Thoughts after five Hank-less games

Before we get started, I just wanted to take a minute to lament west coast games. Last night wasn’t even a proper 10:30pm west coast game, and I still hated it. It forced me to admit that I am an old man when I fall asleep half way through the third period and miss everything. It’s stupid. All games should be played based on Eastern Standard Time. Get off my lawn!

Ok, onto some actual Ranger-related thoughts after five Hank-less games…


  • Wow, Kevin Hayes.
  • Speaking of Hayes, I’m going to state the obvious and talk about how great that third line has looked. JT Miller needs to stay in the lineup.
  • I think Chris Kreider has an unbelievable amount of talent. However, he seems to be developing into a seriously one dimensional player. He can use speed to the outside and fire off a slightly off-angle shot. If he doesn’t get to the front of the net, it’s a pretty exciting build up, but nothing usually comes of it.
  • I’m going on record and saying Marty St. Louis is in a slump. Far from done. Although, that turn over on the Av’s second goal last night was borderline inexcusable.
  • Cam Talbot has looked very good in Hank’s absence. He has good composure, positioning and is prone to the big save. The key will be how consistent he can be if Hank is out for more than 10 games or so. That is the real separator of starting-caliber goalies.   Can they rely on him night in night out?
  • Rick Nash is awesome. I love that I get to say that now almost every time I write one of these posts.
  • Speaking of Hank, his injury is one that is rarely seen in hockey. I’ll be cautious whenever he returns and I don’t know how confident we can be that he will be fully healthy when the time comes.
  • I need to starting seeing some losing out of NYI, PIT and WSH very soon. I’m getting sick of their crap.
  • The fanbase seems to be very split on how intense this year’s trade deadline should get. As long as Tanner Glass gets a good seat in the press box to watch from, I’ll be good.
  • We are officially in the grind portion of the season. Especially without Hank, it’s tough to get up for a run through Feb/March. It’s about collecting points and jockeying for the highest conference position possible. Still on pace to fight for the top if games in hand are won.
  • It never ceases to amuse me how much my wife loves watching the dad’s up in stands during their visits.
  • How about that Evander Kane trade? I’m not going to like seeing Buffalo on the schedule in a couple years.
  • I’d love to see MacKenzie Skapski get some action. For one game, let’s see what the kid’s got.

Rangers are right back at it tomorrow against the lowly Coyotes before a big tilt (relatively speaking) against the Isles at the Coliseum.

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  • Hayes is turning into quite a handful. AV has used him perfectly this year. Started him slowly, low risk situations. Same with Fast. Then as the year progresses, let them loose a bit more with an eye towards the playoffs. Is that Hayes on the PK now? Nice. Hopefully, Miller gets the same opportunity.

    People need to relax about AV’s use of Tanner Glass. Hayes wasn’t on the roster when Glass signed. Fast and Miller were scheduled for the AHL. Circumstances changed. Glass is not playing in meaningful games any longer. Now, about that three year deal…

    Talbot is a back-up. He is doing very well if you judge him in that context and not as a starter.

    Wouldn’t it be great if Evander Kane’s intro music started playing WWE style and he skated onto the ice and played for the Sabre’s this weekend?

    • Yea, AV did a great job with him.

      Miller was actually slated to be on the opening night roster, he would’ve played in the playoffs last year had he not been hurt (when Stepan went down for a game). But Duke beat him out.

  • – Hayes has been playing well. Solid production out of a 3C and seems to have upside. The forward corps in the organization is looking very good

    – Miller looks good out there too. Still makes a few mistakes, but a lot more good than bad. He’s doing it consistently now, which will be the key to gaining AV’s trust IMO

    – I agree, it seems like Kreider won’t harness all of his physical gifts to become the true gamebreaker that everyone hoped. But he’s still a matchu-up nightmare who keeps defenders on their heels and a beast in front of the net. A VERY solid guy to have on any team

    – Glass is terrible. His contract is worse.

    – Talbot’s looking good. He’s a solid back-up, who’s been pressed into service for the first time in the NHL. Definitely keeping his head above water so far

    – Buffalo is setting up to be the next Pittsburgh. McDavid/Reinhart will be a tremendous 1-2 punch in 3-4 years, Kane can provide the net front presence /scoring, Bogo/Ristolinen/Zadorov and McCabe all project to be top 4 defense. Just need some additional help on wing

    – MSL is really starting to concern me. He just looks lost out there. His PP performance is down, he’s not getting shots or even looking decisive on rushes. Hagelin and Zuc are doing well and may push him out this summer

    • Just out of curiosity. Were you responding to Justin’s article or William’s response? Because, your response is a bit perplexing.

  • Hayes is playing well, more so since JT joined that line a few weeks ago. Miller deserves to stay, he earned it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Kreider is so big, and strong, it amazes me that he isn’t more of a garbage collector by being a net front presence. Let’s hope that he wakes up, and becomes that sleeping giant that will kill you with his skills.

    Buffalo is another Pittsburg in the making. They will take a dive, score a perfect 10, ala Pens with Crosby, and Mario in the past, and be a force for years to come if they don’t turn into another Edmonton.

    MSL is not in a slump, he is in a slide at 70 MPH. Sorry if I piss off a few posters but he isn’t the player we thought we were getting, and like Chris posted earlier, we are in a win-win situation due to his contract expiring at the end of this season. If, and that is a big IF, MSL turns his game around they sign him, if not they let him walk!!!!!!!!

    As for Cam, the man is a back up who is doing just fine in that capacity. He is more than being effective in the role he is playing in for a short period of time…

    • If Miller continues to play smart, north-south hockey like he has the past week, he will blossom in to the useful player we have been waiting for.

      I wonder how much of an influence Hagelin has on the two kids he’s paired with? He woke up Hayes’ game and Miller looks like a good player skating with Hags. Although, that’s really been the greatest part of Hags’ game since he joined the Rangers. No matter who his linemates are he improves their game, his speed is such a tremendous asset for his linemates. The more of Hagelin I watch the more I am convinced that he has to stay for one more contract, even if it comes at the expense of keeping Zucc or MSL.

      • Very, very well said Chris. A!!! Couldn’t agree with you more, as always!
        I said this on another site, and I will say it here as well……We would have to go thru a hundred players before we get players like Hags and Zuuc that play with such heart and enthusiasm to be Rangers. Also, let us all remember going back 4-5 years when we were hearing about this little Swedish kid that we had drafted that he was a very good DEFENSIVE-Two Way type of a player. So when I hear some people, including myself sometimes that Hags doesn’t have the best hands and that he’s nothing but a 3rd liner etc etc. We gotta all remember what he was advertised to begin with and he’s lived up to his “type” of play and then some.
        In my honest opinion, Hags and Zuuc both NEED to be resigned! No doubt about it!

  • Good write-up. Wondering if Kreider should be back with Nash, who can open up the ice for him. Just a thought.

    Evander Kane – Can’t figure out who got the best out of that deal.

    Hayes/Miller/Hags – Finally a line to look out for other than the Nash line. MSL must have turned 52 during the All-Star break.

    Talbot has to be Hank-like as this team needs a top goalie to do anything more than just make the playoffs. Looking forward to seeing how Cam plays against the Isles, who throw 4 lines of speed and scoring at you.

    Still think something is up with McD, Playing yeoman minutes, but not really playing like the old McD. Shoulder? Off-ice activity? I really hope he comes around. Still think we need a top-4 defenseman in a trade so Klein can pair up with a stud on the bottom pair.

  • Ben’s post yesterday, he thinks that MSL won’t be re-signed, and that both Hags, & Zucc stay put with us. That stated, and it’s just a thought, do you see MSL becoming an assistant coach within the system.

    I read somewhere that when MSL talks, Kreider listens very closely, and it’s like having a player coach skating on his line. MSL is very hockey smart, and if he isn’t re-signed, it would be a shame to let it go to waste. Maybe that would soften the blow of giving up all the #1 licks for him!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    This is no attempt to be a smart ass

    • Interesting thought about MSL as a post coach. Maybe that’s how they work it out. Retire, and we’ll hire you as a coach for good money, and you get to teach, which is what he’s really good at at this stage.

      At this point, I’m wondering if DMoore gets back with us. Isn’t he up for renewal as well? With Lindberg in the system, you have to imagine that Moore is on the edge, even without a lot of Center depth. Or maybe a Lindberg Moore Fast line? I’m just still not sure what happens this summer. Duke and Buch I think will both be AHLers for a bit next year. Unless their preseason is ridiculous. Just dunno were they fit right now, even with MSL leaving. It’d be a shame to break up Hayes and Hags after developing chemistry. So many decisions. But I do think MSL will be left out for younger, faster, talent. Pity really. Cally could’ve been a really good Ranger. But I’m certainly excited for the next few years. A surprising amount of talent in the minors, and youth in the pros. Not a bad problem to have.

      • I hope they sign Moore to another two year contract, this way Lindberg could skate with him, and Fast to be our shut down line. I think that Lindberg also brings something to the table that Moore doesn’t, that is soft hands. He led the SEL his final season in scoring, as well as being the MVP in their PO’s.

  • Hope MSL can turn it around before the POs begin and go on a hot streak if that line could score like 10 goals in a 8 game stretch and the other two stay where they are we can still win the division .. MSL can carry a team if he goes on one of his streaks , but at his age it might not happen anymore . On the PP iwould like to see
    McD Nash Brass Zuke Kreider with Brass at the point
    Boyle Hayes Hags Miller Stepan Step at the point
    Always like to see the lines kept together for chemistry same as Pk Moore Fast Nash Zuke Hags Hayes . That way it doesn’t break up the way you play the lines after a PP or PK

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