Some Friday thoughts

The Rangers showed improved process on Wednesday night, winning a nail biter against Washington in a shootout.  They look to build on that game tonight against the Red Wings in Detroit.  The big news the past few days was the loss of Chris Kreider to a blood clot in his arm.  With these developments and the Winter Classic coming up, as you can imagine, I have some thoughts…

1. First, the Kreider injury.  This is one of those situations where the health of a human being supersedes anything hockey related.  First and foremost, you hope Kreider makes a full recovery, simply because blood clots can be extremely dangerous.  Complications can lead to stroke or heart attack.  Get well soon, Mr. Kreider.

2. On the ice, it’s not quite as dire, but it will continue to test the Rangers’ forward depth.  Nash/Zuccarello and Miller/Buchnevich need to be the top six wingers with regularity.  AV has the luxury of versatility with Grabner and Fast, and if the 6-8 week time frame holds up for Kreider, I’m sure we will see plenty of tinkering.

3. I like the Lettieri call up, given the long-term nature of Kreider’s injury.  He has been producing at the AHL level and this gives the organization a longer leash to see what they have in the 22 year-old Minnesota native.  I’m honestly surprised the organization didn’t tap Peter Holland as the call-up, given his NHL experience and AHL production this season, but Holland is what he is.  I’m glad they are giving Lettieri a shot.

4. AV needs to figure out defensive pairings that do not put Marc Staal or Nick Holden with Ryan McDonagh.  I get that his preferred style of defenseman does not fit the mold of a Brady Skjei or a Kevin Shattenkirk, but for the love of all that is holy, he needs to understand that Staal and Holden cannot be relied on to deal with the oppositions best players on a nightly basis.  Especially in the playoffs. (assuming the team makes the playoffs, that is).

5. It looks like Ondrej Pavelec is starting to let some of that Allaire magic seep in.  This isn’t a results thing, either.  You can see his style evolving.  His set is getting wider, his movements quieter.  He looks like an Allaire goalie.  I still need a bigger sample size to see if it sticks, but with the results he has been getting lately, he needs to be trusted a little more to give Hank some rest.  Maybe AV could do it on a back-to-back this time instead of coming off a four day Christmas break?

6. I’ll be honest, I enjoy the Winter Classic.  I would never want to attend one, mind you, as it seems like there is not a decent sight line in the entire place for most events.  There is something still charming about watching a game outdoors, and putting it on New Year’s Day when you can recover from the prior night on the couch watching hockey just works.  I know the novelty has worn off for many and that is completely understandable, but I’m looking forward to it.

7. The Rangers currently have the best goal differential in the division and are locked in a top 5 battle that is separated by only five points.  The Metro is still the biggest meat grinder in the game (especially with the Devils rise, to, uh, relevance?), but with parity (or mediocrity?) at an all-time high, it should make for a very interesting or really slow trade deadline, with so many teams remaining in contention.  I wonder if we will see more simultaneous buying and selling this year.

8. The Blueshirt’s schedule is about to get crowded in a hurry.  With 12 games in January and 14 in February, the Rangers should have a good idea where they stand come the February 26 trade deadline.  The schedule itself is a bit of a mixed bag, but the Rangers needs to continue piling up points if they want to avoid slipping out of the playoff picture.

Well, that’s it for me this week.  On behalf of myself and the entire BSB staff, I hope everyone has a safe and happy New Year!  Stay warm and enjoy the Winter Classic.

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  • Spot on Justin on everything. Well said.

    Great point on Pav. He was “scrambling” in his movements but now is moving more efficiently and with less energy needed. “Quiet” is the perfect description.

    Issues like what has happened to Kreider makes us take pause that sports is not the fantasy world we like to think it is. Just ask football players who give their bodies to their teams and fans. And with them, it unfortunately doesn’t end when they retire, as we have seen. Perfectly said that Kreider’s is a human issue, not a Ranger issue.

    I have had numerous opportunities to attend outdoor games including this one on Monday. No thanks, lol.

    The next month will tell us whether the Rangers are buyers or sellers, meaning that I wonder if the Rangers do not make any moves between now and then. Don’t do anything stupid or knee jerk. But I will say that the likelihood that Chytil gets a call up just went way up.

  • tonight is an original six matchup with the Detroit red wings in Detroit and then Monday afternoon the winter classic I see Hank taking both games and winning these for Kreids who will be out a while with the blood clot

  • As a person who grew up in the 6 team era, I cannot tell you how much I HATE that marketing term. “Original Six”hasn’t been a thing for 50 YEARS!

    Anyway, 20 games after the Christmas break ( 2 points in first game) will go a long way to knowing our playoff picture.

    The loser point remains awful. 4 Metro teams on Wednesday got a combined 12 points in games. Hate the loser point.

    And, please watch Buch in the defensive zone when applying the eye test to his stellar offensive credentials. There is a reason he sees less time than other forwards.

    • The fact that you don’t like the supposed “marketing term” Original Six doesn’t change the fact that it’s a widely accepted term to refer to the 1940-1967 era in the NHL. It’s a term so widely used that to call this era in the NHL by another name would be misleading. Like it or not, the term carries meaning for the franchises in question—it is emblematic of their longevity & historical import to the league.

      Your quibbling with this is absurd, it’d be like a baseball fan complaining about the usage of the term “Dead Ball Era”, or a historian complaining about calling the era between September 1939-August 1945 “World War II”. Players respect the term, fans respond to it—the original six franchises are representative of the lengthy history of the NHL. It’s not a made-up marketing phrase by any means.

  • The shootout is an abomination. I am also not fond of 3 on 3. Maybe I am letting nostalgia get in the way, but I liked it when overtimes were 5 x 5 and you had a couple before getting a tie.

    Unlike our good friend Richter, I love outdoor hockey. I guess it comes from playing on ponds so much when I was a kid on Long Island and a student in Buffalo.

    Here’s hoping that Krieder gets well soon!

    We will see how things pan out in January and February.

  • Peter. Those 5 x 5 overtimes were brutal. While I can see it for the Playoffs, during the regular season it was too much of a grind. I wouldn’t mind having the 3 x 3 extended a couple of minutes though. It is quite exciting to watch.

  • Anyone have any current information regarding Sean Day and Ty Ronning?
    I see from some articles that both are playing at extremely high levels for their junior teams and was wondering if anyone here has any more info regarding them.
    From what I read Day is expected to be a star at the NHL level and Ronning expected to be a first line sniper. I hope these reports are accurate. Along with Chytil and Andersson and deangelo and bereglazov and pionk and gettinger our prospects seem to be talented and plentiful!

  • Team Canada up 2 goals over Team USA after the 1st period. The young America goalie facing many high danger shots and cross ice passes

  • A quick note on the Holland vs. Lettieri question. Most people here (and I suspect you as well Justin) don’t take into account the roster rules. Sending veteran players to the AHL requires waivers whereas young players can easily travel back and forth. Hence, teams are inclined to keep vets and send kids down at the season’s start, but during the season short call ups for vets are not desired. Now is a really good time for the Rangers to find out what they have in Lettieri.

    And I’d like to see Lettieri play top six – to see what happens. Fourth line seems a tough assignment for a first year professional. But move him around and see what works. Holland has been fabulous at Hartford, their best player. However, methinks Gorton is afraid Holland won’t survive waivers and doesn’t want to bring him up until he can be sure he won’t be sent down again. The Rangers are rather thin at forward – the Wolfpack really have only Holland and Cole Schneider worth mentioning (though Chityl will return).

    Maybe you don’t like Holden and Staal first pair, but both of them are +8 — which literally means that they are not getting burned right and left by the opposition’s top scorers.

    • Good comments Ray and I agree Staal has had a decent season so far and Holden while outmatched at times on the first pair, hasn’t been as bad as fans here go on about.

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