Archive for State of the Rangers

lindy ruff

In his most recent column, Larry Brooks noted that there “is chatter that Alain Vigneault may get canned after Tuesday’s game.” Addressing the rumor first – this appears to be just speculation on Brooks’ part. The general gist of his post –that if AV’s fate is based on one game, then it’s already too late– is spot on, though.

If AV is truly on a game-to-game rope, then the best thing to do is to rip the band-aid off and just get rid of him. I’m a firm believer that coaches have a shelf life, although I’m unsure what that shelf life is. Perhaps AV’s style only lasted three years with the Rangers. But at some point, the message and the messenger need to change.

That said, there’s no point in firing a coach if you don’t have a good replacement ready. The Rangers have a few options to them, although few are appetizing.

Read More→

Comments (72)
Oct
27

A bit about the goalies

Posted by: | Comments (89)

Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images)

Man, I suck at thoughts posts lately.  I started writing one, and then a hit a section on the goaltenders and things just spiraled out of control.  So, this post is about the goalies now. This is really more Hank focused than Pavelec, but I wanted to touch on him, as well.  I hope you enjoy.

First up, Ondrej Pavelec, who is exactly who I thought he would be.  Obviously, he has underperformed in a very limited sample size so far, but that isn’t really what I’m talking about. There was a play last night that really stood out for me.  In the third period, the ‘Yotes made a nifty little passing play that ended with Derek Stepan narrowly missing an open net to Pavelec’s glove side.  Pavelec tracked the first pass, but then, the second pass back door caught him flat footed and he kind of flailed from about 4 feet away from the puck.  Hank may not have gotten to the pass, but his body connection and puck tracking would have stayed engaged for the entire play.  Pavelec knew he was beat and gave up.

Read More→

Categories : Analysis, Goaltending
Comments (89)
Oct
26

The past and present: comparing coaches

Posted by: | Comments (81)

I miss you, Torts

There’s a reason that there has been so much chatter around Alain Vigneault, questioning his ability to coach the team for success. Forgetting the obvious issues on the ice, an important theme to remember with sports, especially in a large market, is recency bias. What have you done for me lately?

If your response is “take the team to the Stanley Cup Final,” well, I have some potentially upsetting news for you: it’s 2017. The team lost it all in June, 2014. In the past three years, the Rangers have made it to the Eastern Conference Finals (2015), the first round (2016), and the second round (last May), in exactly that order. It’s been a while since the team has made it very far, and the talent continues to wither under some confusing management.

When Vigneault joined the team mid-2013, it was a refreshing change of pace from the gritty, physical John Tortorella-era Rangers. Unfortunately, at this rate, is Vigneault really much different from what Tortorella became with the Rangers?

Read More→

Categories : Coaching
Comments (81)
Oct
19

A Plea for Stability

Posted by: | Comments (63)

Please pair this man with Shattenkirk!

The New York Rangers are officially in an early-season crisis, with just three points earned from their first seven games.  While many are pointing to a similar start in 2013-2014 as reason to keep calm, there’s enough statistical precedent to be concerned.

When a team finds itself in a downward spiral like this, there is never just one singular problem, but a combination of factors.  In addition to the intangibles (lack of confidence, bad luck) the Rangers have not managed their personnel well to this point.  There are curious lineup choices across the board, exacerbated by the nightly shuffling of players in and out of, and up and down the lineup.

Read More→

Categories : Coaching
Comments (63)

Can Detroit and the Rangers help each other?

This post was written a few days ago. Since then, the beat writers have bemoaned the lack of center depth, AV has gone crazy with his line combinations and the Rangers threw up a stinker to the Devils (I fear for the Rangers against the Pens as I schedule this post…). So without further ado, back to one potential external center solution?

The Rangers inability (or stubbornness?) to properly address the center position prior to the new season has definitely had an impact on their uneven start to the season, even if more of the blame can/should be rested squarely at the feet of Alain Vigneault and his now borderline inexplicable coaching decisions (please, no more Steven Kampfer).

What makes the Rangers struggles at center even more frustrating is that there are very legitimate, indeed enticing, options outside of the organisation. Are ten days into a season too early to make a external move? Well clearly not, as the club deemed it appropriate to pick up journeyman depth player Adam Cracknell. Yay.

Read More→

Categories : Forwards
Comments (22)
Oct
16

The Rangers have a deployment problem

Posted by: | Comments (35)

ryan mcdonagh

The Rangers have had a myriad of problems to start the season. Jeff Gorton put together a flawed roster that was weak up front. Alain Vigneault isn’t doing anything to minimize those issues. The players have been inconsistent and not scoring. They’ve been a rare combination of bad and unlucky.

There is more to the issue though. As AV continues to tinker with his lineup choices, his in-game deployment strategy suffers mightily. For better or for worse, AV relies on one defense pairing to shoulder the load of defensive zone starts, giving his offensive guys more opportunities to put points on the board. This year, though, he hasn’t identified who his shutdown pair is and who is offensive pair is, and that’s a problem.

Read More→

Categories : Analysis, Defense
Comments (35)

The New York Rangers are off to their worst start (1-5) since 1980, when final scores like 7-2 and 8-4 were commonplace.  The team has done a little bit of everything wrong in each of its five losses, and in fact were not particularly good in their lone victory against Montreal (thanks, Henrik!).

It’s been two weeks of poor hockey, and the Rangers are already on course to make their lives difficult in terms of playoff positioning when March and April come around.  Think of it this way: even if the Rangers manage to go a respectable 8-6 over their next 14 games, they’ll be 9-11 at the quarter mark of the season.  It’s a long climb out when you dig yourself an early-season hole in the NHL.

Read More→

Comments (66)
Oct
14

So what’s up with these Rangers?

Posted by: | Comments (28)
rangers senators

AP / Sean Kilpatrick

We’re now five games deep into the 2017-2018 regular season and the Rangers seem to be having issues winning hockey games. Now, of course this is the smallest of sample sizes, and not to put on my fortune teller hat but I guarantee you they’ll win more than one game this season, but it’s fair to say that there might be some issues with the team. Now you might recall just a week ago I was urging calm after the Rangers dropped their home opener, so how on Earth can I hold these two thoughts in my head at once? Well, in short, I think there’s a distinction to be made between the on-ice play of the team and the structural deficiencies this team displays (although obviously there’s a link – we’ll get to that later).

I still think, as I said last week after the home opener, that there’s not a lot we can tell about how this team will play based on how they’ve played so far. The sample size is just too small – Mika Zibanejad for instance is going to go cold at some point, Hank will have a bad game here and there, and guys who aren’t really making a huge impact right now are going to break out. Over the course of an 82 game season there are going to be ebbs and flows on pretty much every level, and we simply can’t read the tides based on five games’ play.

Read More→

Comments (28)

Happy Friday, BSB community!  I started writing this as a “thoughts” post, since it’s tough to do actual analysis at this stage of the season, with the sample size being so small.  My first thought started with Alain Vigneault, and just never really left that topic, so I guess this post is about the head coach now.  So, maybe it still is a “thoughts” post, just a “thoughts about Alain Vigneault” post.  Sorry about that.  I hope you enjoy.

This season has a very small sample size of data to this point, but for the head coach, we have four seasons worth of data to draw from.  I think, and I’m going into speculation mode here, that we ended up feeling a little bait and switched from what our initial expectations of what his coaching philosophies were.  Remember when Torts was let go and we were sold on Vigneault based on his “progressive” approach to data and matchups?  He tried to leverage zone starts and seemed to be more open-minded to data-driven deployment, so we all felt that we were getting a “Moneyball”-type coach who would maximize the information available to try to gain an edge.

Read More→

Categories : Coaching, Musings
Comments (52)

mika zibanejad

It’s been an interesting start to the season, hasn’t it? Jeff Gorton and Alain Vigneault have toyed with our emotions, albeit inadvertently, with their roster decisions. The team has toyed with our emotions by scoring a ton, not scoring ever, and playing a combination of great defense and Swiss cheese defense. All in all, it’s been one of the more entertaining starts to the season since the 2013-2014 season. You know, the one where Tomas Hertl deked Martin Biron into retirement.

The main positive that has been the focus of attention has been Mika Zibanejad. With five goals this season, Zibanejad has opened this season the way he did last year before breaking his leg. He’s seemed to have found a home in the Ovi spot on the powerplay, and with Kevin Shattenkirk feeding him one-timers, he’s poised for a big year.

Read More→

Categories : Forwards
Comments (46)