Musings; Tame the Cats edition

Rick Nash needs to find twine again. Starting tonight.
Rick Nash needs to find twine again. Starting tonight.

It’s a game day. It’s the Florida Panthers who always seem to trip up our boys in blue. If ever there was an occasion not to play down to the level of your opponents it’s tonight. Let’s jump into the musings.

Rick Nash needs to be better. The past few games – starting with a few turnovers against the Islanders – he hasn’t been that dominant forward we’ve enjoyed for the most part of the year. This is the time of the year you need your best to be your best. That said, I think we see a strong game from Nash tonight.

For those of you that haven’t seen it, this is a nice little article on Lundqvist, on TSN. Just shows even without being a particularly old goalie, how much respect Lundqvist carries and what kind of impact he’s had on the league. There are probably many league goalies that look to The King for tips.

This time of the year, it’s about results. These next three games are in my view not just must wins but should wins. A team that needs points with the Rangers’ talent level should be maxing points in this next three. In fact, if the Rangers play to their talent level (a big ask this season for sure) there’s no reason they cannot win at least five of six. Big ask, but doable.

As I read Andrew Gross’ comments on Marc Staal the other day I felt like his career was in jeopardy. Why? He’s adjusting his eye sight and depth perception and still has blurriness. I mean, at an elite level your eye sight shouldn’t need readjusting as you go along. I can just imagine the possible mistakes in games that cold materialize. Of course, I may have been overreacting but I still feel Marc Staal is anything but certain to return to his old level at this stage.

A friend asked me at the deadline; ‘who are these guys that the Rangers got for Gaborik?’ I told him I was happy with the return but particularly excited to get a guy with John Moore’s upside. He’s starting to show what he could achieve. Tortorella’s seen some McDonagh in him. You have two of those guys in the same top six and just wow. Get Staal back and this top six is young and absolutely stacked.

Under-appreciated: now he’s fit, Arron Asham is showing that he could be a nice compliment in the bottom six, beyond this year.

If the trade deadlines additions show anything it’s that JT Miller and (despite his call up) Chris Kreider belong in the AHL this year. That’s not a long term concern; they’re just not ready for full time big league play.

If the Rangers were looking for more scoring when Brian Boyle went down I would have given Christian Thomas another shot. Kreider should stay in the AHL. If Kreider has come back up to play Boyle’s bottom six minutes it’s just a bad call.

Thirty one skaters have suited up for the Rangers this season (correct me if I’m wrong). That emphasizes the lack of consistency the club have had this year.

Question Time:

  • 7 games in; would you retain Ryan Clowe and for how much?
  • How many points would you be happy with from the next four games?
  • With an average of 16 minutes/game is Zuccarello producing enough?
  • Would you start Marty Biron again this season?
  • Where do you see Carl Hagelin’s long term spot in the line-up?

That’s it folks. I’m more nervous about a home game with the Panthers than I should be. Given the criticism from the Flyers game we should expect to see a strong feisty start from the Rangers. This is the (latest) biggest game of the season tonight folks. Later skaters

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  1. 1) 50/50 on retaining him, and no more than 3 years 4.5 per (which means he’s not coming back)
    2) 6 minimum
    3) He’s been fine, others need to pick it up
    4) One of the Florida games
    5) 2nd/3rd line. A 1st liner needs to pop some more pucks in the net.

  2. ~I would offer Clowe 3 years at $3 million per.
    ~Nothing less than 6 points in 4 games is acceptable given the opponents.
    ~Zuccarello is generating a lot of offensive opportunities, but no, he has not produced as well as should be given the chances.
    ~Marty needs to start at least once, Hank has been playing alot at an elite level. He might need a rest.
    ~Hagelin is second line winger with the right line-mates.

    1. Nash has certainly been lackluster of late. He’s had a tough time keeping the puck (in large part due to his insistence on driving into areas clustered with opposing players, trying to do his usual toe-drag moves). It’s not working. He needs to find his line-mates, give them the puck and then drive to the open areas, or draw players to him freeing up his line-mates. He can’t be a one-man show.

  3. I don’t really care about what’s happened so far in this mess of a shortened season. Just win baby. That’s all that really matters from here on out. Summer time is when we should be discussing tactical problems, signings, who should play and such. Whosever on the ice tonight has one job and one job only. To win.

  4. on Clowe-yes for 3 years at no more than 3.5 mil

    at least seven, if not eight

    Zucc finally scored a goal, needs to step up some

    Marty can start only when we clinch, and can’t move up in the standings

    Carl is a very good 3rd line player, we used him on the first, and second lines, where he is over matched some. He should be signed to a 3-4 year contract if for only his speed, and forecheck.

  5. i still think nash tweaked something late in the third period against the islanders. he went down awkwardly into the boards and the rest of that game looked uncomfortable carrying the puck

    1. Agree. Torts’ sitting him for the first PP unit, seeing his hand bandaged up in post-game interviews, losing the puck a lot, etc. I think something’s up with him.

  6. Comments, then answers. 33 skaters actually (30 on the stats page and Rupp,Halpern,Gaborik). Above average for an 82 game season I think. And 24 guys have played forwarded (including Bickel) – 25 if Dorsett gets in!
    Kreider is more familiar with the system than Thomas – and sadly, fourth line minutes probably will beat his playing time with the Whale as Connecticut will probably sit out the postseason.
    Agree on Asham, hope he’s third line tonight.

    ~I’d take Dubi over Clowe, so I don’t want to pay a salary we agreed was too much for Dubi. $3 mil for 3 years maybe
    ~ On Zucc, +/- says he’s good enough, the scoresheet says no, in case of doubt, believe your eyes – he looks to be playing well.
    ~Marty can start when things seem safer, Hank had lots of rest during the strike and that does matter.
    ~Hagelin is a top nine player, exactly where depends more on chemistry than skill.

  7. •7 games in; would you retain Ryan Clowe and for how much? I’d retain him at 3-4 years around 3-4 million.

    •How many points would you be happy with from the next four games?I think we have another regulation loss left.

    •With an average of 16 minutes/game is Zuccarello producing enough? I think he should be producing more.

    •Would you start Marty Biron again this season?Yes, I’d start him tomorrow.

    •Where do you see Carl Hagelin’s long term spot in the line-up? I think he’ll be a 50 point guy eventually, so where he plays likely depends on the play of others. If Kreider can live up to his billing than I think Carl can slot on the third line. If Kreider doesn’t live up to the hype than I think he’ll slot on the second line.

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