Posts tagged: Carl Hagelin

Getting by without Hagelin

Unless you have been living under a rock for the past week, you know that Carl Hagelin was suspended (questionably) for 3 games for elbowing Ottawa captain Daniel Alfredsson in the head during game 2 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series.  Due to this turn of events, the Rangers have lost a key cog in their top line, and one of their biggest speed/forechecking threats.

Chris Kreider was inserted into the lineup in Hagelin’s place for game 3 and acquitted himself well for a pro debut in the middle of a playoff series.  By the third period, however, Torts felt that Kreider wasn’t ready to be that guy for the top line and inserted Derek Stepan.  The question remains going into Game 4 on Wednesday, who is the right guy to take Hagelin’s spot on the top unit?

Let’s take a look at some possibilities…

  • Ryan Callahan- Captain Cally does just about everything for the Rangers, so why not install him on the top line?  He could be a huge boon to the forecheck and allow for Richards and Gabby a little more room to operate down low.  He also has an unfailing nose for the net, and if those two can generate shots on goal, Cally is a good bet to bang in some rebounds.
  • Brandon Dubinsky- Last season’s leading scorer, Dubi would seem to possess the skill set to complement the top line nicely.  He has a decent set of hands and can bring some jam to a finesse unit.  However, he has had trouble finding the back of the net this season, and has often looked lost between passing and shooting.  But, who knows, maybe playing with talent like Gaborik and Richards is just the thing to light the fire under Dubi’s offensive game. Read more »

Hagelin’s suspension leads to Kreider’s opportunity

In case you missed it last night, Brendan Shanahan inexplicably suspended winger Carl Hagelin for three games for his hit on Daniel Alfredsson. While the hit may have warranted a suspension, the inconsistencies of the suspension rulings are what have most people perplexed. That is not the main point of this story though.

Hagelin’s loss is a big one. He has so much speed that he forces the opposition to play differently. He was one of the reasons why the Rangers had such a dominant season with his puck possession skills, and was clicking on the top line with Marian Gaborik and Brad Richards. He will be sorely missed in the Rangers lineup.

But with loss comes opportunity. The Rangers lose Hagelin, but now rookie Chris Kreider has an opportunity to show why he is so highly touted. Kreider has the speed to match Hagelin’s loss, but the real question is about his ability to click with the top line, and to match Hagelin’s dominant puck possession metrics.

Many are not too enamored with Kreider’s stats in college, and these are the people doubting his ability to perform in the NHL. But those are the same people that don’t understand that stats in college are only one aspect of a player’s potential. BC ran four lines evenly en route to a National Championship. The top scorers in the NCCA played on teams that ran two or three lines regularly. Thus, these scoring leaders get significantly more ice time than Kreider.

Kreider has all the tools to become a dominant NHL player. It’s why the Rangers didn’t want to trade Kreider in any deal for Rick Nash. Having the tools is one thing, performing is another. The rookie winger has an opportunity to do something that hasn’t been done in 21 years in this organization. He has the opportunity to debut –and make an impact– as a rookie in the playoffs. Tony Amonte was the last Ranger to do so in 1991, now Kreider will likely have his shot.

Hagelin suspended three games, Carkner gets only one.

Per Bob McKenzie, Carl Hagelin has been suspended for three games for his hit on Daniel Alfredsson in Game 2 of the Rangers/Senators conference quarterfinal.  Here is Brendan Shanahan’s video explanation.

 

Update: Per NHL.com, Carkner has only been suspended for one game. Here is Shannys video for Carkner.

Season Turning Point: Calling up Hagelin and Mitchell

With a playoff spot clinched, we are running a new series about turning points in the season. These posts will focus on moves the Rangers made that effectively turned their season from mediocre to great.

On November 24, the Rangers had lost two games in a row to the Montreal Canadiens and Florida Panthers. It wasn’t so much that the Rangers lost the games, it was that they were getting beat to every single loose puck in those games. They looked slow, and even looked slow in their six wins prior to those losses. The two players made an immediate impact, and the Rangers won their next five in a row, including three in a row against Washington, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh.

But those wins weren’t just ordinary wins. The Rangers looked faster, and for good reason. Hagelin and Mitchell eventually replaced the revolving door of Erik Christensen, Wojtek Wolski, and Sean Avery (with a little Andre Deveaux as well). Only Avery had some sort of speed out of that trio. Their success paved the way for the removal of all three spare parts (and distractions) from the Rangers locker room, permanently. It was not only addition by speed, but addition by subtraction.

It wasn’t just speed though. Something was different. Both players immediately bought into the John Tortorella system of forechecking, two way hockey, and grinding out games. The Rangers had the puck more often, and it showed. Their time of possession in the offensive zone shot up noticeably, and the Rangers were generating more offense off the physical offensive zone play. They had the puck more, it’s as simple as that, and it was mainly due to Mitchell and Hagelin.

Puck possession is an easy enough metric to figure out, as it’s defined by the stat Corsi. Corsi is a stat that counts the number of shots directed at your net (missed, blocked, saved, or goals) versus the number of shots directed at your opponents net (missed, blocked, saved, or goals) while a specific player is on the ice. All shot attempts for – all shot attempts against = Corsi. Essentially, the more shots directed at your opponents net, the more you have the puck, and vice versa.

Relative Corsi (I’m going to abbreviate this as RCorsi) takes Corsi to a different level. Generally speaking, the better teams in the league will dominate Corsi. RCorsi accounts for this, and takes the Corsi of the player (as described above) and subtract the Corsi of the team when that player is off the ice. This makes for a more balanced measure of puck possession, as it eliminates the team concept and focuses solely on the player, and how he affects the team.

Now that we’ve explained RCorsi, it’s easy to see why Hagelin and Mitchell were instrumental to the Rangers long term success. They boast the two highest RCorsi among forwards on the team. Mitchell’s RCorsi is 13.1, and Hagelin’s is 12.6. To really put a value to this, the next best Ranger is Brandon Dubinsky at 8.5 RCorsi. Brad Richards sit’s in 4th at 2.7 RCorsi.

What’s even more impressive about their RCorsi is that Hagelin starts less than 50% of his shifts in the offensive zone (46.5%) and Mitchell is barely above 50% offensive zone starts (51.1%).

The best part is that these guys are showing they made a difference on the ice and on the scoreboard. Despite playing 20 fewer games than the rest of the team, Hagelin still sits in the top five in scoring on the team (14-23-37). Average that out over a full 72 games thus far for the Rangers, and that’s 18-30-48. That’s Calder discussion worthy. As for Mitchell, he has 15 points (5-10-15) while playing mostly checking line duties.

The Rangers didn’t just call up two AHL guys, they called up two difference makers. These two almost single-handedly righted the ship for the Rangers in what could have been a disastrous stretch. Just think Mitchell was acquired from Toronto for a 7th round pick, and Hagelin was a 6th round pick in 2008. Not bad Mr. Sather.

Dubinsky’s biggest problem

No, it isn’t Carl Hagelin, although that’s a pretty big issue for Dubinsky right now. Dubinsky is clearly the forgotten man in the Rangers offense right now and his biggest problem this season is consistency.

Anyone who watched the Islanders game will have seen Dubinsky was strong on the puck and his line generated plenty of chances all round. Dubinsky then followed it up with a game against Carolina where he was a complete non-factor and ended up with the third least ice time among forwards bettering only fourth line stalwarts Mike Rupp and John Mitchell (who still managed to make some good plays in his ice time).

These two games – against cellar dwellers no less – sum up Dubinsky’s year. Yes you can point to the emergence of Carl Hagelin, who has provided effort, production, speed and a cheap solution to the left wing spot.  And yes, you can say Dubinsky hasn’t finished enough of the chances that have come his way – you’ll not find disagreement on any of this.

However, trust is earned with Tortorella and the coach simply cannot rely on the well paid Dubinsky to back up one good game with another. Dubinsky has twelve regular season games and the playoffs to save his Rangers career. He certainly won’t be a hurdle for Chris Kreider to jump given the organisation’s lust for the BC winger to be in NY as soon as possible. He’s well behind the eight ball if it’s a Hagelin vs. Dubinsky debate. And don’t even get started on a Nash/insert free agent name vs. Dubinsky debate.

Dubi doesn’t need to score at a crazy rate to finish the season to have a chance to remain a Ranger, but he does need to show something that has often eluded him his entire Ranger career – consistency. Note: there’s a big difference between consistency and streaky. If Dubinsky can show he can be counted on to be a factor for the remainder of the season, then both he and the franchise will benefit from it. It may be Dubinsky’s last chance to remain a Ranger.

Recap: Rangers v. Penguins

The return of Sidney Crosby promptly ended the Rangers mini-winning streak as the Pens dropped the Rangers tonight 5-2 at Madison Square Garden.  The Blue shirt’s Jekyll and Hyde play in this game ultimately was their undoing.  There was a lot of positives to take away from this game as well as quite a few negatives.  To the bullets…

  • 1st Period
  • The Rangers started off the game trying to establish a physical presence.  Boyle and Prust were targeting Malkin relentlessly.  Unfortunately, that physical edge would not last long.
  • It seemed like the Rangers were getting their bearings for the first half of the period.  They almost needed to prove to themselves that they could skate with Pittsburgh.
  • Tough bounce on the Pen’s first goal.  Biron made a nice pad save and the rebound went off the crossbar, off Bickel and into the net.  1-0 Penguins.
  • The PK unit looked great in the first.  They were all over Crosby at the point and not allowing the wingers to gain possession along the sidewalls.
  • Carl Hagelin was able to pot a rebound chance off a scramble in front to tie the score at the 13:36 mark.  That line was at it again. 1-1.
  • Marty Biron had a rock solid first period, with great saves on several Penguins chances.
  • 2nd Period
  • Carl Hagelin was the best player on the ice (non-Malkin addition) in the first period and continued his strong play into the second.  He was a forechecking machine and created several turnovers in the offensive zone.
  • James Neal had a tremendous individual effort on Malkin’s goal.  He stripped the puck from Ryan McDonagh and made a fantastic pass to Malkin on the doorstep to give the Pens the lead.  2-1 Pittsburgh.
  • 1:12 later, Matt Cooke put the Pens up by a pair.  Broken defensive coverage allowed Cooke to sneak in the far side for basically an empty net goal.  Gabby got caught in no man’s land on the back check. 3-1 Pens.
  • The Rangers got some chances in the latter half of the second.  Marc-Andre Fleury had an unbelievable glove save on Marian Gaborik, and Brandon Prust followed that up by banging one off the crossbar.
  • The Rangers would pull within one with about five and a half minutes to go in the second.  Gaborik made a terrific back pass on a give and go to Brad Richards and eventually found himself in the slot and buried the shot under Fleury’s right arm.  3-2 Penguins.
  • Late in the second period, the Ranger’s lost Artem Anisimov with an upper body injury sustained on a body check.  He would not return for the remainder of the game.
  • 3rd Period
  • Play was a little timid to start the third.  The teams started out 4-on-4 before the Penguins would eventually see the last minute or so of the double minor to Stu Bickel assessed at the end of the second.  The Rangers did a nice job killing the penalty, but as it was expiring, Brian Boyle blocked a shot that left him limping.  It was essentially a 5-on-3 as Bickel raced from the box and Chris Kunitz was able to beat Marty Biron over his right shoulder off a feed from Crosby.  4-2 Penguins.
  • The Penguins would put the final nail in the coffin several minutes later after Pascal Dupuis banged home a rebound that Biron probably should have controlled or deflected.  5-2 Penguins.
  • The Rangers had several good chances in the final 6 minutes or so but Marc Andre Fleury had a couple ridiculous saves.

Goaltending analysis

  • Marc Andre Fleury was terrific tonight, making 29 saves.  He quashed several good scoring chances the Rangers (mostly the Hagelin-Richards-Gaborik line) created.  His glove was a major weapon tonight.
  • Marty Biron obviously faired a little worse than Fleury in this one.  Overall, I thought he played pretty well though.  The first goal was a brutal bounce and there was very little he could have done on the Malkin and Cooke goals.  The rebound on Dupuis’ goal and his positioning on Kunitz was a little sketchy, but he battled and made some nice saves for the team.

Random thoughts

  • Although the result is not what we were all looking for, it wasn’t as bad as the score would indicate.  Considering the absences of Lundqvist, Callahan and Del Zotto, the Rangers could have played much, much worse.
  • That said, the Rangers lost this game when they stopped forechecking and maintaining their physical edge.  The only line that was really doing much of anything offensively was the new top unit.
  • Too many wide shots tonight.  When your opportunities are limited, you need to at least force the goalie to make a save.
  • Kris Letang was +5 tonight.
  • McDonagh had a rough game.  He saw Staal take his spot on the top pair after the Malkin goal and made a few questionable decisions as the game went along.  Hopefully he can put it behind him and come out strong against Colorado.
  • The secondary scoring has to start to come with some consistency.  The Stepan-Dubi-Anisimov line has to be better than they were tonight.  They showed flashes of promise, but they need to put it together consistently.
  • Even though Crosby’s line did some damage, I actually thought they defended him personally pretty well.
  • Health is so unbelievably important down the stretch into the playoffs.  This team needs Cally/Hank/DZ back asap.

Off tomorrow then the red hot Avalanche come to town Saturday night.

Musings: The Playoff and Penguin Edition

Good morning Thursday people. Apparently this is the morning where you’ve woken up to the biggest game of the season. Some media darling is skating into the garden today, he’s quite good apparently. Whatever.

Here’s a statistic for you: (I bragged about it earlier this year when I was in New York with Dave, the Suit and co.) Sidney Crosby is winless in Penguins games that I have attended. I say, long may that continue. I was there in November for the 4-3 victory over Sidney and his boys and I saw him twice in his rookie year in Canada. 0 and 3 Sidney, and don’t you forget it.

I’m going to stop lavishing praise on Carl Hagelin soon. It’s becoming boring and predictable.

The Gaborik – Richards – Hagelin line; the performance (as a line) against the Canes was both impressive and promising. I’ve a pretty good memory and for me, that was the most dominant one game performance by a Rangers line since the Jagr days during his 54 goal season. Any other alternatives you want to suggest?

Reasons we love Ryan Callahan: He had no qualms about going on the radio the other day and insisting the Rangers would go straight at Crosby. You know he’ll back his words up too. If he plays.

Back to the November Pens victory at the Garden: The Rangers dominated that game in the faceoff circle and was surely a key to the success. Richards was 13-3, Boyle 11-4, Dubinsky 11-5 and even Stepan was 5-3. The Blueshirts will likely need to win the faceoff battle again tonight.

Something I asked on Twitter the other day; is the current edition of Gaborik the best ever (so far)??

I am hard on him but I would love to see a quality performance from Anisimov tonight. He’s surely due. For the record; I am only hard on him because he’s so talented but we don’t see it enough. Just like his shot.

Kudos Time: Brian Boyle has been very impressive recently. Starting to find a rhythm offensively, playing the body more (even if it could be even more), defensively he’s been his usual excellent self and his penalty killing has been a joy to watch. If Boyle is on form heading in to the playoffs that gives the Rangers another dimension.

If the Rangers win tonight and conclude the home stand with at least 5 of 7 as victories, I’m resting Dan Girardi for a game or two.

Same goes for Prust and I’m also careful with Callahan.  It would also give an opportunity to give Zuccarello more ice time. Audition time Hobbit.

If the Rangers do the unthinkable and lose tonight, does that make the Avalanche game a crucial-win? The Devils, Red Wings and a suddenly surging (and still desperate) Sabres team follow tonight. That’s quite the threesome up next.

If you’re a Rangers fan you’re cheering for Buffalo and Washington right now, by the way. You’d much rather them in the first round than Ottawa or the Devils who are far more awkward opponents.

Question Time:

  • If you had to choose: Boston or Ottawa as 1st round opponent?
  • More points this season: McDonagh or Dubinsky?
  • If you could only retain one: Fedotenko or Mitchell?
  • If you could only retain one part 2: Bickel or Eminger?

Game day, folks. Get your game faces on, avoid happiness in work. Don’t be fazed by happy people, Knicks fans or anyone from Pennsylvania. If you see a Penguins fan hip check them in to the side walk. (Dave, can I promote violence on the blog? No?) OK, scratch that last one folks….

My prediction: Rangers win 3-2 in OT. Sidney’s futile run against his arch nemesis (me) continues.

LETS GO RANGERS!

Not just numbers

You always have to overpay for talent in free agency regardless of the talent bought, but especially for elite talent. With that simple hockey assumption out the way let us discuss Brad Richards and his arrival on the Rangers. His numbers are important (obviously), but he’s not just about the stat line and should not be judged as such.

With a little luck and some extended form (and anyone who has watched the Rangers recently shouldn’t discount such a run of form) Richards could still flirt with a 70 point season. NO, it isn’t the heady 90 point years he’d recently put up with the Stars, but look back at how many players hit the 70 plateau the last few years – not many. Twenty four players broke 70 points last year, 30 the season before and roughly the same amount in 08-09. It’s not a mark that many reach. I’ll wager Richards puts up a few 70+ seasons as a Ranger.

That said, Brad Richards is beginning to do what he’s, in part, been paid to do – peak at the right time. His best play as a Ranger is coming now, as the Rangers look to win the conference. It’s coming at the tail end of the regular season as we head in to the playoffs, it’s coming as the pressure from behind has never been more intense this season.

Richards is playing exactly as the free agent packaging avertised. He’s carrying the puck with confidence, distributing it intelligently, displaying his wicked wrist shot and using it with frequency. Oh, and anyone doubting his big moment ability may have overlooked his 8 game winning goals which, just happens to be tied for second in the league. Again, statistics can be twisted to cater for a writer’s argument just as I have done to an extent here.

Richards is not all about the numbers. When the Rangers acquired the veteran they also bought a winning attitude. They bought experience and an ability to play under immense pressure – such as the big lights of Broadway (almost a point/game at home). They bought a player to show the other Rangers how to win when it mattered. Carl Hagelin’s interview during the Canes game was telling, as was Richards’ comments reference Hagelin afterwards.

Apparently Hagelin is making plays he’d never thought of making recently – since forming a line with Richards coincidentally. While Hagelin is a quick learner Richards is a quality and willing teacher – crucial on this team and shown also in the huge development Del Zotto has undergone this year.

Richards has made this team more skilled, deeper down the middle, given the team an additional veteran leader and has naturally added to the team’s offensive production – crucial against the likes of Thursday’s opponents. Also, think about this: you think it’s a coincidence that the first year of Richards being in NY is the first time since dinosaurs roamed the earth that the Rangers are challenging for the President’s trophy?

It’s fair to argue, as some will, that the Richards deal will only be a true success with either a Cup (several would be nice) or extended playoff runs littered throughout the almost decade long deal. Hey, free agency is an overpayment. That said, Richards is having a good first year on Broadway, he’s making a positive impact – so let’s not nitpick that he’s just a one-time All Star hey? Richards’ is here to stay and that’s a good thing. So far Richie can only be judged as a success whether you’re judging numbers or not.

Recap: Rangers v. Carolina

The Rangers got the better of the Carolina Hurricanes by a score of 4-2 at The Garden tonight.  The Blueshirts were led by an unbelievable performance from the newly formed Hagelin-Richards-Gaborik line, resulting in all four Rangers goals and extended puck possession and pressure for the entire game.  Let’s get to those bullets…

  • 1st period
  • The Rangers got off to a strong start, creating chances from multiple areas of the offensive zone.
  • The forecheck was another positive facet of the Rangers’ game early.  All four lines were able to create pressure in the offensive zone.
  • Marian Gaborik started the scoring off early in the first.  Dan Girardi sent a point shot wide, and Gabby popped in a beautiful little shot off Cam Ward’s pad.  1-0 Rangers.
  • The penalty kill was working in the first period.  Marty Biron made several key saves despite a somewhat boneheaded move to try and clear the zone up the middle.  Ruslan Fedetenko made a great save to bail him out of that one.
  • Oh that Jeff Skinner, you can’t take your eye off him for a second.
  • It was very clear early on that the aforementioned Hagelin-Richards-Gaborik line was the best unit on the ice.  Hagelin was absolutely flying in the first.
  • 2nd period
  • The second started off a little slow, but that wouldn’t last long.  During the lull I remember thinking that John Mitchell is a pretty strong puck handler, but he always seems to try to make that one extra move or hold the puck one second too long.
  • Martin Biron made an enormous save on Brandon Sutter to keep the game 1-0.
  • The Rangers would extend the lead to 2-0 on a Brad Richards top shelf snipe.  The Rangers had a strong forecheck and forced the Carolina defender to deflect the puck on goal.  Cam Ward was clearly surprised by the play and lost his stick in the scramble.  He tried to reset himself as Richards took a sneaky little shot through the defender and up where grandma hides the cookies. 2-0 Rangers.
  • The (this line really needs a nickname) Richard’s line struck again with an unbelievable play by Carl Hagelin leading to another Brad Richard’s goal.  He shielded the puck with his body before sliding a beautiful reverse pass to find Richards all alone in the slot.  He carried the puck to the center for a better angle and fired another beauty into the top shelf.  Ridiculously patient play by Richards. 3-0 Rangers.
  • The Rangers would be stung by a couple of unfortunate deflections later in the period.  The first Carolina goal was scored on the powerplay on a call I wasn’t a huge fan of.  Mats Zuccarello was called for tripping when the reply showed he didn’t make nearly enough contact to justify a penalty, but whatever, it is what it is.  3-1 Rangers.
  • Carolina would strike again :32 seconds later on a broken odd-man rush.  The attempted shot slid right onto the stick of Drayson (I don’t think that’s a real first name) Bowman, who fired the puck past Biron.  3-2 Rangers.
  • Cam Ward made several key saves at the end of the 2nd period to keep this one 3-2 going into the second intermission.
  • 3rd period
  • The third period started off with a symphony of iron.  First, Eric Staal hit the post on a shorthanded chance.  Then Mats Zuccarello hit iron on a Rangers’ powerplay, and Marian Gaborik hit the post on a laser shortly after the powerplay expired.
  • The games really started to open up in the third period.  Odd man rushes were common place and both teams exchanged chances.  I would imagine this did not sit too well with Torts.
  • Carl Hagelin would finally get the goal he deserved with seven minutes left to play.  He made a nice little pass to Gaborik for a quality chance before getting the puck back behind the net.  Tim Gleason cheated for the pass and Hagelin was able to walk right around Cam Ward for a much needed insurance goal.  4-2 Rangers.
  • The ‘Canes pulled Ward with about 2 minutes left, but to no avail.  The Blueshirts would hold on the win despite being without Lundqvist, Callahan and Del Zotto.

Goaltending Analysis

  • I thought Cam Ward played well despite his statistical line.  He had some trouble with rebounds, but was incredibly frustrating as Carolina clawed their way back.  I think he’s going to get serious consideration for the Canadian Olympic team in 2014 (assuming NHL players play that is).
  • Marty Biron rebounded nicely from some subpar outings recently and gave the Rangers exactly the kind of performance they needed.  He made some big saves early and I wouldn’t put much if any blame on him for the two Carolina goals.  Bad bounces.

Random thoughts

  • Just how good was the top line tonight? Gaborik: 1g, 2a, +4, 6 SOG. Richards: 2g, 1a, +3, 4 SOG.  Hagelin: 1g, 2a, +4, 5 SOG.  Dominant.
  • The defense was very good overall tonight.  There were times where it looked like Carolina would be able to create a chance and the whole zone would close in on them.  Staal played big against his brother.
  • If Tort’s decides to keep this line together, it will be interesting to see how the rest of the lines begin to take shape.  Would you like to see a Dubinsky-Stepan-Callahan line?  Anisimov-Stepan-Cally?
  • Magic number is now just 4 pts for a playoff spot.  The difference a year makes.

Off tomorrow, then the big showdown with Sidney Crosby and the Penguins on Thursday.  Even if the Pens win, they will still be down 4 points with just 12 games to go, but wouldn’t an 8 point lead look nice?

Game Day Musings

It’s another edition of Musings on a game day. How convenient. It’s also the first since the deadline came and went and the deadline day inactivity was a blessing or curse; depending on your point of view of course.

The biggest winner of the deadline day for me: Buffalo. I think Cody Hodgson should be a quality center for a long time to come and any team that can get a 1st AND a 4th for a guy that has never scored more than 12 goals in a season has done well. Paul Gaustad; good foot soldier, nothing more.

I wonder when Rangers fans will get to watch John Scott in red, white and blue for the first time, against Boston?

The Rangers had a little pre-deadline day wobble but anyone that saw the Devils game has to be impressed. The whole shenanigans didn’t make them deviate from their game and they stuck with what got them this far. This team is in sync, it’s hungry and maybe some people are right, they deserved a chance to go deep as the unit that they already are. Hey, they’re well ahead of their development curve anyway, right?

Ryan Callahan is having a monster year. That is all.

It isn’t Rick Nash or another marquee player that’s put Dubinsky’s Rangers career on shaky ground. It’s himself, but also Carl Hagelin. The young Swede is as dynamic a rookie as there’s been in a long time and he’s out hustling, out skating and out producing Dubinsky at the wing spot. Consider the kid a future star: 43 games, 27 points, 40 point season approaching. Nice.

Is there any way Mats Zuccarello even contemplates re-signing with the Rangers? And, is there any way the club even contemplate offering him a new deal? Answer: no. He’ll want an NHL opportunity that is not coming any time soon in New York.

Anyone else really, truly thought of the absurdity of Henrik Lundqvist’s save percentage this season?

Playoff potential: right now the Rangers are looking at a showdown with the Capitals which is as tough as a 1st round could be. 1 point behind is the Jets which would be a great match up.  It seems, at this stage, to be one of Jersey, the Caps, Jets or least likely the Leafs. It could be a lot easier folks.

Five, FIVE (!) teams have losing records this season. Gary Bettman, thank you for your diluted product, where parity is the beige of sports. To make matters worse two of those teams are a two game winning streak from a .500 record which would leave a mere 10% of the league with losing records.

Following a little fit of production, Artem Anisimov has gone back to being a passenger. At what point do you believe he’s hit his ceiling? At what point do you believe he’ll never fulfil his potential? If Chris Kreider does make the roster sooner rather than later Anisimov has no chance of establishing himself as a top six player on this club.

Chances Ruslan Fedotenko gets another year with the Rangers next year? If Dubinsky or A.N. Other leaves and prospects aren’t considered ready; don’t rule out one of Tortorella’s favourite troopers coming back.

Question Time:

  • John Tortorella; does he win the Jack Adams this season?
  • Does Ryan Callahan break the top five in Selke vote getters?
  • John Scott – fights as a Ranger: over or under 5?
  • First to 20 points; Prust or Boyle?
  • Rangers have 21 games remaining; Does Lundqvist reach 40 wins?