Game Wrap-ups

Alain Vigneault costs Rangers Game 2

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Photo Credit: Getty Images / Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photo

I initially wasn’t going to be covering this recap, but after watching the game, and watching Alain Vigneault blow this game with is lunacy, I insisted I cover it. The Rangers blew three separate two goal leads with idiotic deployment choices, and it burned them in the end. Yes, part of this game is on Henrik Lundqvist, who allowed six goals, four to JG Pageau, a nobody. But for the most part, I’m putting this on AV. Here are my reasons.

1. There is absolutely no excuse to sit Brady Skjei and Brendan Smith for the final five minutes of the game. This comes after the Marc Staal/Nick Holden duo cost the Rangers Game 2 in Montreal. AV simply does not learn from his mistakes. And this one cost them. Listen, I can understand wanting to rely on your vets, but when Skjei and Smith are having the best game of your defensive sextet, and you sit them, you deserve to be blasted. The Rangers got that far despite AV.

2. Getting to the goal by Pageau, of course with Holden on the ice, who pinched and caused a 2 on 1 break the other way. This is why you can’t have Holden out there in pressure situations anymore. This is now twice he’s cost the Rangers, once in each series. At least when he cost them against Montreal, it was to tie the series. Now the Rangers are in an 0-2 hole against a team with a hot goaltender who has made some magnificent saves in two games.

3. Henrik Lundqvist was not good this game. He has been the only reason why the Rangers have been close, but this was not a good game. The first goal to Pageau was really weak, but came after Dan Girardi finished another classic #DammitDan moment, passing the puck directly to him. While that goal was weak, the others were mostly off deflections and bad defense. Regardless, Hank wasn’t Hank. As much as he deserves better, he could have played better.

4. When overtime had started, Skjei/Holden had just 13 minutes of ice time for the game. Ryan McDonagh had 25 minutes. Holden, Staal, and Dan Girardi had 21 minutes a piece. That’s inexcusable deployment, given Skjei had a pair of goals and Holden/Staal have been a tire fire all playoffs. That is on Alain Vigneault, and no one else. That is a major screw up on the coach’s part. And that’s not even the worst of it.

5. Oscar Lindberg and Pavel Buchnevich played less than six minutes each. For the entire game. That’s Stu Bickel territory, and neither are nearly on that level. In fact, you can argue that Lindberg has been one of the best forwards for the Rangers all playoffs. Yet there he was on the bench. That is also inexcusable from a coach that should know better. I say he should know better, but he never learns. He leans on the “trusted veterans” even though the kids are better.

6. Kevin Hayes and JT Miller are having horrible playoffs. If and when Glasss returns to the lineup –more on that below– you know that Miller and Hayes will still be playing. Despite their awful play, they still weren’t even benched. If you were to pick two players who deserved to sit in the double OT game, then I would have picked them. Certainly not Lindberg. But here we are, questioning the coach because he doesn’t answer questions.

7. From this loss, we know there will be changes in the lineup. We all know Tanner Glass is coming in for Pavel Buchnevich, whether you like it or not. That change won’t move the needle at all, and in fact may move it backwards. That’s not to say Buchnevich has been playing well. He didn’t necessarily have a strong game yesterday. That said, he’s still better than Glass, and this is a series of skill and speed, not hitting.

8. Yet despite the change we know is coming, there will be no changes on defense. Nick Holden will still be in the lineup. Adam Clendening, who at the very least is better than Holden, will still be in the press box. I find that to be mind boggling. The only two players who should be untouchable in terms of being scratched should be McDonagh and Skjei. Maybe Smith. Maybe Girardi, who before yesterday was somewhat decent. But no worries, there will be no changes on defense. Status quo will win out. And the Rangers will continue to blow three separate two goal leads in the playoffs.

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  • Seriously, I hope the players get this guy fired. A totally incompetent playoff coach.

    Let’s blame the easy target Lundqvist but Dave, Jan Levine, and Joseph Fortunato have it right. This coach is terrible and the Rangers will never win a Cup with him behind the bench.

    Staal/Holden getting 5 minutes more 5 on 5 time than Skjei/Smith? Wow, lol. Jut like Game 2 of the Habs series, you know, the game the Rangers lost the same way.

    AV likes depth? Oscar and Buch getting 5 minutes in the game? Seems to be contradictory in his actual deployment.

    The Habs and Sens are the 2 worst teams the Rangers could play in the playoffs, and they are having their hands full in both series. Disgraceful.

    • Speak.

      I was hoping to wake up this AM to find out he’d been removed of his duties.

      This guy sees the pictures in his head, not what’s actually happening on ice.

      • Like Dave said, same coach, same mistakes over and over again.

        The Staal/Holden tandem is a complete train wreck, and yet, the coach keeps putting them out there during important segments of playoff games.

        Other than getting burned once, Skjei played a great game yesterday. And on top of it, what Ranger D man DIDN’T get burned at least once yesterday?

        And finally, the offense woke up? Other than the Grabner goal and Stepan goal, what goal shouldn’t have Anderson stopped?

        • It won’t happen, at least not until the contracts like Girardi, Staal and Stepan get traded. I think Gorton/Sather have bought into this system enough to find players that actually fit this high up temp system for next season. Expect some big trades this summer, unless Hank calls AV out then don’t waste your wishes on a coach firing after this post season gets done.

          • Was listening to the feed on NHL Radio while watching the game on TV to hear their perspective. The NHL Network on XM radio were stating how great Skjei has been playing and especially in yesterday’s game.

            How Nick Holden is in the lineup is a slap in the face to Hank all the way down to us little people. The Leaf Fans are so very lucky to land a coach like Mike Badcock…

          • He is a great coach. No doubt. But in his final seven seasons i think it was in Detroit, he was out in the first or second round each time…with some very good teams that should have done better.

            The grass is always greener on the other side.

  • Anyone with a fucking brain could see Skjei was having the game of his life and is the best d man on the ice. Why you sit him? Smith has been solid defensively.

    Get a coach with a brain. You have Sutter, Q? You’d see these 3 d men whole game 27-76-42 w 32 min a game each over 3 pds.

  • Nobody complained about this when they win game 6 with the same guys on the ice. This game is solely on the goalie. He cost them this game, and arguably, the goal to karllson in game 1 plus this game could define the season

    • Nobody has complained about the coach during these playoffs? Guess you don’t read this blog or Blueshirt Banter on a regular basis.

      Not to mention that Dave has called out the coach on a regular basis, and rightfully so.

      • Everything’s the coaches fault when they lose but he employed the sane strategy against Montreal and they win the series. How in a game the Rangers score 5 goals and lose are we saying maybe Henrik could have played better? Let’s not make excuses for him, he is the goat for game 2

        • Of course Henrik could have played better, no question about it. But pinning it all on the goalie is not addressing the overall problem.

          Let’s not forget that the ONLY reason why the Rangers beat the Habs was because of Lundqvist. The Rangers scored 12 goals in the series. TWELVE. In 6 games. And even then, the Rangers were one toe save with 1:45 in Game 6 away from OT and then who knows after that?

          The Habs and Sens are the 2 worst teams in all of the NHL playoff teams so even if the Rangers win this series they will get absolutely lit up by either the Pens or the Caps.

          • There is no overall problem. If he makes one extra save, nobody is complaining this morning

          • Logic: “I played Russian Roulette and didn’t die. Therefore, it’s an OK thing to do.”

          • Who cares? This is not the Habs….Lundqvist had to be better and he was not. As much as AV was dreadful, so was Lundqvist…..Rangers score 5 goals, they better win and they did not.

          • So let’s say that Anderson stops the goals he should have, then the Rangers lose 4-2 because 3 goals were deflections against Lundqvist and the other was the bank off the back boards in which Staal and Holden, who were right there, did absolutely nothing to help with.

            Anderson should have stopped 3 out of 5 goals. So exactly how is this 100% on lundqvist?

          • Hey Rich, how can you think the Caps have a chance to beat the Penguins? I see alot of hype about a team that just squeezed by a Leafs team and is now getting murdered by another team for there regular early bounce. I’m thinking the same thing twith no matter what the NYR would have no chance in the next round but we all know who it’s going to be. If the Caps somehow make it out alive then our chances of winning goes up by 20%. That’s just how bad the Pitts team would beat the Rangers in a ECF especially with speedy Hags and more shining rookies being around.

          • I don’t, my Cup prediction was the Pens vs the Hawks (lol). With the Pens winning it. They are the team to beat.

            My point was even if the Rangers somehow get past the Sens, miraculously, then they will get killed no matter who their 3rd round opponent will be.

        • “Everything is the coach’s fault.” No, not everything is coach’s fault. Just enough to lose is his fault.

        • The Rangers beat Montreal in spite of AV, because the players are so much better, and because he was only able to screw up two games. Tell us all how Holden, who has lost two games all by himself, deserves to be playing in crunch time. Or, any time at all.

    • People did point out the stupidity of benching Skjei at the end of that game. It didn’t cost the Rangers then, but it was the wrong move.

      This coach has his head screwed on backwards.

    • What ?!?!? … How dare you blame the goalie on here ! Off with ur head

      • Hank does get the lions share of the blame for last night. Well, along with a few of the “defensemen.” But I agree with others who questioned AV’s player deployment last night especially the overuse of Holden/Staal and the underuse of Skjei/Smith. When Hank is not on his game, we tend to lose because the structure in front of him crumbles. 2 deflections in the last few minutes by a guy who was all alone in front of the net. So I’m not asking you for a name change today, but I’m hopeful I can pester you Tuesday…

    • While Lundqvist was bad, AV deserves equal blame for the loss. My question is, Why didn’t he call a time out and settle his team down after Ottawa scored the 4th goal? He left the timeout unused which is inexcusable. He needs to be fired but we all know it will not happen because he just signed a big contract extension.

  • Me: “that game two loss to Montreal was heartbreaking. IT was brutal and one of the worst losses I’ve seen in a few years with this team. We could of taken a 2-0 lead against those guys. Why was skej and smith not out there in the final minute if mcdonagh and girardi were tired? They (smith/skej) were playing so well all night.”

    Alain Vigneault: “hold my beer….”

  • I love Ric Nash, love him, but once again he comes up short when he could have been the hero. He has to score on that OT wraparound with a wide open net. A stick check should not be the deterrent in that situation.

    And props to Jesper Fast who played an unbelievable game. Just wow. Other than McD, best Ranger on the ice. McD, Fast, and Skjei, in that order for me.

    • We agree there. And there is no way they can expose fast to the expansive draft, he’s raising his game and playing great

      • You could plug Boo in tomorrow and get the same production.

        That AV thinks of him like you do makes it necessary to lose AV before the expansion draft before he can do any more damage.

      • Regular season- Hayes, JT, Skeji, and Grabner
        Playoffs- Fast, Oscar and Smith, Skeji

        At the end of the day we might lose one those to LV but those names were the worst for guys like Stepan, Staal and Girardi. I’m just talking about the money in the bank factor that some of those bigger contracts will have to be terminated. Gorton will want to protect one of the exposed names and soon he’ll have give out raises. Changes are coming, Mcd and Zucc are looking for solid deals and the old core has shown that they aren’t worth keeping around.

        • No, he doesn’t. Lindberg is a bottom 6 guy, FULL STOP. He’s better than Fast only because he has size.

          Step is miles better than Lindberg, but that doesn’t mean the team shouldn’t move him. Due to the albatross contracts of Girardi & Staal, the team should move Step AND Zucc as they’re blocking the way for Miller & Hayes and are on the wrong side of the age/salary curve. They can take care of the new breed and mitigate the damage of any potential buyouts that way.

        • 1000% correct……..stepan is slow, soft and non-productve considering most ice time of any forward last 6 years!!!!

          Lindberg actually plays with some fire!!!

          • Rich S, Oscar is the type of player you want to put on the ice in a playoff series. The guy comes to play and man does he throw his body around.. Stephan a poor man’s version of Joe Juneau .Spot on with the Holden vs Mcllrath comparison, Mcllrath ALL DAY LONG!! Imagine having him and Smith crushing the opposition. But lets not forget our fearless leader ( AV ) is convinced the aggressive side of our sport no longer exist in today’s NHL

          • Bobby B,
            He actually covers opponents in the slot and moves / hits / checks / puts a body on players standing near the crease ………without breaking his stick and costing us games ala holden!
            Plays a smarter game than many give him credit for….Knows his limitations and plays conservatively and would never pinch like that on a play!!!! ala holden!
            What stupid team mngt ….first let strallman go and then mcilrath… would those 2 look on our backline with sjekl , smith and mcdonagh???

    • watch the replay. picks the puck off the net too close to it and has to come out with it and it looks like it got rejected a first time too. sens players were there. theyre making all the little winning plays. we… are.. not.

      an understatement.

      • Oh I agree, the Sens defended very well on that play and kudos to them. But does Sidney Crosby score on that play? We won’t know but I’m guessing that he finds a way to get it done.

        Rick is great, and I love him, but he’s a passive good player, not a dominant great player. The play yesterday and the Voynov shaft stick deflection in the 2014 Cup finals define Rick Nash as a Ranger in the playoffs, IMO.

    • right below them was grabner, kreider, smith with zucc and zib not far behind!!!

      Nash again ????/ for the money he is paid he should be our leading goal scorer dduring season and playoffs

      look at top salary players- nash, stepan, stall , girardi, lunquist……wow is that bad management or what?????/

      Must unload all 5 as well as holden and AV this offseason and find way to keep grabner and fast and lindberg and smith!!!!!!

      • I could actually see Nash here after the summer in replace of Stepan with the full time “A”. That all depends on how they view JT, Buch and Vesey for a all time tope 6 role. “One last shot at the can” was definitely pointed towards the bigger contracts, maybe even to Zucc at one point.

      • Who should be out: The coach including Beuke and Arniel, G, Staal, Holden, KK, Stepan.

        Nash has one more year and probably will be re-signed for less as the Rangers organization loves him.

        It should be noted that Beuke deserves some blame for the D corps dumpster fire too.

    • mcd, fast and skjei, fully agree, most important players on team and if you pay attention to buch, all he needs are people that can see what he does.

      • Buch playing 5 minutes and sitting for the whole 3rd period shows you how efn clueless this coach is.

        And the coach was “praised” for putting in Buch in for Glass. LOL, he shouldn’t have had to make that “adjustment.” Buch should have been in to begin with.

  • I kept saying to my friend – Oscar must be hurt, Oscar must be hurt…..

    Time to let AV watch the game from a bar in Dogs Breath Quebec.

    My first line => Grabner/Lindberg/Fast – Every F’ing game!

    I didn’t watch for any post game comments but I would love for some of these reporters to stop asking about Henrik (everyone has an off night) and ask Alain to justify benching one of our top three fundamental forwards for a critical playoff game.

    For a team that can’t consistently win face-offs. You want to play in the offensive zone and Lindberg and Fast will always gives you an honest effort.

    • Oh yeah – I forgot even Buch had more time than Oscar. Oscar had 5:07 in double overtime. I’m done with my rant.

    • Hayes was a huge part of why Weber never had a chance to blast his cannon on Hank, he was a beast in the last series at taking the draws. He won a important one that was cleanly won and then the D forced him to take another one by icing it which resulted in a goal. Zero puck possession coming from our D if your name isn’t Mcd or Skeji.

  • Yes, more Skjei/Smith, less Staal/Holden. More Oscar/Buch, less Miller/Hayes (game or playoff stinker). More Grabner, less Vesey (sorry kid). Girardi and Nash, we have no legitimate alternatives. AV is giving a bad name to us gum chewers. No coach, you don’t know better.

  • Nash Miller Zib and Fast ALL miss wide-open nets in regulation….not OT, regulation…. yet somehow it’s the coach’s fault they lost bc Oscar Lindberg didn’t play enough….smh

    • You just complained about both sides of the same coin.

      Well played, my friend. Well played.

  • Disgraceful coaching by AV. But right now, I’m more concerned about Hayes. What happened to him? He is slower now than last year! What happened to his puck protecting/holding skills?
    I thought playoff hockey would be too much for Buch, but its clearly too much for Hayes. Bush I thought has handled the pressure well..

    • I’ve found myself thinking more than once that the forwards who appear lost seem to be the one’s AV has jerked over the most.

      • Because Girardi, Staal and Stepan were playing that much better then the guys who got “jerked” around?

  • This guy AV is just a terrible playoff coach. I lived in Vancouver when Gillis assembled a terrific team with speed and solid D only to get abused by Boston where he was completely outcoached and most think intimidated by the spot light. How he can bench Skjei and Smith for Staal and Holden is intractably stupid. Holden should be forced to walk back to NY from Ottawa. They guy is simply over his head—wrong place at the right time not once….twice.
    And to sit Lindbergh who provided the real life against the Habs is also inexcusable. To think we have this guy AV for at least the next 3 years kills me.

  • Kudos to you Dave for calling out the Rangers mediocre coach & inviting the enmity & wrath of those who are always touting him as the greatest coaching mastermind ever. Responsibility starts at the top & it’s fruitless to blame players, when the coach is obsessively rigid. I’m really, really tired of Alain Vigneault & his machinations. When they focused on Slats in the box, I’m thinking “can’t you see it Glen, wake up!”

  • I didn’t post yesterday because I was soooooooo pissed off that I couldn’t see straight.

    Having said that, and sleeping on it, I came to the same conclusion as I did watching the game, this team has no heart, no brains, and no damn coach.

    All I saw is the same old crap, AV playing his reliable pylons, along with Holden, and that worm Step, who is gutless, who admitted his play during the PO’s has been awful. To those who defended this purse toting fool, he finally admitted it, and proved me to be right, again. They all suck donkey dick, won’t play physical, can’t skate, won’t check, can’t defend, make the same stupid defensive plays, and the ass hole that Marv is, played right into the trap of Boucher.

    He sat the kids down, wore out the old legs, picked his ass and came up with the same results, shit!!! Sorry folks, I’m so upset at the lack of effort when we had the lead, resorting to the prevent, and showing no creativeness. Don’t tell me that Mr President’s trophy coach is the best we can do, he is a disaster in the PO’s, and things will never change as long as Bozo is behind our bench!!!!!!

    As for Hank, I won’t give him a free pass, his game was poor, but by the same token had Step done his defensive job properly, one of those goals would have never been scored. Girardi’s blind pass was awful, Holden looking around too often appearing to be lost, why the hell are the producers sitting? Oscar, Buch, Vesey, Smith, Skjei, who scored two goals, getting minimal ice time, what is this ding bat coach thinking?????????

    Today I won’t read this blog again, too depressing to think that we had 2 goal leads twice, and gave them the opportunity to come back, and beat us in OT. Yet some will defend Clararbelle, this mental midget till the end of time. So sick!!!!!!!!

    • This is how you are after a nights rest to think it over?

      Hopefully no cats were kicked yesterday.

    • Walt……Comments like yours are why i love reading this blog……

      Spot on with all you said……I wish you were the coach.
      Calling AV clarabell is being disrespectful to clarabell.

      The only logical explanation as to why AV benched Oscar, Buch, Vesey, Smith, Skjei, and double shifted holden, stall, stepan, girardi was because he must have been trying to lose

      Most egregious is the fact that every game the same guys [stepan, girardi, stall ] leave guys wide open in the slot or in front of hank and nothing ever changes!!!!!!

      • I’m honestly starting to believed that he’s playing the big money names to show how bad he needs real puck possession players. Gorton was basically calling this season a scratch before it started through his actions last summer.

  • Great post Dave….spot on all points….
    –except Miller , who needs to score has been very active the entire game….constanly on the puck in offensive zone, hitting[almost put kaarlson out of game]… the effort….

    Richter 1994….wow, you’re on fire man…..agree with all your points…..cant wait for this ‘ clueless coach’ to be fired….DO it before the next game like lou lamoriello would…….

    i hated tortorella for shortening his bench so much [esp. when we lost to devils in playoffs], but tortorella never had a talented team like AV does here!!!!

    I had no idea sjkel and smith were given limited minutes…..less than stall and holden….IS AV TRYING TO LOSE????????????????????????????

  • I can mostly agree with you on the deployments but entirely disagree that the coach “lost the game”. With a sub-par Lundqvist (as much let down by his teammates as he let them down) the Rangers still had a 2-goal lead with less than 4 minutes to go. Whatever mistakes you want to argue that AV made in terms of playing time this one was still in the bank – until it wasn’t.

    Why wasn’t it?

    Was it because of Staal and Holden? Well, no. They weren’t on the ice for either the 4th or 5th Ottawa goals. McDonagh and Girardi were.

    Was it because Pavel Buchnevich (who has looked lost in the limited ice time he’s had) wasn’t playing. Not really. What could he have done?

    Was it because Oscar Lindbergh wasn’t playing? Well, no. Kevin Hayes (who I agree has been mostly terrible in this post-season) won the last face-off before the 4th goal. He lost the last face off before the tying goal but that did not directly lead to the goal.

    For some reason, the Rangers chose to deliberately ice the puck in the two minutes before the fourth goal. They kept taking face offs in their D zone instead of working the puck down into Ottawa’s zone and killing time. Not being a strong face-off team this is a dumb strategy for the Rangers. If the guys on the ice were blindly following a dictatorial decree from AV to always ice the puck in these situation then, yeah , you can blame AV. But I really doubt that’s the case. IMNSHO it was simply bad decision making by guys who should know better.

    Then on the tying goal, McDonagh clearly chose to deliberately ice the puck. The Rangers looked gassed, got outworked trying to clear the puck and left guys wide open in the ensuing play. Bad decision. That’s on McDonagh, who has the status to override a coaching strategy if he wants to.

    And, please, can we stop with the Clendening bullshit? Do you really think he’s going to make a difference? You guys lost all credibility on the “guy in the press box who’s better than the guys on the ice” argument with your silly Emerson Etem campaign last year (and so did that idiot Fortunato whose web site I only read for laughs). Yeah, Holden is a problem but he’s not the real reason they lost yesterday. It was a team failure, including some of their key players. Holden should never have had the opportunity to make a bad pinch in double OT. The game should have been won in regulation and I think its more on the players on the ice than it is one the coach even if he did make some mistakes in deploying his players.

    • Granted, McD & G were on the ice for the last 2 goals, but they being gassed is a ripple effect caused by AV stapling, hell- he welded Smith & Skjei to the bench. If AV deploys his 3 D pairings, and let’s be real – Smith/Skjei need to have more minutes then the other 2 clowns, no one is sucking wind at the end.

      Same with his 4 lines. The forwards were also on fumes in OT. To me – I think AV panicked and is paying the consequences for it. Play to win, not to lose….

    • Totally agree, RR.

      The loss goes much deeper than some are making it out to be. A whole lot of mistakes culminated in blowing that lead.

      For starters, Hank was not very good yesterday. I’m one of his biggest supporters, so this is not that typical reaction of holding Lundqvist to unattainable standards because of his contract. He’s been fantastic all playoffs, but had an off night yesterday. It happens, he’s earned that right, but that doesn’t mean that he wasn’t part of the issue yesterday.

      The loss doesn’t simply fall on Staal/Holden either. Sure, the winning goal was the result of Holden pinching, but several other goals were the result of other defensive mistakes by other defensemen, whether blown coverages or repeated icing as a you mention. I watched them both closely yesterday, and both of them had a number of really strong shifts. I’m still convinced both of them are better than Klein/Clendening/Kampfer. The issue with them is not that AV dresses them, it’s that he misuses them. They need sheltered matchups, and instead they continue to get deployed in high pressure situations.

      Which brings me to AV. I’ve been a loyal defender of him, but yesterday he really dropped the ball. He has got to recognize that Skjei/Smith is way more effective and reliable than Staal/Holden. Why that pair wasn’t on the ice at all during the final 5 minutes of the third is absurd. Why he doesn’t trust them is becoming alarming. Not only did Skjei have 2 goals, but he made no less than 2 goal saving plays. He backchecked hard and stripped Turris as he was taking a 2-on-1 shot, and then later he made that awesome block on the 3-on-2 and came back on the rush to score.

      Why is Lindbergh playing less than 7 minutes in a double OT game? He’s defensively reliable and has been solid all playoffs. Why are Vesey and Buchnevich benched through OT? The Holden pinch was a poor decision, but the forwards couldn’t backcheck to help out Staal because they were exhausted. That’s what happens when you play only 9 forwards through double OT.

      So, while I think that player execution mistakes and a shaky Lundqvist are why the Rangers blew the lead to begin with, AV mismanaged deployments to such a degree that the OT loss became imminent. I liked our chances in OT, we were still playing hard and getting grade A opportunities, but AV handcuffed the team by limiting 3 forwards and 2 defenseman who all had the ability to help their team yesterday.

      He’s got to wake up on this issue or we are going to make an early exit. That’s simply the reality at this point.

  • The last four minutes of the game, you could see that the Rangers eased up and allowed the Senators to much room in their own end. That was sickening! I thought the Rangers should have without a doubt won this game with their puck possession and quality scoring. Girardi is to be commended for his amped up play, but when he gave the puck away with a very stupid cross ice pass, and Ottawa scored, that was the turning point of the game. Hank has bee fantastic all playoff time, so it is hard to speak against him at this point. I know Raanta is inexperienced in the playoffs and our necks are out, but it might be worth a shot to start him the next game, and give Hank a break until the next game. He is another weapon that has proven himself all year, and is capable of standing on his head when he is on. Sometimes the unlikely player really shine in the playoffs.

    • Raanta will not see the ice except if they have to skate off between periods … period

    • The Girardi turnover in the 1st which resulted in a 1-1 tie was the turning point? Didnt we go up 3-1, 4-2, and 5-3 after that? Didnt we annihilate Ottawa in the 2nd?

      That turnover wasn’t the turning point, and we now have 2 days off. Hank doesn’t need more rest than that.

      • I see your point, and it is true, but that one stupid goal they handed to Ottawa, would have been the difference in the final out come of the game. I should have worded it better. Thanks for your insight Chris!

  • Self-sabotage! It is time to fire AV right now! Let the assistant coach take over. The fish rots from the head down. Where are the leftists in support of AV?

  • Fronting the forwards needs to stop….this cost us the game too….Fire AV…. he is just a regular season coach….kinda like Boudreau…just brutal…
    I am going to point to Talbot yet again….Anyone going to argue that he is just as good and in my opinion better than Leaky? Mind you our D is better than the Oilers to boot.
    This team has no heart….intestinal fortitude and passion….PERIOD and that also falls on AV’s shoulders. AV is a 99 yard runner and once he see’s the goal line he falls.

  • If we lose this series, AV better be gone within 24 hours.

    Anything else is unacceptable.

    Get Darryl Sutter no matter what.

  • This team gave us 10 years of enjoyment. As it is now constituted, it cannot win. Other than Zuc,Fast, and at times assorted others,no one has the heart,desire or will to do the extras needed. When everyone talks about Ranger speed, I think it is illusory. Stepan,Nash, and especially Hayes have lead feet. Staal is done. G is on the way. So many mental mistakes that cost us. Constant icings,not moving your feet, always stick checking. Miller tries, but he is brain dead with his passing. Watch Pittsburgh,albeit they have the best player in the game,destroy Washington. No superstar d, but quick on the puck.dont back up constantly, and move it out with short passes. Time to clean house from coach to players and start rebuilding. I know we are an impatient bunch,but this team isn’t going anywhere.

    • “Especially Hayes” in the sense that he’s a good offensive weapon? Or because he sees less ice time then Stepan and doesn’t get paid 1c money? I’ve came to a conclusion that he won’t change until better hands on vets and a coach come who works with him 1 on 1 after practice comes into the locker-room. His problem is simple really and it’s only in the offensive zone with puck management. He needs to take that playmaking and vision to the net and shoot if all else fails. He has the hands to deke any goalie out of position. JT’s problems are a different story, he needs to revamp his game in all 3 zones.

      • Hayes is slow on decision making,doesn’t skate,and rarely back checks. He does have good hands,but as you say,never down low to use them.

        • I never said never down low is where he struggles. He has escape ability that allows him to keep at it and then hands to finish the play off as long as he takes it to the net. Your description is out of this world, don’t say false bs and put my name next to it, own your own thoughts bud. His timing is slow like anyones who’s chilling on the outside, no skilled players work the puck from there. When good players like Hank, Brass and MSL compare bits of his game elites of the past then that should tell you something.

          I guess you got confused with Stepan’s game lol.

        • Stevesse, when was the last time you ever seen Hayes, throw a body check?? Big body player, soft a they come!!!

          • He is also to much of a ditsy doodler with the puck, and to slow for playoff style hockey. Might be some decent trade bait next year

  • gorton’s the one behind this mess because he gave our so called coach a contract extention. NO WAY skjei, smith, buch or oscar should have their time reduced that much. the team is being run by a bunch of idiots. oh, by the way if you pay attention to hockey at all, pageau is far from a nobody, it’s about time he’s finally been given a chance to prove himself !!!! after what i’ve seen this year on defence you can give me dylan mcilrath any day of the week cause of his attitude, hustle and determination !!

    • Upstatetom,
      Well said brother!!!
      Holden, stall and girardi make Dylan Mcilrath look like Bobby Orr!!!!!
      Besides the attitude, determination and hustle you mentioned, he was pretty darn effective at clearing out opposing forwards from in front of the net also.
      I almost hope we go down in 4 so gorton has no choice but to fire Bozo the coach.

      • Rich S, truer words were never more spoken, Mcllrath over Holden by a country mile!! Heck, I would take Raffie Diaz over him in a heart beat..

    • The contract extension means nothing. The team is as wedded to him as Trump is to any wife/nominee.

      Full credit to whomever noticed some Ottawa tendencies that resulted in 2SHG, but beyond that the staff has largely let the players down.

    • Who says? The las time I heard a similar line like yours was whrn Sully was around coaching the PP and fans back then were like if a new specialist came into town then I bet they would look and try harder on there. Fast forward and Sully is a month away from capturing his second title while the NYR continue to suck on the PP.

    • Who said that? The guy wants to be coach so bad that he has already opened up a option to run any clubs that are in a rebuild stage. I bet Gorton will keep with AV more then Sutter being picky about which coast suits him better.

  • A bunch of sour grapes. This was an easy win if Lundqvist played anything close to a competent game.

  • One of the above commenters said Alleyne video was an incompetent playoff coach. He got that slightly wrong… He is in incompetent coach. Jeff Gorton should show him the door.
    And speaking of Gorton, at the very least and if at all possible, he should buy out
    Dan Girardi before the expansion draft. As far as Staal goes either trade him (and pick-up part of his salary) or buy him out also. Their contracts where absurd to begin with. I stated back in June 2016 what I just said above. If Gorton doesn’t do that then maybe he should go too.

  • One of the above commenters said AV was an incompetent playoff coach. He got that slightly wrong… He is in incompetent coach. Jeff Gorton should show him the door.
    And speaking of Gorton, at the very least and if at all possible, he should buy out
    Dan Girardi before the expansion draft. As far as Staal goes either trade him (and pick-up part of his salary) or buy him out also. Their contracts where absurd to begin with. I stated back in June 2016 what I just said above. If Gorton doesn’t do that then maybe he should go too.

  • AV on shortening the bench said that he felt he had some players playing real strong games and so he thought it was the right thing to do. Unfortunately, no one pressed him on why Skjei/Smith weren’t included in that group who were having real strong games.

  • All pundits before the series: Rangers in 6 because of their superior depth and skill across 4 lines.
    AV: plays 3 lines in double overtime game.

    • yep, the Rangers were supposed to have a decided advantage in depth, so what does the coach do? He goes to 3 lines and 2 D pairs.

      Makes zero sense especially since the better of the options of all the players were the 4th line who has played the best as a line in all these playoffs so far, and the Skjei/Smith pairing who has made the Staal/Holden pairing look like amateurs.

      So #1, AV sabotaged the depth advantage AND used the wrong players on top of it. Fire his ass.

  • Yes, AV’s deployment sucked last night. The man that always has rolled four lines to keep legs fresh suddenly shortens the bench? Makes no sense.

    However, I doubt that there will be any coaching change if they lose this series. The company line will be that he brought them to the second round of the playoffs after an excellent regular season.

    Besides AV, there was plenty of bad out there last night. Hank played like a pedestrian goalie. Nash tried but he was not on his game. Many of the breakout passes by the D were weak, leading to the puck coming right back to the Rangers’ zone. The team did play an excellent 1st overtime period, but screwed the second. So it goes.

  • Does anyone know the best site to find player advanced metric stats for individual games, including playoffs?

    • I like HockeyViz a lot for player usage data, and have a handful of sites I check up that have possession stats broken down by player for the duration of the playoffs, but not individual game stats.

      • Also, HockeyViz does have game-by-game player possession charts, but it’s only for player matchups and uses shading for 25%, 50%, 75% against individual players, but there is no raw number referenced.

  • I almost wonder if we should put Raanta in goal. Yes, I know that is heresy and sacrilege.

  • Here’s the bottom line, I want a coach that I can’t complain about, in general. A coach that makes common sense decisions that leaves it in the players’ hands.

    Admittedly we all look for SOMETHING to complain about, but my question to AV defenders is how does the Skjei/Smith pairing, who were basically monsters all game save for one goal, not see the ice the last 6 minutes of the game?

    We saw this already: Game 2 vs the Habs and yesterday. Same circumstances, same assinine reliance on Staal/Holden at the end of the game, and same benching of Skjei/Smith. Oh, and same result, late goal given up and loss in OT.

    If the coach gets no blame then exactly what is the role and responsibility of the coach? Why have one?

  • Working on a project and traveling extensively, so no time sadly to read all of the comments. But I get the gist. Saw the replay and the highlights this morning. Impressions….

    There is plenty of blame to go around obviously. But as usual, its the standard overblown narrative of what an awful coach we have. Totally NOT the primary or even secondary reason we lost the game.

    We lost primarily because….

    1) Girardi, who’s been mostly good in the post-season, decided to do his best (or should I say worst) JT Miller Brainless Careless Pass impression and creates a great scoring chance on the first goal.

    2) Hank made some great saves, but yesterday he wasn’t good enough. It happpens. The first goal and last goal for sure needed to be stopped. But he’s human and this was bound to happen. But if Hank is not good enough, generally speaking, we don’t win.

    3) The final stretch of regulation was painful to watch for sure. But on both goals, did we not have our number one D pair on? What other moves were there to make?

    4). On the tying goal, with the extra skater on, Hayes breaks hits stick. We have enough problems as it is 6 on 5. We have had the worst luck this post season with sticks. That was huge and might have been the difference between winning and losing.

    5). I’m an AV defender, but I think it is more than fair to take him to task for the deployment of defensemen, and/or shortening his bench. I agree, it seems to me Skjei and Smith should have played more.

    But that being said, the team did not look gassed in any way at all. Shortening the bench did not seem to effect the outcome.

    6) I seem to recall last year that many of the issues with defensive deployment were placed on the shoulders of Ulfie. Doesn’t Bueke have a lot to do, if not most to do, with these calls? Why is his name almost never mentioned here? He should not be absolved simply because he was a part of a Cup team 23 years ago. It’s his responsibility to get the right pairings on the ice, is it not?

    7) I understand the gut fan reaction here. First thng to do is blame the coach. But we are operating with limited information here. AV was quoted as saying today he wanted to get Smith out more but the circiumstances didnt allow for it. Perhaps Smith and Skjei’s effectiveness is due to how they are used. We saw it with McIlrath. He had solid fancy stat numbers because he was used in a certain way in NY. Once in Florida, he was exposed and is now a minor leaguer. Same will likely be the case for Clendo next year. I think we tend to overreact to what I consider to be insufficient information.

    8) Along those lines, was it not AV’s adjustments at forward the resulted in the offensive explosion yesterday? Or does he only get blame for what didn’t work?

    9) Do you honestly believe that if we could gather up all the coaches, GMs and scouts in the league and ask them if they agree that AV’s deployment was THE reason we lost, that they would agree with that? Sorry, I’d be willing to bet big money that the “Hate AV” club has an exclusive on this one. I doubt seriously NHL execs are shaking their heads in wonderment at our supposedly clueless coach.

    10). Part of the problem out here is we have established this bogus narrative from the start of the playoffs. The Rangers (despite the fact that pretty much ALL of you, including Dave, have conceded we have a poor defense…maybe the worst in the league), are somehow this terrific team that should steamroll “bad” teams like Montreal (who finished with more points) and Ottawa (who finished with four less points despite all the enormous distractions). Of course! That’s the perfect narrative to go with if part of the goal is to dump on AV. Make the Rangers into the Harlem Globetrotters and Montreal/Ottawa into the Washington Generals. This way, if we lose, we can just simply blame it all on the coach. Ridiculous.

    The Rangers have been playing mediocre hockey for 2 1/2 months now. They weren’t even supposed to be a playoff team at the start of the season by many accounts. And if they did make it, they’d likely be a one and done team. The notion that somehow we are so much better than Montreal and Ottawa is truly laughable. We could have been swept by Montreal. We could be just as easily up 2-0 in this series as opposed to down 2-0. These teams are pretty even. Tough breaks. It’s playoffs. It happens. Especially to unimpressive teams like the Rangers that aren’t any better than the Atlantic foes they are pitted against.

    11) All this pining away for a coaching change is laughable. First off all, unless there is a startling revelation, AV isn’t going anywhere nor should he. But if he does, then the first guy to be fired should be Gorton. You dont sign a coach to a massive raise and extension when you don’t have to if anything that happens between then and now would make you change your mind. If that happens, Gorton’s judgment would be seriously called into question going forward.

    Oh, by the way, if AV is clueless, let’s talk about Coach Q. Out in the first round TWO years in a row. SWEPT this year by the lowest seed in the tournament. With the roster the Blackhawks have? Can you imagine if AV and Q had swapped places for this post-season, and the same result happened? It would all be be blamed/credited to the coaches. The fact that Q has won before is largely irrelevant. With that roster, a far, far more talented one than AV has, he should have gone much further. Sutter? His team was supposed to make a deep playoff run this year. Instead, he’s failed to make the playoffs two out of the last three years and was appropriately fired. Cooper was supposed to win it all this year. His team couldn’t even make the playoffs in a mediocre division. It’s all perspective.

    Sometimes good coaches gets beat. There were many years where Parcells had excellent teams and was one and done. It happens.

    12) If we had a roster like the Caps, and a coach like Trotz, and we found ourselves once again staring at an early ouster, that’s different. That guy has never gotten past round two despite having outstanding teams. He should be canned if they lose this series. AV doesnt have a roster even close to that in talent.

    13) Last point. I am working on a very interesting project right now at work. It;s taking me back to my sports days! Can’t say what it is, but it has a chance to actually become a pretty fascinating story. As I watched the replay of yesterday’s game, I actually had to smile when I saw what Pageau did. It is exactly what happened in the story I covered decades ago (different sport). The two teams squaring off were pretty even. But most thought the Ranger equivalent team was better than the Ottawa equivalent team. But what they didn’t count on was that a good but not great player would have the greatest game of his life–an almost out of body experience as he put it in the story I covered, and led his team to a upset victory. That’s what Pageau did yesterday. Good for him, bad for us. But that’s what makes sports great.

    In more relatable Rangers terms, Pageau was to Ottawa what John Druce was to the Caps against the Rangers in the 1990 playoffs (let’s hope Pageau is one and done as opposed to what Druce did to us). Or what Bob Brooke did to knock off the Flyers and Caps in 1986. Did Ted Sator outcoach Mike Keenan that year? I doubt it. Do you think Boucher was trying to devise a game plan to get Pageau going? I dont think so. Sometimes players have those incredible playoff moments where they defy the expectations and lead their team to an improbable victory. It happens. But when it does, it’s generally the player that did it more so than the coach.

    The good news is our somnambulant offense finally awakened to some extent (although two of the goals were short handed, which is not likely to happen very often). Kreider and Stepan are showing signs of life. Great. Miller and Hayes still mostly MIA. Not great.

    The problem is we are getting good but not great results from our whole lineup. Who’s playing great? Fast? Well, that’s good, but if he’s our best forward, than we’re in trouble. Where is our Pageau? When will a Miller, Hayes. Kreider, whomever, have a bust out game like that? It’s real hard to win a playoff series when you are getting mostly average performances from your so-called stars.

    The good news is, the narrative can easily be flipped. AV teams have come back before against better teams than Ottawa. And they typically play their best when adversity strikes. But there are still too many passengers on the bus. It’s time for these so-called stars to start playing that way.

    If that happens, it’s amazing how smart our coach will suddenly become.

    See you next week (if not before). Let’s hope we are still alive.

    • Great post 3E… and I remember all to well what Druce did to us in the ’90 playoffs.. 9 G’s in 5 games… as great a game as Pageau had, hopefully he is one and done. I still believe we will get the series back to the Garden for game 6.. hell I actually think we are still going to win this series

    • But Eddie it’s so much easier to blame the coach for everything. We’re always gonna wonder why certain guys played and others didn’t. And I don’t understand why AV did some of the moves he did. But I love how when we’re winning it has nothing to do with AV but when we lose it’s time to fire him. A lot of the things I read on this now isn’t worth replying to. We’re still gonna win this series anyway

      • Sammy

        Win, or lose I’m in the dump this coach camp, and will stand tall !!!!

        The clown stands there chewing his gum like a cow, and has his arms crossed like Buddha, brain dead, and at times looks as lost as Holden does!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Thanks for the optimism, Eddie.

      I’m also pretty hopeful that this team rebounds for games 3 and 4 and ties this thing up. I thought that overall, the Rangers played a great game on Saturday and showed that they can counter the Boucher trap. We outshot and outchanced Ottawa, while stifling their PP.

      Take away the last four minutes –and I know that’s a pretty critical chunk of time to disregard– and we’re all talking about how much superior the Rangers are to Ottawa, and we’re also pretty optimistic we’re taking this series. But, that’s the way it breaks sometimes.

      Now, a couple points I’d contend with you on. I know everyone is super giddy to have yet another data point to rub in Girardi’s face, but I don’t think that turnover is as egregious as a lot of people are making it out to be.

      Ottawa had one player forward, the guy that was coming toward Girardi. The other four players were further back in the neutral zone or even their own end near the blueline. Girardi is attempting to generate a rush. He looks up the boards, presumably didn’t like what he saw, and figures if he flings it over to the left side a streaking McDonagh will get to the puck and hit the redline with speed. There are no Ottawa players in that area, so even though he’s not looking to see where McDonagh actually is, in that situation there is no reason for McDonagh to be so far back in the Rangers zone, so he had good reason to expect McDonagh to be springing for a rush. Now, I don’t know why McDonagh was so cautiously in reserve on that play, but I don’t think Girardi expected that. He didn’t turn it right over to Pageau. He put it where he thought McDonagh would be, and then Pageau raced in and collected it, so it wasn’t as if he just passed it right onto an opponent’s stick. I’ve seen defenseman make those blind cross ice passes to their partners all the time. They look up the boards to fake out the opposition and then fling it across to their partner for the rush. It wasn’t some bizarre, inexplicable errant pass to nowhere. It was a sneaky play to try to generate a rush which failed because McDonagh wasn’t where he normally would be. I’m not criticising McDonagh, by the way, but I think he’s normally in position to pick that puck up and enter the zone with speed, so Girardi was within reason to assume the same. In any event, that didn’t really create a great chance, because even once Pageau picked up the puck and entered the Rangers zone, all the Senators were still back, and McDonagh boxed him to the outside for a low percentage shot. Hank let that one in, unfortunately. So, I think we’re being really hard on Girardi, crucifying him for trying to get something creative started, which failed, but didn’t even result in a legitimate scoring chance as far I see it. Just an unfortunate series of events that resulted in a goal.

      As for Skjei/Smith, you make some salient points about how AV’s use –or misuse– of them didn’t really lose the game, nor did benching Lindberg, Vesey, and Buchnevich really affect the Rangers ability to generate plenty of chances in OT. Maybe you’re right. But the larger concern is that even if those decisions didn’t singularly seal their fate yesterday, it’s cause for concern moving ahead.

      You know I’m an AV guy, but there is really no excuse for judging Staal/Holden as more effective than Skjei/Smith. You also know I’m not one of those guys calling for Clendening, Kampfer, or Klein, because I do believe that Staal/Holden are still better than them. But they don’t deserve the minutes they’re receiving or the situations they’re being played. Lindberg has been as responsible as anyone. Why is he a liability in OT? Vesey creates chances. Why isn’t he playing in OT? Buchnevich hasn’t really been a factor in this series, so I won’t really get too worked up about AV limiting his ice time, but, man, he’s got a lot of assets out there that he doesn’t seem to appreciate and that, long term in this series, is a major cause for concern.

      • P.S. The coach admitted in a Brooks’ article this morning that Smith “got lost” on the bench and that’s why he didn’t play down the stretch.

        How do you “lose” a player that’s been playing well all playoffs?

        If you think those types of moves or non-moves does not lose lose games then I don’t know what to tell you.

        So continue to drink the koolaid on this coach. He made the same mistakes in Game 2 of the Habs’ series and now on Saturday.

        Just like he made the same mistakes in Games 5 and 7 at home against TB in 2015. The facts speak for themselves.

        If the coach doesn’t matter then why have one?

      • Chris

        Take away the last four minutes, and we win?

        This is the issue with me, why sit on a lead, that’s twice he’s done that, why???????? It cost us two games already, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he doesn’t do it again. This is the reason he can’t win in the PO’s, he plays not to loose, rather than go for the juggler, and win!!!!!!!!!!

  • 3E, Druce single handily killed us, I think he scored the winning goal in game 6,?? standing all alone in front of the net ( after already tallying 8 goals) Ron Greshner gave him a love tap instead of knocking his head off!!

    • Yep, Druce scored the OT winner in game 5. Greschner did nothing to stop him.. in what was Gresch’s final game as a Ranger and of his career.

  • Rough couple of days for goaltenders in the playoffs.

    After Hank spotted 6 in the Rangers double OT game, Holtby gets yanked yesterday en route to the Penguins scoring 6, and now Talbot gives up 6 tonight to the Ducks.

    • Again, Chris, other than the goal that went under Henrik’s arm, which goal should he have stopped? I’m curious to hear your take on this.

      • You know I’m as big a fan of Hank’s as you are, but even he admitted he was fighting it Saturday. Goal number one and goal number 6 had to be stopped. I know we ask a lot, but he wasn’t as “superhuman” as he had been the previous game. No goalie can do that every game, but we have to be fair here. Hank was a significant reason why we lost Game 2. And he’s be the first to admit that.

        • Ok, so 2 goals. Anderson should have stopped 3 out of 5 so that makes it a 3-2 Ottawa win. So is it still on the King?

          Of course he’s going to say that he needs to be better because he has to outplay the opponents, his teammates, and his coach.

          • My point is…he was mortal. We generally win in the playoffs when Hank is superhuman. It wasn’t A+ Hank. He needs to be better and he will be better.

        • In addition to goals 1 and 6, I’d like to see him play the third goal better. It was a slap shot going well wide. He slid to his right trying to kick the puck off towards the boards. But he missed it. When it then ricocheted off the boards and came back out front he was way out of position, fell backwards off balance and then had to dive to his left to try to make the save.

          If he’s going to take himself out of position trying to deflect a puck that’s going wide, he needs to actually make the play. Otherwise he’s just out of position.

  • Hi Eddie, may I ask you (and all of AV’s admirers, quite frankly) why you find it acceptable that this coach continues to make the same mistakes over and over again? What mistakes do I mean?

    The first, and most unforgivably egregious, is his utter refusal (more likely inabilty) to recognize who is playing well in a game & adjusting their ice time accordingly. Who in their right mind would, after watching the first 54 minutes or so transpire, refuse to play arguably their best defenseman that game (Skjei) during the last 6 minutes? The sequence in the second where he breaks up the 3 on 1, then skates up the ice & times the screened shot almost perfectly was a highlight reel play. And where the hell was Smith, a guy who hasn’t been on the ice for a goal against in quite awhile? This isn’t even accounting for the fact that Hodor and Staal have been on the ice for the majority (!) of the goals against in this postseason, not to mention the fact that their advanced stats are abysmal across the spectrum.

    This pattern continues, of course, with the forwards as well. While it’s not AV’s fault that a bunch of forwards have had their stunt doubles filling in for them this postseason, he has not helped the situation. Lindberg has been excellent thus far, yet he was practically stapled to the pine. Number 24 certainly isn’t the only one languishing away on the bench either; he and Buch played a whopping 6 minutes or so each out of 84 (!) total.

    Actually, speaking of Buch, I agree with you – he hasn’t played nearly as well as he is capable of. As much as it physically hurts to type this, they might actually be better served by playing Pirri over him (the pp isn’t so obsessively passive when he’s busy teeing up those 5 foot wide 1 timers). Though, that’s honestly of little to no fault of Pavel’s – it’s almost as if he’s afraid of being sent to a gulag (perhaps the one number four went?) for making even the slightest mistake out there…..

    Please forgive me – up until this point, I have quite rudely neglected to mention the noble, nay, dare I say – titanic effort which McD has made in carrying the corpse of beloved rangers hero Dan Girardi around the rink. That isn’t to say G has been bad (au contraire, he’s been downright vintage by relative comparison), but AV’s failure to recognize that Girardi is poorly suited to his style of play & that he should be given far fewer minutes is more plainly visible evidence of AV’s incompetence. But until he does, we’re just proverbially shuffling deck chairs around.

    Lastly, before this wall of text gets too much larger, I’d like to mention the indefensible insanity that TurtleTime is. Why the team (this behavior was prevalent in this locker room before AV – see Safe Is Death from Torts) continues to think that it can play a certain way for 50ish (sometimes fewer) minutes, then pull a 180 and play some kind of putrid, unholy, “we’re-on-a-pk-lol-jk” style three years after it largely caused that debacle in the finals…… ugh…. Why is this AV’s fault? Because, simply put, anyone who fails to recognize that TurtleTime is the single most frustrating thing a professional sports franchise has ever done is the history of competition is well…. um…. yeah….. *insert generic baseless insult of choice here*

    • Replying to Richter and Stampede-

      If you re-read what I wrote, I am not absolving AV for this loss or any loss. You win as a team and lose as a team–coaches included. And please note I am using the plural here, since it is more than fair to question the deployment of defensive personnel by the guy directly responsible–Jeff (the protected one because he helped to win us a Cup almost a quarter of a century ago) Beukeboom. So yes, I agree, it is more than fair to question the work that BEUKE has done in this series and wonder if a more experienced coach like Ulfie would have made the same questionable calls.

      But I also agree, AV as Beuke’s boss should have intervened. So I am certainly not giving the head coach a pass. He bears part of the blame here. Just like he shares in the credit for the three straight wins vs the Habs.

      Of course coaching matters. You dont win more playoff series than any modern coach in Rangers history and have three consecutive 100+ point seasons without good coaching. Is he perfect? No. My only point is that the headline and premise of this discussion is that Dave and the rest of you are saying AV singlehadedly cost us the game by not playing Smith and Skjei more. And I’m saying that is a totally overblown statement. There were far more egregious reasons why we lost that game that were more about the players, and less about the coaches.

      Richter, the 2015 TB losses in Games 5 and 7 was 100% because of all the injuries, combined with a group of overrated forwards who do what they do all too often–disappear when it matters. Those were the overriding reason why they lost to a team that had far more high end talent on their roster than we did. If Gorton/Sather even remotely agreed with you, given the first round loss last year, do you think there is any chance whatsoever AV gets his mega-raise and extension?

      Stampede, a few things. I’m not an AV admirer. I’m an AV defender. I find “blaming the coach” narratives to generally be the default arguments even when they are not really warranted. Fans tend to jump to that conclusion even when the coach might be item number 23 on the top ten reasons we lose a game. I’m just not buying it.

      As for Buch, can we please stop with the make believe “he’s playing scared” bogus narrative. We heard the same thing with Miller (poor work ethic) and Hayes (out of shape) and it was all nonsense. Buch had back issues, We have no idea what his physical condition is. He is still a kid figuring it out. If AV didn’t believe in the kid, why dress him? Especially with his “favorite son” Tanner Glass available.

      As for a Game 3 change up, no chance will it be Pirri. Very simple….Buch or Glass. I have no real opinion here, but if you recall from 2014, after a loss, AV put Carcillo into the lineup to create a spark. The team seems to feed off of his energy. I’d rather have Buch’s skill in there, but frankly, the kid is contributing very little right now. If AV wants to change it up, can’t really blame him.

      Either way, none of it will matter if our so-called stars don’t show up.

      Speaking of that, you referenced the “stunt doubles”. Well, it’s not just for the playoffs they’ve made an appearance. They’ve been around since mid-February. That’s about a combined 33 games now of ineffective play. Maybe the imposters were the guys we saw earlier in the seasons and what we are seeing now is what they really are.

      We can take the coach to the woodshed all day long but hockey is mostly a game of players imposing their will and their skill. Mediocre to good play is not going to take you very far. Other than Hank, who has been great? Where is our guy(s) who will have their “Pageau moment”? That’s how series get won in the playoffs. That’s the far bigger narrative than the coach.

      • E3

        Not to insult you, but we heard this record too many times to want to go out and purchase it!!!!!!!!!

    • Angry

      This is the first post I’ve read of your’s, great one at that!!!!! Points that I made sooo many times, and yet many think this clown is the cat’s meow, and can do no wrong. Management has to recognize that Marv is a great regular season coach, but can’t get beyond the last yard to score that winning TD in the PO’s. He has to go, and until he is gone, I’ll be calling for it forever if that’s what it takes. Thanks for a well thought out post, and your right on point, EVERY POINT at that!!!!!!!!!!!

      • Six playoff series wins in four seasons would tend to dispute the notion that he cant win in the playoffs. As Rangers coaches go, he’s one of the best post-season coaches ever.

        • E3

          That’s the problem, he never took any team over the top, and until he does, he’s Marv Levy to me. He’s had more great teams, and chances than a cats got lives!!!!!!!!

          • I’ll take that any day over the likely downgrade we would get if we make a coaching change–which won’t be happening for at least another 12-18 months IMO.

            Remember, part of the reason Torts got canned is because Sather and Gorton saw that AV and Ruff were available. They saw an opportunity to upgrade. Not so sure they fire Torts if there wasn’t a better option, despite the falling out with some of the players. I dont think they’re is a coach out there that would be perceived as an upgrade. Thus, part of the reason they locked AV down when they did.

            As for Marv Levy, I suspect Buffalo would welcome him back with open arms. Bud Grant, who also never won it all, is a legend today in Minnesota. I think most fans will take their chances with a coach that gets you close. Especially, in the case of AV’s Rangers, it’s pretty clear they really don’t have elite players that will have their likenesses in the HOF (other than Hank).

    • Did you actually read the article and the Burrows quote?

      An excerpt–

      Vigneault is the equivalent of Terry Collins, the manager of the Mets, who gets no love from the fan base and is deemed responsible for essentially every loss while receiving minimal credit for taking flawed teams deep into the postseason, and in the Rangers coach’s case, more than once. The fans want someone else. They want anyone else. Good luck with that.

      It was much the same for Vigneault as his tenure wound down in Vancouver, where he will forever be remembered as the coach who lost Game 7 to the Bruins in 2011 after his team had held leads of 2-0 and 3-2 in the Stanley Cup final. It is a defeat that hangs over Vigneault, maybe even haunts him. The Canucks were the more talented team. The perception always has been that the coach held his team back from responding to Boston’s bully tactics. Turns out that the perception is reality.

      “Totally fair,” Alexandre Burrows, the Ottawa winger who played for those Canucks, told The Post. “We had the No. 1 power play in the league, and AV believed that our best chance to win was to play whistle to whistle, not get involved in that extra stuff that Boston was trying to drag us into and to make them pay with the PP.

      “But our power play went dry. You know, our team there was a lot like the Rangers now, really good depth and great goaltending. He knows how to coach. I think at the end of the day, AV still believes in whistle to whistle.”

      You bet he does. But Vigneault did not hold back the Rangers from taking pounds of flesh from the Canadiens in their physical battle royale in Round 1 and he is not holding back the Rangers here despite some wonky personnel decisions while shortening his bench Saturday.

      I was predisposed to write that the Rangers have never once seemed in control through two games. But you know, they were up by two and had held the Senators to two shots on goal through the first 16:41 of the third period on Saturday. If Henrik Lundqvist had been himself, the series would be even, so how much piling on is appropriate here?

      The Rangers should not have lost Game 2, but they did. Vigneault should not have lost Smith, but he did. Stuff happens. The series is not over.

      So, Burrows clearly said is that the Canucks lost because the PP went dry. If it hadn’t, and if Thomas had not stood on his head, Vancouver wins. Burrows himself said AV “knows how to coach”. He did not say his strategy was necessarily wrong. The execution was more the issue. That’s on the players.

      And Brooks, while taking AV to task, is also saying, a) he’s not going anywhere, and b) the Rangers were a break here or there in being up 2-0 and none of this would matter.

      Brooks’ column is totally fair. Yes, AV (and I suspect he is covering for a possibly outmatched and inexperienced Jeff Beukeboom here) is properly being held accountable for the questionable coaching decisions. But ultimately, it’s much more about sub-standard player from too many supposed stars.

  • Honestly, Eddie, I don’t understand why you continually invoke regular season success as if it were interchangeable with actually winning anything. This season alone, with the pole positioning debacle of the metro division, should show, especially in today’s playoff format, how meaningless a regular season game can become.

    Do you consider December games against teams like Buffalose and Cololrado to be meaningful indicators of anything whatsoever?

    Let me ask this question another way – suppose every player on every team gave 110% effort every single shift, as if the entire season were one enormous computer simulation or something. How many more games do you think Pit wins? Do you suppose Col would have won even 20 games?

    • I’m not following you Stampede. I dont think I’m talking about regular season success at the moment. I mean, you have to do well enough to get to the tournament, but I’m referring to playoff success.

      AV has won six series in four springs. Compare that to the other coaches these past four years. Who has done better? Off the top of my head–Q has won 7 in four springs. I don’t believe anyone else has come close.

      Care to compare the Blackhawks roster to the Rangers? It’s not even close. How many future HOFers other than Hank has AV had here? Hank obviously. MSL but a diminished version. Anyone else? The guy has won more playoff series as Rangers coach in four seasons than Emile Francis did with his star-studded roster in 10 seasons–with a far less talented roster.

      So the idea he is ONLY a regular season coach is ludicrous. If you want to make that claim about a coach, look down I-95 towards our nation’s capital, where you will see a coach who’s had one brilliant regular season after another on the verge of getting bounced AGAIN in the second round. That’s the very definition of a regular season-only coach. Not AV.

      • E3

        Do you have amnesia? How conveniently you always talk about other coach, and their collection of HOFer’s, while forgetting the boys name Sedan, and the supporting cast ?????????????

        • Look, I can only speak intelligently about AV…HC of the NYR. I didnt follow him closely in Vancouver. But NOTHING he has done in NY, with the roster he’s had to work with, even remotely suggests this is a coach that deserves to be fired.

  • I addressed this in another post but, to be fair, the successes which you’re referring to were most likely achieved almost solely via number 30, not the other way around. You know, for all of that regular season success, as someone else pointed out, AV actually has a losing record in the playoffs to complement his stellar, north of .600 regular season winning percentage.

    Mind you, that’s with two elite goaltenders (three if you count Schneider) holding down the fort.

    • I find playoff W-L record to be a flawed measure of post-season success. For example, you could regularly sweep a first round series and then lose in 7 in the second round each year. Your winning pct? .636. But if you go the SCF, it takes 7 games in the first two rounds and 6 games in the ECF, but you lose in the finals in 5 as AV did in 2014, the record is 13-12, or a .520 winning pct. Who do you think had the more succesful post-season under those circumstances? Certainly not the guy with the better winning pct.

      Winning pct in playoffs are misleading because different coaches are matched up against different teams. The amount of playoff series you win matters far more, and AV has won a lot of them.

      On the Hank thing, I don’t disagree. No Hank and we probably are a lottery team most of this past decade. But it easily can be argued that AV improved the team over what Torts accomplished in NY (it’s not even debatable actually), and then Vancouver fell off a cliff once AV left.

      So that says to me he is a good coach. Is he perfect? No. Is the roster flawed? Absolutely. That’s why a coaching change to me is just a bunch of noise. What we need is to have Gorton get him a roster that can win it all, like Trotz has in Washington. Then we can judge him if he falls short.

  • Here’s the thing, Eddie. The aforementioned problem that playoff success in one series can paint a disproportionate picture of a team’s quality is something that is primarily aggravated by the GOOFY playoff format which is currently used. Teams are not encouraged to play 82 games a year (as anyone in MTL will gladly attest to); to the contrary, as you said, it’s basically ‘win and get in’, because winning a division or moving out of a wildcard spot does not guarantee a more favorable matchup. The fact that Ottawa & Boston escaped PIT/CLB for round one is a ridiculous and utterly indefensible pile of BS.

    Also, I feel like you’re assuming I’m pulling a bit of a strawman with my AV criticism. I’m not saying he has no redeeming qualities whatsoever (ok, well, maybe he’s a nice guy? idk.), or that there aren’t (much) worse coaches in today’s NHL.

    Much of his success, in my opinion, has come from the fact that he has inherited exceptionally talented teams with impeccable timing. Just compare the record he achieved with that first stint in MTL to his two other ones; the talent differential corresponds with the outcome.

    That isn’t to say his system is bad (truthfully, in the regular season, it works rather well). I am, however, saying that his failure to properly utilize talent, specifically that on the defense, is alone sufficient grounds for moving on after this season.

    • There is almost zero chance the Rangers will move on. He was just signed to a significant extension and huge raise. Even Brooks in his column sad it–dream on! If that did happen, it would be incompetence of the highest order by Gorton and he should be fired.

      What “exceptionally talented” teams has he had in NY? Again, the Rangers went from being mostly a borderline playoff team under the previous coach to a perennial 100+ point teams that’s won more playoff series with less top talent than any team in recent memory. And this year, in a transition season they were supposed to barely make the playoffs if not miss it altogether, the team has EXCEEDED expectations. Which is why he was given a mega-deal extension when it was not necessary to do so.

      What also factors in is…who else is out there? Sutter? His system is antiquated in today’s game and he failed miserably the last three years. Therrien, Capuano, Bylsma? Uhhhh…thanks but no thanks. Ruff? AV was selected over Ruff.

      If you told me Coach Q or Babs were available, then maybe. Beyond that, any move we make would likely be a downgrade.

      It’s a nice wish you have….which has about a 1/10th of 1 per cent chance of happening this off season.

  • Yes, I’m afraid, I completely agree that it is very unlikely that the rangers will make the correct move this offseason. Although, IIRC, wasn’t torts also given the same treatment prior to his abrupt departure?

    In regards to exceptionally talented teams, how can you invoke AV’s regular season success, but then ignore the fact that torts’ last team here had over 110 points? Sure, I agree that AV’s ‘up tempo’ system is better suited for the roster they have (ignoring half of the defense), but other than that, how can you argue that he has significantly improved this team relative to the job his predecessor did?

    In defense of Sutter, who has, as I’m sure you know, technically won more (two to zero) championships than AV, signing many of those contracts (the brown one alone is enough for heads to roll) did him in…. I don’t know if there’s a single coach alive who can overcome the sacrifices (if we’ll call them that?) that lombardi made to keep that roster together.

    Other than that, I agree, sadly, the current crew of free agent coaches (the ones with even a snowball’s chance in hell of being hired, anyways) all leave something to be desired.

    • On Torts to AV….You are somwhat off. His second to last season he had 109 points. His last season, the lockout shortened season, he had 56 points, which projects out to 96 points in a full season. His team flamed out badly in round two and after losing the room, he was let go (yes, Torts got an extension as well, but not the MEGA deal AV just got which has him locked up for the next three seasons and has him amont the highest paid coaches in the league…very, very different).

      The next season, AV had the same 96 point season, that’s true. But he took the same core group to the SCF.

      All told, in his four full seasons, Torts averaged 96 points and won all of three playoff series in five springs. He was the only Rangers coach since 2005 to miss the playoffs altogether. He was the only Rangers coach to squander a 3-1 series lead in the history of the franchise, and he had what has been, to this point anyway, the single most disappointing and unacceptable playoff loss of this 12 season run–the loss in the 2012 ECF to an inferior Devils team.

      By comparison, AV’s Rangers teams have averaged 103 points. And he has won six playoff series in four springs….double what Torts won in far less time. He is the only coach in NHL history to rally back from 3-1 deficits in back to back seasons.

      And on top of that, Torts took over AV’s team in Vancouver and the team crashed and burned, only to rebound the following year once Torts was canned.

      By any measureable standard, post-lockout, AV has been the far more succesful coach and it’s not even close.

      One more note on Torts….you can make the case that Renney out-performed him. In three full seasons, Renney averaged 97 points and won two playoff series in three seasons. So forget about Torts vs AV…that’s AV by a wide margin. The real argument is Renney vs Torts…and fact is, statistically speaking, Renney edges him out by a nose.

      As for Sutter, yes, he won two Cups….with arguably the best defenseman in the league in Drew Doughty. That was a great roster and remained a strong roster. Yet, last three years, when most pundits predicted more playoff success, what happens? One playoff appearance and no playoff series wins. Which proves that winning a Cup or two means nothing in terms of what the same coach would do with a new team moving forward.

      Torts won a Cup in 2004. He’s been mostly mediocre since.

      Crawford won a Cup two decades ago. He hasn’t come close as a head coach since, and was banished to Europe until returning to North America this season as an associate coach in Ottawa.

      Keenan had never won a Cup despite having some very good teams, and in fact there were those who questioned whether he would ever win. He comes to NY, gets a loaded roster. He wins, and then becomes a nomadic coach, flaming out quickly everywhere he went after that and never coming close again.

      Coach Q was AV….couldn’t win the big one until he got one of the most loaded roster imaginable in Chicago. He goes from “couldn’t win the big one” to arguably the greatest of this generation.

      Did the Pens hire a SC winning coach to get the ship righted? No.

      The point is, past is not prologue. AV is an excellent coach who is more than capable of winning the SC. As Rangers coach, his only sin is that he has overachieved expectations by taking a good but not great team and won more playoff series than any other Rangers coach in almost 80 years.

      Not a guy who should be fired anytime soon IMO. Not until he gets a roster with real stars–not the faux stars we have now.

      • Bro, I love ya, but you need to come to grips with the fact that AV may be a good regular season coach but that his “ways” do not produce results in the playoffs.

        I think it was Stampede that said that it’s not automatic that his good regular season successes translate into the playoffs. I agree with that statement.

        That statement also relates to Rick Nash, though he has done better lately.

        We need a change behind the bench before it’s too late for the King.

        • Richter, while you are correct to critcize the last game, I will say again…

          Six playoff series wins in four Springs. Best sustained success by any Rangers coach in 80 years.

          In the last four seasons, in a league that is all about competitive balance, he has won more playoff series than any NHL coach not named Coach Q. Care to compare the quality of talent between Chicago and NY, or some of the other teams AV’s Rangers have eclipsed during this period?

          You are fooling yourself if you think there is any realistic chance that he gets canned. This season is already a success relative to the expectations–and Gorton rewarded him for it. He’s here at a minimum another 12-18 months….minimum.

          Now, I think we certainly should be discussing whether or not a coaching change needs to happen–involving Beukeboom. His lack of NHL coaching experience may well be costing the team at the moment.

          It’s so funny that last year, everyone wanted Ulfie out of here but we don’t hear a peep about Beuke because he was part of our Cup team almost a quarter century ago…which of course means zero in terms of what kind of coach he is. Didn’t you find it curious they waited weeks before naming him as Ulf’s replacement? I think AV and Gorton’s realized there were no better choices out there. Maybe this summer there will be.

          I wouldn’t be surprised if there is an assistant coaching shakeup. That very well could happen. But get used to AV. Barring a stunning revelation, he’s not going anywhere–nor should he. Gorton should be fired for gross incompetence if he does that.

          • The playoff success came in 2014 and 2015, which seems eons ago. Not beating the Sens would be devastating. The Sens stink quite honestly.

            They’re playing their little hearts out but their talent is with one player with a couple of good players like Brass, Ryan, etc. They have 2 solid lines and a D corps worse than the Rangers. And their goalie, while a real life hero, is no where near a top notch goalie.

            Can the Rangers pull this out? Of course. Would it shock me if they won 4 straight? Of course not. I picked the Rangers in 5.

            But it starts tomorrow night by not only beating the Sens, but crushing them. Kill their will. The Rangers will need everyone on the same page including the coach. If I seeing effing Tanner Glass in the line up then I will know that the coach is not on the same page.

            And for the record? Just because I complain and gripe, doesn’t make me a bad fan. I pay thousands per year to see them play in person. It kills me to dislike what they’re doing or how they’re playing, etc.

          • I never said you were a bad fan. Never even implied that. You are obviously a great fan.

            I would agree it would be dispopointing to lose to Ottawa. Devastating? Come on. You are doing what other have done out here. Let’s turn the Sens (4 points worse than us) into the Washington Generals so we can create a false narrative that the Rangers, who have been a .500 hockey team since mid-February, is this vastly superior team.

            Sorry Richter, that is nonsense. We have a team of faux stars here that we overrate. They have the best defenseman in the sport that we cant hold a candle to, as well as solid offensive players. On paper, these teams are pretty even,

            But if our “faux stars” get hot, sure I have no doubt this Rangers team can pull this off.

            The only truly devasting playoff loss we’ve had was when Torts crashed the bus against a mediocre Devils team in 2012.

          • I say devastating because the Sens are not that good. Matchup our players vs their’s and we are much deeper than they are, starting with the goalies, which we have a big advantage.

            Don’t get me wrong, I know what the Rangers are. My prediction for the playoffs was a first round out, UNLESS the King played out of his mind. I think it’s safe to say that Lundqvist won the first round practically by himself.

            See where you are wrong about the coach is that you keep looking big picture, meaning final results or where the Rangers end up for this year. Just because this team isn’t great doesn’t absolve the coach of handling the responsibility of playing the best line up possible and coaching the best he can.

            So to say that it basically doesn’t matter that the coach make mistakes because the Rangers aren’t good enough to go anywhere anyway is a poor narrative. The coach gets paid nicely to do his job and use what he has the best way he can. He doesn’t do that and that’s my problem with him. He would rather use “his guys” and be a stubborn mule than do what’s best for the team.

            His “admission” for what happened on Saturday, basically losing his focus, may cost him his job. He’s probably back next year, but he said that he was “consulting” with Gorton for tonight’s game which says to me “holy crap, damage control.”

      • AV is a good, not excellent coach. Really, you (and all else here) don’t know how good the Rangers really are. What you know is how well they play when AV coaches them. Sutter took an average team and won two Cups – and we suddenly think the Kings had a ton of talent. Just because AV can’t make Nash, Kreider, McDonagh look like HOFers does not mean they are not great.

        One issue is that some of the criticism is way off the mark. Yet some of it is on. I agree with you Eddie that AV sheltered McIlrath and there were hints that he needed to be sheltered. There is also no doubt that he has sheltered Clendening, but frankly in the games I have seen it simply has not mattered. Occasionally, everyone gets exposed because sheltering isn’t perfect and Clendo responded well. And he is careful unnecessarily with Skjei-Smith when Holden is the weakness.

        I also observe that I did not see Game 2, but from what I have seen Buchnevich has been poor. As much as my heart says otherwise, Glass is likely an (unimportant) upgrade.

        Historical fact. In the 1977-78 season, the Seattle Supersonics were in danger of missing the playoffs in the NBA. They fired the coach and hired Lenny Wilkins. Wilkins changed 40% of the starting lineup and restructured the team. The Sonics went to the finals that year and then won the championship the next. No one spotted their talent other than the new coach.

        Would a better coach give the Rangers a better chance? Undoubtedly. If the Rangers fire AV, can they find that coach? Ah, there’s the rub.

        • Totally fair and objective analysis. My feeling is that the team would go backwards if they make a change, because we already have a top shelf coach so the chances of finding someone better is pretty remote.

          And again, it’s a moot point. There is virtually no chance he gets canned after this season. He’s got at least another 12-18 months, depending on what kind of team Gorton gives him.

        • Ray, I have said over and over that you cannot truly assess the roster under this coach.

          Great post.

          • Gorton would disagree it seems, based on his decision in January. And since Gorton created much of this roster, especially the young players, he obviously does feel AV is the guy who can best get the most out of them. It may well be they just aren’t that good.

          • We will see bro. Like I said above, AV is probably back but if the Rangers lose this series then I would say that his chances of coming back take a hit. It’s probably 75% he comes back but it wouldn’t be the slam dunk it should be.

            I hope Smith re-signs but I think he gets more than the $3.5M per I think the Rangers should pay. Plus benching him in important minutes after playing so well doesn’t help the cause either.

          • P.S. Skjei’s response to a question relating to his benchings at the ends of games implies that he is totally annoyed. Saying “you have to ask the coach” implies that he’s not happy.

      • E3

        “Which proves that winning a Cup or two means nothing in terms of what the same coach would do with a new team moving forward”.

        Let me tell you in no uncertain terms, give me 2 cups in three years, and if we don’t make the PO’s for the next three , or four years, I’d still be tickled pink.

        There is where you and I are 180 degrees from one another, I want to win a cup, or as many as we possibly can. You on the other hand are fully content to say we made a good run, but came up short, like 2 cups in 77 years. That my friend just won’t cut the mustered!!!!!!

        • I would take that too, so we agree. Where we disagree is that just because someone has done it before, doesnt mean he is more or less likely to do it again. And the reverse is also true. Just because you never have doesnt mean you never will.

          • I’ll believe it when I see it. I’m from Missouri, just down the street from 18th ave & 67th street, Brooklyn!!!!!!!

  • Yes, I should have double checked the torts numbers; I had a feeling I might have been a bit liberal with the praise. Good call there.

    However, I think the big difference between AV and guys like Q (the only one you mentioned that I consider superior to AV) – and where virtually all of my AV gripes come from – is this – AV simply does not make the correct (or any, really) personnel adjustments during a game that most coaches do, as was exhibited on Saturday afternoon. Whereas Q was willing to trim his dmen to 2 pairings, AV keeps… well… yeah. He also doesn’t utilize his weapons properly; I think it’s a shame clendo isn’t playing – corsi doesn’t lie (not that I mean to imply that it’s the end-all stat which all others pale in comparison to).

    I don’t want to continue beating a dead horse, but, 5, 18, & 22 have NO BUSINESS being out there in a close, end of game setting. This, of course, doesn’t even make mention of the fact Lindberg was stapled to the bench all game despite being excellent defensively.

    Lastly, I actually disagree somewhat with the Pit statement – the coaching change made a WORLD of difference for that squad. For the first time ever, they brought in someone who was willing to tell, as torts lovingly put it, their stars to stop whining, and play some hockey. I think there’s a level of focus there that was absent previously… and, of course, adding hagelin & hotdogs didn’t hurt, either.

    • Fancy stats can be very deceiving. McIlrath is the poster child for that. he had sheltered shifts where he had mostly O-zone starts. Once he was asked to play a more complete game in Florida, he got exposed. Every NHL team passed on him on waivers–twice. He’s in the minors. So much for “advanced stats don’t lie”.

      I have no idea what the future is for McIlrath or Clendo, but it would hardly be a shock if both are playing somewhere other than the NHL next season. Clendo has been in six organizations in three years. Usually, there is a reason for that.

      As for Pit, yes, Sully did well. But again, it’s highly probable that if Hynes had stayed with the organization, the same result would have happened. That team was loaded, and as you said, the acquisitions they made were huge.

  • I agree about the McIlwrath thing – while he was clearly mishandled, the key question to ask about him is this.

    If he were, instead of being the 10th overall pick, was actually the 210th pick in that draft…. would your opinion of him be the same?

    Most people would, predictably, say no. I don’t understand the obsession with evaluating a player by the arbitrary tag placed upon them according to where they were drafted (he didn’t draft himself).

    That being said, it’s not like the rangers have a monopoly on terrible player evaluations. I suspect that Clendo probably said something along the lines of, “HOLY S^$# WTF DO YOU MEAN I’M SCATCHED FOR A GUY WITH ONE LEG!?”, and to be honest, I can’t say I blame him….. I will never, ever understand their reasoning for exiling him. You made a great point about fancy stats and sheltering, but that’s the thing – he was playing on the top pairing!!! There’s no shelter in that.

    • Well, that’s a very astute point you make about McIlrath. I think the answer depends on the question. If we establish your premise that in our mythical scenario, he’s now the 210th pick, but the question is, should he have played more? I would say no, he should be evaluated the same. Once you make the big club, makes no difference when you were selected. Just ask Girardi.

      But if the question is, was that pick a wasted pick that may have cost us a chance at the Cup (since we passed on Cam Fowler, Jaden Schwartz, Tarasenko, Kuznetsov as well as Brock Nelson, Charlie Coyle or even lesser lights like Riley Sheahan, Beau Bennett, and Nick Bjugstead), then yes, his failure to stick is a black mark on the organization as a failed first round lottery pick as opposed to a 7th round selection.

      Maybe Clendo said that. But then he said, oh crap, here’s the SIXTH organization in three years that doesnt think I’m good. Holy S*&^! Next stop might be Europe for me. Seems to me AV came to the same conclusion everyone else has come to. Marginal NHL talent.

  • No argument from me on that pick being an atrocious idea. I thought that pick was insane the moment they announced it.

    I believe the good old Slatipus called it a “project” immediately out of the gate. Which is indefensible, especially considering the talent on the board.

    However, I just don’t get why you’re using the past evaluations of prior teams as a justification of AV’s exiling of Clendening Especially the Oilers, of all teams…. pretty sure they’d be much better if they would have done the sane thing last offseason, which was sign someone like Demers. Can you imagine what they would look like if they still had Hall?

    Paired with McD, there was not a single NHL pairing that had better possession numbers; I think that there is a full double digit difference between McD/clendo & McD/G for the games he played in (high 50’s vs mid 40’s cf%), never mind the xGF% etc.. I can go dig up the data if necessary.

    I don’t consider it to be purely a coincidence that, as the rangers rightfully descended back to earth after that amazing but unsustainable start, that the removal of clendo from the top pairing (and subsequent reinsertion of G) and the decline in goals scored were entirely unrelated events…..

    • You may be right. Let’s withhold judgment until next season when we see if Clendo is even in the NHL.

      • Another problem with the coach. He sure can’t wait to pick out individual mistakes by certain players, justifying their benchings, but yet sits there and watches guys like G, Staal, and Holden shit the bed time and time again with nary a word of criticism.

        I loved it during the Habs series how AV and some Ranger fans said that, because of a few solid hits, G played a great game. But yet the stats sheet said he had at least 8 giveaways in that same game. Where was the coach with his “inefficient touches” comment?

  • Well, my opinion:
    Klein in for Staal. Klein hasn’t been great this season, but I think he is better than Staal in that he is a better skater and more mobile.
    Glass in for Hayes. Sometimes a guy needs a fire lit under his ass. It worked for Miller.
    After looking at the ice time in game 2 and reading this post, I agree Lindberg should not have been benched, and Skjei should have been right behind McD in ice time. Brady has been really good. Except for getting beat around the outside on that early goal.
    I skated a camp with Nate Handrahan last year and we were all talking in the bar after we got the kids off the ice and he didn’t think much of Girardi, either. I like G, but he does make some bad decisions. A couple of years ago, he was really bad in the playoffs. And Holden down the stretch has also made some bad decisions with the puck this year.
    I’m not sure about Clendening. There were a couple times during the season when he didn’t stand up for himself when I thought he could or should have. I don’t know. Maybe Clen for Staal instead of Klein, but Staal clearly needs to sit a game. In his case I don’t think it’s a matter of lighting a fire, he’s just old and slow. I also think it’s time to deal him while we can get something for him. He ain’t getting any younger.
    Miller is not as bad as Hayes. He had some good shifts that included a few won battles down low. He is working hard. Hayes looks tired, or lost, or something. Fuck, I don’t know. But he is off for some reason. At least Glass will work his ass off and has had a good run since being called up. He may not be as skilled as Hayes, but he has been playing smart and staying out of the box, and busting his ass. I’m sure Hayes is trying, but his give-a-shit level seems to be lacking.

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