Musings After Five

It’s a depressing musing day. It’s the day between games and we’re potentially a day away from the end of the season. If you’re negative that is. Anyway, let’s get on to the musings.

Marian Gaborik scored. Ryan Callahan scored. The offense wasn’t the issue in the game five defeat. The defense was subpar and above all the Rangers couldn’t keep the Devils top players in check.  Kovalchuk, Parise and Zajac combined for 5 points. The Rangers have yet to play a game this series (arguably all playoffs) where every facet of their game – defense, goaltending, offense, special teams – has clicked at the same time.

I read a few things today where people have begun to criticise Lundqvist, because of game five. If I meet any of these people in person I may very well attack them. I loves me a good beat down. I cannot tolerate mindless fools and/or drama queens. Step away from the ledge.

Whether it was injury or not; Ryan Callahan, despite being impressive in game five, hasn’t been the offensive force in these playoffs that he needs to be. That says a lot. Why? The Rangers have one heck of a leader and all rounder hockey player in Cally. However, on offensively strong teams Callahan would be an offensive compliment not a go-to-guy.

I think tiredness is present in the Rangers but it’s maybe overstated. I think sometimes the media create stories and players and teams can often buy into them, believe them. Is that going on here?

If Brandon Dubinsky plays like he did in game five the Rangers should keep him. The problem is how likely is he to play like that consistently? He played physically, was motivated and was relevant offensively.

Michael Del Zotto was minus three and really struggled but the defense as a unit was not very good and hasn’t been great numerous occasions in this series. The two shutout victories were predominantly thanks to a certain Swede in net.

The Rangers have been pretty poor in this series when considering offensive zone pressure and sustaining any kind of momentum. I still think, when I look at the composition of the Devils blueline (Mark Fayne, Salvador, Harrold, Greene and Zidlicky) that the Rangers should have much more success. That could be the most patchwork defense to play in the Stanley Cup in many years. Assuming the Rangers don’t mount a comeback.

Just when you think his tank is empty Ruslan Fedotenko puts together a few impressive games at the most critical time of year. I don’t see any way the Rangers bring him back but he’s suggesting he has some NHL left in him, somewhere.

It’s a series like this conference finals against the Devils where the Rangers have really missed Michael Sauer. His extra physicality and intelligence are really being missed right now.

He’s not worth the money he’s on but imagine what difference the added dynamic skill from Kovalchuk would make to this Rangers team. In addition, this team is built so that it could probably make up for his lack of defensive game even if Tortorella would never allow it.

Question Time:

  • Will Michael Sauer be healthy to start next year?
  • Zach Parise or Rick Nash?
  • Will the Rangers win game 6?
  • What has been the Rangers biggest issue in this series: energy, offensive consistency, physical play?
  • Can either the Devils or Rangers beat a well rested LA Kings?
  • How do the Rangers overcome the repeated slow starts?

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  • Rangers need to counter the quickness of Devils 4th line so bring back Mitchell and stu Rupp

    Go back to best line combos

    Gaby Richards hags
    Kreider Stepan Cally
    Boyle Prust Feds
    AA Mitchell Dubi

    This way any line can score and the 4th line quickness is matched by the NYR

    • I do think Rupp is unnecessary at this stage. I like the guy and think he still serves a purpose but not in the next game.

    • zucc has been skating with the main roster so what would your line combos look like with zucc in the lineup including pp and pk?

  • I think that you’ll find out after the season that Callahan has been playing with a significant injury to his hand. He can barely hold the stick and his shots have no zip. Reminds me of Gaborik of 2010-11.

    • That seems to be the general consensus and right now all we can do is guess. I wouldn’t be surprised if he was injured.

      It concerns me if he is injured again too… Through his style, he picks up a lot of injuries and they can limit his effectiveness. Given how much Rangers rely on his its a concern.

      • This wrist injury was disproved by the media during a post game interview when he was moving his wrist around with no apparent discomfort.

          • I’ve been thinking he has been injured for the past 10 games or so. He did look really good last game suit, but in general when do you see Callahan become (relatively by his standards) invisible for stretches of games at a time at this stage in his career. He’s got to be nursing something. Even if it’s not the hand with the amount of shots he blocks with his lower body and his torso he’s got to be hurt. The continued hits and blocks are more a testament to his heart than his health.

  • The media attack and people attacking lundqvist after this game is an utter farce. Did henrik have a bad game yesterday? Sure. The third goal is on him. The first goal I wish he controlled the rebound better, but two things happened that led to that goal. One, the goal scorer high sticked stepan in the face and went free to the net. MDZ and I am not sure what other forward checked the same guy on the boards freeing up space in front of the net. The second goal was bad luck and the 4th goal was bad back checking due to us running out of legs. I wish the media would give the Rangers a fair shake just once and actually analyze the goals. If not for Henrik we are probably down 3-1 after the first 4 games if not a sweep with how bad our offense has been.

    To everyone also saying broduer is playing better, i just laugh. I feel as if any direct shot from the middle of the ice is a goal or a massive rebound. If our team was not so slow in both movement and in reactions, we would be potting 3-4 per game. This not going to work for the devils when they face LA. The kings are going to feast on broduer if he keeps playing like he has.

    As for the nash/parise argument it is a tough question. On the one hand I like parise cause he actually fits into our system. Hard worker, grinder and being american is nice too. However, do we really need another grinder? I think it is time to look for talent. Someone who can create something on his own. That is why I am voting going after Nash, Cory Perry or Getzlaf or bobby ryan. We would obviously have to give up more for them and parise could come at no charge, but those guys are monsters who can create chances on their own.

    I feel good for some reason that rangers will pull it out on friday. Going down 3-0 really created a spark and pissed them off, which was great to see. However, after we tied it you could see we ran out of gas at around the 10-12 minute mark. If we had scored that PP goal that hit the post at 3-2 early in the second, we would not be discussing any of this right now.

    • That time out Deboer called seemed to turn the tide of the game. The Devils, as Pierre McGuire (or maybe Eddie O) pointed out right before the goal, had been surging. Even still… the blown defensive coverages have been killing us all series.

      Does anyone else not give a SHIT about anything else today besides this game haha? I’ve got real things to do and they’ll get done, but the only thing on my mind is 8PM.

      I’ve felt like this is our year every time they’ve come up big, and then felt equally depleted every time they’ve let opportunity slip away. This team is not quite there yet, but the Cup is still their’s for the taking. That says something about the potential. Regardless of what happens tonight boys (and Becky 🙂 ) I’ve never been more proud to be a Ranger fan and for the future of the franchise.

      Now… if Torts can just implement a little more Blue Line pressure in the defensive zone I think we’ll fix some of the issues we’ve been having in our own end.

  • It seems whenever we count them out, they start to Shine.

    No line changes, play the same game, and without those 3 quick goals in the first….we win game 5. Game 6 will be a different story…Can the devils hold up? They looked tired in Game 5, I guarantee (someone had to do it) the Rangers win Game 6 to force a game 7 at the garden.

  • – I hope so
    – Neither. Develop our talent. Gun to my head, Parise.
    – F yeah. I won’t believe a loss til I see it with my own eyes.
    – Offensive consistency
    – No idea but it’ll be interesting to see how LA plays losing more than one game per series (which I definitely think the East is capable of)
    – Torts fire under their ass. The knowledge that if they don’t, they’re going golfing.

  • Hopefully
    A little of all three
    Gotta establish a forecheck and have better puck possession.

  • Excellent analysis Chris. I believe I commented on some of your points in the earlier blog. One I don’t agree with is your thought that the Devs D is responsible for the lack of penetration and scoring by Ranger forwards. The simple truth is we don’t have many very good first or second line forwards with size to outmuscle the opponent. The Devs have done a very good job of forecheckiung making the D’s job easier. Your comment about Callahan is completely on target,and most definitely is an example of why I repeat that this roster needs size. The good or even average big man has a distinct advantage over many above average smaller men. Zubrus is a prime example.

  • Chris,re: your Rupp comment. Rupp serves no purpose in any game. The real laugh is he also can’t fight and has a glass chin! Another brilliant move by Sather,big contract ,big money,non factor. The continuing “reign of error”!

    • Man, I gotta agree with all of your detractors in the previous post (not sure you saw as you did not respond to them). Your Sather assessment is way off…he started out terrible but has been brilliant the past few years.

      Gomez for McDonaugh, nuff said. Taking the risk on Kreider instead of gutting the team for Nash. Not pulling the trigger on Richards in last season’s deadline (giving up core) and waiting for the summer free-agency.

      The Biron pickup wasn’t important? Or taking a risk on Stralman? And most importantly listening and trusting Gordie and developing our prospects. Remember how young Step, DZ, McD, Kreider all are. Think of what they can grow into.

      Like someone (I think Leatherneck) mentioned in the previous post, his reckless spending days have been over since 08 and he’s been concentrating on BUILDING and doing a great job.

      We are two wins away from the Stanley Cup Finals. You can call it “fairy dust” if you want (although you used that term in comparison to the NY Giants which makes no sense, they built a hell of a team too, no easy task winning an NFL title twice in 4 seasons).

      But considering the results and where we have come in the past 4 seasons with mainly building, it’s pretty hard to argue with the results.

      • I just hate in every post because I have a small penis. What part of that don’t you understand?

        • Not looking to pick on or make fun of you (and yes, I know you are being tongue in cheek here), but you do sound like you are living in Ranger’s seasons past.

          I don’t care if you dislike Sather or Torts or whoever on the team, but your arguments seem off/outdated.

          • Glad to see you guys sorted out your differences. Comnsnse, it’s always nice to have discussions with dissenting opinions, but you say you disagree with the organizational philosophy, Sather’s performance, the team’s future, the farm system etc.

            What I would love to hear is your proposed course of action for righting the ship going forward? With a couple of exceptions, the Rangers tend to draft in the 15-20 range, which makes it difficult to cultivate high end prospects and finding diamonds in the rough, while awesome when it happens, is a very difficult thing to count on regularly. Just curious as to your thoughts

  • Fact: the Rangers have won 61 games this season, more than any other team in the league.

    Fact: in 81 games this year, Henrik has given up 4 goals in a game only 7 times. He has given up more than 4 in a game zero times. He has 11 shutouts.

    Fact: Fatso is an old man, and Sunday will be the last game he ever plays in the nhl, and good riddance.

  • My heart says that beating the Devils in games 6 and 7 AND luring away the heart and soul of their team in the offseason would be super phun tyme. My brain says that acquiring Nash at the right price would be better for the Rangers team given their current roster construction. Parise is a marvelous player and would fit right in with Torts’ system and the Rangers scrappy identity. The fact that he’s American and expressed interest in playing for the Rangers makes it easier to root for his acquisition. He’s also a free agent.

    However, Nash possesses a skill set and most importantly the size that would fill one of the Rangers few holes. Nash is a player that changes the complexion of every game because of his size, skating, and hands. He’s played on mostly poor to mediocre Columbus teams, and I would be excited to see what he’s capable of with some talent and leadership around him. I understand the focus with this Rangers squad is on the future, but adding a player of Nash’s caliber would make them a top three contender for the cup every year. I’m not sure what the right price is, but I hope the Rangers can find it.

  • I’m not even thinking about the off-season stuff until we, you know, get to the off-season.

    Yes, the Rangers can win Game 6 AND Game 7. Will they? I have no idea – if I knew that I’d fly to Vegas and get a bet down. Last night showed us that the Rangers can shut down the Devils’ fore check and establish their own. Can they do it again, while converting their opportunities into goals, preventing defensive breakdowns and getting what we’re used to getting from Lundquist? Sure, why not?

    How do they overcome the slow starts? Maybe playing with their backs against the wall will do the trick. But whatever they do, they can’t get away from sound defensive coverage – Staal can’t go flying on his face into the OZ corner as the third man in 90 seconds into the first period and they can’t leave guys open in the slot even if a winger gets high sticked. I would actually think about trapping for the first 10 minutes and trying to generate turnovers.

    Can either the Devils or the Rangers beat the Kings? After watching this series I might turn that question around. LA has had it easy, not that they haven’t played great but both teams in the ECF have faced some adversity and gutted it out. Neither will be an easy out for LA.

  • If I can just get to the Rock in time to show Coach Tortorella I can be a better bottom pairing or 4th liner than Bickel etc.. I think I could contribute 7-8 quality minutes tonight!

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