Archive for State of the Rangers

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.

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Categories : Forwards
Comments (22)
Oct
16

The Rangers have a deployment problem

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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.

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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.

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Comments (66)
Oct
14

So what’s up with these Rangers?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Categories : Forwards
Comments (46)

alain vigneault

The Rangers seemed to turn a major corner this summer, recognizing a need to be more mobile on the blue line and acting to fix that need. Off went Dan Girardi and Kevin Klein, in came Kevin Shattenkirk and Brendan Smith. Marc Staal was moved to the third pairing. Nick Holden seemed to be the odd man out.

These moves came one year after the club made the same types of changes up front. Skill, speed, and youth seemed to take charge at forward, and the results were a fast paced offense that could almost score at will. On paper this season, the Rangers could be one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference.

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Categories : Coaching
Comments (79)

Zero.

There are zero days until the New York Rangers season begins.  A long and intriguing off-season has brought about the usual combination of excitement and uncertainty that accompanies a new season in any sport.

For the Rangers, there are still plenty of questions that need answering, most of which won’t be addressed on Opening Night.  Tonight is one for clichés, fun and storylines: season debuts and first-ever goals.  Of course the game itself matters, but it’s the very beginning of a six month marathon.  If the Rangers slip up, they’ve got 81 games to right the ship.

Still, there’s plenty to get excited about as 2017-2018 kicks off.  Here’s what I’m most looking forward to:

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Comments (52)

anthony deangelo

The preseason has wrapped up, and the regular season is just around the corner, which means it’s time to speculate about the way this lineup is going to shake out. Now, even though I personally enjoy wild speculation, as it happens corsica.hockey, the premier online stats database is back online after a summer hiatus, so we’ll be making somewhat educated guesses today. As an aside, I highly suggest you play around with Corsica, as I’ve learned a ton just exploring the numbers on there. What I’m interested in exploring today is something a little less sexy than how Filip Chytil will do, or who’s going to lead the team in points – what we’re going to be talking about today is how well Anthony DeAngelo might play with Marc Staal.

The top two pairings for the Rangers this season are pretty much set, with McDonagh/Shattenkirk and Smith/Skjei being more or less guaranteed at this point, although maybe there’s a little variation within that set of four players depending on the scenario or how AV is feeling. That leaves Anthony DeAngelo, who had a standout showing in preseason, to be paired most likely with Marc Staal. In a perfect world he’d be with someone like Pionk, but given that one of Staal or Holden is likely to play (I’d imagine hell freezes over before AV sits BOTH of them in the press box) and given that Staal is much more likely to play than Holden for a host of reasons, it’s looking like DeAngelo is going to be paired with Staal. So how will he fare?

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Categories : Defense
Comments (15)
Sep
25

Promising signs for the power play

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Kevin Shattenkirk has racked up 25+ power play points in each of the last four seasons

Though we’ve yet to see the fully assembled new-look power play deployed in game action, there are already numerous encouraging signs that this could year could be different on the man advantage.

One of New York’s biggest bugaboos in years past has been the seemingly simple task of bringing the puck safely into the attack zone. But the team seems better equipped to handle that this season thanks largely to the arrival of Kevin Shattenkirk. He has already demonstrated the ability to hit streaking forwards in motion at full speed – which seems like a minor thing but commands attention from the wall of opponents assembled along the opposing blueline.

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Categories : Special Teams
Comments (34)