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jimmy vesey henrik lundqvist

Photo Credit: The Tennessean via AP / George Walker IV

Add two more to the injury list for the Rangers. Jimmy Vesey is out with a concussion, suffered at the hands of an elbow to the chin by Filip Forsberg (pitiful three game suspension). Staal was hit high by Alexei Emelin, who left his feet for the hit. No suspension for Emelin, of course. Because the NHL plays suspension roulette. It’s embarrassing.

Vinny Lettieri was recalled to replace Vesey. No defensemen were recalled to replace Staal, so it’s Steven Kampfer in tonight. I’d expect both of these injuries to last a while, too.

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ryan mcdonagh

Back in August, we explored the possibility of the Rangers trading Ryan McDonagh. The comments section is kind of funny, but at the time of the post there were already “rumblings” that the Rangers had a deal for him with Edmonton at the 2016 draft. The deal had the #4 pick heading to New York. It’s something Elliotte Friedman confirmed a week ago. Then in December, Chris Watkins wrote about what McDonagh could possibly fetch in a trade.

With the news that the Rangers are all but guaranteed to be sellers, it’s time to revisit the situation. For the Rangers, McDonagh is their most valuable piece in a trade, certain to bring back a haul. From a business perspective, it makes sense as well. McDonagh’s deal expires at the end of next season, when he will be 30 years old and due for a big time deal, roughly around six years and $6.5 million. For a team that needs to avoid bad deals, McDonagh’s deal would be bad, even if he is one of our (my) favorite Rangers.

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Jan
19

Random Friday Thoughts

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Photo credit: Julie Jacobson

With their nail biter win last night, the Rangers have now won two in a row and the process looks a lot better than it did a week ago, despite a rash of injuries.  The Blueshirts have four games remaining before the All-Star break, all against Western Conference opponents.  Should be an interesting week. Anyway, I have some thoughts…

1. It’s nice to see Rick Nash see some reward for his effort.  According to Matthew Barlowe (@matt_barlowe), Nash leads the Rangers in discrepancy between his iXG (expected goals) and actual goals.  The implication here is that Nash is snake bitten, which is certainly true, but I think there is also reality that he just simply isn’t the finisher that he used to be.  He still creates, as he is 26th in the league overall in iXG, and we are seeing some of that statistical correction this week, with four goals in his past two games.  This raises his season total to 13 on the season, which increases his pace to just over 23 goals for the season.  Obviously, not what you would expect for a $7.8 million cap hit, but this is still a very useful player the team should re-sign if the cost is reasonable.

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Jan
18

The Rangers miss Chris Kreider

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Cam Ward, Chris Kreider

AP Photo/Gerry Broome

Chris Kreider has been a pretty interesting Ranger to date. He burst on the scene in the 2012 playoffs, then struggled to stay on the NHL roster. His mix of size, speed, and skill is difficult for other teams to match up against, and it has created some nightmares for the opposition. Yet since he doesn’t put up 50 goals and 100 points, he’s deemed a failure to some (which is asinine).

Kreider is usually good for 25 goals and roughly 45 points per season, and it’s within the realm of possibility that he eclipsed 30 goals this season. His contributions go beyond the counting stats though. He’s a constant net front presence and one of the few Rangers that has some snarl to his game. His speed and ability to get to the front of the net creates space for his teammates.

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Jan
12

Mid-season report card: the goalies

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Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images

The Rangers went into this season with question marks surrounding both of their goaltenders.  Henrik Lundqvist was shaking off questions about an uncharacteristically poor season last year, and Ondrej Pavelec, Benoit Allaire’s latest pet project, had one foot out of the NHL.  There were good reasons for fans and pundits alike to be skeptical of the stability in the Ranger crease, especially with Lundqvist turning 36 this season and the ridiculously high-quality backup goaltenders the Rangers have had the past four years.

At the halfway mark of the season, it seems that many of those fears have been unfounded (mine included), as both goaltenders have been strong through the team’s first 42 games. Let’s a dig a little deeper at each of their respective performances, shall we?

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Dec
26

Weekly Preview: Post-Holiday Push

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Brooks Orpik does indeed still play for the Capitals.

The Rangers have a light week ahead of them, with two games to warm them up before the showdown on New Years Day at Citifield. Hopefully, the break has given the team a chance to regroup from the messy ending of last week.

The standings are close as usual in both the Division and the Wild Card, and the Rangers are in the playoff picture for the time being.

Metro Standings, 12/25

Wild Card Standings, 12/25

A dead tie between the Isles and Rangers, and three points has both Carolina and Pittsburgh looking in… well this ought to be fun.

Let’s look at the games this week.

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Dec
25

Christmas Day Open Thread

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Merry Christmas everyone! Hope you are all enjoying the holiday. Use this as your open thread for the day. It’s Christmas, so let’s avoid yelling at each other just this once!

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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→

alain vigneault

Any chance of a good start AV?

One of the reasons I jumped off the Alain Vigneault bandwagon quite some time ago was the coach’s constant regurgitation of clichés. After the Canucks game on Sunday night we got to hear the classic line; ‘good teams find ways to win games’. Sure, of course they do.

Call me a cranky fan if you will (for the record, I love me some positivity and I’m a fan that usually is a little too high on his own team) but I’d prefer some honest assessment from AV such as how the Rangers were abysmal for large stretches of the game on Sunday night. Slightly of track, but I’d also think it would resonate in the dressing room more, if the players heard their coach openly say they sucked (and how and why) when it’s actually the case. But I digress.

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Nov
19

The dreaded middle

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alain vigneault

The Rangers have cooled off somewhat from their hot streak, and we’re once again seeing the flaws inherent in the structure of this team and the execution of their game. Although the loss against Columbus was primarily due to Sergei Bobrovsky’s phenomenal night, the previous game against Chicago had a lot to do with their inability to play a full 60 minutes. Whether it’s due to the players in the lineup, the coach who sends them out onto the ice, or the GM who put together the lineup the Rangers are headed towards a serious predicament: the dreaded middle.

See, if there’s one thing you don’t want to be in today’s NHL, especially considering the top tier talent available in the early picks of next year’s draft, it’s just ok. If you’re good enough to make the playoffs but not good enough to contend, then you just miss out on a better draft pick. Similarly, if you’re bad enough to miss the playoffs but not all that bad compared to the rest of the early golf crowd, then the draft pick you end up getting won’t move the needle too terribly much. From a fan perspective too it’s kind of disappointing – at least if you’re watching your team lose a lot of games you know that somewhere down the line, and maybe as soon as the following year, you’ll be watching something good. Nobody wants to be the Carolina Hurricanes (sorry Canes fam, you’re still my second team anyways), good enough to make people say “next year should be fun” but bad enough that that next year actually isn’t.

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