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Archive for May, 2013

Digestion

Posted by inferno272 on May 30th, 2013

I didn’t want to write anything about the Torts firing despite hearing about it a few minutes before it became public thanks to a friend of mine. I say this because I have VERY mixed feelings about this.

First and foremost, I am an unabashed fan of John Tortorella.

Do I like the way he handles himself in front of the media? Not really, but it doesn’t bother me. However, I love the way he holds his players accountable, I love the way he is fearless in deploying and trusting kids (unless they don’t deserve the trust, like Kreider early in the season, but he redeemed himself late, proving Torts is fair). I love the way he gets his players to buy into his system, but I felt like his system was not ideal for the players we have, and frankly I’m not a believer in the 6 goalie system regardless. The reason I’m not is a few fold.

First, it opens you up to injuries. Deflections, like what nearly ended Marc Staals career, or slappers like the one that ended Callys season last year can cause a ton of damage.

Second, we have an elite group of defenseman (when healthy) and we have an elite goalie. Why are we playing a super conservative system? Shouldn’t we try to score more goals and count on those 2 strengths to keep us in games? It makes sense to me, and it makes sense to most of you.

Finally, he’s been pretty open about not coaching the offense or the power play, basically allowing the players to be as creative as they want. This is a mistake. A HUGE mistake. First and foremost, where a team should be organic you need to have some sort of set system so that players can do things without having to think about it, they need to know that they can put a puck into a certain area if it’s open because that’s what the system dictates they do. There’s a lot to be said about coaching, adapting, and pressuring offensively. Torts is a great coach, but I dont think he adapted well enough to what was being thrown his way.

I’ll also say that if it’s true that the leadership group wanted him gone, then there is zero excuse to keep him. If he did indeed lose the lockerroom he HAS to go, period. Once that happened, your time is done.

So, who do we bring in to coach the Rangers?

I can tell you who I don’t want to see, and that’s Mark Messier.

Mess may be one of the greatest players in the history of the game, but you DO NOT want him as the head coach of the New York Rangers. Why? It’s not even about the experience issue, it’s because all coaches eventually have to be fired, but how the hell do you fire one of the most beloved players in New York history….not just Rangers history, but in the history of the city. It’s damn near impossible to fire him. It’s like Gretzky in Phoenix…keeping him as long as they did hurt the franchise, but how do you fire Wayne frikkin Gretzky? You can’t. It’s just…impossible.

Right now I’d be interested in a few guys. Guy Boucher who is pretty innovative comes to mind as does Alain Vigneault. I LOVE Brent Sutter as a coach, but I don’t know if that’s the right fit here. Guy Boucher whose system is very interesting would benefit from having the D that we have and the goalie that we have. It’s an interesting combination of a super aggressive 1-2-2 and a super passive 1-3-1, depending on what the opposition is doing with the puck. Pretty interesting stuff.

But, we don’t have Steven Stamkos and the like to light the lamp, so I’m not sure how well it would do offensively for us with our personnel. Vigneault may make the most sense.

Ruff is also a name being thrown around, and the guy knows how to incorporate offense into his system, but it depends heavily on his D being able to join the rush as the second wave, would that be ideal for the Rangers? Not sure.

Gun to my head, and I’m the GM? I pick Boucher.

OK, more later….

Gaborik & Richards

Posted by inferno272 on May 25th, 2013

Why did we lose tonight?

Why did we lose in the playoffs?

Why did this season which started with so much promise end on such a down note?

It’s really effing simple to explain….

Gaborik & Richards.

People want to blame Torts, and to be honest, he does shoulder some of the blame, I just don’t like the way we play the oppositions D in our own zone…but we’ll get to that in a few days after I’ve had a chance to digest everything. The real problem is simple. Your #1 Center and your #1 Left Winger, who combined for 1.7 points per game last year only gave us 1.28 points per game. Over the course of 82 games, we’re talking about a MASSIVE 34 point drop off between the 2. That’s not taking into account that both Gabby and Richards did almost all their damage in a handful of games and were complete no-shows for the rest of time.

Oh, yeah, and, for the Rangers elimination game, Gabby was sipping margaritas on a beach somewhere, and Brad Richards was a healthy scratch thanks to his PUTRID play.

That’s the single biggest reason we lost. The 2nd? Injuries. I get that all teams have injuries, but we’re without Staal, Sauer, Stralman, Clowe, and Powe for that elimination game tonight. That’s a #1, a #3, and a #4 defenseman, a top 6 forward, and a strong penalty killer (who really would have helped us in this series).

The 3rd reason? The Boston Bruins are a fraking good team. Give those guys credit, they are a REALLY, REALLY good team. This isn’t like many of the other losses we’ve had over the years, this was complete and utter domination that even a God-like Henrik Lundqvist couldn’t stop. There have been many series we’ve lost where Henrik sorta ran outta gas from bailing us out…no, Henrik didn’t run out of gas..he was miraculous at times, and STILL we got beat. That team is REAL good…and you know where, they’re still going to get slaughtered by Pittsburgh. Nobody is beating the Pens, they are just too damn good.

That’s neither here nor there though.

There are a lot of positives for this team, and there are a lot of places we can improve. Lots of big time decisions to be made this offseason, and some of our kids are going to start getting paid. Will be interesting to see it all unfold.

I’ll post a more thorough breakdown of this year in the next few days…maybe after breakup day when we find out who was injured with what.

Later!

I just don’t get how a team, in a do or die game, can play the way we did for the first 30 minutes.

I really don’t.

I’m super proud of the way the boys rebounded, stormed back, and won a game we trailed heading into the 3rd. It’s basically what the Bruins did to us, just, not as emphatically.

So, let’s talk about Brad Richards shall we?

I actually disagree with benching him, despite how awful he’s been. Only because when coaches make “panicky” moves like this in must wins they almost always backfire. What happened? Dorsett takes a dumb penalty, and really, our 4th line didn’t do jack. Did Haley even play? Keep Richards in on the 4th line, give him some soft minutes, hope he can turn it around. I just don’t think Newbury is the answer here. JT Miller? I think he’d be fine. Not Newbury. Too bad JT is injured.

Another thing that’s pretty obvious after watching him for 4 games now, despite the rather mediocre game he had tonight….Zdeno Chara is an incredible defenseman. I mean, he’s so smooth out there, and he’s also a nasty S.O.B.. Amazing stick work, plays the body so well. He’s like Marc Staal, with offense, and a mean streak. There’s a reason Bawstun is soo damn good defensively, it starts with him.

Marchand is overrated. I’m just gonna leave it there.

That Krug kid isn’t that great, but what he is, is confident as all hell in his ability, a lot of time, that makes up for a lot. Plus, he can rifle the puck, that doesn’t hurt either.

Brassard and Stepan, our 2 top centers, officially, were AMAZING tonight. For a long while, they were the only 2 guys who played well, Brassard particularly.

OK, bed time, later ppl!

How To Win – Bruins @ Rangers Post Game Thoughts…

Posted by inferno272 on May 21st, 2013

Yep, I’m back.

Wait, you want me to go away again?

Yeah, I don’t blame ya, while I was away the Rangers rallied past a pretty good Caps team to advance to the 2nd round, and now that I’ve come back, we’ve fallen behind 0-3 to a Boston Bruins team that I felt pretty confident playing against before the series started.

But you know what?

We’re losing because they are flat out better. Stop making excuses or blaming the refs, or the coach, or the GM, or Richards…ok, you can blame Richards, and we’ll come to that, but this is why we are losing….

THEY ARE BETTER.

THEY KNOW HOW TO WIN.

That’s it. Nothing really more to say about that. The Bruins are the New York Rangers, except they are bigger, stronger, and tougher. It would be one thing if we were more skilled, or faster. We aren’t. They’re better, and they’re winning. Sometimes, that’s what happens. Going into this season we all knew Boston, Pittsburgh and the Rangers were the 3 best teams in the East. Lo and Behold all three are in the 2nd round, we just go the shitty honor of playing one of them rather than the 4th team in the equation.

And we got the privilege of doing so without Staal or Clowe, and a pretty banged up squad to boot.

I’m just not sure how on Earth the Rangers will rectify our problems going forward. Not unless they have a magical trade up their sleeves.

Now, let’s get to the elephant in the room.

Brad Richards.

Yeah, boy, beavers been really bad. Like, Ryan Hollweg bad…but at least Hollweg brought MOAR JAM to the team. Richards has just been PUTRID, on the PP, he’s a turnover machine, on his shifts he can’t seem to do ANYTHING correctly.

I’m not even sure where to begin with this guy.

My guess is, if he’s not bought out this summer, he will be the season after. The reason though is NOT because he’s all of a sudden gotten super slow. The dude has always been slow. He’s a guy who’s gotten by on his IQ, not his physical talents. Look at Derek Stepan, postseason aside, he had a terrific season, and I’d argue he’s a WORSE skater than Richards.

Richards really needs a fresh start, I sure hope a long offseason can rejuvenate him, if not, next season will be another disappointment. Nash can’t do it alone.

This should not have been a 4-3 game.

No. 4-0, 4-1 AT BEST.

The Rangers played a pretty complete, and tough game. I felt like we dominated for large stretches of the game and completely neutralized Backstrom, Johannsen, Ovechkin, and Green. Give a TON of credit to John Tortorella for matching lines so damn well (and thank Oates for being an idiot not trying to get away from matchups)

The emergence of the 2 Dereks (Stepan and Brassard) has been quite noticeable, especially in their TOI, both guys played more minutes than Brad Richards did (rightfully so) and both guys had a huge impact on this game. Stepan in particular was really going tonight, He picked up that goal, but was all over the puck with so many tremendous plays, he helped establish our forecheck better than most, just a fantastic game. Brassard showed his terrific hands yet again on the momentum shifting goal that Dan Girardi scored. With everything on the Caps side, Brassard made a superb backhand saucer pass to Girardi who rifled home goal number 3.

MZA was also noticeable at times as well, playing pretty well, getting his sticks in the lanes, and breaking up plays, really liked what I saw from him.

On the flip side, Rick Nash continues to be an abomination. Not sure what’s wrong with him, but we need him to really start getting going. Luckily Ryane Clowe is back in the lineup, and actually played a really good game.

Of course, there’s always negatives, and while the play of Nash is worrisome, it’s nothing compared to the play of Henrik Lundqvist. At times in this series he’s been God-like, and at times, just awful. Tonight, the team really bailed him out, Henrik gave up 2 VERY soft goals. I don’t fault him on the first one, that was all on Eminger, but the other 2, boy, Henrik usually stops those. Tonight we won in spite of Henrik, not because of…how often does that happen?

Also, we gotta worry about Marc Staal, does anyone know what happened? I’m guessing concussion symptoms, or his vision started to blur again? Wish I knew more.

OK, remember, no more Post Game wraps for 10 days. I hope to be making some short recaps when I get back home, with the Rangers on the cups of the Eastern Conference Finals :)

Now, bring on that Eiffel Tower!

Resolve – Capitals @ Rangers Post Game Thoughts…

Posted by inferno272 on May 7th, 2013

If you know me at all, you know that I don’t have rose-colored glasses….

I call it like it is, I don’t sugar coat a shitty win and I don’t get down on a well played loss.

But, we’ll get to that shortly.

There was one thing tonight that I liked above all else. No, it wasn’t that our power play finally showed a sputtering of life. No, it wasn’t that we score 4 goals after scoring 1 the previous 2 games combined. No, what impressed me more than anything, what had me cheering when the final horn blew was the resolve this team showed tonight. In a back-and-forth affair, the Rangers had many chances to fall to pieces. 3 crazy goals off of deflections, an early deflating goal, a 3rd period come-back goal off of a nothing play, and a penalty on a dive-and-a-half by AO…but the Rangers still did what they had to do. They buckled down, they played really great hockey, and they picked up a win….amazingly, with yet ANOTHER goalpost hit…how many is that now?

Still, I’m going to give it to you straight, the Rangers didn’t play a great game tonight. Rick Nash was terrible aside from his assist..he’s pressing big time, trying to do it all himself, and instead coughing the puck up time after time after time. Rick, buddy, do us all a favor, when you see 3 guys ahead of you, instead of trying to stick handle through them, every once in a while, go wide, circle behind the net, and pick up the trailer when the reinforcements get there or re-set once you have some help. A turnover when your team is changing, that everyone can see coming a mile away, is NOT a good play. Even if one out of every 100 times you go 1 on 3 and are able to burn through for a goal, the other 99 times you’re creating an odd man rush against. 1 on 1? Have at it…maybe even 1 on 2…but 1 on 3, or 1 on 4? Play it smart.

Am I the only one who really wanted Brad Richards to get a goal when his blistering slapper hit the post? Richards really needs something good to happen to him, another guy who’s pressing, who we really need to snap out of it.

LOVING John Moores game. I’m sure I’m not the only one, but man oh man, this kid is quickly turning into an absolute stud on the blueline. Between him, Staal, Girardi, McDonagh, MDZ, Stralman, Mcilrath, Skjei, etc the Rangers have some awfully good depth on the blueline in the future years…

But, let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Carl Hagelin is not playing well. He had a few great shifts in the first game, and other than that I don’t see the smart and tenacious play we’re used to seeing. Kid needs to wake up.

Marc Staal played tonight, and the lift to the team was obvious, but he didn’t play well. Dare I say, Eminger probably would have given us better minutes, but Staal needs to go through the break-in period all players go through when they come back after a big time injury, needs to catch back up to speed, too bad he couldn’t get a few games in going into the playoffs. We could sure use 100% Marc Staal, or, at the very least, not ultra-gassed-after-15-seconds Marc Staal. He’ll be fine though, I’m not worried.

That’s all, I’m out.

Remember, next game will be my final post game post till the 20th, going on my honeymoon with my beautiful wife. Hopefully there’s Rangers hockey to talk about!

Eight – Lundqvist @ Capitals Post Game Thoughts…

Posted by inferno272 on May 4th, 2013

Eight. It’s the number on Alex Ovechkins back, but it’s not why I chose it as the title of this post.

No, 8 is the number of shots the Rangers allowed in Overtime.

And we get how many?

7? 5? Maybe 2? How about 1….give me 1.

No, the Rangers couldn’t muster up 1 effing shot on goal in overtime. We, once again, could not score.

I don’t care have an answer as to why we can’t score. Hit 2 or 3 posts yet again, nothing to show from it. Henrik Lundqvist is brilliant, nothing to show for it.

When will this team finally wake the hell up offensively?

This is embarrassing.

I’ve got nothing else……seriously. What more is there to say?

We’re the New York Rangers, when we finally have an all-world goalie, we can’t muster up 1 fucking goal to win him a playoff game when he makes 6 or 7 mind blowing saves.

That’s all it took….1. 1 god damn it 1.

Where was Brad Richards? Building himself a dam? The Beaver was completely invisible, yet again. Really, aside from Ryan Callahan in the first 10ish minutes, and Rick Nash the final 2 periods (not counting OT) the entire Rangers forward group were an embarrassment out there tonight.

Flat out embarrassment.

I’m disgusted…..and, out of here.

You can take this to the bank right here, right now.

If the Rangers don’t win the goalie matchup game in and game out, they will lose this series. If Henrik Lundqvist doesn’t outplay the ever loving crap out of Holtby, the Rangers will not only lose this series, they very well may get swept.

Why?

Because we are not the Chicago Blackhawks that can get by without great goaltending. We are not the Pittsburgh Penguins. We are the New York Rangers. If our goalie isn’t all world, we lose. We don’t have a chance. We’re done.

That’s what tonight came down to, I felt the game, outside of the first 10 minutes, was pretty even, possibly even a Ranger edge. But our inability to finish our chances coupled with Henrik Lundqvists pedestrian goaltending led to a loss.

And it will keep happening, game in and game out, until Lundqvist plays better.

I think he knows it too, you can tell from his post game demeanor. The Rangers could have won this game if Henrik makes those stops. I know it’s tough to blame a goalie when you only score 1, but believe it or not, that’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to give Holtby credit for making the saves he had to for his club to win, and going to put the blame on Henrik. Henrik usually stops those breakaways. Henrik should NEVER have given up that Chimera goal. Take away those 2, it’s a 1-1 game where the Rangers are outplaying the Caps.

Lundqvist has to be better.

The power play has to be better.

We gotta stay more disciplined….and boy oh boy do we need Marc Staal back in a bad way.

Rangers VS Caps Predictions

Posted by inferno272 on May 2nd, 2013

Usually I would do a complete breakdown of all the aspects of the two teams, with super in depth analysis, in this case, I’m just going to keep things short and sweet:

Offense–>Capitals

Defense–>Rangers

Specialty Teams–>Capitals

Goaltending–>Rangers

Coaching–>Rangers (though Oates is a very good coach)

Experience–>Push

Health–>Capitals

How the Rangers can win–>The Rangers have really only 1 chance to win this series. They CAN NOT play the 6 goalie system as they did in the playoffs last year against the Caps. The Caps, thankfully, tried to do the same back to us and it led to a lot of even play in that series, this go around, the Caps will push the pace, and against the 6 goalie system that can lead to LONG stretches of being trapped in your own zone, it leads to your goalie having to single handedly win you games, and it leads to…well, a very short, very upsetting series for the Rangers. The way the Rangers will have to win this will be with puck control and getting the puck in deep and forechecking quickly….Carl Hagelin, I’m looking at you. MZA, you too. Our top 2 lines will need their speedsters to cause some havoc with aggressive forecheck causing turnovers. If the Rangers can get in deep, control the puck, make the Caps play in their own zone, and get Staal back early in the series the Rangers will win this in 6.

How the Capitals can win–>If the Capitals can get out of their zone quickly, getting the pucks from the dump ins and turning them up to their forwards while under duress, the Rangers will get swept, or maybe push it to 5 tops. Rangers simply do not have the firepower to go toe to toe with the Caps, even with Nash, Richards, Brassard, Stepan, and Cally. More importantly, we are the injured team, and not having Staal to bail us out will hurt…a lot.

Prediction?

Rangers in 6. I think this team will finally do what they have failed to do for years….actually out offense the other team by playing in the other teams zone.