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Archive for State of the Rangers

(AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

Last night, the Rangers fell in a shootout to the division rival NJ Devils, a game in which they were severely outplayed.  These things happen over the course of an 82-game season, chock it up to a bad performance and move on.  Unfortunately, this game was just another in a string of games that begins to show a developing pattern.  The macro is that the Rangers are surviving, if not thriving at the moment, in the face of all of current analytics than tend to predict success.

The micro is that Henrik Lundqvist is facing a massively heavy workload and is a huge reason why the Rangers are back in the playoff picture.

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Categories : Goaltending
Comments (20)
Dec
15

A difference in goaltending styles

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Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images

So far this season, Henrik Lundqvist has received the bulk of the playing time for the Rangers.  Hank had played remarkably well considering the Rangers are currently dead last in the league in xGA/60 and 27th in the league in CF% (all stats per Corsica.hockey).  Alain Vigneault has leaned on Lundqvist heavily as the Blueshirts have tried to rebound from their putrid start to try to gain solid footing in the division race.  This adjustment has forced Ondrej Pavelec into a much lesser role than the organization originally intended, as they had hoped he would be a ~25 game backup.  So far, he has started only five games.

When the signing was originally announced, I wasn’t crazy about it.  Spoiled by four consecutive years of high-quality backup performances by Cam Talbot and Antti Raanta, I didn’t see the same level of success coming from Pavelec.  After all, Talbot and Raanta were both younger goaltenders hoping to take the next step in their development and be in a position to start.  With Pavelec, that ship had already sailed and he was looking to retain a roster spot in the NHL.  At 30, his style was what it was and had no real reason to make meaningful adjustments.

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Categories : Analysis, Goaltending
Comments (6)

NBC Sports

There is no way around it; Mika Zibanejad going down with a concussion is about the worst case scenario for the Rangers short of losing Henrik Lundqvist (especially on a senseless, late hit like that).  With already severely compromised center depth, both the short and potential long-term blow to the lineup is massive.  When the season started there were serious concerns about the lack of qualified replacements for Derek Stepan and Oscar Lindberg.  The Blueshirts were left with a ragtag group in the bottom six, and now their depth will be tested even further. Read More→

filip chytil

The Rangers need a center. That part we know. It’s something that has been known for quite some time, actually. Jeff Gorton sent Derek Stepan to Arizona and failed to replace him. David Desharnais was a shot in the dark that, while a low risk move, has worked somewhat, hasn’t been a replacement for Stepan.

All in all, Gorton replaced Stepan with Desharnais. Filip Chytil was initially given the role, but was sent to the AHL after two games and nine minutes of playing time. With the flu bugging Boo Nieves –and Paul Carey being his replacement– the dire need for a center has intensified.

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Categories : Forwards
Comments (58)
Nov
03

Let’s talk about Hank

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NY Post

Things rarely happen in a vacuum.  Events, arcs and narratives have context.  A light switch doesn’t flip.  Change is mostly gradual.  Over the years, Henrik Lundqvist’s career has been, by and large, an upward trajectory.  He emerged on the scene in 2005 in the midst of a waste land of early 2000’s indulgence.  He represented a young, homegrown core player and quickly became a fan favorite.  It was only up from there.

He quickly went from young talent to superstar.  As a ridiculously handsome human being, his off-ice exposure went through the roof and he represented hope for the franchise for the first time in a decade.

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Categories : Goaltending
Comments (31)

brendan smith

Note: Big welcome to Chris (@yolo_pinyato), the newest writer at BSB. Chris has put together some phenomenal work at HockeyGraphs, and has present at the RIT Hockey Analytics Conference. We are all stoked to have him on board. Give him a follow on Twitter and check out his work, it’s great stuff.

With the Rangers season already perilously close to teetering off the edge of contention, I wanted to take a quick look at the Ranger’s big offseason acquisition, Kevin Shattenkirk.

First a quick breakdown of the data:

When looking at Shattenkirk’s shot impacts last year at 5v5, we can see that relative to competition, he was by far the best player of the Rangers’ current set of defensemen. The shot impacts are weighted meaning that if two players had the same Corsi For% but different levels of competition, the player with the stronger competition would be higher on the y-axis.

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Comments (33)

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.

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Comments (72)
Oct
27

A bit about the goalies

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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.

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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?

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Categories : Coaching
Comments (81)
Oct
19

A Plea for Stability

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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.

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Categories : Coaching
Comments (63)