The resurgence of Dan Girardi

It’s no mystery. Dan Girardi was pretty terrible to start the season. The switch from a shot-blocking system to an overload system exposed the defenseman’s skating a bit, and he was torched by the same players who he used to defend so well in previous years. The problems weren’t just limited to defense either. Even though he’s not known for…

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The Marc Staal audition begins tonight

With Marc Staal returning to the line-up tonight, speculation will begin (again) as to whether the timing of his return is right, and whether Staal will ever be able to return to his previous best. In addition to the obvious chase for a playoff spot, and the continued (prolonged) acclimatisation to the new coaching staff, the Rangers will need to…

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Rangers midseason grades: The defense

Suit kicked off our annual midseason grades yesterday with his review of Alain Vigneault and the coaching staff. As Suit mentioned in his preamble, we all hand out ‘performance grades’ around the mid-way point of the regular season and just after the commencement of the playoffs. As always, these grades aren’t just based on stats, but also the execution of…

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Time for a controversial addition in Dion Phaneuf

Dion Phaneuf. Yes, I said it. The Rangers have a huge question mark in an area – defense – which on paper at least, they have had good depth. Michael Del Zotto is likely, barring a stunning turnaround, on his way out of New York in the summer (at the latest). Marc Staal’s long term future is full of doubt…

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With more physicality needed, it’s time the Rangers tried Dylan McIlrath

Alain Vigneault commented after the Rangers’ turgid performance in Tampa on Monday that “Nobody touched a soul”, referring to his team’s lack of physicality. This has been an underlying issue for large parts of the season so far. In the mean time, Michael Del Zotto continues to be, at best, inconsistent (and the subject of countless traded rumours in the…

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Dan Girardi’s uncertain future could hold up a Michael Del Zotto trade

Despite all the recent trade rumors swirling around Michael Del Zotto, the young D-man may remain a Ranger beyond this year. I’ll spare you the argument that Del Zotto is still very young for a defenseman at just 23 years old, because frankly I don’t buy that as an excuse for his erratic play any more either.  But though Del…

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The Michael Del Zotto rumors and the search for a right handed defenseman

With Michael Del Zotto sitting out tonight against Montreal as a healthy scratch, the trade rumors swirled again. This time Renaud Lavoie, a reporter from Montreal, noted that he is hearing Del Zotto could be had. Suit covered the possibility of a trade, specifically a Del Zotto trade, last week. Without rehashing the entire post, the trade rumors are a…

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Dan Girardi’s motivation to be better

Dan Girardi has had an atrocious start to the season but yet is one of the key players the Rangers will have to rely on to turn their difficult start around. While plus/minus is not a particularly accurate statistic, his minus 7 rating is a bad indicator and Girardi’s decision making, positioning and overall game thus far have been far…

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Best case/worst case scenarios for Ranger defensemen and goalies in 2013

Defensemen Aaron Johnson Best case: Johnson is an adequate depth defender and is significantly better than Stu Bickel in spot duty. Worst case: Johnson is no better than Bickel and the Rangers are back where they were last year if top-six blueliners get hurt. Anton Stralman Best case: Stralman continues to be an unsung hero for the Blueshirts and finally…

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Is there space for McIlrath?

The Rangers drafted Dylan McIlrath 10th overall in 2010 and ever since, media and fans have been waiting for his arrival. While McIlrath is now completely healthy and at Rangers camp looking to make the team there doesn’t appear space in the defensive unit even though his style is an absolute need. The Rangers are blessed with a strong top…

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