Archive for Mike Rupp
This morning, Suit gave us a good qualitative analysis of what the Rangers got in trading Mike Rupp for Darroll Powe and Nick Palmieri. As he mentioned in the post, I like to do the quantitative analysis of these moves. For the sake of this post, we are going to focus on Powe, as Palmieri hasn’t seen enough NHL time over the past few seasons to have accurate metrics. I am also going to use last year’s metrics, as eight games is far too few to have an accurate reading on this year (numbers courtesy of behindthenet.ca).
Rupp for the Rangers was more of a character guy in the locker room than an on ice presence. Sure, he dropped the gloves and stuck up for his teammates, but he really only played five minutes per game. When Rupp was deployed, he was used against the bottom of the barrel (team-worst -.162 QoC), but still managed to have a team worst -14.3 RCorsi. Some of this is effected by his 43.2% Ozone start (after a whistle), but to have the team-worst numbers in both quality of competition faced and puck possession isn’t exactly an endearing place to be.
Today we are going to take a deeper look at the Rangers recent moves. Though the team played better in Tampa the other night, the bottom six hasn’t been very consistent and clearly Torts and Sather thought a change was needed. Below we’ve put together a qualitative analysis, or as Dave likes to call it – the eye test. If there’s an interest in the quantitative/advanced stats-type stuff. Let us know. Dave can whip that together.
What the Rangers lose – Size, fights, veteran leadership
I was one of the few advocates of having a guy like Mike Rupp in the lineup. Most people who didn’t play organized hockey growing up have a hard time evaluating 4th line guys, so I get the disconnect some fans had with his presence in the lineup. For me, Rupp was exactly what you need from a 4th line role player.
Rupper was a leader in the locker room, as evidenced by Torts constantly seeking Rupp’s input at key times (shown in 24/7). He stood up for his teammates (remember Tomas Kopecky sucker punching MDZ last year? Rupp was the first guy in). He also played well in a limited role during the playoffs, bringing a good forecheck and puck management.
Per Bob McKenzie, the Rangers have sent Mike Rupp to Minnesota for Darroll Powe and Nick Palmieri. Rupp, who was signed last year to a three-year, $1.5m per year deal, was used sparingly in Torts’ system, but was a very useful locker room addition. In 24/7, it was evidenced that Torts leaned on Rupp in the locker room. That said, if you’re not going to use a $1.5 million player on the ice, locker room presence only goes so far.
As for the return, Powe will head straight to the Rangers, likely replacing Rupp (for $500,000 cheaper) in the lineup. Powe is significantly smaller than Rupp, but is right up there in the strength category and a much better skater. Powe has been leaned upon by Minnesota in defensive situations.
Palmieri will head to the Whale, where they are in desperate need of forwards.
News broke yesterday that the NHL and the NHLPA had agreed to two amnesty buyouts before the 2013-2014 season. One buyout will be allowed before the start of this season –if it happens– with the second occurring before the start of the 2013-2014 campaign. The owners appear to be dead-set against a cap higher than $60 million for 2013-2014, so multiple teams will need to use both buyouts to get to that number.
The first buyout for the Rangers will have to be Wade Redden. The new CBA will not allow teams to bury bad contracts in the AHL, so Redden’s full $6.5 million cap hit will be on the books. This one is a no-brainer. Redden, much like Scott Gomez in Montreal, will be bought out. That’s the easy one to guess.
The Rangers may need to use that second buyout to stay under that $60 million cap for 2013-2014. Of the players currently signed, the organization will not be looking to buyout either of their goaltenders, Rick Nash, Marian Gaborik, Brad Richards, Ryan Callahan, Chris Kreider, Marc Staal, Dan Girardi, or Stu Bickel. These guys are either cheap (Bickel), part of a group that the Rangers need to win (everyone else), or both (Girardi).
The bottom six forwards get a raw deal sometimes. Many base their usefulness on their offensive output, and unfortunately that is just not the role of the bottom six forward. Sure, contributing offensively is nice, but the role of these players is to shut down the opposition’s top lines. They are the ones that do the dirty work, they keep the opposing goons in check, they wear down the opposition.
So based on the above, let me reiterate these grades are based on the players executing their specific roles within our team concept. This isn’t just based on stats.
Boy did Boyle have some major responsibilities this season. He was generally responsible for lining up against the opposition’s top scorers and was given the job of shutting them down. He also was the guy that Torts turned to when he needed a defensive zone face off win. People look to his drop in scoring (11-15-26 this year, a drop from 21-14-35 last year) and they assume Boyle has just been awful. That’s not the case. Boyle started just 28.8% of all his shifts in the offensive zone, good for lowest rate on the team. But yet, he managed to finish 43.9% of his shifts in the offensive zone. The result: a player that did his job. He handled the defensive zone pressure and set up the Rangers in the offensive zone. Oh, and he was tied with Brad Richards and John Mitchell for second on the team in face off win percentage (51.8%).
In the playoffs, Boyle was clearly getting under the Ottawa Senators’ skin, which is why Chris Neil decided to target him with a head shot. Boyle was one of the most effective Ranger forwards before the concussion, and was clearly not the same after. Mid-season: B/Full Season: A-/Playoffs: B+.
So the Rangers lost another heartbreaker last night in overtime. It’s their second loss to the Senators in the series, both coming in overtime. The fan base is on edge, and for good reason. The Senators are a good team, and a team that the Rangers do not match up well against. It’s going to be a stressful series, that’s for sure. But enough of that, let’s get to the musings for the day.
I’m in the process of reading a book called “Losing the Edge: The Rise and Fall of the Stanley Cup Champion New York Rangers”, and there was a great quote in the book, from none other than Mark Messier:
“Leadership isn’t about the win, it’s about how you rebound after the loss.”
This statement is more true now, in this series, than ever before. The Rangers have more leaders on this team with Cup experience than the Senators. It’s time for the leaders to take charge. In fact, one of the leaders –Mike Rupp– almost won the game for the Rangers in overtime with his forecheck in the Senators zone. People still rip on Rupp for no reason whatsoever. Maybe it’s the contract, but I get the sense that it’s a feeling of “he doesn’t do anything for this club.” That is so false, it pains me every time I see it. Hockey is more than goals and assists. It’s about dirty work, especially playoff hockey.
Speaking of playoff hockey, is last night’s game what we are reduced to? There were a toal of 12 penalties last night totaling 24 PIMs. Some were legitimate calls, but I can point to two penalties, one per team, that were questionable at best. Ryan McDonagh’s “trip” on Zenon Kenopka in the first period and Zach Smith’s “interference” on Ruslan Fedotenko in the second period were very iffy calls. But such is the life after a dirty first two games. The refs aren’t going to allow this stuff to fly. This is now a special teams series, and that makes most people nervous.
Well, every team is due a clunker once in a while. The Rangers basically lost this game in the first ten minutes of the first period, allowing 4 goals to the Blackhawks, who held on for the win 4-2. The win snaps a 9-game losing streak for the ‘Hawks and a 4-game win streak for the Rangers. I’m not going to dwell too much one this one, better to throw it in the trash and move on. Onto the bullets…
- The Rangers were an absolute mess the first 10 minutes of the game. It all started when Dan Girardi covered a puck in the crease about a minute into the game. Jonathon Toews scored on the ensuing penalty shot. Bad turnovers and generally lazy play bit the Blueshirts for 3 more goals during that time and found themselves down 4-0 after one.
- After the 1st period, the Rangers started to play a little better. They were still playing fairly sloppy and disorganized in the offensive and neutral zones, but had cleaned up their defensive play. The ‘Hawks tried and tried to let the Rangers back into this one, but a combination of Corey Crawford, a brutal power play and some unfortunate bounces kept the Rangers at bay.
- Speaking of that power play, good god. 0-7 and barely bothered to mount an attack. Chicago threw a different penalty killing look at them; aggressively pressuring the point men before they could settle into the offensive zone and immediately collapsing when the Rangers did establish possession. This kept the power play pretty toothless all evening. Also, why in the world is John Mitchell getting PP time?
- Toews is an absolute monster on both sides of the puck.
- Chicago, for all it’s defensive ineptitude, is one dangerous offensive team. They combine speedy forwards with tremendous passing. This was the first time all season I saw our defense struggling to contain a team’s perimeter game.
- Mike Rupp must have caught a bad case of stone hands before this one.
- While I feel that The Suit’s assessment of Chicago’s goaltending is spot on, I must admit Corey Crawford played extremely well tonight. He was square to the shooter and made himself big all game.
- You have to feel for Marty Biron tonight. Not only was he victimized by 3 breakaway goals and a 6’8” screen in the first ten minutes, The Garden decided to throw a Bronx Cheer his way. ‘Cmon New York, you’re better than that. Biron rebounded to actually have a very solid final 50 minutes. He made several key saves that gave you false hope about a possible comeback.
- While the officiating was consistently erratic for both teams, it was inexcusable that play was blown dead before Cally put the puck in. It was clearly sitting loose on the goal line.
- Like I said, just delete this one from the memory banks and get back to the Rangers hockey we all know and love.
Off until Sunday when the lowly Blue Jackets come to town. How loud do you think the Rick Nash chatter will be this weekend? Oh and don’t forget to stop by tomorrow at noon for the BSB Live Chat!
For several years now I have been a pro Sather, Rangers fan. He has caused a lot of damage in his tenure, failed to bring the club back to relevance for far too long and doesn’t help his own appeal with his almost recluse like behaviour. That said, Sather has turned around this franchise since the lock-out with savvy signings, good appointments, excellent organisational drafting and along with the coaching staff, going with the youth. Let’s get to his grade for the year…
Let’s begin Sather’s grade back in the summer. He brought in Brad Richards on an excellent cap hit taking advantage of a loop hole in the CBA that other GM’s have used. That the length of the contract therefore was excessive was an unfortunate necessity. Still, Richards was the right addition to this team at the right time.
Mike Rupp however received too much dollar and term in my opinion, even though he appears to be a solid addition to the close knit team and will go down in Rangers folk lore for the Winter Classic. Sather also brought back Steve Eminger which was also a solid move, especially given the injuries and the lack of a truly ready replacement in the minors.
Then there is the next potential robbery in Sather’s recent history. Tim Erixon was acquired from Calgary for some picks and Roman Horak. While Horak has had some initial impact with the Flames, Sather managed to prize Calgary’s best prospect off them for a kid that had little chance in NY (because of depth) and effectively got two first round talents this summer at the draft. Erixon has seen Rangers ice already and has made a solid start in Connecticut.
During the season Sather has made minor moves that have paid off handsomely. While his hand was forced somewhat, the additions of Jeff Woywitka and Anton Stralman have been fine depth moves and helped the team cope with a huge amount of man power lost on the blue line. In terms of Stralman Sather got a good deal at 900k pro rated.
If I was to nitpick at Sather I would ask him why Erik Christensen still remains with the club, however I suspect this has more to do with the coach wanting him here than Sather’s failure to deal with the deadweight.
Contract negotiations over the summer saw guys like Callahan and Anisimov get paid and Dubinsky get paid too much, but Sather still made sure the young core is intact. Also, Sather and Tortorella clearly are on the same page with this team’s direction and such inter-organisational harmony isn’t something this club has always had. Look at the results.
Sather’s overall grade will be decided by the deadline. If this team looks like it will be in contention down the stretch it will be interesting to see whether Sather is aggressive in adding pieces for a run and what he has to give up to do so. So far, Sather has had a good year (again) and his grade gets a hike because of his Winter Classic guarantee. Keep up the good work Glen. No more Wade Redden’s please. A-
Today we are going to be talking about our unheralded, but no less vital bottom six forwards. Prior to Tortorella’s arrival, the Rangers bottom six was typically composed of too many wannabe skill players like Matt Cullen, Marcel Hossa, etc. The last few years we finally started to value players who understood that their role is to forecheck, backcheck, hit, score dirty goals, and protect their teammates.
Before we get started, let me just reiterate these grades are based on these respective players executing their specific roles within our team concept.
Brian Boyle: Boyle has much improved at faceoffs this season (51.5% vs. 48.5%) and it’s a big reason why the Hagelin-Boyle-Mitchell line was out possessing the opposition. He’s gotten some flak for his offense being down, but he’s pretty much doing everything defensively you could ask from a third line center. He forechecks, he blocks shots, and he doesn’t turn the puck over. I would like to see him lay people out a little more often given his size.
With that said, we are going to need more scoring from our bottom six in the second half and beyond. Boyle is on pace for 4 goals and 16 points, which is down from last season’s 21 goals and 35 points. Icetime isn’t much of an excuse as his avg. icetime last season was 15 mins and change. This season he is skating 14 mins and change. Essentially he’s playing one less shift per game. Grade: B
Ruslan Fedotenko: Feds has been one of the most reliable trenchmen in the game for the past 10 years. Every season he gives you steady corner play, second chance efforts, and 30 points give or take. Most of his strengths are often overlooked because he’s not a puck carrier or a fighter, but he is a strategic insertion in this lineup and he executes Tortorella’s puck pursuit system to a T. The only reason I didn’t grade him higher was because he played on the second line for a while and did squat with it and he could stand to be more physical when playing in a bottom 6 role. Grade: B-
Carl Hagelin: Hagelin is a bottom six player this season, but he won’t be next season. He may not even be a bottom sixer by the end of this season thanks to his explosiveness, escapeability, and positional awareness. As he’s gained more experience, he has also gained more trust from his coach, which is evident in the increase in situations he is being utilized.
The question really is what is this kid’s ceiling? It’s hard to know at this point, but what really impresses me about Hagelin’s game is that his puck handling keeps up with his foot speed. Rico Fata could skate like the wind too, but he had no hands.
Many will write that Hagelin is too small or that he needs to bulk up. To which I say, BS! How many times have you seen him get pancaked and lose the puck? Grade: A
John Mitchell: While many of Avery’s supporters blame his current status on Rupp and Erik Christensen, Mitchell too deserves culpability. Of course Mitchell deserves a spot on this roster over Avery, so you won’t hear any complaints from me.
Mitchell has been a possession monster for us, as he currently leads the team in relative corsi. He’s also been dynamite on the draw (FO 58.6%), he’s quick, and he plays gritty without taking dumb penalties. I’m not sure who scouted this guy in Toronto, but whoever it was deserves credit. Like a glove! Grade: B+
The Rangers played a very strong game in another contest that could have easily been a letdown. The Panthers really hung around in this one behind some solid goaltending by Scott Clemmensen, but in the end, the Blueshirts were too much for Florida, winning 3-2 in overtime. Onto the bullets…
- It took the Rangers about 10 minutes during the first period to find their legs, but once that happened they really took it to the Panthers. There were long stretches during this game that I completely forgot Marty Biron was playing.
- The Rangers had a huge shots advantage in this one, outshooting the Cats 41-21. It could have been over 50 if the Rangers could just hit the net a little more. Obviously, to find major negatives with this team right now is nitpicking, but I just wish they would hit the net when they have a clear lane. Make the goalie work for it.
- The Dubi-Richards-Cally combo was the best line on the ice tonight. They were working down low and moving the puck well. It seemed like every time they were on the ice Clemmensen had to deal with a puck bouncing around his crease. Getting garbage to the net is a huge part of this unit’s game and as the Winter Classic confirms, it is quite effective when you can create that kind of havoc in front.
- Gabby was missing from about the first half of the game, but really came on in the third period and launched that beauty in overtime. Bad gap control by the Florida defenders on that one.
- I thought Prust, Fedotenko and Rupp all played tremendous games. Feds had all kinds of snarl in his performance tonight and Rupp and Prust showed some serious chemistry out there.
- One thing that played a huge role in the Rangers’ success tonight was the presence of an aggressive forecheck. Not only does this kind of pressure lead to turnovers and offensive zone chances, but it also tires out the Florida defenders and keeps the puck out of the Rangers’ defensive zone. It was the main reason the Panthers were held to 21 shots.
- Speaking of which, another very solid game for the defense.
- Marty Biron played a solid, if unspectacular game tonight. The first goal was a beauty, so no fault to Marty there. The second one, on the other hand, could have sent the momentum right back to Florida. He got caught leaning/thinking pass and got beat on a shot I’m quite sure he’d want back. Fortunately, the Rangers held it together and came away with a nice win. Biron plays such a stoic, calm game, it is sometimes difficult to appreciate him for how easy he makes difficult saves look. Nothing more you could ask from a backup.
- As I mentioned before, Clemmensen played a very solid game and controlled rebounds nicely. I would have loved to see the Rangers challenge him up high more, if nothing else just to change his eye level. He was the only reason this game made it to overtime.
- As for any potential bad blood after the Kopecky/Del Zotto incident from the last time the teams met, there was only one notable scrum during this one. Looks like both teams decided to let sleeping dogs lie.
Right back at to tomorrow as the Rangers travel to Pittsburgh to take on the Penguins at 7pm.