State of the Rangers

Patience is a vitrue

Norm Hull/Getty Images
Norm Hull/Getty Images

Last night, the Rangers lost their 2013-2014 opener in Phoenix.  It was neither pretty nor particularly encouraging.  Sure, there were some bright spots; Brad Richards showed signs of life, Marc Staal looked great and the defense as a whole looked much more active in the offensive zone.

Since the pre-season started, the staff here at BSB has been preaching patience.  There has been a ton of upheaval even though there was very little roster turnover from last year’s team.  Not only has there been the difficulty of a coaching change and all new systems implementation, but the Blueshirts start the season on a 9-game road trip.

Derek Stepan got a late start on camp due to his contract situation and two top-6 forwards in Callahan and Hagelin are out to start the season; not to mention the disappointing camp from Chris Kreider.

Add all of this to the fact that Alain Vigneault needed training camp to get a look at the organizational depth and youth options to fill in for the injured veterans, piled on top of a completely new system from the one the core of the team has been familiar with for the past four years.

When I set out to write this post, I was still lamenting the loss from last night.  I wanted to mentally go through what factors were really in play to start the season, and even though all of these circumstances have been analyzed individually over the course of the off-season, I had never stopped to really look at the cumulative effect.  Just the coaching/culture change alone would take some time to adjust to before everything synced up.

Add in the road trip, injuries and overstuffed pre-season roster, and it would be a damn impressive feat for the Rangers to get off to a scorching-hot start.  Dave has spoken at length about giving this team 10-12 games before really becoming concerned about defensive zone breakdowns and lack of on-ice cohesion.  I think this is good rule of thumb for any team with significant changes, but I think it holds extra true for this year’s Rangers.

This is a good team who I believe will be successful this season.  It’s going to take some time, there are going to be bumps in the road.  Let’s try to keep the proper perspective and start looking for signs that this crew is coming together.  Patience is a virtue.  Especially to start this year.

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  • I didn’t here anyone mention jesper in last post. Is he better off on the 4th line vs the ahl with his young brethren. I wouldn’t say he was invisible last night but he didn’t seem to get a lot of opportunities

  • Torts and the Nucks lost last night by the same scoreline too. This is definitely going to take time.

    Most of the mistakes I think are very correctable though and will fix themselves over time.

  • Anyone watch the Bruins last night?

    That is a well oiled machine.

    Two shorthanded goals.

    They exposed all of our weaknesses in last year’s playoffs, I do not believe that we have done anything that would eliminate or contain them. It is the said old, same old. I have never seen Lundqvist diving out of his net as much, being spun around the way he has been. He is usually back in his net. Islander fans are asking me how I like the new offensive system. It is pretty offensive if you ask me. Including pre-season, 10 goals in 7 games. We have given up 26 goals in 7 games. 1.43 goals for and 3.72 goals against does not a great team make. The team looks lost and lacks chemistry. Sorry, the story of the Emperor has no clothes applies here, take your heads out of the sand and you will shall see the reality. We are not in the same league as Boston, Chicago, LA, Pittsburgh. If the Rangers hated Torts, that game against Vancouver was a good opportunity to show it on the ice. It was quite the opposite performance.

    • 1 game. Out of 81. We started the 11-12 season 3-3-3. Give it a damn chance already. Let’s panic in a month or so.

      This is the problem with a lot of NY fan base, that has always been hard for me, as a native. “It’s not working after one game! Fire everyone! Why isn’t this new guy working! Fire him too! And then let’s fire next one before he even signs a contract, just for good measure!”

      It could very well be a failure of a season, I don’t know. But let’s give it a minute already!

      • Let’s also mention the LA Kings of that very season, ya know, the eventual Stanley Cup Champs. (Also I meant 81 games to go, not out of 81).

    • Agree with a few of your bullets above. In short, the Rangers strike me as a competitive second tier team. They should make the playoffs without having to scoot past a team in a shootout in the last regular season game this year, however, it will be no cakewalk. There will be no guarantee. I would say that realistic optimism would give us home ice advantage for the first round of the playoffs when it’s all said and done. That would be a positive team accomplishment. The real test starts from there, though…

    • Hate to agree with you but I think I do w/ most of your comments. It is game 1, I know, but even if they had a good preseason and played better last night I’d still have the feeling that the Rangers are not in the B’s league.

      In fact, I think we may be over rating them based on what Torts’ system got out of them 2 years ago. I mean deep down, don’t you just know that the talent is not elite on average? Yes, a very nice D and a very good (though I think a little over rated) goalie. The forwards are average at best. Very average and that’s not gonna get it done.

      I think it’s a winning team, but not near the upper tier.

      • What you, and some others fail to even mention is that the core of the Boston team has been together for some 4-5 years, won 2 cups, and know their system. All these great scouts of talent, wanna be GM’s, and coaching that post non-sense is funny. IT”S ONE GAME PEOPLE!!!!!

        Come back next month, we will keep your seats warm when you jump back on the band wagon.

  • Patience is one of those virtues that have to be properly balanced.

    I’ve seen statements that a record of 10-10 the first 20 games, for example, would be ok. I don’t think a record along those lines is at all acceptable, and I am surprised fans/media are willing to compromise our quality to this degree.

    There is more than enough talent on this team to expect better performance, even if the style of play (which I think is a little hyped up and overemphasized) is in transition.

    I expected Hank to handle the puck better than he did last evening, and to have saved another of the goals he was directly responsible for. That has nothing to do with AV’s “style of play.” He was outplayed by Mike Smith in a year where he is asking to be paid the highest salary amongst goalies in the league.

    Sorry, after expressing complaints to Sather about Tortorella that factored into the coaching change, and getting there wish, I am not willing to give these players a pass for “transitioning to a new style.”

    Hank, Cally, Staal, Richards…..for what it’s worth, I think if the club doesn’t nip these transition issues in the bud soon, I’d be very disappointed. You wanted a new coach; how ’bout you go out and win some games, quit the bellyaching and execute.


    • I’m more concerned with later in the season, which is why I’m in the group that says, 10-10 is fine. There are no trophies for the first 20 games. I am more looking at what our record is mid season, end of season, playoffs.

      Last season I was one of the most vocal Torts supporters here, and I agree that if they did indeed call for Torts outing, or complained or whatnot, that they do need to put their money where their mouths are and perform.

      But just as the beginning of last season it was silly to panic in the first 5 or 10 games, it’s even more silly this season with the normal schedule.

      We’ll know more answers in a month or two, then we can start talking about what is actually working and what isn’t.

      • Fair point Vince. But the points won or lost in the first 20 games could very well be the difference between home-ice advantage in play-offs or not.

        I am just hoping AV can orchestrate this transition without sacrificing too many points early on.

        • Totally agree, but that would also mean that the 10-10 has not turned into a better ratio at that point. If we do really start clicking after 20 games, that should turn into a better ratio. If not we will indeed be on the cusp and it would be a problem and not an issue merely adjusting to a new system (and then us Torts supporters can start bitching again! 🙂 )

  • They really need(ed) Kreider and one other kid to hit it kind of big this year. Not flat line. That is the intangible and so far there is no sign though yeh, it’s early.

    • The fact that Kreider screwed the pooch really put them behind the 8 ball to start the year. They needed his offensive potential.

  • Jesper Fast was, indeed, fast last night. He’s got the same sense of hockey that Zuccs has — know where the puck is going and gets there in a hurry. He didn’t get many chances but he also didn’t give up any either. As for keeping him around, I think he can benefit a lot from the couple of games he’ll get until Cally and Hags come back.

  • Perspective. We (Rangers fan base)as a whole lack it at times. Live and die one game at a time. It’s what makes our fanbase great and terrible at the same time.

    The truth is there are unarguable disadvantages the Rangers face to begin the season, no matter if they “asked for it” or not. The Rangers fired their coach and have to deal with the growing pains because of it.

    Let’s see where we stand at the end of it all. 81 more fellas.

  • It is not a matter of losing a game, but how you lose it.

    Most of these games were not even close.


    Usually, when you have a good team, the other coach matches lines. I do not see the other team being that worried about matching our lines. They just roll out whomever they please. The Rangers coming into town does not infer fear in the opposing team, while if say, you read in the schedule, Uh oh, Detroit, Boston, Pittsburgh, LA, or Chicago, you say, this will be a hard fought game.

    I have been watching the Rangers longer than most of you have been on this earth, take this from a crafty veteran. The Coyotes loved Laurie Korpikoski Acquired: From NYR in exchange for Enver Lisin, July 13, 2009 and Derrick Morris, and we flushed them both.

  • It’s game 1. We were essentially missing 2 of our top 6

    And step missed training camp and it’s a west coast road trip.

    And Vrbata had the hot hand.

    Again waiting for game 20 to make any serious analysis. 10-10 is all we need they can lose 9 more in the first 20 before I worry.

  • It’s one game for sure.

    Do we have enough skilled shooters to hit the net in this run and gun style of play? Besides Zuc?

    Is Hank missing shots fired right at him, with no view problems?

    Is there way to much passing cross ice or is this part of the new style?

    Was there any rough play along the boards at all – besides Girardi?

    Is it just me or do you double take when 10 is scrappy along the boards?

    Look forward to seeing those 10 wins in 20 – for sure!

  • Okay. No panic. BUT. The coy-dogs controlled the forecheck battles and beat us in every way. Why were they so much faster than us?
    Okay. No panic. Just game one. Means little. 81 to go. Some good to take away from the game has already mentioned by all Just wanna say: If we are 10-10 after 20, then I’ll be psyched. And we all should. It’s only going to get better after that. Way better.
    So much potential. So much youth. So much raw talent.
    Hope springs eternal…..
    Let’s keep the faith and give the Boys some slack. LGR!!!!!

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