Rangers-Islanders in Review

Rangers 2, Islanders 4.

Forgive the timing and the nature of this review.  I was playing hockey with my older son during the first period and I didn’t want to ignore my wife by blogging through the last two periods, so I won’t be breaking plays down the way I normally do.  Instead, this is a lot more rant-y than my usual writing.

1. This team is an absolute trainwreck at even strength. Forget Corsi and advanced metrics of possession. How about plain old shots on goal? Going into the game, they were -191 at 5 on 5, good for 29th in the league. That’s embarrassing. And in the first period of this game, they didn’t do anything to help that.  They had 10 shots on the 4 minute PP, and 6 at even strength for the rest of the period.  Bottom line, not good enough. For the game, they were outshot by 3 at ES, although they had 10 more shot attempts at ES.

2. The 4 minute PP in the first period was actually a great PP. Yes, they didn’t score. But it was the kind of PP that should be seen as a signal that it might actually be coming around. 10 shots in 4 minutes, many of which were, as AV would call them, grade A chances.  Halak was brilliant. But if the PP keeps going like that, it will start scoring more often.

3. For every bit that Halak was brilliant, Lundqvist was not. He has not been very good this year. There have been flashes here and there (the Flyers game stands out), but overall, just too many goals allowed, many of which are bad goals.  The first two goals in this one are no exception.  Mayfield took so long to release his shot he might as well have sent Lundqvist a candygram to tell him it was coming. Sure, there was a screen, but he got beat shortside over the shoulder. Spoiler alert, Tavares took note of that. Second goal, sure that’s a bit of a fluke for it to go off of Chimera’s leg, but Lundqvist totally whiffed on trying to break up that centering feed.  I don’t care that it was deflected.  It was a pretty slow moving puck that he has to eat up. Third goal, what in the world was he doing!? It looked like the worst of Roman Cechmanek.  Just embarrassing. Fourth goal, sure, it’s Tavares on a PP, but he just took the longest wrist shot release in history, dragging the puck a solid two feet. Again, short side over the glove. Just not a good goal to give up, and there wasn’t even that much of a screen. Bad, bad, bad. Now, it’s worth noting that Lundqvist did make a couple of great saves; the glove save on Clutterbuck and the stop on the sliding stop on the two on one stand out.  But making a couple of great saves doesn’t negate an otherwise poor night of performance, and those poor performances are becoming the norm rather than the exception.  If the Rangers are ever going to win the Cup during the Lundqvist-era, he will have to be their best player, and he has not been. Not even close.

4. Brady Skjei didn’t cover himself in glory either. He was the man screening Lundqvist on the Mayfield goal, he was the guy trying to tie up Chimera on the second goal, and he was undressed by Prince on the third goal. He’s a rookie, so there are bumps to be expected, but he (as well as Klein) have been on the ice for A LOT of goals against this year.  That pairing needs to be split up.

5. In fact, I’d say all of the pairings need to be split up. Girardi is cooked. He is a black hole in terms of shot attempts (not last night). He is so concerned with being beaten by a forward’s speed that he backs off almost to the circle when the forward is skating towards him in the neutral zone. I’d like to see McDonagh paired with Skjei, like in the playoffs.  I’d also like to see Staal and Holden split up to pair with Girardi and Klein, respectively. Staal is actually hitting the net with his shot a little bit more this season and finished off a nice passing play.

6. Speaking of the defense, there’s a problem with the Rangers’ breakout system. The forwards have to carry the puck too far.  Their legs will be very heavy by the end of the season.  The defense has to help more in carrying the puck out of the zone.  It will also help the team from getting clogged in the neutral zone so often.

7. Nash’s injury is devastating. He has been playing really well lately, and his play on Vesey’s goal was another display of vintage Nash. He already had 5 SOG when he got injured less than halfway through the second period.  Good on AV to openly disclose that he has a groin injury instead of “lower body.” Likewise for Puempel’s concussion. Grabner is meeting the team in Winnipeg, but it will be interesting to see if they make a call up or just add Jooris back to the lineup. Nicklas Jensen has been called up.  Jimmy Vesey is day to day with an “upper body” injury.  So much for AV being specific with injuries.

8. The 6 on 3 PP at the end of the game was a train wreck. Maybe they could have used the Islanders’ tire fire to send smoke signals that they were going to set up Pirri for a one timer. Then, worst of all, the Islanders aren’t really challenging the pass to Pirri and the Rangers STILL couldn’t get it to him for a clean shot. So much for my theory on the PP potentially turning a corner.

9. All this said, the Islanders really weren’t the better team. The Rangers, down two forwards, were mostly thwarted by the goaltending battle. The Islanders remain terrible, despite their recent streak of 4-0-1.  AV said something in his press conference today about the team needing grade A goaltending. Shots fired, indeed.

10. JT Miller is a beast. He was really flying out there, playing with a lot of toughness and heart. He’s got future captain written all over him. He had a lot of ice time in this game, but he should be playing further up in the lineup more often.

11. Marek Hrivik looked like the same Marek Hrivik from last year. His turnover in the neutral zone led to the Islanders’ third goal.  Otherwise he was fine.

12. Zuccarello was buzzing a bit. He’s so sneaky good sometimes that if his name doesn’t show up on the scoresheet, you might have missed all of the good things he did. But make no mistake, he was doing them in this game.  He also had 5 SOG, but it took him the whole game.

My Three Rangers’ Stars:

  1. JT Miller
  2. Mats Zuccarello
  3. Rick Nash

Your Three (Four) Rangers’ Stars:

1-4, all tied: Miller, Raanta, Vesey, Zuccarello

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186 thoughts on “Rangers-Islanders in Review”

  1. Add Stepan to list of horror shows this year. Notice teams play pass on pp. refuses to shoot the puck.

    Injuries and inconsistent goaltending this team be lucky be in a playoff spot in a month.

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  2. At what point do we realize that this is all Kreider can give as a hockey player? If he’s still injured and can do more, make him sit. He’s useless when he’s not healthy. Otherwise, send him to STL for Shatty.

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  3. Thanks for pointing that out, BDL. I’ve updated the post to reflect that. Hrivik was fine. For what it’s worth (not much), he had the best cf% in the game last night. Clendening also notorious for having a high cf%. It’s almost as if AV protects his bad players and you have to actually watch the games to give stats context.

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  4. It was mini sticks. He likes to be the home team to start, or whichever team is winning. Unfortunately, that meant he was the Islanders until he went to bed after the first period.

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  5. Doodie – nice write up. I also prefer the macro commentary view as opposed to play by play descriptions of goals scored….

    SN – I’ll drop something on that cake – and it won’t be a cherry, believe me.

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  6. I don’t think the physical disparity was as large as everyone is making it out to be. The Islanders’ home stat guy, notorious for inflating the Islanders’ hit total, actually had Rangers outhitting Islanders 20-14. Aside from Puempel getting concussed, I can’t think of a moment when I thought that we were being pushed around.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Check out every game where Vesey the kid is indiscriminately knocked around with no policing. JT gets involved and always a third guy comes in to slam him. What game are you watching?

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  8. Nice review doods

    Re nicknames Hayes=no Doritos

    Re this game and team…hanks contract was bad when he was top 3 goalie, it’s terrible now that he is top 10.

    It’s been said that skjel should not be in the NHL now..correct, he should be in htfd. at the moment. He will be a solid NHL D man in a couple of years, but he is really bad on D. It is no coincidence that every d man whipping boy this season has been the one paired with skjel.

    No one lifted a finger in retaliation after puemple…sad.

    This coach needs to go. Timid play leads to more injuries. AV gives this team a victim mentality!

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  9. Vesey doesn’t know how to protect himself. I wouldn’t call anything that happens after the whistle “physical punishment.” I don’t see how stinkgloving someone hurts physically.

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  10. I counted 7…seven..shots to the head via cross checks or elbows by the fishies. How many got called? One for sure, maybe two..rangers coaches need to tell players the officials are letting a lot of stuff go so get in there and play nasty and stand up for each other. But no, double bubble thinks he has Crosby, malkin, Kessel, etc and the rangers can skate up and down the ice and not get their hands dirty (which the pens are more than willing to do) and win…idiot and his one trick pony team!

    Liked by 2 people

  11. I absolutely HATE it when a 55 year old coach with an extensive NHL dossier says: “We have to learn from this.” Learn from What? What’s to learn at this point that hasn’t been long-ago learned?

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  12. And Shay is no different from 98% of Dmen who come into this league. They never learned to play defense and with fans and coaches cheering on their “speed” and 8 goals a year, they never will learn to play D.

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  13. its deja vu all over again. team racked up a bunch of points in oct and nov. Right now, the point total doesn’t reflect the team (1st place point total, but a mediocre team at best). Dec will be so so, jan might be ok and we will all have hope, only to have the wheels fall off in feb and mar.

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  14. Being in the AHL for a long time is not a good sign. The list of players who spend a lot of time in the AHL and then become good NHL players is much smaller than the list of players who spend little or no time in the AHL and become good NHL players.

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  15. I have no problem with Shea’a play. He’s young. He’ll learn. Keep him in the NHL. Also, Staal has been pretty solid imo. That was a nice goal last night.

    What was up with that ice last night though? So many players falling for no apparent reason.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Review could have just been #3. I like to see the occasional rant. shows passion. The Vesey injury is no surprise. we all saw it happen, at least I did. the look on his face after that slash was an ‘uh oh’ moment. Figured forearm which Zipay seems to think is accurate. If it’s broken they’re really depleted for the first time in a long time. The fact that they called up ribbit and now Jensen proves it’s panic time. Neither earned much admiration from the coach during camp.

    Team certainly seems to not think shot first when they’re holding the sticks a little too tight. Pirri especially just isn’t putting them on net the way he did at the start. Same goes for Hayes and others.

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  17. I think I like commentary more than play by play too.
    I agree that they were physically punished. Whether that has any impact on the outcome is a different story. They lost because of subpar goaltending in their end and an excellent one across the ring. But because of that physical punishment they lost Puempel for some time, and maybe Vesey too, who was slashed incessantly.
    Now they lost their top center, their best forward, one of the top playmakers, leading goal scorer ( hopefully he’s back tomorrow, and good for the team letting him go back home), and now possibly top rookie. You can say what you want about not making excuses, but if 4-5 out of your starters are AHLers, you won’t go too far. Hank has to be at his best for the next month or so.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. Doodie
    Honestly don’t know. I also don’t have the time to investigate (sorry). I m not saying skjel shouldn’t play in the NHL for 2 more years, I said he’d be solid in a couple of years. In the preseason I said he should start in htfd, I still think he should have and then been called up, if ready, after the first of the year (similar to mcdonut). Like I said earlier, he should still be in htfd right now. I’d have gone with clendening initially in the top 6 and had l/r guys on correct sides (a must for double bubble and his ridiculous system). I’d have kept mcilrath (as the 7th D) until the deadline and moved him then after most had hopefully forgotten about his stupid hertl move and got better return on that asset.

    Moot point now obviously

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  19. Moops, Boyler, and Dorsett shook up a lethargic, indolent team and inspired and embarrassed the more talented top 3 lines into a little rah-rah, which we are now lacking.

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  20. Two things….having one forward that plays 10-12 minutes will not kill team speed or a stupid one trick pony speed system, regardless of said forwards own speed.

    No player is a deterrent, but having a guy willing to retaliate, will very much help in keeping the continuation of “abuses” happen. One guy could very well be abused, but the damage may very well be limited to one, versus a game like last night when it was game long abuse of a team of victims (thanks again to the coach’s victim mentality)

    Liked by 2 people

  21. And there you have it, ILB. For a team that’s built on speed and offense they sure are lacking guys who can produce much of either right now. If they have to win some 3-2 or 2-1 games it’s going to be up to the leader in goal

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  22. Say what you want to about a player like Avery, but those type of guys make everyone one their team play more on their toes. They usually have the other team worked up to the point of a seething hate, their own teammates are more alert and involved to a point of self preservation;)

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  23. Larry Brooks ‏@NYP_Brooksie
    Gotta love fans. Honestly. Last two years dumping on Tanner Glass as worst player in NHL history. Now: “Rangers need Tanner Glass.”

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  24. Reality is the cup year team vs the kings was the closest to a complete team we’ve had and the goalie let us down. The 2012 team was 1-2 players away (offensive) from being a complete team, and since the cup team vs kings we’ve been 2-3 players away from a complete team (bangers with skill), which certainly applies to this one trick pony.

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  25. Nash is having an MRI which worries me. Is this the groin/leg bruise mystery that kept him out for a couple months last season? If so there’s a lot to be concerned about

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  26. They don’t need Tanner Glass. They already have a few people in their lineup who should’ve been in Tavares’ face last night, slashing him and giving him a few extra shots after whistles. They just don’t do it. Coach?

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Officials need to stop “managing the game” and simply enforce the rules as they are written. A penalty is a penalty regardless of the score, who’s winning or how much time is left in the game.

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  28. Missed the third, but the Rangers outplayed the Islanders by a wide margin in the first two except at the most important position. Credit to Halak, stinker for Lundqvist. I have zero concerns about the Rangers top 18, except that now it’s a top 12. Riding out these injuries will be a tall order.

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  29. You know, I get that they got beaten up and knocked around last night but the team that they played is in the basement with 9 wins on the season and their own GM and coach on their respective hot seats. I’ll agree that the team that made it to the finals was a pretty complete team especially compared to this one, but let’s not go off the deep end just yet as far as the need of a drastic change. especially since this roster hasn’t been complete for the majority of the season

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  30. Maybe the true need isn’t a 4th line of guys like Glass but some no BS dmen in the mix. Some guys that won’t get knocked on their butts while trying to defend and maybe will do more than scold a guy during a scrum in front of the goalie

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  31. Well someone said it earlier- in no other sport is a team stacked with defensemen who’s top priority isn’t defense. And we have a coach who glorifies it. Big physical dmen supposedly can’t skate well enough to be here and yet Girardi is our #2 every night

    Liked by 1 person

  32. coos, as I said I missed the third period, so if the Rangers got pushed around then, I didn’t see it. But I did see the first two, and they didn’t fit the need-toughness narrative at all, though I understand its attraction.

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  33. Doodie
    Agree on our agreement. I also don’t think we are that different on how. I think you have a preconceived notion on how I’d add it (I also think some others have the same notion about how I’d add it), and it’s probably not how you’d think (I could be wrong of course).

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  34. We can always make Skjei a rover so we can add that defensive defenseman everyone is clamoring for. That way, there’s a chance we get the puck out of our zone while the defensive defenseman does nothing but absorb pressure.

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  35. I’m not clamoring for anything. especially one defenseman. What I want is a top 6 that can you know, defend…

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  36. You guys are all brilliant minds. It’s a pretty simple concept. Defense. Players play the position they should be effective at defending. Don’t see where that gets convoluted at any point…

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  37. Well, for starters…When someone is in your crease you should probably be able to get them out of it. Maybe knock down guys trying to screen your goalie? Maybe block some shots throw some hits when someone is trying to set up in your zone or behind your net? I mean, I feel like I’m the one who isn’t sure what the definition of defending is in the new NHL.

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  38. I’ll go with that, Norm. I just get uncomfortable when the term “rear guard” starts getting tossed around.

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  39. Which player would you rather have (both extreme examples):

    1) A defenseman who is responsible for 50 goals against but 55 goals for.

    2) A defenseman who is responsible for 0 goals for or against.

    Who is the more effective defenseman?

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  40. I don’t remember Nick Lidstrom knocking anyone out of the crease. I don’t remember him hitting guys hard behind the boards. I can barely even remember him blocking a shot.

    You know what I do remember him doing? Breaking up pretty much any attempt to put the puck past him, either by passing to another player or by chipping it for a dump and chase. I remember him being able to keep possession in the offensive zone so well that he didn’t have to worry about absorbing pressure and blocking shots. I remember him tying letting a guy think he was open and then tying up his stick so that he was helpless to play the puck when it came toward him.

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  41. Should I answer in the form of a question? Can I pass to Norm? I’m just going to add 3) a defenseman who is responsible for consistent effective player in both zones. 4) A defenseman who is responsible for preventing 80 while maybe only being responsible for 20 in the offensive zone.
    I don’t want 6 Radko Gudas’. But look at what we have at this point. You wouldn’t upgrade in the area of defending?

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  42. I’d take Gostisbehere over Gudas, but I’d take Vlasic over Gostisbehere. You know what I mean? I just want the guys on my team, at every position, that will result in my team having more goals than the other team. I don’t care if that means winning a bunch of games 1-0 or winning them 5-4.

    Liked by 1 person

  43. SN – I’m the cable installer.

    Hank is done. Maybe every 7th game or so he stands tall but otherwise his fastball is now a change up and there’s no movement on his pitch up in the strike zone.

    Liked by 1 person

  44. Doodie, when we have anyone in the top 6 that can remind you of Lidstrom for even half a season, let me know and I’ll bake a cake (gluten free if you’re into that) and get some streamers and balloons. How many guys have that kind of capability in this league? Not many. How many guys are there like Drew Doughty or Shea Weber are there in the NHL? Not many. I’m not downplaying offense I’m saying there should be a bigger emphasis on defense. It’s rare that you find a guy who can do both very well. Those “middle of the pack” guys who are more defensively capable happen to be more physical than offensive.

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  45. I’ll take a chance that those 5 goals a season are garbage goals for a rock solid defencive presence.

    Or better yet, would I take perry and his solid all around game and say 40 goals a season or a sedin and a one dimensional game and 45 goals per…? I’ll take perry and 5 goals less any day and every day.

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  46. well said, above. Unfortunately when a team has the injuries up front that this one currently has, there’s a lot better chance of winning 2-1 than 5-4.

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  47. ” Maybe knock down guys trying to screen your goalie?”

    A lot of people still think that this is possible. It’s not. They’ll call interference. It used to be the way to defend was to punish the guy standing in front of the goal, but when they started penalizing for obstruction, moving someone out of the crease area is interference.

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  48. Using HOF Lidstrom as a comparison is like using Gretzky. Guys with magic sticks like his rarely come down the pike. The Rangers D, in any case, is a strength, not a weakness. Nobody but NY and San Jose roll six as far as I know.

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  49. If the D is a strength of this team they sure didn’t prove it last night. Not looking to hate on this team, but I don’t think that’s an unfair statement.

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  50. We roll six out of necessity, not of choice.

    wicky, your Perry example is flawed because Perry scores goals at a higher rate than the Daniel Sedin. I’d take Perry for that reason alone.

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  51. Doodie
    Ok, I won’t use names…if I had a choice of player x that was a more complete player that scored 30 goals a season vs player y, a one dimensional offensive player that scored 35 goals….I’ll take player x any day every day.

    Bitd on the old site, I stated numerous times I’d rather have an all around player that scores 30 goals a year vs a one dimensional player that “could” score 50. I think this is a similar subject.

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  52. By settle, if you mean do I think one of those type players would help this team in the line up over a fast or a pirri or a hrivik? Absolutely I would settle for that, yes!

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  53. Of course I’d also have r/l d pairs and move/buy out a couple of guys before the start of next season. So, probably a good thing I’m not in charge of personnel;)

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  54. wicky, your example isn’t inopposite with what I’m suggesting. I want the players who will lead us to score more goals than the opposition. A player who scores 30 but prevents 10 is better than a guy who scores 35 and prevents 0.

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  55. Doodie – will do. Let’s hope for a good one. Thought it might be a late start so happy at the 8pm game time.
    .
    The question if Nasher remains out or even if he is back, does Elaine try to balance the lines or put a very young bottom 6 out there.
    .
    Kreider – Step – Zucc
    Miller – Haze – Vesey
    Garbner – Pirri – Fast
    Hrivik – Oscar – Jensen
    .
    about that forward depth.. (Aho, DuClair, etc)

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  56. They’ve got to get all over tavares’ face next time these 2 teams meet. No reason Vesey should be cheap-shot all game long (remember 1st game of year when he was boarded by Hamonic? And the fish stick bench yelled at Vesey “keep your head up kid!”

    Liked by 1 person

  57. Tavares has enjoyed enough of a free ride against the rangers. And if not him, it’s time to bump into halal

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  58. Thanks for the review, Doodie. I also enjoyed this style.

    Wickster, thank you.

    As for the game, I’m with Norm. We got Halaked.

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  59. couple of post articles have, in part, updates on Vesey and Buch. I linked the articles but it seems to be held up in moderation.

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  60. HANKA will be 35 when the playoffs start. Hasek won a Cup at 37. Chris Osgood at 35. Patrick Roy at 35. That’s it since the 70’s

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  61. I’m somewhere on the concern-panic continuum. In addition to Hank, their strategy of making up for the lack of superstar forwards by rolling out four lines of very good forwards starts to fall apart when a third of them can’t play. Osgood is an interesting comparison. The Wings won with him even though he was never considered an elite goaltender. That may be where they are headed with Hank, but, he has got to make the routine saves. The softies are back breakers.

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  62. Ever notice lately that every swingin’ dork political operative on TV evades directly answering every question and interjects his own spin by saying “So…” The Lie Meter should go off. Disgraceful.

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  63. “Who are the good defensemen in the NHL who spent more than 1 season in the AHL, especially ones who were highly drafted?”

    Maybe not the best example but I think Larsson started in the NHL for the Devils then split time the next two season in the AHL before staying up.

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  64. I think what is more concerning is that every team that has won the Stanley Cup* has at least one HOF skater on their roster.

    *I’m willing to discount the Hurricanes because that was a weird year with the new rules. Also, Recchi still might get in. And not enough people talk about Rod Brind’Amour as a candidate.

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  65. jjp, I actually followed his career pretty closely. That had a lot to do with Pete DeBoer’s deployment of Larsson. Larsson began to excel once DeBoer was canned. Also, his total number of AHL games played is still less than Skjei’s.

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  66. btw, the reason I followed it was to rib a friend of mine who is a Devils fan who gloated endlessly when they drafted Larsson. For the first few years, it was glorious. Then they flipped him for Taylor Hall and the abuse from him has been nonstop. Did you see that hit he laid on the coincidentally named Larssen? Best hit of the season.

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  67. In the hard cap era, no team has won a cup with the goalie it’s highest paid player. The hank contract is an albatross and the only way the rangers win a cup with his current contract is if they add the right players at the deadline when hank’s contract isn’t at full “value”.

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  68. Lundqvist’s contract is going to be an anchor for years to come. No one would have cared had they beaten LA but now that he’s reverting to the mean will get be a constant theme.

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  69. That’s the problem with long term contracts. In the first few years they’re good, but what happens when they get into that fifth year and the performance starts to slide with three more years to go? You can’t buy them out and they’re untradeable. What do you do? They’ve got Girardi, Staal and Hank in that group and you could possibly add Nash to that list.

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  70. Alex
    I agree. The first D contract that makes sense is mcdonut and the first forward contract that makes sense is Kreider or zucc (although I have my skepticism on both even for their $$$$). First forward contract I’m completely comfortable with is miller.

    I’m not against giving a player a “higher” salary (unless it’s a goalie) but it obviously needs to be the right player.

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  71. I’m not sure he would be, even with one. He’ll finish his career with between 500-550 goals, definitely less than 1000 points. There’s a long line of players ahead of those numbers.

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  72. Kooz – perhaps not meth, but Paul Erdos (pronounced Air Dish) was a brilliant Hungarian mathematician (number theorist for starters) who really really loved amphetamines – well into his 80’s

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  73. eddie, I heard that Magnus Carlsen went incognito last month in Washington Square Park challenging (and then quickly dispatching) local hustlers who were stunned by his quick and easy victories. LOL. He must be some character. 🙂

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  74. Kooz – Carlsen is insane good. Highest rated GM in classical, rapid, and blitz chess. The recently played World Championship held in Knew York Sit E was an interesting affair. I was pulling for Karjakin but it wasn’t meant to be.

    Nakamura – an American GM, around 4th in the world, did a similar thing in San Francisco a few back. Hustling 2 dollar a game chess on Market Street and no one recognized him…

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  75. So Ranta, Grabner and Jensen are in tonight. Nash out for a week, no word on VC. I have definitely lowered my expectations.

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  76. But there was no supplemental discipline for a hit that left a player concussed. On ice did their job calling the penalties. “Player Safety” dropped the ball as usual.

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  77. With full line and more of team’s best “stars and hopes” forwards – Nash, Ziba, Buch and now VZ, out of play, our heralded at the beginning of the season depth, quickly became very shallow… and I’m afraid our ship ran aground. No reason to trash, badmouth or try to overanalyze team without bests, when all links are broken, system couldn’t be supported and as a result – moral and collective psyche is low… So take it easy on guys, will ya?…

    Like

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