Jan
29

Thoughts prior to All-Star Weekend

January 29, 2016, by · Comments (23)
predators.nhl.com

predators.nhl.com

The Rangers find themselves back in action on Tuesday, after their seven day All-Star layoff. Hopefully, the rest does the team well, as they have exchanged optimistic signs of improvement with mediocre displays over the past few weeks (months). While we take a little breather from competitive hockey, I have some thoughts.

Might as well start with the All-Star Game. I will just say what we are all thinking: it’s terrible. It has been terrible for quite some time. At least it doesn’t determine home ice advantage in the Stanley Cup Final, but that’s a different discussion altogether. I have read various articles on how to improve it, and at least the NHL is trying. Yearly tweaks to format, a fantasy draft, etc., have at least shown the league acknowledges the problem. Unfortunately, I don’t think there is a realistic fix. Players don’t try, which is fine. The problem is over the past few years they spend more time just dicking around than they do playing hockey. I understand that these guys work very hard over the course of the year and deserve some levity and recreation. The problem is watching Carey Price play goal backwards just isn’t very entertaining.  That’s not to even touch on the whole John Scott fiasco.  Read More→

Categories : Musings
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Jan
29

Scouting the market for roster upgrades

January 29, 2016, by · Comments (56)
Courtesy of Bruce Bennett (Getty Images)

Bruce Bennett (Getty Images)

With the All-Star break in full swing, GMs from around the NHL will go on overdrive trying to find that missing piece. The goal is always the same this time of year. Improve now, improve for the future or for some teams, do a combination of both.

The Rangers needs are well documented at this point. To quickly recap, they could use another defensemen, a top 9 winger and perhaps some of their draft picks back. After all, they haven’t had a 1st rounder since 2012 and won’t have one till 2017, which is insane.

Anyway, with those goals in mind, below are some targets I would consider as the trade deadline approaches. As always, I’m happy to debate these ideas (civilly) in the comments.

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rangers capitals

AP Photo/Alex Brandon

It was a Glen Sather staple. Perhaps the last of a dying breed of the black-and-white “all-in” or “rebuild.” It was the all-in move, one that is rarely seen today, that has cost the Rangers four first round picks and the best and most electric prospect this organization has seen in what feels like a generation.

Starting at the 2014 trade deadline, the Rangers went for it all, which was the right choice. They had previously sacrificed a first round pick for Rick Nash, a deal they absolutely had to make and really didn’t cost them much in the grand scheme of things. But they then sacrificed two first round picks –and captain Ryan Callahan– for an aging Martin St. Louis. He brought that scoring punch. The Rangers lost in the Stanley Cup Final in the closest five game series you will ever see.

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jeff gorton

Should Jeff Gorton follow the Chicago model?

Dan Girardi, Marc Staal, hell even Derek Stepan and Rick Nash. Right now the Rangers have a handful of contracts that – to varying degrees – aren’t offering full value and ‘value’ is über critical in the cap era NHL. However, the fact that the Rangers have a handful of big contracts on their books shouldn’t make them shy away from adding more. On the contrary. If a player is worth the investment, it’s the Rangers duty to upgrade their talent base. After that, well that is when the Rangers need to get creative, but spending big shouldn’t be a concern.

People think that salary needs to be spread out around the roster: a spread the wealth approach as it were. However, the best team in the league right now, and arguably for the past half decade, has been the Chicago Blackhawks. The Hawks have taken a significantly top heavy financial approach to staffing their roster, one that many people would have thought would lead to major depth issues yet year after year the Hawks are in contention.

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Categories : Business of Hockey
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Jan
27

Alain Vigneault’s patience is being rewarded

January 27, 2016, by · Comments (83)
Alain Vigneault has won three President's Trophies and eight straight playoff appearances

Alain Vigneault’s teams have won three President’s Trophies and made eight straight playoff appearances

Alain Vigneault has made many, many puzzling decisions over the course of the first 49 games this season – from his insistence on giving top minutes to Dan Girardi and Marc Staal, to his refusal to give Keith Yandle the lion’s share of power play time, to repeatedly dressing Tanner Glass.

He’s not perfect – not by any stretch. And he’s not always right, but he’s earned a certain amount of latitude after bringing two clubs to the Stanley Cup Final in four seasons, winning a Jack Adams Award and leading his teams to eight straight playoff appearances including three President’s Trophies and five division crowns.

Say whatever you want about Vigneault – the man has had a great deal of success and is widely considered to be one of the top hockey coaches on the planet.

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Jan
26

Why the Rangers should acquire Andrew Ladd

January 26, 2016, by · Comments (40)
WINNIPEG, MB - MARCH 12: Andrew Ladd #16 of the Winnipeg Jets looks on during first period action against the Vancouver Canucks at the MTS Centre on March 12, 2014 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. The Canucks defeated the Jets 3-2 in the shootout. (Photo by Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images)

(Photo by Jonathan Kozub)

Anyone that watched the mini-debacle against the Ottawa Senators will know that there are a few serious flaws to be found on the Rangers roster. The win against the Sabres shouldn’t change the way people view the Rangers. This team doesn’t engage enough along the boards and they certainly don’t go to the net enough or make life difficult enough for the opposing goaltenders. The blank in Ottawa wasn’t an isolated case. This team needs to change its DNA up front (or at least mix it up) and needs a different type of top six forward.

In theory, the Rangers should have the players to get to the net with regularity. When Rick Nash wants to he can absolutely dominate most defenders and when he drives to the net he’s hard to stop. Same goes for Chris Kreider but too often both players play on the perimeter. At least, when you consider the physical tools at their disposal. Even if you consider their attempts to generate traffic appropriate, the rest of the roster doesn’t get to the high traffic areas nearly enough.

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Jan
26

Second and third period thoughts from last night

January 26, 2016, by · Comments (46)
Did you see that pass bro? That was a sweet pass.

Did you see that pass bro? That was a sweet pass.

So I didn’t get home until the second period, and that’s the only period of the game I caught. Instead of a goal breakdown, let’s go through a bullet point list of what I noticed.

  • The speed by Viktor Stalberg sure is something. That’s something the Rangers don’t do enough, which is build speed through the neutral zone and get defenders on their heels. It leads to great chances and penalties, like it did with Cody Franson. That’s why the Rangers don’t get many powerplay opportunities, it’s because they aren’t generating speed through the neutral zone.
  • That powerplay needs to just pull the trigger. Too many times I saw them defer to the pass or to someone who makes more money. It’s a tad ridiculous. If you have a lane, shoot the puck. If you don’t have a lane, be patient and move. Which is another thing they don’t really do that much: Move. They skate in circles around where they are supposed to positioned, instead of creating space.

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Categories : Game Wrap-ups
Comments (46)
Jan
25

Game 49: Wake up, play better

January 25, 2016, by · Comments (54)

rangers sabres

After yesterday’s stinker, the Rangers are back home for one last game before the All Star break against the Sabres. These aren’t the same Sabres from last year that Mackenzie Skapski blanked twice. The Sabres basically built their top line in three months, getting Evander Kane, Jack Eichel, and Ryan O’Reilly in separate moves from the trade deadline through the draft.

The good news is that while they are certainly capable of scoring, they haven’t. That’s likely due to lack of depth at forward and defensemen that can push the puck up the ice (sound familiar?). Their team has skill, but hasn’t put all the depth and have very poor possession numbers. This is not a strong team, but they are a talented team. The Rangers usually feast on teams that lack depth, so this should be a good opportunity for a rebound game.

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Categories : Game Thread
Comments (54)
Jan
25

Blue Seat Blogs-cast Episode 3

January 25, 2016, by · Comments (3)

Below you’ll find episode 3 of our weekly podcast, the Blue Seat Blogs-cast! This week we discussed the previous weeks games including Sunday’s afternoon loss to the Senators, the recent acquisition of Daniel Paille, and some brief thoughts on advanced statistics. We hope you enjoy, and as always you can find us on Soundcloud and iTunes, as well as right here on Blue Seat Blogs.

Comments (3)
Photo by Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photography/Getty Images

Photo by Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photography/Getty Images

Winter storm Jonas affected the Rangers’ travel plans, meaning they didn’t skate for two days before the game yesterday, and it showed. The Rangers were just flat all game, getting outworked, outmuscled, and just overall outplayed by the Sens all game. The Blueshirts had no answer for the Sens forecheck, which pressured the Rangers into multiple turnovers and forced some great saves from Henrik Lundqvist.

While the defense was shaky for most of the game, it was the inability to generate sustained offense that killed the Rangers. They had very few legitimate scoring chances, and the only two I can really pinpoint hopped over sticks. One of them actually led to the second goal by the Sens. Just a rough game all around for the Rangers, who really needed to build on two strong games prior.

As always, you can view the full videos on our video page here. All GIFs are on nyrgifs.comfiltered under the date of the game. I crossed out that sentence because this was the first game in the history of that site that I did not add a single gif to the site. I add the ones that people might like to search by, and there was not one worthwhile gif to keep at easy access.

On to the goals:

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Categories : Game Wrap-ups
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