...obviously, you never want to complain about a point, especially when it looks like the final few playoffs spots are going to come down to just a few of them, but after yet again another tough start the team was given a jolt from the fourth line for what seems like the first time all year and you have to feel like this team left that second point on the table last night.
...the most disappointing part of the game was that the Rangers finally get secondary scoring, the power play scores and the penalty kill has a tremendous stand on the 5-on-3, but yet again it's the big guns who let the team down. Nash, Richards and Gaborik have combined for three goals in the last eight games. That's just not going to cut it folks.
...at this point Callahan and Stepan are literally carrying the team offensively right now. So while I hate to break those two up, Hags-Stepan-Nash has to happen and it has to happen now. Unfortunately, while I love seeing Kreider get top line minutes, it looks like Torts is going stick with Kreider-Richards-Nash. Also of note, Hagelin has now stopped scoring as he has just one goal in 12 games.
...no idea where Zuccarello fits in now. Maybe on the third line with Gaborik and Miller?
Here's the player reaction and highlights...
...Lundqvist again, the only player not sugar-coating it right now. No more excuses about the lockout, it's time for everyone to carry their weight.
Guys let’s face it. The Rangers are just a bad team. We have a center getting paid almost 8 million dollars to do what. Lose face-offs, make blind passes, not score, and make the power play worse than it already it is. We have a coach who can only adjust in game by either benching players or just changing the lines. Our top line alone is worth over 20 million dollars and they cannot score. We made it to overtime against the Capitals due to a fourth liner scoring and a lucky power play goal. We beat the devils because Hedberg can’t handle the puck and let a goal in through his legs that a pee wee goalie would have saved. If it weren’t for Henrik, we would be sitting down there with the Florida Panthers. Oh, who by the way embarrassed us on home ice. The rangers all around are just bad. It would be nice for once to see the rangers take the puck from one end of the ice to the other by passing it and carrying it. Not just slapping it around the boards or throwing it up the middle and doing a stupid fancy deflection and chasing after the puck. It would be nice to see the rangers get the puck in the offensive zone and string together 3-4 nice passes and get a good scoring opportunity from a screen or deflection or a nice rebound. Think back to our last 7 goals. Against Washington Stepan’s goal was pure luck and while Asham’s shot was very nice the two on one developed solely because the Capitals defenseman made a bad decision chipping in. Against the Devils, we had two lucky goals – one because of Hedberg’s inability to stick handle and one because of Hedberg’s inability to close his legs. Against Florida we had a measly breakaway by Gaborik that didn’t even matter. Against the hurricanes Stepan had a goal because their goalie was knocked down and he had an open net. I am not trying to take away anything in terms of scoring, I will take goals anyway I can get them. But, why can’t the rangers score more goals like the second goal against New Jersey. A couple passes, then Girardi takes a slap shot and Hagelin scores on a rebound off the boards. The ranger’s best scoring chances come when they are shorthanded and that’s just pathetic. The power play is atrocious. We get pushed around in front of the net offensively and defensively. Our defenders have a bright future in being baseball coaches because all they know how to do is slide all over the place. If I am a general manager and I see our effort in the first period these games, I am thinking it is time to fire my coach. I love Nash and after seeing his ability every game, I would not take back the trade but at the same time replacing Prust Duby Anismiov with Powe Boyle Halpen and Pyatt is just not cutting it. The team is just lost.
If you are labeled a goal scorer then you're a goal scorer. It doesn't matter who you have on your line with you. Did Gretzky become who he is because of his line mates? Didn't he tool players older than him his entire career before going to the NHL?
To people saying buyout Richards: YOU ARE INSANE. I am by no means arguing that I think he's played well. He does not deserve to be considered the 1st line center or play big minutes right now, but writing him off completely for 30 bad games is absolutely ridiculous. Playing GM on XBOX is fun, but let's look at reality here, people. Also, some of you forget the difference between salary and cap hit.
Look at Ryan Getzlaf last year. He played like crap, had no speed, has a terrible contributor and did not work nearly hard enough to deserve the C on his chest or the title of top line center. This season? He is DESTROYING. The Ducks are one of the top 3 teams in the league right now. Yes, Richards is playing like utter crap, but moving him now for peanuts, or buying out his contract after one bad (and shortened) season is lunacy. Armchair GM is fun, but have some goddamn sense.
I agree with the sentiment that Gabby and Richards not scoring is really what is killing us. If they scored here and there, it would have changed the complexion of many games (and even the team) this season.
@TheNYRBlog I think the fans shouls really push those 3 lines.
Doesn't matter what line you put out there, or who plays with whom, or what system you play, or if Prust, Dubinsky, and Anisimov suddenly appear in Rangers jerseys, this all boils down to the fact that Richards and Gabby are not scoring...PERIOD. Secondary scoring and PP scoring mean SQUAT when you don't have any PRIMARY scoring. It's pretty clear that teams are keying in on Nash now because they don't need to worry about the other 2. I think one of the announcers on MSG said it yesterday...take Crosby, Neal, and Letang off the Pens and how do they look? So here we have no Staal, with Richards & Gaborik providing nothing. Yet everyone thinks a line combination and a hobbit is going to fix it? Sorry, this team goes nowhere unless those 2 guys can start scoring again. If they don't start contributing, then Sather needs to start working the phones to get a first round pick so the Rangers can at least have a shot at a lottery pick. And I'm not advocating trading them or buying them out, but they need to start scoring like they can if this team wants to have any shot.
Kevin - great summary. Totally agree. We can't keep coming out flat in the 1st period, especially on home ice.
@TheNYRBlog Agree. I fucking hat Torts lines 90% of the time. I have no clue why the guy hasn't tried reuniting Hags-Step-Gabby line either
@TheNYRBlog Zucc won't see more than 9Mins a game, Pyatt gets 16 ..
@TheNYRBlog Zucc-Miller-Gabby could be what the doctor ordered. Zucc is one hell of a set up man. Gabby is dieing on the vine with Richards
@TheNYRBlog. Hey Kev, would a line of Cally-Zucc-Gaborik possibly work?
@TheNYRBlog as long as Zucc is on first PP unit
Yea we got a point, but we not only should have had 2... we also gave a playoff contender 2 more points. That is stuff that cant happen. We need to start playing well or the playoffs are all but gone. Not to mention we have a ton of games on the road left.
@TheNYRBlog how about reuniting Hags-Richards-Gabby from last year, and cally-steph-nash, JT-Boyle-Zucs
@TheNYRBlog What have you thought of Kreider since his call up?
I feel so useless cause I cant ask torts WHY IN GODS GOOD NAME wont he put that line back together. People need to get on him for that.
@TheNYRBlog Kreider-Richards-Callahan then? Works for me.
@MichaelMcNamara Agree, but line combos do matter. Chemistry amongst players does matter. Were Gretzky's numbers the same after he went to LA??
@coontzbloontz Richey was mediocre last season and he made a nice run later in the year. If a buyout is even in the cards I don't think any conjecture will be made until after the season is over. Personally I never thought he was spectacular as a player to begin with, just the best player in the weakest free agent market of my lifetime. I think the argument here is not so much about writing him off as a player at this point, at least from my end but rather what other moves they could make without carrying his huge salary. Even if he get's back to his "normal" I question whether he's worth the money. Obviously the GM and coach think he is because they are being very patient with him. I just hope it won't cost them the season.
@gravey94 The team was 6-0-1 when the Step-Hags-Nash line were together. Nash had half his goalsfor this entire season during that stretch. I agree with your points but line combos and smart coaching do make a difference and BTW, though not always fair it is the coaches job to get his slumping players going
@gravey94 Problem is, they are not 'suddenly' going to start scoring. Those two guys are washed up! But all the 'fan boys' on this site won't face reality. These two guys need to be gone before the trade deadline regardless of what we get in return. The future cap space would play huge. Look at our last two signings: Hamrlik and Zuccarello to cure our woes! Are you FU*KING KIDDING ME! And people on this site think we can make a run for the cup? HA! Please let me know who you are - I want to take bets!
I agree our probs are dorectly related to Gabby/Richards not scoring. I have never bought that lack of depth stuff. Remember Dubs had a disapointing year last year too. So its not about Dubby/Anisimov. I read somewhere the other day if Gabby/Richards were scoring at their career statistical avgs. we would have 15-more goals, which adds up to 5-more wins. In the Cap era if ur "max money" players don't score you have no chance to win. Its that simple. If they pick it up. We start winninng.
What does excite me is if we get in we can make a Kings like run to the Cup fro the 8th seed. All we need is for our roster to play up to its historical abilities, If they do we have one of the best rosters in the league.
@MikeBlue Not if you're a Mets fan :(
I think he is trying to stay positive as opposed to rippinng them. he must sense the team needs it.
@shantm79 Much more noticeable. Using his speed. Now he needs to start scoring.
@RangerSmurf Those would be three pretty sweet lines on paper.
@Betweentheworlds Sure. They were also giving up 2 goals or less in those games. There's a pretty good probability that you're going to win more than you lose when you give up 2 or less goals, regardless of what your line combos are. The coach can only do so much. He's got Gabby moving all over the place to try to find someone to get him going and he's still playing him close to 20 minutes per night. Short of grabbing his stick out of his hands and taking the shots for him, what else is Torts supposed to do to "get him going"? Richards is in a terrible funk, but to all of a sudden preach that he's done is just really short-sighted. It's been 30 games without a breather or training camp. Not enough of a sample for either player to proclaim they are done.
@MikeBlue @gravey94 Before this season even started I knew they weren't cup ready. Everyone disagreed but it was pretty obvious to me that a few puzzle pieces were still missing from this team and the loss of the energy players would matter. Having said that I would have never predicted the startling decline of Gabby and Richey, though maybe in hind sight it was predictable. I never thought Richey was great. Good? Yes but on a championship team he's your 2nd line center, not your 1st. and it's not uncommon for players to decline once they get that big money contract. Gabby had major shoulder surgery and cannot seem to use his most lethal weapon now, that being the quick release wrister. It is debatable whether that will ever return full on. Seems he tweeked it again early in the season and the team does not disclose it but he changed somewhere around 5-10 games in, and stopped scoring as well. Richey unfortunately has been the cancer on this team this year. He brings down everyone he plays with so I'm not surprised that Nashty stopped scoring when he was moved to his line, and Nash has at times been visibly upset with Richey's play. In my previous response I mentioned that it is the coaches job, fair or unfair and like it or not, it is Torts job to get his slumping players going. And as for Zucc being their savior? Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.....
@TheNYRBlog It seems that everyone has picked it up a notch, but the results aren't coming yet.
@TheNYRBlog Boy that really is sweet.
@TheNYRBlog In seriousness though, one of those lines then gets 3rd liners to deal with. That's a win for the offense.
@TheNYRBlog Shame games aren't played on paper, they're played inside TV sets.
@gravey94 Good points - only thing I would rebut is about line combos. They do matter. Chemistry is everything in this game IMHO. this is what I've observed in my 40+ years as an avid fan. Yes I get the argument that if you're a goal scorer then you're a goal scorer and if you're a professional hockey player you should be able to play with anybody but never underestimate chemistry in this lightning fast sport where you almost have to read minds and know your line mates better than you know yourself. Proper combinations will score more goals and give up less gaols then faulty ones so I don't undervalue the achievement of the SNH line simply because the team gave up less during that stretch, in fact I see that as a direct result of the team chemistry that the success of that line helped produced. As far as Torts being "short sighted", this is an opinion I've had of him since before he became a Ranger, so no "sudden preach" here - and yes, to not re-unite the only line that has been successfully producing where you had a 6-0-1 stretch while they were together is short-sighted IMHO - or maybe stubborn is a better word (actually I could think of other choice words). Maybe they would not put numbers up now. Who knows but based upon past success at least give them a try. Being that he knows more about this game than I ever will I'm hoping that there is some real reason for this that I am not seeing.
@RangerSmurf Hell yeah.