was a tepid (re: non-existent) endorsement about AV’s future and much Twitter ink spilled about what it all means.  As you can imagine, I have some thoughts…

1. If you read the memo that the Rangers organization released, a couple of things jump out. First, it seems the organization is trying to gauge fan reaction to the notion of a rebuild.  There is enough qualifying language and vague platitudes in the memo to reverse course if the reaction to the release was pure outrage at abandoning a season where they aren’t completely out of it.  Read More→

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In early December, I made my maiden voyage to MSG to the first-ever boxing match between two time Olympic gold medalists. The historic Vasyl Lomanchenko-Guiellermo Rigondeaux fight was supposed to be a high-speed chess match between two of the world’s top fighters. It was instead, a bloodletting. The younger and much faster Lomanchenko peppered Rigondeaux so thoroughly for 6 rounds that “The Jackal” made up an injury and refused to fight any longer.

You see where I’m going here.

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