During the second period of the Rangers 5-1 win against the Lightning John Tortorella reunited the Dan Girardi/Marc Staal defensive pairing. He explained why to Andrew Gross of the Bergen Record...
“They played together for so long prior to [McDonagh] coming on to the scene. Last night I just felt we were struggling a little bit with our pairs so I switched it up. They just went to work. I think they read off one another well. It was cohesive when we made the change in the middle of game.”
...i don't think it's any surprise that the Rangers defense went into lockdown mode as soon as those two were reunited. They were always a solid pair, so I'm a fan of Torts putting them back together. I also think dropping McDonagh to second pairing will do wonders for Del Zotto's game. It'll allow him to concentrate on his offense knowing there's a guy like McDonagh out there to back him up if he gets caught up ice.
...and with how well Stralman and Gilroy are playing, Rangers fans should be confident in the blueline going forward.
@TheNYRBlog never got why they broke them up in the first place, they were such a total shutdown pair. MDZ HAS to get better on D
@TheNYRBlog nothing will make MDZ better, except maybe a time machine so he can go back and learn defense while working as a checkout boy.
@TheNYRBlog what I'm not starting to like is watching MDZ get caught in the offensive zone all the time and giving up odd man rushes
I see everyone beat me to this but you do realize McD played with Stralman last game, right? I don't get it either but Stralman's been getting more minutes than DZ due to special teams play. (DZ is getting nothing while Stralman is playing both PP and PK. Not saying Stralman shouldn't be on special teams, just surprised DZ is getting nothing there.)
@Melissa (angelzeyes2521) I just liked the idea of McD and MDZ together. Not that it matters now that Torts announced that Girardi and McD will be back together.
@KevinDeLury Agree. Apparently Torts didn't since he wouldn't put those two together lol. Could it be because they are both left d-men? (I think it's left...I always forget who is on which side but they are both opposite Girardi lol.)
@KevinDeLury I can admit it...he has been. But I still don't see him as a consistent top 4 defenseman. Not saying MDZ is perfect in that role (at this point, he's definitely not) but I just see him there in the long term. Maybe it's me.
@Melissa (angelzeyes2521) Ha! To be honest, I think Stralman has been better.
@KevinDeLury But Staal is the one on his off wing. I don't think McD or MDZ have played the opposite side unless they had too (and it probably didn't go well). I don't know...I'm just looking for a reason why Stralman would be in top 4 before MDZ.
@Melissa (angelzeyes2521) Yes left. But MDZ has played with Staal and both are lefties.
Wait, didn't Starlman play with McDonagh last game?
And with Lucic lurking tonight Tortorella may not want to hesitate to dress Bickel.
@Beckfan5 As I said above McD-MDZ and Stralman/Gilroy much better than McD-Stralman and MDZ-Gilroy.
@Beckfan5 Bickel would be utterly useless against Lucic, as he is against most other skaters. Lucic can actually play and he would just run circles around Bickel, plus he's not dumb enough to engage in a fight, unless his team needs it. Lucic won't be a factor as long as the Rangers control the puck the way they did last game.
@gravey94 So who's going to protect Lundqvist if Lucic or someone decide to run him?
@Beckfan5 Sorry, didn't mean to offend you by calling you genius. I'll be more sensitive to your needs from now on.
Oh, I understand your point and it would be great to have someone to insert in the line-up for some toughness. If it were the Flyers, I would agree, but inserting Bickel to handle Lucic will not work because Bickel is just not good.
@gravey94 For starters, stop with the name calling. You sound obnoxiously juvenile.
My earlier suggestion to play Bickel tonight has nothing to do with Gilroy. Gilroy has played well. But I feel that the Rangers need some toughness in their lineup tonight, therefore the only player that they could dress for that role is Bickel.
Is that so hard to comprehend?
@Beckfan5 Yea, liability, meaning he gives up the puck and does nothing worthwhile. So tell me genius, where has Bickel been the past few games since Gilroy showed he's capable of playing defense?
@gravey94 "Bickel is a complete liability every minute he plays"
Your words, not mine.
"If the Rangers had ANY defensive depth, he's be in the press box or playing the goon role"
Makes zero sense.
@Beckfan5 Sorry, I didn't mean to upset your Bickel man-crush. Don't worry, he'll still be your Valentine on Thursday...not that there's anything wrong with that!
Oh, and just to be clear since you can't read, I never said he gives up a goal every time he's on the ice. Personally, I've seen it happen twice since last year's playoffs and then another 3 times when he had a give-away and Hank bailed him out. And no, he plays on the 3rd pair, he is NOT a 6th defenseman. If the Rangers had ANY defensive depth, he's be in the press box or playing the goon role. Don't compare him to Wells or Cirella, at least they knew how to skate backwards. He's an updated version of Dale Purinton.
@gravey94 Bickel is a -1. Don't be a drama queen and act as if that every time he steps onto the ice the other team scores.
He's a 6th-freakin-defenseman for crying out loud. Were you this nervous whenever Jay Well or Joe Cirella stepped onto the ice?
@Beckfan5 How is Bickel going to protect him? Is Lucic planning on running Hank in Bickel's 3 minutes of ice time? The Rangers' big crease-clearing defenseman is in CT. Bickel is a complete liability every minute he plays. Sure, he could retaliate IF Lucic decided to run Hank, but the likelihood of that happening is a lot less than the likelihood of Bickel having a defensive break-down that leads to a goal.
So Lucic takes a run at Hank while Bickel is on the bench. Whoever the D men are on the ice at that time should step up right then and there.
I just think it's a waste of resources at that point to send him out to step to Lucic at some point in the game. Granted, it'd take Lucic out for five minutes, but dude takes dumb penalties anyway...
U@_Jack @gravey94 I never suggested to match up against him. All I suggested was to dress him in case they need his tightness. What's the difference if he gets 5-8 minuets or if Gilroy gets them?
@_Jack @Beckfan5 @gravey94 And w/o Bickel in the lineup there isn't anyone to protect our goalie if that happens. Everyone complained for years that they didn't have anyone to protect Lundqvist when he gets bumped but now that they have that someone, no one wants to dress him.
MDZ is a good player guys. He is not perfect, but that kid has the heart this team needs. I saw that whole team make mistakes against Tampa and if they do it again against Boston we are going to get pummeled. To much bumping into each other. The arena is big and they need to use the space. I am so tired of watching them all bunch together and leave the opposition open. Hank can't do it alone. It's a team thing. You cannot always blame MDZ.
After that 1st period they played allot better on defense....started taking away the neutral zone.....Hoping the Devils hit a bump in their road at some time, we already hit ours and it was right outa the gate...Huge game tonight against Boston to see where were at....LGR
i like these pairings better however Del Zotto is supposed to be a Defenseman first and foremost - so really he should be working on not turning over the puck, covering his man in front of Hank, keeping the puck in the offensive zone etc. Having someone constantly covering for his bad play will not help his game in front of our net.
@chrisdub I don't think Del Zotto is ever going to excel defensively so I think pairing him with McD will at least allow him more freedom with his offensive game.
Happily surprised with how well that 3rd D pair has played. They've been solid. Torts might not use them much but it's good to know that he can throw them out there and they'll put in a solid shift. Can't remember the last time Torts was comfortable rolling all four lines AND all three D pairs. Has there ever been a time?
Gilroy is what he is, but I'm really happy with the way Stralman is playing, both offensively and defensively. Pleasant surprise
I think MDZ playing with McD will help MDZ just play and not worry about other things. Staal is obviously back to form, but McD is what Staal is but a much better skater. Can cover up a little more space if MDZ gets caught up ice We don't want that to happen, but it might help MDZ play a little more freely offensively and get him back to the first few games of the season. It's not like it's a crazy change, as both Staal and McD are both terrific
Regardless Del Zotto needs to stop giving up the puck his own zone and remember he's a defenseman before a scorer. He forgets that way to often