State of the Rangers

What if the Rangers can catch the Islanders instead?

Don’t look now, but the Rangers are 7-1-2 in their last ten games and starting to make some noise in the Eastern Division. Catching the Bruins has always been the goal, but the Bruins are 6-3-1 in that same span, so the Rangers haven’t made up much ground. But with the focus on the Bruins, something else has happened. The Islanders, 5-5-0 in their last ten, have come within striking distance. What if we were looking at catching the wrong team? What if the Rangers can catch the Islanders instead?

It seemed unfathomable at first. It seems unrealistic now, but yet, it can be done. The Rangers are eight points back of the Islanders now. But the teams face each other three more times before the season ends. If the Rangers take all three of those games, it’s just a two point difference. That’s a big if, of course, as the Islanders are a strong defensive team that is very well coached. However stranger things have happened.

Islanders Schedule Isn’t Easy

The Islanders, like the Rangers, have 12 games remaining. The breakdown isn’t overly friendly:

  • 3 vs. the Rangers
  • 3 vs. Washington
  • 2 vs. Buffalo
  • 2 vs. New Jersey
  • 1 vs. Boston

Yes that is still four games against Buffalo and the Devils, but it is also four games against playoff teams. Given the Islanders are slumping a bit, they may be a good team for these spoiler games. That said, they are performing well against the other teams they need to face.

The narrative that the Isles struggle against the Bruins isn’t really true. The Isles are 5-2 against the Bruins. But the Bruins just took the most recent two. It’s about when you play a team, as well. The Isles are also 2-3 against the Caps this season as well, but have also won the two most recent meetings. Not exactly great for the Rangers, but anything can happen as a team slumps.

Now this is all a bit of a stretch, but the Islanders are still struggling while the Rangers are surging. There is a very realistic scenario where the Rangers win all three against the Islanders. If that happens, do you think the Rangers can make up two additional points in the standings? I think they can.

Same point differential as Boston

It’s also funny what optics of a situation do to our brains. The Rangers are eight points back of the Islanders. They are also four points back of Boston, but Boston has two games in hand. If we assume Boston wins those games, then the Rangers are still eight points back.

Also remember that the Bruins have five games remaining against the Buffalo Sabres. Given how the Bruins have also been surging, it’s safe to assume they win all five games. Then there’s the two games against the Devils. Let’s assume they win both of those.

Sure, the Rangers could take both against the Bruins at the end of the season. It’s possible. But with seven almost guaranteed wins coming up for the Bruins, is catching them a realistic possibility?

Or can the Rangers catch the Islanders instead? The Blueshirts do still control a portion of their own destiny as long as they keep winning. But they do need some help. Specifically, they need the Devils and Sabres to play spoiler to the Bruins and/or Islanders. Preferably both. But again, the Rangers do need to keep winning.

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  • The Rangers have played 23 games since March 1, getting 15 wins (1 in OT). Pretty good. 8 of them are against Buff and NJ. They even lost one to Buffalo during this period of time.

    12 games, or so left, they need to win 9-10 of them, to even have a chance. I said at the beginning of the week that anything but a sweep of the Devs doesn’t cut it, so they have to finish step 1 today.

    In any case, I just hope that the kids are participating, no matter what happens.

  • I had this exact thought last night, but without looking at Isles schedule (other than 3 with Rangers). Reason I didn’t look is with Buffalo playing better, the Isles can beat anyone, but when not playing well, can lose to almost anyone. Tough to figure out that team.

    Of course, we don’t have to make a run at a team we choose. Win all we can and let the chips fall. Win the Isles games and we’d need to flip 1. LGR!

  • I don’t care who we catch if we make the playoffs. The good news is we are in the race and pushing to get in. Win one game at a time. It’s the only thing the team has control over.

  • If I was Gorton, I would be considering a 6 year 6 million for Foxy. I like Buchy but he could be replaced by one of the kids, who could replace Fox.. not many. Just a thought.

    • Be careful Carlos. Don’t go there. Like me you might be banished to a lifetime of watching Dodgeball for daring to question Buch’s value. 🙂

      Seriously, I agree with your overall premise that Buch is replaceable but Fox is not. The difference of course is that Buch is coming up on his RFA summer and Fox has one more year before we have to worry about that. But I think what you’re saying is, lock up Fox now and presumably get him cheaper long term as a result. Interesting approach.

      • Buch, for a very long time, has been close to the top of the Rangers’ team in pts per 60 minutes, drives play, plays a 200 ft game, and is now on the PK, effectively.

        Who else does this on the team? Asking for a friend. 🙂

        • Hey Richter!

          I’m getting burnt out debating Buch. 🙂

          I don’t see him the way you do. He’s been an enigma wrapped in a riddle for several years. He had to be benched and DQ (and AV before him) had to do the tough love thing with him for far too long in my view. So I soured on him as a result.

          But, as I said, he’s had a VERY good year and perhaps I’m being too hard on him. Maybe now it’s all coming together at age 26. All I’m saying is, which I’ve said over and over, is the Rangers have to do what every other team must do….carefully manage the cap. To me it’s not at all a slam dunk that the Rangers go long term with him. Not saying he isn’t a good player. I didn’t want to lose Fast either, or Hagelin, or Stralman but with so many talented young assets, the Rangers will have some decisions to make.

          Let’s not look at Buch in a vacuum. Let’s look at it as part of the collective.

          2021 FA (all RFAs except Smith)

          Buch
          Chytil
          Di Giuseppe
          Howden
          Gauthier
          Lindgren
          Hajek
          Shesterkin
          Smith

          2022 FA

          Mika (UFA)
          Strome (UFA)
          Rooney (UFA)
          Blackwell (UFA)
          Kakko (RFA)
          Kravtsov (RFA)
          Fox (RFA)
          Bitetto (UFA)
          Georgiev (RFA)

          Now again, I’m NOT a capologist or anything close to it. I’m just saying the Rangers have a lot of very difficult decisions ahead.

          If I look at it just for 2021, who are my top priorities? IMO, it’s Shesterkin and Chytil. I might prioritize Lindgren next but the Rangers have a lot of defensemen coming. Then next Buch. But do you already say Hajek is a bust, even though defensemen take time to mature? So where does he fit in? Or Howden?

          Then, look ahead to 2022. Mika is going to cost a bundle. That’s the big one the Rangers have to be thinking about. And Fox to me is a MUST sign. They may have to overpay to lock him up long term. Then there’s Kakko and Kravtsov.

          So all I’m saying is, there are some very difficult choices ahead. How management sees Buch fitting in long term is a very fair question to ask. I just don’t see him as a long term priority. Maybe a short term and see what happens?

          It’s tough one.

          • If I were to guess the Rangers’ sentiment about Buch, i think that he is viewed as a trade asset, no question.

            The Rangers are going to pull off a blockbuster this offseason, for a center, I am convinced. And NOT for Eichel. I think that is Eichel were traded, he goes to the Kings, who can EASILY offer Buffalo 2 top end, young centers. A much better trade fit for the Sabres than with the Rangers.

            So, then for who? I think there’s a deal for a top end center that we don’t know about. The trade cost? I think that Chytil is very likely in the deal. Buch could be as well. And a D prospect. So, Chytil, Buch, and let’s say Robertson (I think the Rangers want to keep Schneider) for ???????

            Then Kreider moves to the 3rd line, with all the young wingers in the top 6. i could see this happening.

            BUT, currently, there is no Ranger forward that plays a very good all around game than Buch does. That’s a fact.

          • I think that’s a very astute analysis and I agree with it. A blockbuster is coming. And my hunch is like yours….Buch won’t be a Rangers long term. Maybe even gone this summer.

          • “So, then for who? I think there’s a deal for a top end center that we don’t know about. The trade cost? I think that Chytil is very likely in the deal. Buch could be as well. And a D prospect. So, Chytil, Buch, and let’s say Robertson (I think the Rangers want to keep Schneider) for ???????”

            I so hope you are wrong.

            Who would I give up that package for? McDavid for starters. PERHAPS Matthews or McKinnon. That’s it.

            If Buffalo offers Eichel AND a first for Chityl, I pass. This would be horrid on two counts. The one thing that will crush the Rangers is an albatross contract. And Eichel is that. Also, Chityl is rather good. Two games back, I computed his ES points per 60 this season. They were better than Ovechkin’s career numbers.

            Currently the Rangers are deep at center. The third best of Zib, Strome, Chityl is surely the best third best in the league. The sixth and seventh best centers are Howden and Barron.

            **********

            You cannot pay twenty elite players. You need an elite corps, some very good relatively well paid players, a few excellent bargains (cheap kids on ELCs), and an assortment of Colin Blackwells and Kevin Rooneys, guys who are competent and make less than $1.5M.

            I see Panarin, Shesterkin, Fox as elite – maybe Zibanejad and/or Chityl (some others too early to tell). Frankly that is enough.

            There also appear to be enough very good players, though it remains to be seen if the Rangers can sign Buchnevich and/or Strome to reasonable contracts. And there appear to be plenty of players with the talent to join this group.

            The key to having ELC players overperforming their salaries is to keep your top draft picks.

            As for the Rooneys of this world, the keys are multiple. Treat them well and with respect (don’t bench them to play an undeserving kid) to maintain morale so they play well and want to be here. Don’t overpay – if they want too much, let them leave. Make sure you replace those who leave. I actually predicted the 2017-2018 season would be rough because the Rangers left open a spot in the starting lineup for Lias Andersson, rather than stocking the team with Rooney types he would have to beat out.

            ***********

            Finally, tongue in cheek: You have always said that Gary Bettman hates the Rangers and conspires against them. Well, last year, Bettman feared the Ranges would win the Cup in 2021 and did the only thing he knew of to prevent it – saddle them with Alexis Lafreniere. It appears to have worked as the Rangers have developed Lafreniere at the expense of winning. Even today, the Rangers might be invincible with diG as left wing on the third line and Laf in Hartford. [Remember how good diG-Chityl-Kakko looked at times last year – and two of those players are much better now]

          • LOL, Raymond you think that Bettman had anything to do with that ping pong ball coming through for the Rangers?

            Watch the replay, the Leafs’ ball “hit the post” and bounced out, right before the Rangers’ ball went through. If anything, Bettman’s plan didn’t work. 🙂

            IDK who the Rangers might get, I just hope it’s not Eichel. The trade cost would be too high vs the (maybe) additional production he would bring.

            But, I would bet a lot of money that a blockbuster is coming this offseason.

          • EEE, you act like every “other” player on this list is going to break the bank … far from it. It took Buch years and it will take some of these other “decisions” years to mature to the point that they earn the big $s. Aside from Fox and Shesterkin (both RFAs), who else is going to command a big salary? Lindgren will probably get a bridge contract, same for Chytil. Of the UFAs you have Strome, Mika and Blackwell, all players in their LATE 20’s (they will all be 29 when their contracts are up) — no way they are signing 3 UFA players long term who are 29 so eliminate Blackwell for starters, they won’t resign him (I guess it’s possible if he’s really really cheap and short term). Leaves you with Strome and Mika — those 2 are the only tough decisions to make given their age, position and importance to the team — but the money will be there.

            We’ll have over $30M in cap space next year, over 50M the following year … if you resign Buch you’re automatically going to depress the salary demands of Kakko and Kravtsov on the RW because Buch will continue to get the lion’s share of the RW minutes. Salary cap isn’t the issue here, it just comes down to who do you want to sign longer term and commit to — and at 26 years old, this is the perfect time to commit to Buch — unlike a 29 year old whose contract would take them into their mid-30’s (always dangerous).

          • Fair point. I may well be overreacting. But just to be clear, I’m not suggesting that every other player will get a break the bank contract. I worry about Mika and what that will take. How do you manage budding stars like Fox and Shesterkin in terms of perhaps locking them up long term sooner rather than later? How great will be Kakko and Laf be and how soon, and how will that factor in? Kravtsov as well.

            Then, let’s say in the next few years, the Rangers are legit Cup contenders again. What do legit Cup contenders do (especially when it’s the Rangers)? They trade futures for short term rentals that can get the team over the hump. You have to have the cap space to pull that off.

            Anyway, I think your points are very fair Tanto and well thought out. We will see how it all plays out.

          • EEE … TB didn’t trade all their guys away when they produced, why should we? You think we’re going to have cap problems? Look at TB — and during a flat cap era.

            As to how great Kakko, Kravs & Laffy will be an when? They are not close to being “great” and they won’t necessarily all be great, someone will probably be just “good” — in any event, none will be GREAT next year TBH.

          • Tanto, you and others have made some very compelling arguments. I’m not ready to hop on the “extend Buch long term” bandwagon but I’m now officially neutral on the subject. I think there are arguments that support both positions and I want to gather more information in the weeks ahead. But great job making your case because it’s compelling for sure.

          • Here’s the thing about Buch that I think your guys’ extended debate is missing.

            Chemistry – specifically among the Russian contingent – and to a lesser degree the other Europeans.

            Buch is kind of the link between Panarin, Igor and Kravs.

            As my Kemosabe has said, Buch has done everything that has been asked of him and turned himself into a solid 200 ft player. I prefer Beast but I’ll put that aside for now.

            Panarin has extolled the virtues of his game, Buch and Igor clearly have a tight bond, and then there is Kravs.

            The team has already jerked Kravs around once and luckily he has come back with his head straight and his skills even sharper.

            Buch is the example to Kravs and all the other youngsters that hard work pays off. At this point Buch is about the best mentor there is for this group of youngsters.

            We all know something has to give somewhere. I just feel moving Buch would be the one thing that could upset the juggernaut that is about to be released on the NHL for the next decade.

            LOCK HIM UP!!!!

          • Swarty, that chemistry point is a very compelling argument. Could very well be a tipping point when management assesses what to do. But they also can’t make decisions on sentiment or spending money just to make a group of players happy. I get what you’re saying though.

          • It’s a business – I get it. Someone has to go.

            My preference would be Kreider at this point. He and a package of cost-controlled youngsters could fetch something of huge benefit.

            I’d hate to be Kravs or Igor and watch as they dangle, or worse, trade their comrade after how Buch has worked his butt off and set the good example.

            Chemistry on every team, every sport is something to be dealt with.

            Chemistry on his team – t’s a bigger deal.

          • Eighteen names looks impressive, but really there are only five worth noting at this time. We have arbitration eligible RFAs – Shesterkin and Buchnevich – this year. We have UFAs Zib and Strome next. Next year we have offer sheet worthy Fox as an RFA.

            One might want to tie up a Chityl or a Kakko early but they have shown relatively little as of yet and lack bargaining power. The appeal of a Rooney or a Blackwell or a Georgiev is that they are competent and cheap. If they demand big money, they cease to be useful. Such players are expendable and need to be treated with respect, but they can be replaced.

            OTOH, with Panarin, Buchnevich, Kravtsov, Shesterkin and Georgiev, the Rangers have a nice Russian nucleus and might be able to improve comraderie and get “slightly” cheaper contracts.

          • No one will offer sheet, Fox. He wants to be a Ranger and they will pay him. He wouldn’t even sign an offer sheet, IMHO.

          • Exactly Joseph.

            Fox forced his way here and I would be shocked if the Rangers did not give him a long-term contract in the offseason, when they have cap space.

        • Good question. Don’t know. But maybe the answer is a compromise. Go short term for now so you have the cap space to do other things you need to do. Then assess Buch’s progress. I want to be sure he doesn’t backslide and that what we’re seeing now is what he will be going forward and hopefully more.

          Again, this isn’t me saying I don’t like the player. I’m just measuring him against other priorities.

          • He’s 26, now is the time to go long term … not assess him and make another decision when he’s 28-29. Besides, a well priced long term contract without a strict NTC is easier to move IMO.

      • On this subject, too many of us are irrational. Keeping Buchnevich is wonderful but not essential. So it all depends on what he can be signed for. The Rangers need to know what a reasonable contract is – and stick to the plan.

        I don’t give a crap what the Rangers can get for him in trade. The Rangers don’t need more talent – they need to develop what they have and be able to afford what they have. They are deep at all positions except goalie and left wing and they are adequate there.

        And blocking players is a relatively meaningless concept. If you have trouble getting past Colin Blackwell or Kevin Rooney on the depth chart, you just aren’t important enough to worry about.

        The key with all these young players is that some will excel and some won’t. Hopefully we have the patience to keep the ones that do. But we can’t just throw away those who have met or exceeded expectations (Buch for example) to make room for the latest shiny toy. If Kakko and Krav both blossom, one can change positions or be traded.

          • I basically agee with you. My point is that you sign Buch for $5M a year, you don’t sign him for $9M a year. We can argue about where the line is exactly, but we don’t recklessly trade him waiting for the next new toy.

          • Where does $9M come from? Hyperbole. $6M is more like it, in that ballpark … and he’s worth it. $5M is a dream.

            Purely conjecture on my part, but Buch doesn’t strike me as the type that wants to leave what must be considered now a VERY comfortable situation. He’s got his “buds”, he’s got the role he always wanted, he’s “almost” happy. 😉 I think we get a good hometown deal with him — a new team and a new City isn’t always appealing.

          • No hyperbole. Both $5M and $9M were chosen to be slam dunks – one a yes, one a no. Some people I fear would say no to $6M (I’d take that) while others might go to $8M (less likely).

    • Rodrigues Carlos, Interesting view.

      Who would replace Buch? Kakko? Laf? Kravtsov? Love hearing about Buch being inconsistent. But check the records. He is averaging 40 points per season the last 4 season. And he he was playing PP1 his numbers would be higher. Also who will replace his 18-20 mins per game. Who is going to replace him as PK1?

      Not sure about Fox comparison here. He is not RFA this year. Did Makar or Hudges get new contracts? There is a good reason why not. As far as who could replace (just because you brought it up, how about Lundkvist who has real great stats in Sweden or Jones (I know he is LD) being built as next Fox. Probably the same stretch for replacement as for Buch

      But lets apply this “irreplaceable” logic. By that logic we should surely focus on signing Schesterkin to a big contract now. He is RFA. There is absolutely no one on horizon who can replace him. He is our leading for Calder and surely deserve recognition in voting. There are many people point his injury history. He surely did not have that history in NHL. I would also suggest to check how many times he gets in the crease without much retaliation. I am not saying to sign Fox or Schesterkin to any long contracts. However clearly your argument for “irreconcilability” applies a lot more to Schesterkin

      Not sure why there is so much noise about Buch contract and whether we could afford him? Nobody knows what he would want. I know he would want to stay the Ranger. I think he will give the same home discount as we saw from other Rangers players such as Zuch, Mac, Mika. Also some people forgetting that he had already brought the discount to the tteam. Panarin signing for couple of millions less than reportedly offered by Isles, Blue Jackets and Panthers because he wanted to play for the Rangers and familiarity with Buch and Schesterkin (even more than playing with his friend Bobrovsky in Florida). So at very least for people admiring Panarin so much say thanks to Buch

      • Yeah, Jones and Lundkvist aren’t and won’t be Adam Fox … if either turns out to be so, the Cup is ours. lol

        • Let’s hope Schneider turns out yo be another Barry Beck too.

          They better start checking goalies too. Might be a good time to draft one high this year

  • Every game matters. Today the Rangers need to stick a fork in the Devils and sweep the 4 game back to backs.

    They play the Fishsticks next on Tuesday. If the Rangers want to beat them, they are going to need a better effort then the last time they played them. They were sloppy in the neutral zone and at times during the game stopped moving their legs.

  • Going into this past week, I had circled the Eastern Division games that would impact the Rangers and when I came to today I originally said to myself we must root for the Islanders to beat the Flyers. Even yesterday I was still foolishly thinking that until a few astute posters pointed out what I hadn’t realized…..the Islanders are suddenly catchable. And since they were a total no show vs the Bruins, I want them to crash and burn. So I’m shifting allegiances to my old friend AV and it’s Let’s Go Flyers (just for today….just saying those words make me ill).

    But overall, that’s out of our hands. Just win the games in front of you and make the best push you can. If they make the playoffs, great. If not, hopefully finishing strong and it will set a great tone for next season.

  • The Rangers probably wont catch the Islanders and they have a small chance of making the playoffs but in hockey anything can happen. The team would need to win 90% of the remaining games. Kreider needs to get going and we need to see more from the third and forth lines for this to happen. Today’s (Sundays) game against the Devils may provide pivotal.

  • Slow start to season Z being MIA for a good chunk…Breadman’s political comments a bunch of 1 goal game losses – all coming back to haunt the team. So important to get off to a good start. Agree w Eddie on Buchy great player really coming on for the Rangers but got to be careful w flat cap and also leave room to sign the upcoming RFA’s. Trouba and Kreider contracts like a brick…add in Z’ s next contact the dollars getting tight. The young core is what to focus the money on Fox Miller Lindgren Kk Lafy Kratsov Chytl etc… no more Nmc or Ltc need cap flexibility…

    • That’s exactly my point Anthony. If I had been on the blog last year you would have heard me screaming DO NOT KEEP KREIDER!!!! If they had passed on Kreider I would have been fine on going long term on Buch. I just don’t know if you can do both AND lay out a mammoth deal for Mika on top of all that.

      That’s been my only point here. It not a referendum on Buch as much as it is trying to make all the numbers work.

      • Couldn’t agree with you more. Love Kreids BUT Colorado was willing to give up assets for him. In this flat cap environment can never have enough prospects stand cap space

        • I wanted Kreider to be re-signed, warts and all. For basically two reasons: No Rangers matches his combo of strength and skating speed and, 2, his play on the PP is very under rated with his play in front of the net.

          No other Ranger comes close to being around the net like Kreider is. The only other that is starting to play like that is Kakko.

          And trust me, I am as frustrated with Kreider as anyone, but I still think it was the right move. CK may just end up being on the 3rd line at some point, like Dustin Brown was as C of the Kings.

      • Couldn’t agree with you more. Love Kreids BUT Colorado was willing to give up assets for him. In this flat cap environment can never have enough prospects and cap space

      • Except Kreider was OLDER when they resigned him and not as good, certainly not as complete a player as Buch.

        • tanto, I agree with you. I did not like Kreider signing. But at the time Rangers did not have Laf and besides Panarin there were not much happening in the prospect pool. He also Rangers draftee and the marketing pitch was that he would provide the leadership going forward.

          He would have gotten a lot more value in the trade at the time than Buch would now. It is what they call “perceived value”. You and I see it differently for a very good reason

          • I don’t “hate” the Kreider signing, he has value above and beyond pure stats — and in hindsight (we got Laffy) he’s a slight impediment to Laffy’s development (at a minimum he might retard it) … if it were between the two, I would certainly chose Buch … offensive production, age, complete package — and he’s not even on the 1st PP unit, which as we all have witnessed gets 60-80% of all PP time. Luckily it isn’t a “between the two situation” — and again, any slowing down of the development of Laffy, Kravs and Kakko because of Kreider and Buch has a silver lining as it will depress their salary demands.

          • Completely agree with you. The only comment is his deal will not age well. But he certainly has more value than meets an eye. I also think the Rangers could use him in many different ways. With his speed and size and he alos has a shot he should use more

      • I disagree here. What the Rangers need and often have lacked is net front presence. Kreider and Lemieux were pretty much it and Lemieux was not terrribly good. Now Kakko is developing into that sort of guy and perhaps Krav as well, but you can’t win just with perimeter players unless you have four or five Panarins.

        And BTW. Laf is less talented than Kreider certainly and i suspect won’t match his career.

    • The flat cap is done after next year. That won’t be a valid excuse any longer for being ultra cautious. Besides, do you really believe Kakko and/or Kravs is going to command a big salary as first time RFAs with the type of ice time they’ll get?

      • “The flat cap is done after next year.”

        IMO, this may be the year to try to lock some guys up long term when they might take less.

        I’d consider going long this summer with Shesty, Buch, Lindgren,Chityl, Mika, Strome, Fox. (Kakko or Kravtsov?)

        • I agree Ray, long term on Shesty, Buch, Lindgren, Chityl and certainly Fox — Lindgren and Chytil won’t command too much.

          I do think though they need to make a decision between Mika and Strome as to which one they lock up long term, I don’t think it should be both.

          Kravs and Kakko are the following year.

    • With ADA you are contending for a first place in this division. I am sure it is not a popular view but I truly believe that

      • The Rangers were 1-4-1 with Trainwreck Tony in the lineup and 2-5-1 with him on the team. Since being removed from the team, the Rangers have a .625 winning pct. Small sample size obviously, but one could make a better case that the opposite would be true. If he had not been on the team to begin with, the Rangers might very well be ahead of the Bruins right now.

        30 other GMs wanted nothing to do with this guy, at least this season. Despite his obvious talent, it’s pretty clear the baggage he brings was not worth the points he’d produce.

        There’s obviously much more to this story than any of us know. But the fact that TB, Ariz and NYR all moved on from this guy in short order and NO ONE wanted him prior the deadline speaks volumes.

        I will now return to watching Dodgeball. 🙂

        • Eddie, with all due respect. I could read your opinion in Larry Brooks column. Quite obvious you repeating the same narrative

          But surely if you are looking for my approval you can watch your favorite past time sport whichever way you spell it.

          I will not waste my time responding to your posts. No disrespect. I do not comment on National Inquire not do I read them. Neither do I care about debating people who have are repeating the other people clueless arguments. When you have something of value to say I will let you know

          • Oh my. How very arrogant of you.

            All I was doing was giving my opinion and engaging in debate. Which I’m pretty sure is the purpose of this blog. I didn’t realize I must walk in lockstep with your opinion. I promise I will try to work very hard in the future to prove worthy of your superior knowledge.

            But you’re right, not worth debating someone who is 100% certain that they are right and anyone who disagrees with them is wrong. Thanks for clueing me into that early on.

          • Actually EEE, I thought that earlier too. However, while I often disagree with RFF and he is not always tactful, he is not without merit.

          • And I see that too Ray. He obviously has a unique perspective and a very strong knowledge of hockey and Russian hockey in particular (and I seemed to have stepped on a third rail with him by questioning whether Buch should be re-signed). I was looking forward to debating with him.

            Regardless of his tone, I will enjoy reading his posts and learn from him as I do from everyone here. Sometimes we will agree. Sometimes we won’t. Last I checked that’s what this blog is about right?

          • Funny. Tactful? Thank you at least for giving merits. Regarding tactful you should occasionally the insults addressed at me.

            But I can handle them do not need any help from anyone.

        • I don’t think it’s fair to pin our bad start on Tony … and his talent can’t be denied. It’s hard to argue that ADA isn’t a pretty big upgrade on Smith or Bitetto.

          • Just to be clear, I wasn’t. I was just tweaking RFF, making the point that actually the opposite argument could be made. 🙂

            Obviously, ideally you’d like to keep a guy with that much ability. It’s one of the most bizarre stories I can remember and perhaps one day we will learn the full story.

            I agree with you. Had to be more than politics for all the reasons you said.

          • Compare PP stats between now and last year. PP1 is the same as last year with only Fox replacing ADA. PP2 changed with no Fox from last year you have Miller and Trouba playing points. Neither one of them is good nd that is perhaps why PP1 on the ice for 1:30 of each PP

            But besides the stats one can see it with a naked eye that with all raving and deservingly so ADA was a bigger difference maker. He was just a very good offensive defensman.

            I would also add that having ADA would allow DQ not to play Fox 25 minutes per game and kept him more fresh

            I am sure that could have made 8-10 points in the standing easily

      • From a talent standpoint, no doubt. Not being privy though to all the backstories, it’s hard to comment intelligently on the subject.

        I want to reiterate though that I believe this had NOTHING to do with politics. His views were known, his penchant for not filtering his public discourse made quite clear over the years — a leopard doesn’t change his/her spots … and yet the Rangers resigned him to a pretty nice contract. If they were so concerned with his politics they would have probably have traded him or just done a 1 year deal. This is clearly just my opinion, but I think it’s a logical one.

        • Yes, it all has to do with politics. Your view ignores timing. He signed the contract during Trump era and way before the new culture began (all people who supported Trump are terrible people) and corporate sponsors playing bi role in their marketing investments. While on a surface your argument appears logical it ignores this key component.

          If not tell me how unsportsman like conduct get him benched and was so inexcusable? Will Hughes sit down next game? The fight is a different story but also Georgeyev did not pay any price for throwing the first punch. Just double standards

          But honestly ask yourself a simple question. Would Fox be so popular if he was an open Trump supporter? If your answer is No then I doubt you are being open and honest

          Like I said I would have been fighting for any player who got this type of treatment. I really resent when people attack a good player and demolish him as a person. This is so unfair.

    • There are sixteen teams who have scored more goals than they have given up. Since Dallas is really in fourth place in the Central, only one is in line to miss the playoffs at the moment.

      The Rangers have the fifth best differential, the best in the East. They are barely behind Carolina and TB, who play in a weaker division, further behind Colorado and Vegas, who play in a pitiful division. One can make an argument that the Rangers are already the best team in the NHL — and certainly the youngest.

      It is no longer about splashy trades or acquiring talent. It’s about coaching and keeping things together. Maybe they are missing an element, but we won’t know what that is until we see them in really intense competition.

      • In a place where I grew up there was a saying – “If grandma had the balls she would have been a grandpa”

      • Ray, that’s an interesting perspective. It is highly unusual to see a team with such a positive goal differential fighting for its playoff life. I’ve reflected on that and obviously, it means one of two things. The Rangers are better than their record shows which you are implying, or the goal differential number is a fluke.

        It’s probably a bit of both. The Rangers have had an extraordinary number of games where the offense has just exploded which skews the number. But they have not been great in one goal games, especially early on. And OT/SOs haven’t been great either.

        So I can’t buy into them being the best team in the league. No way and not yet. I think they are coming. I love what I see. I’d like to think in an 82 game season with normal division setups they might have made it.

        I’m just REALLY excited about next year and what’s ahead!

      • I wouldn’t go so far as to suggest we’re one of the very best teams in the League right now, but it’s close. I think our goal differential is in part a product of how genuinely explosive this team is — if the other team has a porous defense, some porous goaltending and are “off” their game, we will demolish them with some of the prettiest goals you’ve ever seen. What is clear though is that our defensive game has improved over the course of the last year twofold. Martin? Perhaps. Maturation? Perhaps. Hard to tell, but either way this team is coming together.

  • The fact the we are even talking about the Rangers catching the Bruins or Isles is a win for this season. Even if they don’t end up in the playoffs, playing these meaningful games in a playoff chase will still be important for development.

      • Ummmmm……I think you’re a little ahead of yourself. They’re not quite ready. A playoff push this year is really all that could realistically be expected. Agree with Matt. This experience will be invaluable for these kids.

  • This Bruins-Caps game is not going well. Maybe catching the Islanders is our best option after all.

  • I think some of our esteemed colleagues here are really undervaluing Buch’s overall play and production. And how much his play positively impacts’ other players’ play.

  • The RAngers have been great lately but Their slow start could hamper their playoff hopes due to the short season. In any event they are an extremely dangerous team now. They need to get big 20 going again.

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