Archive for State of the Rangers

May
20

Lindberg? Hayes? Why not both?

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oscar lindberg kevin hayes henrik lundqvist

With the expansion draft looming, there’s naturally going to be a lot of talk and speculation about who the Rangers are going to lose to Las Vegas. It’s certainly not fun envisioning one of our beloved Blueshirts in Vegas Gold/Black/Whatever, but it’s just the reality of the situation. Among the most likely candidates to be chosen are Oscar Lindberg, Jesper Fast, and Michael Grabner.

Now, I’m going to focus primarily on Lindberg in this post, because there’s been some buzz lately about the season he’s had compared to Kevin Hayes. Their respective numbers are pretty comparable this past season, with Hayes actually posting slightly worse numbers than Lindberg in G/60, P1/60, relCF%, relGF%, and relxGF%. This is certainly concerning, and isn’t the kind of thing we want to see, but I think it’s fair to throw some cold water on all the talk about Lindberg and Hayes.

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Categories : Forwards
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May
19

2017 BSB Offseason Plan Contest

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msgnetworks.com

After an unceremonious loss to the Senators, we find ourselves here again.  The offseason.  This one is particularly interesting, not only because of the major changes likely on the horizon for the Blueshirts, but also the Expansion Draft that threatens to throw a wrench in the roster planning for the entire league.

We typically get everyone’s basic perspective and team building philosophy in our lively comments section, but let’s take it up a notch, shall we?  We want to put you in the driver’s seat of the New York Rangers’ offseason. That’s right, the Offseason Plan Contest is back.  For the uninitiated, we have run this contest a few times in the past and gotten some killer submissions.  We want you to become the architect of the New York Rangers organization and outline your plan to bring the team back to glory.

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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)
Apr
27

Scouting the opposition: Craig Anderson

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James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

The Rangers are moving on to Phase 2 of their “skip the Metropolitan and tear through the Atlantic” master plan to win the Stanley Cup. Their next opponent is the Ottawa Senators. After dispatching an injury-riddled Bruins’ club in six games, the Sens aim to punch a ticket to the Conference Finals.

A big part of Ottawa’s success in the first round was the solid play of goaltender Craig Anderson. He has become something of a cult hero in the Canadian capital due to his wife Nicholle’s courageous battle with a rare form of cancer (nasopharyngeal carcinoma). Her treatments are progressing well from all accounts, and on a personal level, the Anderson family is easy to root for and we should all hope that everything ends well in a difficult circumstance. Read More→

Categories : Goaltending, Playoffs
Comments (27)
Apr
25

Rangers vs. Senators – Forwards Preview

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JUSTIN TANG / THE CANADIAN PRESS

It’s been well-documented at this point that the Rangers ousted the Canadiens in the first round by prioritizing skill throughout their lineup at forward.  Montreal was a well-coached team with outstanding goaltending, but they were simply unable to match New York’s depth.

Though they employ a structured, defensive style of hockey, the Ottawa Senators pose a very different challenge for the Rangers to deal with in the second round of the playoffs.  Head coach Guy Boucher is well-known for not just his neutral zone trap, but also juggling his lines.

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Categories : Forwards, Playoffs
Comments (35)
Apr
16

Optimizing the Rangers Lineup

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It’s playoff time, and that means over-analyzing absolutely everything there is to analyze about hockey. Whether it’s a particular goal, a bad call, or the decision to play Nick Holden and Marc Staal in the twilight of a close game, it all deserves our intense scrutiny because well, we’re talking about a chance at a Stanley Cup here. One thing that’s especially crucial in the playoffs, and thus warranting our obsessive analysis, is chemistry.

A couple of weeks back the excellent Ryan Stimson put up a piece on just that. For those of you who don’t know, Stimson runs the Passing Project, which is an effort to track passes that take place during hockey games in order to better understand the little things that make a big difference over the course of a season. While the Passing Project doesn’t quite have every game tracked, they do have a substantial amount of work done already (almost 900 games) and Ryan’s work is worth your attention. The piece can be found over on hockey-graphs.com, and I highly recommend you read it. Read More→

Categories : Analysis, Forwards
Comments (39)
ryan mcdonagh

Photo: Winslow Townson/AP

The final preview piece for the first round is one that is sure to decide the series, and that is the blue line. The Rangers have had issues with their defensive units all year long, but added Brendan Smith at the deadline. The Habs, who did not have such issues,  added Nikita Nesterov and Jordie Benn at the deadline, moves which improved their depth.

The Habs are projected to have the following pairs for the playoffs:

Shea Weber-Andrei Markov
Alexei Emelin-Jeff Petry
Jordie Benn-Nathan Beaulieu

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Categories : Defense, Playoffs
Comments (12)
Apr
11

Scouting the opposition: Carey Price

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www.cbc.com

The Rangers have had their first round opponent set in stone for a while now, so we have all had time to make peace with the fact that we will be watching the very best goaltender in the world try to dash the Blueshirts’ playoff dreams. The last time these two teams met in the postseason, Carey Price was knocked out of the series early by Chris Kreider, so the Rangers have never really had to deal with him in a full series. That is about to change.

Price is coming off a tremendous year for a very flawed Montreal club. As Dave mentioned in his systems preview, the Habs do have quite a bit of talent all over the ice, but relatively little depth. When (potentially) rolling four lines capable of scoring, Price’s job will be to mask (pun intended) that lack of depth. Read More→

Categories : Goaltending, Playoffs
Comments (11)
derek stepan

Photo by David Kirouac/Icon Sportswire

All week, we will be previewing the Rangers and the Habs, and how they match up. This morning I went into a deep dive of the systems both Alain Vigneault and Claude Julien deploy. This post will focus more on special teams effectiveness.

Both coaches deploy similar special teams tactics, using hybrid 1-3-1/umbrella powerplays and hybrid zone/diamond force penalty kills. The difference for both teams is going to be effectiveness. Specifically, going beyond the raw PP% and PK% numbers, especially for Montreal. When looking at team-by-team comparisons, it’s important to look at both full season numbers and numbers after Julien was hired by Montreal on Feb. 14.

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Categories : Playoffs, Special Teams
Comments (4)