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Rangers special teams costing the Rangers games – already.
Some things remain the same? The Rangers powerplay is already costing the team games. It’s possible to win the Stanley Cup without a functioning powerplay. Boston did it a few years back but it’s certainly a lot easier to win the holy grail – and more realistic – to have at least a competent unit. The Rangers don’t have one, yet they have the personnel where it should rank at least in the top half of the league. A unit that features Nash, Yandle, Stepan and Kreider should be better. There is no movement, there is a lack of willingness to shoot. It’s only five games in but the inept powerplay could undermine the Rangers if Alain Vigneault can’t inject some life into the unit.
The new season of “Beginnings” will premier tomorrow after the post-game with J.T. Miller. Here’s the press release, with the full “Beginnings” schedule for the season.
Season Five of the MSG Original Series Goes Back Home with Sports Stars and Legends Beginning Tuesday, October 13 with J.T. Miller
New York, NY (October 12, 2015) – MSG Networks announced today that the award-winning original series “Beginnings,” presented by Audi, will return for a fifth season premiering on Tuesday, October 13 at 10:30 p.m. The program, which takes a behind-the-scenes look at where and how some of the greatest New York athletes and celebrities got started, kicks off with an all-new episode featuring J.T. Miller. The young, Rangers forward invites the MSG Network cameras to East Palestine, Ohio to get a look at his childhood beginnings. The episode’s premiere will follow complete coverage of the Rangers-Jets game at Madison Square Garden.
“The AV Squad” will return tomorrow night at 6pm, just before the pregame for the Blue Jackets/Rangers game. Below is the full press release.
MSG NETWORK RETURNS WITH “THE AV SQUAD”
FEATURING RANGERS HEAD COACH ALAIN VIGNEAULT ON FRIDAY, OCTOBER 9 AT 6PM
New York, NY (October 8, 2015) – MSG Network announced today its original program The AV Squad, featuring New York Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault, will return this season premiering on Friday, October 9 at 6:00 p.m. leading into MSG’s coverage of the Rangers matchup against the Columbus Blue Jackets at 6:30 p.m.
Hosted by Bill Pidto, the biweekly program features Vigneault and other coaches and players, as they take fans on a behind-the-scenes look at the New York Rangers with special access to practice, film room sessions and in-depth player analysis.
The New York Rangers ought to be concerned and not necessarily because of Derek Stepan’s current contract situation but because of the looming contract issues that currently sit just over the horizon. The NHL annual free agency frenzy was surprisingly (and encouragingly) muted this summer but don’t let that fool you.
The leagues’ posse of general managers realised value for money wasn’t there, perhaps money and internal resources weren’t there to spend and as a result we saw a lot less head scratching moves made. However, some of the contracts that were dished out bordered on the ridiculous. And it starts with arguably the most exciting player to be moved this week in Brandon Saad who joined Columbus in a multi-player swap.
Last Saturday was a very, very strange day in Rangersland. So many of us were either angry, or in denial, or still numb to the incredulous feeling of losing a Game 7 at the Garden. I thought for sure one thing would be true, with 2012 as a good indicator: the 2014-15 NHL season was over.
Laying out beside a pool with two of my diehard Ranger fan friends, we went through most of the motions of grieving. There was anger, questioning, bargaining, heck I think I got choked up once or twice… but then something strange happened. We remembered that there was a Game 7 that night, and we made plans to head out that night to watch it.
How could that be? We’re Rangers fans, man, this was our year. We can’t watch anymore. The only benefit of losing in the 2014 Stanley Cup Final is that after that, it was over, there was no worrying about who you wanted to win the Cup. Sadly, last year also taught us that the offseason is very, very long. When you get excited to watch a replayed TOR-ANA game live in a bar in Toronto, you know the withdrawal is real.
One of the silver linings to the Rangers’ season ending in slightly premature fashion is that we have opportunity to bring back the BSB Off-Season Plan Contest. We first launched this little exercise in the summer of 2013 and it was a tremendous success. Since there are so many moving parts up in the air this summer, there should be ample opportunity for creative maneuverings.
The rules are fairly simple. You, the wonderful BSB community, will submit an off-season proposal to the writing staff. You will have all of the existing cap space and assets of the organization at your disposal to sign players, make trades, call up young players and re-sign/extend current players. Your plan should be a comprehensive outline detailing your goals and plan of attack for the roster, taking us from draft day to the start of training camp. Read More→
The Rangers took Game One with a strong showing of puck possession and defensive play. They got a lucky bounce for the game winner, but that’s how playoff hockey works most of the time. Henrik Lundqvist was again strong, as he has been all playoffs. Ben Bishop was also extremely good, so the Rangers will need to do a better job of making him move.
This Rangers team the Bolts are looking at are not the same Rangers they played seven months ago. There are very few teams in the league with the speed to match Tampa, and even fewer with the defense to shut them down. The Rangers have both, and it frustrated the Bolts on Saturday afternoon.
– I thought Monday was among Rick Nash’s best games of the year, and by far his best of the playoffs. Nash has been far better this postseason compared to last, but he’s still not finishing. That doesn’t make Nash a bad player, but it also means New York is going to have a tough time winning.
– Braden Holtby has been dominant. And yeah, the Rangers didn’t get nearly enough traffic in front of him early in Game 3, but Holtby has been in hero mode for the whole postseason. While goaltending issues have arisen for several other supposed contenders, Holtby has climbed close to the top of the list when you think about the league’s best netminders.
– I still think The Ghost of Marty St. Louis has one signature moment left, but he’s really fighting it. He’s a far cry from Mats Zuccarello on the top line, but luckily young bucks like Jesper Fast have been picking up some of the slack.
– Zuccarello’s absence has been evident from the opening puck drop of the series. The Blueshirts are an extremely deep team and could withstand most injuries, but Zuccarello is about as irreplaceable as it gets.
– Alex Ovechkin is terrifying. He didn’t even register a point on Monday night and his fingerprints were all over the game. The saying “you have to know where he is on every shift” is cliche and overused, but it absolutely applies to The Great 8 right now. This might be the best he’s ever played.
– One of the big knocks on the Capitals has been their lack of solid depth players behind Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom, but it’s hard to understand when you see the contributions guys like Joel Ward, Jason Chimera and Jay Beagle make. Adding Evgeny Kuznetsov to the mix has been absolutely huge for Washington, too.
– Let’s not forget about Eric Fehr, who is still expected to return in this series. Fehr isn’t nearly as important to Washington as Zuccarello is to the Rangers, but he’s a solid secondary scorer that will only extend the Capitals’ lineup.
– I wrote about it last week, but the way the Caps play now is so reminiscent of John Tortorella’s Rangers. They keep you to the outside, block shots, play physical, outhustle you and have the star goaltender to hold it all together. The 2-1 deficit here isn’t because the Blueshirts are doing much wrong, it’s because Washington is a very, very good team.
– I thought this would go seven, and I still do.
Update: It’s been brought to my attention that MSG retracted this, and that Amirante will be appearing “from time to time” as a guest performer.
Saturday night was the last time John Amirante sang the National Anthem to begin a New York Rangers game. It marked 35 years of Amirante singing the anthem, a history that started in 1980. Amirante was singing about half of the Rangers games in 2009, but the number of games in which he had been performing had dwindled significantly since. He sang just four games this season, with this past Saturday marking his unceremonious retirement.
Amirante has been synonymous with Rangers hockey since I was born. It is truly disturbing that the organization not only forced him out, but tried to do so without letting Amirante say goodbye to the crowd that has cheered him for 35 years. You can view that video on Blueshirt Banter.
Amirante’s history goes beyond just singing the anthem before Rangers games. He sang the anthem following the tragedies of 9/11. He sang after Ronald Regan was shot in 1981. But perhaps his most emotional was singing just days after the death of his daughter in 1985.
My personal favorite is when Amirante sang before Game 7 in 1994 against the Canucks, when you couldn’t even hear him singing. He was so into it, the fans were so into it. Truly a memorable moment for an iconic voice inside MSG.
Per Newsday, Amirante wanted to retire with dignity, and the organization did not allow him to do so. As Amirante stated, a formal announcement, to allow Amirante to say goodbye to the fans, and to allow the fans to say goodbye to Amirante, would have been the right way to do things. It was only because Newsday broke the news that Amirante got a partial send-off. Not nearly the one he deserved, though.
Chris is still out gallivanting around this glorious country of ours, so I’m covering his musings today. I don’t like to dawdle with long intros, so let’s get right to it. It’s the final musings before the trade deadline.
- There has been a lot of action the past two days, and it looks like all of the solid potential targets that we wanted for the Rangers are now gone. Let’s recap the trades around the league:
- Montreal sends Jiri Sekac to Anaheim for Devante Smith-Pelly
- Florida sends Sean Bergenheim and a 7th round pick in 2016 to Minnesota for a 2016 3rd round pick
- Carolina sends Jiri Tlusty to Winnipeg for a 2016 3rd round pick and a conditional 2015 6th round pick
- Toronto sends Daniel Winnik to Pittsburgh for Zach Sill, a 2015 4th round pick and a 2016 2nd round pick
- Caolina sends Andrej Sekera to LA for a 2015 1st round pick and solid prospect Ronald McKeown
- All of that happened since Tuesday, which leads us to believe that actual deadline day will be boring. Of course now that I said that, there will be 14 blockbusters. No more. No less.
- The Rangers could have really used Winnik to shore up that fourth line if they aren’t sold on Lee Stempniak or Oscar Lindberg. Tanner Glass is no longer a viable option there. The Rangers probably could have acquired Winnik for the same price, but draft picks are becoming a rare commodity for New York. I can see the logic.
- That said, I think the asking price for Bergenheim was just fine, and something the Rangers should have gone for. He was one of those guys that came up in the same chart as Mats Zuccarello when I analyzed him a few weeks back.