Some quick Friday thoughts

(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Happy Friday, BSB faithful!  Through more or less the quarter season mark, it has been the tale of two campaigns for the Rangers thus far: the tire fire first twelve games, which saw the Blueshirts go 3-7-2 and the much improved last seven games, when they went 6-1-0.  The Rangers have jumped back into the playoff picture with the win streak, so naturally, I have some thoughts…

1. As Dave has mentioned several times, the need for another center (or forward depth in general) just isn’t going away.  Mika Zibanejad has been a revelation and Kevin Hayes has been a much more effective 2C than I would have imagined.  However, for this team to actually contend, they need to be able to create matchup headaches lower in the lineup.

2. Kevin Shattenkirk has been just so good.  There are certainly valid gripes about his defensive zone capabilities, but the skills he brings to the table are the exact ones that Rangers’ fans have been pissing and moaning about not having for years.  He is a legitimate power play quarterback; he can get passes across ice, he can get shots through traffic and he can manage the break out.  He has been effective in transition and scoring at a Norris clip.  He is going to have his defensive gaffes, but his net positivity cannot be denied.

3. Now that they finally lost a game, can we dispense with the “don’t change the lineup ever because we are winning” nonsense and get Brendan Smith back in over Kampfer?  I understand that Smith has not been good and I’m never opposed to sending a message when you need more out of a veteran player, but we’ve been stuck in this time loop where Kampfer must stay in because they are winning.  Instead of a 2-3 game benching, it turned into 7 because of the winning streak.  There is an investment in Smith and it behooves the team to get him right.  You would waive Kampfer tomorrow and not be any worse off.

4. There have been reports that Rick Nash is open to signing an extension mid-season to stay in New York.  I understand the arguments about cashing him in at the deadline and then re-signing him in the offseason, but I’m not crazy about this idea for two reasons.  First, if the Rangers have any intention on contending this season, they will need Nash.  They don’t have the forward depth to jettison one of their most skilled and versatile forwards.  Second, you give him a chance to enjoy playing for another organization and maybe he isn’t so sold on coming back.  Obviously, Nash will have a take a big pay cut to stay with the Rangers, but to get him for $3-4m per for a couple more years, I am more than on board.

5. Man, has the KZB line been great, or what?

6. Amongst the other items on Gorton’s shopping list, a backup goalie needs to be added.  Clearly, AV doesn’t trust Pavelec (I don’t blame him) and he is going to run Hank into the ground.

7. After Columbus tonight, the Rangers have a really soft short-term schedule.  Six straight games against Ottawa, Carolina, Detroit, Vancouver, Florida and Carolina again.  They need to rack up some points as the Metro standings start to take shape in earnest.  It is a cluster at the moment, with only 7 points separating the top from the bottom.  Even if Pittsburgh ends up running away with it, the Devils are likely to fade.  A team or two needs to really grab onto to the top of the division and not let go.

8. However, the focus tonight will be on old friend Torts and Columbus.  The Rangers got the better of them two weeks ago, but they are always a tough matchup.  Get two points tonight and start steam rolling some weak competition.

That’s it for me this week.  I’m getting out of dodge next week, so I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving with friends or family.  LGR!

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  • 1. Another center is a must because the NHL requires 4 lines to compete, unless you have elite top m6 players, which we don’t. DD is barely a 4th C never mind a 3rd C. Bozak my friends. Possibly attainable at a reasonable trade cost. Sather and other Ranger reps taking in the Leafs’ games on a regular basis.

    2. Shatty is what he is, but tell me the PP success does not fall squarely on him. It does. Warts and all, he’s an elite D man.

    3. Unfortunately it takes a loss to do what should have been done a while ago. Hot take: Kampfer had zero to do with the winning streak.

    4. 3 years, $12M. Not good enough? Then say goodbye. It might be because I guarantee you that Nash gets a job with the org after he retires. Ranger mgmt loves him and vice versa.

    5. Should have never been broken up this year. Ever. But… Our coach.

    6. They are going to ride Henrik anyway but someone has to get at least 10 more starts. I wanted Chad Johnson.

    7. Big game tonight to show that the Hawks’ game was a blip, not the start of a losing streak. Plus division rival.

    8. Right, tonight is a big game.

    • For some reason I’ve never been really impressed with Bozak. I think maybe the Rangers should ask the Panthers about Bjugstad. He’s still young (25), has size (6’6″) and has some skill. He’s scored 40 points a couple years ago. I think he would be a good get for 3rd line center

      • Hey James, I also answered you on the Banter on this.

        I say Bozak because he can fill a top 9 role and, hopefully, he doesn’t come at a huge trade cost.

        A young guy is going to cost more in trade than a vet on the last year of his contract with a diminishing role.

        • I know you did. I’m new to commenting on this site so I wanted to bring it up again. The reason I think acquiring someone like Bjugstad who has term is better than a rental like Bozak is because it puts the Rangers in the same position they are this year. Missing a center. I know they probably expect Andersson or Chytl to be one next year, but they are still young and unproven.

          • I suspect, and this is just my opinion, that the Rangers expect both Chytil and Andersson in the line up next year.

          • I think you’re right. I’m sure they also thought one of them would make the team this year as well.

    • Tony my man…I agree with you brother. The kid in Hartford i nnet has been really good of late- Georgiev. I still say give a call to Vegas and see what it would cost for Jon Marchessault. Not a big player in size but had 30 goals last season and 5 goals, 7 A this season for the Knights.

      • Didn’t we have JAM? lol. we get rid of players that we end up trading for down the road, lol.

    • I don’t think that they will go for Bozak. I hope they go for a high profile 4c name and bring up Lehtteri for the 3rd line.

        • Give him time…..don’t be such a NYer. Always in a rush. Walk as opposed to take a cab. It takes time but you will be better for it in the end….just like Lettieri. 🙂

          He’s showing some positive signs…but the jump to the NHL is huge. Let’s make sure he’s ready before he gets the call.

          • Lifelong NYer, lol.

            I liked the kid so much I thought that he should have made the team out of camp bro.

            I thought Vinnie definitely should have made the jump before Boo, that'[s for sure.

            BTW, Kerfoot, the kid nobody wanted here? Is doing just fine so far.

          • Until Boo got the call up, Lettieri played all of 1 game at C. Tough to be 1st call at a position you’re not playing.

          • True, good point. I like the kid though, I liked his instincts. I think he should be here now as opposed to Boo. Never thought Boo was that good and I was proven correct.

    • Well said Richter 1994,
      Every point SPOT on!!!
      I would add……..Letteri needs to be brought up ASAP , DD and /or carey gone! Then we could run 4 effective lines like last years playoffs with Lindberg!!!!
      Yes, Kampher is not a reason we are winning……
      My big question right now is why does Kevin Hayes and all that ability have only 4 goals and 8 points in 19 games?????????

  • 1-Zib is turning into a hell of a first center. Do we miss Stepan?

    2-We all knew what we were getting with Shatty, but with him in the line up, what a change in the PP. I can almost overlook his faults on defense.

    3-I suspect that Smith has learned his lesson, and once in the lineup, he won’t be removed.

    4-If Nash wants to stay here, $2.5 to $3.5 range is fine, no more than that. Two more years, and then he can retire a happy man!

    5-Why in the world di AV ever tinker with the KZB line in the first place???????

    6-Back up goalie, are there any good ones out there?

    7-Every victory is worth 2 points, I don’t care where they come from…..

    8-Let’s go out there tonight, and get Tort’s blood pressure elevated!!!!!!

    • I know people have a “thing” about Stepan but if you had this:


      McD-Holden (lol)

      Would you complain? Meaning that the Rangers did not sign Smith and used that money to keep Stepan?

      No one would complain and the Rangers would be contenders. Or, even retain Oscar to play 3C with Hayes at 2C.

      Gorton blew this situation, big time. Now they’re scrambling to get a C that really isn’t available or would come at possibly a high trade cost. Clusterf–k.

      • Richter

        If that were the case, then Zib wouldn’t be our #1, AV loved Stepan, and the KZB line wouldn’t be out there as often as it is now. De Angelo wouldn’t be in our system, nor would Andersson, whom both will be future quality players for us long term. Let’s not forget the cost for Stepan, what $6.5 mil. I suspect the Dogs are having second thoughts on that trade?????

        I still think that Smith is worth what we gave him, and he will have a burr under his saddle, and want to prove he’s worth the investment. He’s the only d-man that plays with an edge……..

        I have to agree with you on Oscar, I would have put Fast on the unprotected list, and our center situation would be great.

        • “If that were the case, then Zib wouldn’t be our #1, AV loved Stepan, and the KZB line wouldn’t be out there as often as it is now. ”

          Bad time to point out that that line is amongst the bottom of all forwards in 5×5 ice time?

          • I agree with you Walt. I think Smith will be fine. As to the expansion draft I would have preferred to expose Grabner and protect Lindberg and Fast.

          • I’m all in here….Lindberg (5 goals with Las Vegas)brought grit and scoring to the bottom 6 (also a good face-off man) that Rangers don’t have today in DD and Boo Nieves! Gorton should have given up the draft pick because that pick, most likely, wouldn’t turn out to be as good as Lindberg.

          • James,

            Grabner, Lindberg, and Fast were all exposed.

            We didn’t really have another option other than to make a deal with Vegas.

          • Rhodork, We could have exposed stepan
            [ and his 2 goals in 20 games ] and protected Lindberg! We wouldnt be looking for a center and our 4 th line would be intact!

          • You’re right, my mistake. I don’t know why i thought they were protected.

          • John

            That could be, but they score like hell on the PP, so what’s your point? Do you want to break up that line, I think not, right??????????

        • Walt,

          Fast was not protected.

          We protected the right guys. The mistake was we didn’t
          make a deal with Vegas to not take Lindberg.

        • Walt,
          I said it before the draft and again now…..Lindberg was more important and valuable to this team than stepan…..and at a reasonable cost!
          He made that 4th line a force , teams had to deal with and gave us balanced scoring up and down the lineup…….I am not surprised by his success and vegas coach says he needs to find him PP time!
          IMHO, We should have protected lindberg and exposed stepan ….we didnt need deangelo or anderson at the cost of lindberg…..who we cant replace.

          • Captain Hyperbole, you’ve done it again!

            Aren’t you the guy that’s wants us to get younger? DeAngelo and Andersson are young assets that may very well help us a year or two from now. Why in the world would you give Stepan away for nothing? Gorton would have been fired if he did that. Lindberg is a good player who we miss, but there is no way you expose Stepan just to keep Lindberg. Oscar is a solid depth guy, but likely nothing more long term.

            As a duly deputized officer of the Anti-Hyperbole and Anti-Misinformation police, I’m afraid I must give you a citation for several blatant violations both here and on the previous post.

            “Maybe we should reacquire the ‘undertaker’ he certainly played better than these three any time he was on the ice in a rangers uniform, and the crease was ALWAYS clear with him playing!!!!!!”—FALSE. The crease was not ALWAYS cleared. In fact, I can’t think of one time when he actually did. It’s a myth that you see only in your mind’s eye. And why would the Rangers want an AHL player that no one wants. That’s at least a Grade 2 violation of our policy here. 🙂

            “On the subject of AV…..why does a superbly talented player like Hayes only have 4 goals and 8 points in 19 games???????”

            Kevin Hayes is a “superbly talented” player? Really? I was what hockey universe is that true? So he’s on the same level as Crosby, McDavid, Matthews, etc. That nonsensical statement might be at least a Grade 4 violation.

            I’m sorry, but this will go on your permanent record, which is getting longer, more over the top and ridiculous with each passing week! 🙂

          • 3E
            Answers to your questions…..
            1. Aren’t you the guy that’s wants us to get younger?…..NO!!!!! In fact I wanted us to sign jagr….instead of DD and Carey!!!!!

            2. Hayes is not McDavid!!!! NO S#$%@T Sherlock!!! I NEVER SAID HE WAS, where did you read that?? What I said is that he should have more than 4 goals, 9 points in 20 games!! You dont think he is underachieving?????
            You dont see a very talented player when you watch him????Not elite but IMHO superbly talented.

            3. ”’ Lindberg is a good player who we miss, but there is no way you expose Stepan just to keep Lindberg.”’ Totally disagree, now we have ZERO production from our 4th line …….and two players….deangelo -”’a big maybe”’……..and anderson- a likely bottom 6 player accd to scouting reports………A bird in the hand!!!!!!!
            ——–BUT I enjoyed reading the the commentary…as long as I am not put on double secret probation I am Ok with this!
            OH and I almost forgot….Stepan is lighting it up with 2 goals in 20 games…….as #1 center with PP time!!!!

          • 1. I apologize if I misunderstood, but you avoided the larger point. If you can’t keep Stepan, you trade him and get future assets. The farm system is barren. You add a number one and a talented young former number one, and get cap relief. That’s a gamble well worth taking. Exposing your 1C and losing him for nothing would have been stupid.

            2. I never said you said Hayes was McDaviid. What i said was you have a tendency to overrrate and mischaracterize players. There is no universe, alternate or otherwise, where Kevin Hayes is considered “superbly talented”. “Superb” is a term used to describe the best of the best, like a McDavid, etc. There is no facet of Hayes’ game that is superb. He is a good, solid player. That’s all. Why can’t you simply leave it at that and not go off the deep end and make him (and Miller, and Kreider, and Grabner, etc, etc) into something they are not?

            3. Stepan is playing on a pitiful team. We miss him more than you realize.

          • 3E,
            1. The larger point to me is IMHO the rangers are better off with lindberg who we know is a productive NHL caliber 3/4th line center. Deangelo is a maybe…..and Accd to scouts anderson is likely 3/4 th line center maybe as good as , maybe better , maybe not as good as ……Lindberg……I would go with the sure thing….Lindberg! That being said I would have exposed stepan and would not have been surprised if vegas took Grabner over him!
            2. He was only our #1 because Zib was hurt 1/2 season and we had no one else!
            If you take away Zib and hayes then DD by default is our #1 center! Means nothing , he too stinks….
            3. I have a tendency to ”’overrrate and
            mischaracterize players”’, ”ABSOLUTELY!! Especially if I like them and they have a physical aspect to their game…….
            4. I dont worry about farm system….
            5. Superbly talented… stickhandling without a doubt, as a cover man, as a passer……..Not as a shooter…

      • I would because his 6.5 isn’t worth it to keep around. I’m happy that you pointed out how easy it could have been to keep him still though.

        • It really was easy, but Gorton was obsessed with trading Stepan so I guess it wasn’t really an option.

  • Time for Brendan Smith to play well and prove the coach wrong . It ain’t always on the coach. BSmith has been horrid.

    Time for Zucc to come alive.

    Center would be nice but give me a sniper winger instead. They tend to make centers shine.

    McD needs to show some offense.

    Has anyone seen Fast?

    • Smith probably deserved the benching, bt that’s not my problem with the coach.

      My problem with the coach is that his “faves” do a lot more egregious things on the ice wrong without nary a ramification. See, he picks and chooses his players to make an example of, and it’s usually the wrong ones that sit and the wrong ones that play.

      Hence, he’s not a good coach. Especially in the playoffs. Regular season, there are enough bad teams to beat up on to have a nice record and make the playoffs.

        • AV needs dependability. He has the KZB line and a PP. What else is really dependable and a threat to the opposition?

          While Haye’s receives more than his share of accolades here, that line still needs to product more. The 3rd line, other than a small stretch of games for JT has been MIA, and the 4th line must be all defensive, because they rarely have shown up on the score board over the past hot streak.

          AV loves Holden (can’t figure this out), but must have thought Kampfer was a better alternative than Smith. That should change with the next game.

          Wonder if Gorton is even looking for a center.

      • If a coach with 600+ wins is not “good”, then cant you also make the case that a goalie with 400+ wins is also not good?

        This is where you lose me. Hank is going to the HOF. On that we agree. AV may very well join him. You don’t accomplish these things unless you are GREAT at what you do.

        Neither is perfect. Both can be criticized. But “not good”? Not possible.

        • The goalie with the 400+ wins has a direct impact on those wins.

          The coach? Not so much, especially when you have 2 HOF goalies winning those games for you.

          And, maybe, just maybe, if the coach were really a good one, then it’s 700+ wins and at least one Cup.

          • So if the coach has a minimal impact, then why make such a big deal about every perceived mistake? The teams he coaches wins. Certainly in his Rangers days, AV and Hank have the same thing in common—too much ordinary talent around them to prop up to win it all. And that’s neither the coach nor the goalie’s fault, so IMO, while neither is perfect, neither deserve vitriol.

  • How does playing Ottawa count as a “soft” game? NYR has had trouble with Ottawa for years, the Sens have the game’s best defenseman (who revels in destroying the Rangers), they were a semifinalist last year in the playoffs that dispatched the Rangers in round 2, they have a goalie who’s played well against the Rangers throughout his career, and they play well as a team. They’re easily the equal of this NYR squad, I really don’t understand the lack of respect the Senators get from the writing staff here.

  • As for riding Hank into the ground, really?

    Rangers have the 2nd fewest B2B in the league. Does Pavelec get 3 more starts(barring injury or Hank stinking the joint out) between Friday and NYE? 10 more to the end of the season?

    I’d take the under.

      • I actually agree because Pavelec does stink it up. We had Talbot and Raanta who truly were very good Keepers.

        However Leaky is not the answer to the Cup, As for needs and priorities he falls to the bottom of the heap for priorities.

        Rangers are not winning the cup folks, way too many needs in the way for that too happen.

  • This team has always had that great quality center depth in the last 4 years. Brassard was a 3c with Boyle as the 4c along with Moore and then it was Hayes and Moore for 3 years after that. The only issue to that was that the Rangers had guys like Stepan and Richie taking advantage of that kind of personnel. As a fan of seeing Boo brought up and the DD signing I would love to see a new 3c and 4c, those two can’t do it.

  • Unfortunately until they are firmly entrenched in a playoff spot Henrik is going to get the lion’s share of the starts. Since they are most likely a .500 team and the Metro is insanely competitive, methinks we see the King far too often this season. On the other hand, he does like to work so maybe regular reps will be his proverbial fountain of youth…

  • Regarding Nash, there are a lot of moving parts to that situation. I’m wondering if the front office are the ones who don’t want to sign an extension just yet…but having little to do with Rick and more so about being able to get other things settled first. Vesey, Miller, Hayes, Boo, Skjei are all RFAs that they conceivably would consider retaining, and Grabner as the main UFA who has proven to be successful playing in AV’s scheme and would be a consideration.

    Not to mention, AV himself may be a consideration…if he is fired, they may want to look at if those players will fit in other types of systems as well, in their estimation. Not to mention aside from all that internal stuff, you have the FA market with some names worth considering outside of Tavares (I don’t think Tavares is an option for various reasons, but you never know, I suppose).

    Then there are the kids in play, too – namely Chytil; if he continues to prove himself in Hartford, perhaps even not at C, they decide he is ready to stick and they will sink or swim with him.

    At face value, personally, I definitely would like to see Nash back for a contract like 2 years at $4.5M per or 3 years at $4M per…however, if they feel they have the luxury of waiting on him to settle some other things – and they may, because he seems to genuinely want to stay with the Rangers even before his recent comments – then that may be their best move.

    I’m also not a huge fan of the trade then re-sign approach for Nash, unless they just plain nose dive between here and the deadline, and have a good feeling from Rick that he would not hold it against them next summer in evaluating an offer to come back.

    • I bet 3 years, $12M. Nash retires as a Ranger and gets a job with the franchise after he stops playing.

  • Kampfer played solid, as for McD and Staal they were far worse than Kampfer. This is no longer the league that you earn your way, so no wonder McD isn’t getting better.
    So remove Kampfer as it’s the easy choice appeasing everyone when in actuality based on performance in the last 10 games it’s the wrong one.
    Someone said Kampfer had zero to do with the winning streak, to that I say baloney.
    Is Kampfer my guy? No I want Pionk and Graves up but let’s be real here McD has been brutal since he put the C on. Staal is here for a paycheck now (so are most players).

    • Franken was inappropriate with a woman of legal age, which is certainly wrong. Franken addressed it immediately, apologized, and agreed that an ethics panel evaluation to decide if he should resign would be in order. Moore was inappropriate with several underage girls, which is pedophilia/child molestation depending on how far it went. Moore denies it all despite having been banned from a YMCA and as shopping mall for his predatory behavior in the past. Yet another completely dumb-as-hell take/analogy from you, Leather. You’re really something else.

      • Again…you show you don’t get it. They both should be out, but no liberal media spins it for Franken. Liberal thought process is freaking retarded. Neither are any different, both were inappropriate and both need to be out of politics.
        But do you recall the almighty Franken rants, yeah I do. We are losing our moral compass as a nation and it shows in sports as well.

    • Kampfer has worked his tail off, no doubt. And I’d take issue with anyone claiming we’ve been winning despite Kampfer, as he hasn’t really done anything bone-headed to jeopardize wins. It was a reasonable call to give him an opportunity over Smith, given both the performance and conditioning issues.

      But, with that said, we certainly haven’t been winning because of Kampfer either. He’s sporting the worst Corsi and xG% of any of our defenders, and he’s certainly the logical odd-man out to make room for Smith’s return.

      McDonagh hasn’t been great, and has made mistakes and been on for too many goals against, but he’s pushing play still and racking up points. Like Shatty, he offsets his mistakes with positive contributions.

      And Staal has been serviceable on the third pair.

      Kampfer out, Smith in is the right call tonight.

  • Regarding Nash, I would wait and see 1) whether the team is in the playoff hunt at the deadline; and, 2) whether the injury bug bites him again.

    He is a good player who comes to play every game. But at his age and with his recent injury history I’d be cautious. If they are not a serious contender at the deadline then I would see what I can get for him from a club looking for that final piece for a run. A good young player in return and/or good draft picks might be enticing

  • I wouldn’t count Ottawa a soft schedule, They’d had pretty good luck against the Rangers in the passed and IMO.they’re a legitimate contenders this year.

  • Great analysis Justin as always!

    1. Totally agree. Again, I get why Stepan was dealt and why Lindberg was allowed to walk. But those moves have created gi-normous holes. Our center depth is a huge issue at the moment and needs to be addressed if we are serious about contending.

    2. No question. Shatty isn’t perfect, but wow, has he been something special offensively! We haven’t seen a PP this good since Zubov was here. He will be in the discussion for the Norris if he keeps up this pace.

    3. Disagree, and for a couple of reasons. First of all, the Rangers poor start forced AV into making some tough choices. Chemistry is a difficult thing to quantify. It was working better with Smith out of the lineup. That’s fact. Can’t at all fault the coach for that decision. Secondly, you didn’t even mention the fact that it’s been reported that Smith was not in optimal shape. His play was terrible early. He is the one who forced this situation. The fault lies totally with the player here.

    But clearly, long range, we are better off with Smith in the lineup—as long as it is the one we saw last Spring. Players do have bad years, and it’s not like this guy has been an all-star caliber player who has any real equity.

    4) This is a tough one. I really like Nash, but it’s also evident that he would be a very desirable rental come playoff time that might yield a big return. I don’t think there is any reason to make a decision on Nash right now. Let’s let the season progress, get closer to the trade deadline, and then I think the best path re: Nash will become clearer.

    5) Yes….but, most of that I believe has been on the PP. And defensively? Meh. I’m not all in with them the way others have been. And the idea that the coach should be skewered because he broke them up when they, along with the rest of the team, struggled early, is silly. Coach Q (maybe our next coach?….just maybe) has had to make some tough choices in Chicago and has been shuffling lines like a Vegas blackjack dealer, and no one seems to have an issue with that. When he does it….brilliance. When AV does it….FIRE HIM! KZB is not the GAG line. At least not yet. Need to see more.

    6) Yes….no….maybe. Do I think Pavelec is as good as Raanta and Talbot were? No. Could we use an upgrade? Sure, if one were out there. Do I think AV “clearly” does not trust Pav? There is no evidence at all to support that is true. Indeed, didn’t AV play him in back to back games a month ago and Hank sat for like a week? The schedule, combined with the fact that the Rangers got off to a bad start and are desperate for points, is why Hank is playing so much. Will he be burnt out come playoff time? Maybe. But then again, Hank thrives on work. So unknown.

    7) I love how we continue to treat the Ottawa Senators like they are the Washington Generals…some poor team that we should easily beat. That was never reality last Spring and still is not the case. I think it is more accurate to say the Rangers have “winnable” games coming up. But the schedule is hardly “soft”.

    You do make a good point about the standings. We are almost at the quarter pole of the season. Initially, we believed that the Rangers would need 95-96 points to make the playoffs. This year it might be different. 88-90 points might secure the last wild card. Rangers will be in a dogfight all year. And if most teams are within striking distance, how many teams will be in “sell” mode prior to the deadline? This bears watching.

    8) Big game tonight! Will be interesting to see how they respond after a clunker the other night.


      • ….our stars didn’t show up at all, our defense couldn’t hold leads regardless of who was out there, and we simply didn’t deserve to win.

        I figured I’d finish your sentence for you since you must have had WiFi issues there at the end. 🙂

        • I don’t dispute the players’ shortcomings, that would be delusional.

          But even you cannot sit there and say the coach did his job in that series. There are very few moments in a season where the coach makes a difference in games, especially important games, and he failed miserably.

          • When you lose a series like that, everyone is to blame. Coaches and players. I just think that narrative about AV is way overblown. If it was that egregious in Gorton’s eyes, I suspect he would have been fired by now.

            I still believe it’s likely that, if anyone was to blame for the deployment, it was Buekeboom. Which is probably why he was re-assigned.

          • I don’t see how you can blame the asst coach when the same problems of defensive deployment have occurred with 3 different defensive asst coaches with the same head coach.

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