Rangers final grades: Defense

Defense was a hallmark of the 2011-2012 New York Rangers.  It was arguably the key ingredient in their run to the Eastern Conference Finals.  They had an unwavering commitment to shot-blocking and solid play in their own end.  Even without a ton of roster turnover, the unit was not as proficient as they were last season, but still had a…

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Estimating Ryan McDonagh’s next contract

 When news broke yesterday of Roman Josi’s new contract with the Nashville Predators ($28 million over 7 years), focus immediately shifted to Ryan McDonagh. After all, McDonagh and Josi are very comparable players. They are both coming off their ELCs. They are both top-pairing defensemen. They are both arbitration eligible. Most importantly, they are both likely to receive some attention on the RFA…

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Finding a puck mover like Torey Krug is more important than finding a cannon point shot

As some of you may have noticed, the Rangers were awful on the power play again in 2013. One of the simple fixes suggested by many has been to bring in a guy with a cannon point shot.  That’d be a nice luxury to have, but the truth is that there are very few players in the league as effective…

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Special teams matchup may decide the series

One of the oldest adages of hockey is that to win games, you must stay out of the penalty box.  Nothing revolutionary there, it makes sense that you don’t want to give your opponent too many chances to outnumber you on the ice. It will certainly ring true in Round One, when the Rangers face Washington’s #1 ranked power play,…

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Mashinter returned to AHL; Nash/McDonagh/Del Zotto all skating

Brandon Mashinter was returned to the AHL this morning after playing four games for the Rangers. Mash finished with a -2 rating, 7 hits, and 1 blocked shot in extremely limited playing time. Returning Mash to the AHL leaves the Rangers with 11 forwards, so it is likely that Rick Nash, the player who was on IR, will be reactivated…

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Nash on the ice, McDonagh not

Great news this morning as Rick Nash is on the ice for practice, per Pat Leonard. Nash is also in a contact jersey, which hopefully means he will be playing tonight. Leonard also noted that Ryan McDonagh is not on the ice this morning, and neither is Marc Staal. Staal is probably just off for maintenance, but McDonagh is likely…

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Do the Rangers have a Norris trophy candidate?

The Rangers may have leaked goals in bunches at times this year and may have been, at best ‘rusty and inconsistent’, to begin the year. That said, the Rangers blueline – at least the top end – has been at the very heart of why the Rangers are back on the winning trail. With Dan Girardi and Marc Staal leading…

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The Alternatives (or lack of)

Yesterday we discussed how the Rangers may eventually look outside of the organisation for help on the blueline. Unless you think Stu Bickel, Matt Gilroy or Steve Eminger are the answer then it’s perhaps inevitable that the Rangers are on the lookout. Of course, this is assuming team brass do not want Dan Girardi and Ryan McDonagh on the ice…

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Horrible defense and bad start nothing to worry about

Here’s an interesting statistic I read after the Pittsburgh loss: The Rangers will play their 48 games in 99 days. Last year they played their final 48 games in 100 days. Basically there is no great concern or big deal to be made of the compressed schedule. There will also be sufficient practice time. The Rangers managed to win the…

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Rangers struggle abroad

We know Ryan McDonagh is back in the US and we know Carl Hagelin has terminated his deal with his hometown team back in Sweden. We also know Rick Nash has had his own injury issues despite scoring at an impressive rate in Switzerland. It goes without saying that the NHL is the best league in the world when they’re…

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