The Musings: Has the tide turned?

Definition of essential: Ryan Callahan
Definition of essential: Ryan Callahan

It’s always easier to write the Musings after a win. Last night was a huge relief to many Rangers fans so let’s talk about it.

John Moore: If Moore continues with performances like last night’s against the Capitals, then he could quickly go past Michael Del Zotto in the pecking order. A quick release, a good overall game and solid defensively, Moore still has a ton of upside to be explored. His skating is very good and his upside is exciting. You get the feeling he could prosper under Alain Vigneault.

Mats Zuccarello is a very good hockey player but he’s surely on shaky ground as a Ranger. Yes, the season is but six games old but he’s brought next to nothing to the table, and that’s despite being on a scoring line. He’s averaging close to 17 minutes a game which is plenty. He’s not even averaging a shot/game at this stage. If he’s not producing give a prospect those 17 minutes per game.

Ryan Callahan embarrassed the Capitals on his goal in front of Holtby. He should not be able to get to the net that easily.  That said, Callahan simply has a knack around the net. He is the lifeblood of this forward unit in so many ways.

Yesterday I wrote about Dan Girardi and mentioned Henrik Lundqvist as the two key Rangers heading into the Caps game. Girardi turned in by far his most impressive performance of the season and Lundqvist was very sharp and was the security blanket it for his defense. When those two are on their games the Rangers are never out of a game.

Jersey and Philly are up next. All of a sudden there is a legitimate chance to enter the final game of the 9 game road trip at (at Detroit)  with a .500 record – pretty sure every Rangers fan would be delighted with that outcome.

If the Rangers can control the puck regularly like they did at times against the Capitals, and have Rick Nash/Carl Hagelin to return, this team still has a ton of promise despite the ugly start to the year.

You think Henrik Lundqvist has got into the heads of the Capital’s players?

It’s time to let Jesper Fast get some real ice time with the Wolfpack. Eight minutes a game is not going to help his development at all. He had the least of all Rangers players last night. Rather bring up a guy whose development won’t rely on a minor role. Fast has too much talent to be stuck to the bench.

Derek Dorsett didn’t take a penalty?

You get the sense that Derick Brassard is not quite there yet, but is very close to finding his form. He did some good things against the Caps and played some big minutes in a tough, tight game. If the Rangers can get Brassard, Stepan and Richards all firing at the same time that would be a huge step toward a successful season.

Best news of the week so far: Carl Hagelin has been cleared for contact. Another reason why Jesper Fast will be in the AHL very soon. Worth remembering for Fast is that Hagelin will now be taking up a bigger role in practice, so there’s no upside right now in having Fast with the big club.

I would rather a raw Andrew Yogan than Taylor Pyatt at this stage. Give a big aggressive kid like Yogan ten minutes a night instead of a guy with no future on this franchise. No one can say Pyatt’s experience is a defining factor so why not roll the dice in a non-critical roster spot?

Question Time:

  • What changes would you make (if any) ahead of the Devils game Saturday?
  • Who is in bigger danger of losing their roster spot: Zuccarello, Pyatt or Pouliot?
  • When do you give Talbot his first NHL start?
  • When fit, would you put MDZ back ahead of John Moore on the depth chart or run with Moore?
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  • Healthy DZ in for Falk
    Want it to be Pyatt, probably is Pouliot.
    Probably home vs Buffalo on Halloween.
    I’d have them both on the 3rd pair, so doesn’t matter what order really. I’d keep Moore on the PP though.

  • Totally agree on Fast. He needs to be in the AHL with Lindberg, playing together. Andrew Yogan has talent but Kreider would be a better replacement for Pyatt. Pouliot has been no better than Zucc so why single Zucc out. When Hags & Nash are back, Pyatt is out. Still would rather see Boyle as a fourth line wing with Moore & Dorsett.

  • Everyone keeps mentioning the threat that Moore is to MDZ, however, given that Falk is the 7th defenseman, I don’t really see why Moore and MDZ can’t co-exist.

    As for the questions:

    1)Obviously, MDZ back in over Falk; then, assuming no Nash still, I’d roll the following lines:
    1st) Richards-Brassard-Callahan
    2nd) Miller-Stepan-Zuccarello
    3rd) Pouliot-Boyle-Fast
    4th) Pyatt-Moore-Dorsett

    2)Zuccarello has not produced, yet he’s still done a good job getting to the puck and buzzing around causing problems for the D, especially on the cycle; Pyatt is, well, Pyatt; Pouliot has made a ton of mistakes, yet he’s shown flashes of why he was a Number 1 pick, he’s quick and he has good hands. I think that Pyatt is the odd-man out in this system.

    3) Talbot could get a start either on Thursday against the struggling Flyers (though you don’t realty want to jeopardize the team’s momentum assuming they knock of the Devils this Saturday). The other option would be, I think, the 31st at home against the Sabres.

    4) I think D combos should be: McDonagh/Girardi, Staal/Moore and MDZ/Stralman.

  • None. Reinsert MDZ if he’s healthy, that’s it.
    Hopefully Pyatt, probably Pouliot
    Schedule is spread out, maybe in November at Columbus.
    Tough call. I don’t like them both on the same pair, but I’d keep each one on a separate PP unit.

    • Why do you think they would move Pouliot? He’s had scoring chances. It’s a matter of time before he puts one in. How do you replace Pyatts size? Zuc has played much better defensively this year so far. Last year his mistakes were covered by line mates and stingy defenseman.

  • For all those theorizing about a Yakupov for MDZ package, Oilers President Kevin Lowe attended the Rangers/Capitals game last night, and rumor is that McTavish is definitely ready to move Yakupov.

    Oilers likely are looking for a goaltender in return. Possibly Miller from the Sabres, according to the Buffalo News, but he’s on the last year of his contract so that would be highly risky for Edmonton. More likely, Nuevirth from the Caps, only he didn’t play last night. So who was Lowe there to see? MDZ? Well, he didn’t play either.

    Something is going down soon, though. I hope the Rangers aren’t interested in Yakupov. Kid has a misguided sense of entitlement from what I’ve seen so far.

    • I’m a little worried about the interest in Yakupov. He has so much talent and passion, but could be one of those Pouliot type players. All the skill in the world, no idea how to apply it. His comments regarding not liking the skating/fore-checking style of hockey all the time is more then worrisome.

    • According to Sportsnet, Edmonton talking with Buffalo and Rangers possible 3-way deal with EDM sending Yakupov to BUFF for Miller & Vanek with EDM sending Vanek to NYR and NYR sending Girardi and pick to EDM. With Callahan out with his thumb makes sense. Maybe Rangers bring up McIlrath or Bickel who are both doing well at Hartford.

  • Tide turned? Maybe.

    The beating they took from Sharknado and the Flying V was only 2 games back. I’d like to see a few more solid games (win or loss) that shows this team has truely gotten away from that fiasco in California. The Blues game in my opinion was not that bad, would of been a different story if Biron and Dorsett did’t do what they did.

    Again, I’d like to see them continue their solid play of forchecking and better coverage in the D-zone before I assume all is good in the hood.

    They can build off of this win and the positives they’ve had with the PP and Brad Richards. Jim Cerny mentioned in a radio interview before the Caps game last night that Hagelin would be cleared for contact starting today. So until we finally get to see the full Rangers team with Nash and Hagelin healthy, that is when we’ll start to see what this team really made of.

  • DelZotto back in for Falk. I’d like to see more ice time for Miller. Let him have a few of Pyatt or Pouliot’s shifts after one of them inevitably screws up.
    Tough call between Pyatt and Pouliot. I’m leaning towards Pyatt because he’s been on the team longer and familiarity breeds contempt.
    10/29 @ NYI. Hank will be starting the home opener the night before. Not to take the Islanders lightly, they’ve been playing OK this season, I just hate to see any starter have to play back-to-backs.
    I’d like to see Moore get some time paired with McDonagh. They looked good on the 4 on 4 together last night. DZ and Stralman have been a very good pair in the past.

  • Probably Pouliot, should be Pyatt. Zucc brings in some movement, and shoot-out skills!

    As for the game against the Devils, don’t change anything, other than the goalie.

    Against the Devils, they are having a hard time scoreing, and I would rather beat the Filthadelphia team.

    They will sit Falk, and that is a mistake. I’d keep Moore with Staal, as a second pair, MDZ with Falk as the third pair. He is the only player, Falk that is, who would drop the gloves, now that Asham is gone!

  • – DZ returns for Falk if healthy, leave the forwards alone
    – There’s a case to be made for all 3 but I’d guess Zuc. Pouliot and Pyatt have more defense value and that’s what a 3rd line will be looking for once Hagelin and Nash return to join the top 6
    – Next back to back
    – I’d like to see them play together on the 3rd pair. Moore’s skating can cover for DZ if needed. Keep Moore on the PP1 and move DZ to Girardis spot on 2

  • I would make signs that say the rangers take on uncle daddy’s Debbie’s at the rock.

    Zuc. Nhl has a serious lack of skill players.

    As part of the regular rotation or on the back to back nights to keep hank fresh

    Mdz isn’t as bad as people think. Dude played with 50 stitches in his chest from malkins skate. He throws the body around. Moore is more specified for pp time.

  • I don’t get why MZA is on shaky grounds, to be honest:

    a) the first 2 games he was by far the most creative and effective forward, but simply wasn’t rewarded for his efforts (Pouliot should have anywhere form 2-4 goals by now given the setups from MZA);

    b) other than Callahan and Richards, no other forward has played at an above-average personel performance level each game of the season; and

    c) a similar statement about being on hsaky grounds can be applied to AV, frankly, given how his lack of knowing these players has led to some questionable personnel choices

    If AV/Sather give up on MZA and trade him, it will prove a very short-sighted that we regret, in my view.

  • Strong game by entire team last night, obviously. Moore, Cally, Hank and Girardi stood out in my mind; the second period looked like a 20-minute power play, but this game should have been about 6-0. My thoughts:

    Zucc is too small for the NHL. Lots of heart, but……I’d rather see Kreider on this team. What’s wrong with a Miller-Step-Kreider line?

    MDZ back in for Falk; in my opinion DZ is taking too much criticism.

    I wouldn’t start Talbot until Buffalo. I live in Rochester, so I see the Sabres all the time when there are no NHL games on. They’re basically an AHL team right now; get Talbot some confidence.

    When Hags and Nash are back, Pyatt and Pouliot are out.

    • Talbot back to Hartford, Missiaen called up? WTF is going on today? My calendar says it’s not April 1st, so I am at a loss.

      • I just heard about Callahan. I think I know when he broke his thumb; there was a play last night behind the net somewhat off camera. Callahan collided and was waving his hand as if in pain. Next I saw him though he looked fine so I thought nothing of it. Terrible luck.

        Hadn’t heard about Talbot yet though. Wonder what that’s all about

        • I saw someone mention it could be just so he gets some playing time in this weekend, since he would not play unless the worst occurred (knocking on wood).

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