The New York Rangers (4-5-0) lost to the New Jersey Devils (5-1-3) by the score of 3-1, tonight. For a box score, click here.
...it has become abundantly clear that if the first line struggles, this team can't win. And unfortunately right now the first line is struggling every other game. I must admit that this game was better than their previous four losses, but the battle level still isn't where it needs to be.
...just when you thought the power play can't get worse they have a night like tonight. Got to wonder how long Sullivan can hang on if this keeps up.
...and now it looks like the penalty kill is trying to catch up to the extra man's awfulness.
...hate to say it, but Brodeur outplayed Lundqvist tonight. Huge third period.
...going in I was just hoping Miller wouldn't get overwhelmed, instead he was one of the Rangers best players, which wasn't a good thing tonight. Loved his willingness to get to the front of the net. His veteran teammates should take notice.
...Kreider got stronger as the game went on and man can that kid snipe.
...good to see Del Zotto play like he thought he back in last year's Eastern Conference Finals. And somehow Tortorella thought he deserved more ice time than McDonagh.
...lots of defensive breakdowns with Danny G. out of the line-up. Devils also dominated in blocked shots 14-8.
...Anisimov has double the goals of Nash right now. Just sayin'.
...i think it might officially be time to either banish Bickel to the press box or send him to the Whale. Absolute waste of a line-up spot if he's not going to get more than four minutes a night. Baffling that he gets the call over Eminger.
...can't imagine Mashinter would have been worse than Boyle or Asham tonight.
...i thought Richards looked the best he has all season when Torts put Miller and Kreider on his wings.
...effort still not there on a consistent basis. I'd say it's because Callahan is out but it wasn't there when he was in the line-up either.
...it absolutely infuriates me that Clarkson has become a solid NHL player.
...as you can see, I'm a little more subdued with my thoughts than after previous losses. I think I'm more stunned than anything at the lack of passion from this team. I'm really at a loss. Did guys like Dubinsky, Prust, Mitchell, Fedotenko and Anisimov really mean that much to the Rangers success? I guess so.
...Rangers better figure their special teams out quickly because the Islanders and their superior power play and penalty kill units visit MSG Thursday night.
GNR line must be broken up. Richards is an absolute waste on that line.
Nash and Gabby control the puck way to much for Richard to have an impact.
Torts really needs to adjust to these top talent players. There is no way a line with Nash and Gabby should be worried about playing stellar DEFENSE to get ice time.
They need to play the pointmen and look for breakouts and not play safe.
Give up a few 3 on 2's to gain a ton of chances and put other teams on the defensive.
We have possibly the best goalie in the league...he needs D help but he does not need 5 guys below the face off circle every shift.
It also infuriates me that david clarkson has somehow become a goal scorer. WHAT IS WRONG WITH THE WORLD?
I hate how the devils get lucky, parise was in the last year of his contract and all of a sudden david "whats hockey" clarkson starts scoring like a super star. Stuff like that always happens to them.
For the record, though, I don't really think we need Prust. He wasn't the only cause of our team's identity. We lost a lot of that identity in the off season. We're hurting right now without Cally, but I'm sure we'll get through it. Though, I would be lying if I said I haven't already lowered my expectations.
Didnt think they played that bad of a game. they just didnt capitalize on all their chances, few miss fires (staal and step) a few bad breaks (nash twice) lead to the loss, marty played out of his mind, both clarkson goals where right place right time, almost fluke-y how he got the puck, which of course always happens to the devils. There is never anyone in front. Against tampa there were people all around the net, and look what happened there. Why cant we just bring in a power play specialist, its not like the rangers are limited to one assistant coach. If the power play was middle of the pack this year, dead average, wed have at least 2 more wins. Its getting sad that the team is still having scoring problems like like year, except this year we have lost a bit on d up front (feds, prust, mitchell, dubi) and hank isnt stealing the close ones. So they have the same problems offensively and lost defense (though I feel like the recent moves have aided this). The offense needs to get going. Thats the bottom line. and with a power play like that...Im not sure when thats going to happen. When other teams get power plays, they expect to score, when the rangers get one, no one expects them to.
Here's five things I've learned so far this season.
1. The Rangers desperately miss Brandon Prust and the huge grit he brought every game.
2. After the GnR line, scoring is abysmal. The Rangers have scored 20 goals this season. GnR has 9 of them and 3 others by Pyatt (anomaly). The big thing in the off-season was to boost scoring. I don't see it.
3. The short schedule seems to not affect any other team out there (Capitals are the exception but they blow monkey farts anyway) except the Blue shirts. Tell me why?
4. del Zaster has zero defensive skill. I know he gets ragged on a lot, but frankly it's for good reasons. How he is a +3 and McD is a -3 amazes me. He constantly picks up the wrong player in the zone. He gets caught out of position more times than Jenna Jamison did in her prime. He needs a personal coach or something.
5. After the top 4 Dmen the D is horrific. Bickel? Stralman? Gilroy? It's times like this that Erixon may have been nice to have around. Or... now don't get all crazy here, but Wade Redden would have fit in nicely too.
That's all. Critique away!
Del Zotto was disgusting in this game. I'm appalled that the ink isn't even dry on his new deal and he is an unquestioned liability.
Hank also stunk tonight and needs to work on his puck handling to ever be 'great'. The guy is a disaster handling the puck, leads to at least 2 turnovers a night.
There's trouble in paradise fellas. Big time.
Gaborik seems to disappear in these divisional games. If you watched him last night, he stayed on the perimeter, out of traffic and away from contact. Think he needs to ride the pine for a game or two and let this kid JT Miller take his spot. No room for "Fat Cats" on this team.
Seeing Gilroy and Bickel hit the ice was like discovering Samus was a girl at the end of Metroid. Meaning it was disheartening, sad and frustrating.
I just don't understand one thing. Torts doesn't trust Bickel or any other d-man who has to be 6th defenseman. (gilroy, eminger) Why the hell didn't they sign some defenseman over the summer?! One the Torts wil trust. I mean, he didn't believe in Bickel since playoffs. And now he is burning top 2 defense pairs. No wonder Girardi is banged up! The other thing: powerplay. Oh dear, disaster. I think Sullivan has to go, or at least they have to bring some assistant coach that will make the powerplay work! PP hasn't worked for a long time, and look at the guns we have upfront! That's unacceptable! This team has to do better.
Delzaster is the worst Rangers defenseman since Carol Vadnais!! And what's with the new rendition of "Giveaway Brothers" Bickel and Gilroy?
the best thing to come out of last night's game was this comment by Micheletti:
"At least the Rangers don't have to face the Devils again until mid-March."
Brandon Prust. Brandon Prust. Brandon Prust. SMH
We have lost our identity. You can't be a blue collar team without blue collar players. Truthfully there are only a few on this team, and with Cally out, our lack of heart really shows. Frustrating loss. Torts needs to really shake the core of this team because they are all asleep. Marty owned us last night.
if the 2, 3 and 4 lines can't score, Rangers will not win. Plenty of time to find the chemistry...just got to get in the playoffs, #1 seed isn't necessary
I seriously think Prust, Artie, Feds and Dubi had the heart this team needed when they were down. Those guys always had heart. I think that is what this teram lose. THey are not the same team as last year.
First time commenting here, feel like i needed to say something.
I see the Rangers key issue being the fact that they are constantly scrambling. They cannot get any fore check going or really maintain any flow for more then 2-3 minutes without having a 5-8 minute slump there after. They need to do a better job in the defensive end winning puck battles, and establishing a good breakout. It was never a problem last year in the defensive end. Not sure whats going on, Im hoping it will come back with some time.
They need the system to begin working in the defensive zone, and need to get in the shooting lanes blocking more shots. The rangers cannot keep dumping the puck in if they wont get in deep to get it, and when they do get it, they lose the battle 4 out of 5 times.
Their power play simply put needs shots. Stop setting up the pretty shot, get low shots off the pads on net from wherever you can take it on the ice. And have someone plant their ass in front of the net. Big rebounds will come out of it, and DIRTY GOALS, which we don't get enough of. We need to shy away from pretty plays to garbage, dirt bag goals. Ill tell you something, i love Stralman at the point on the power play. DZ on the other hand im very dissapointed in. He will make good passes, but when it comes time to shooting, seems like hes only releasing the shot, when a forward is a foot from him. He cant get a shot through
Few more things to say.
Very happy with JT. Miller, hes an awesome 2 way player, think hes going to fit into Torts system perfectly.
Boyle is an absolute mess this year, he has done nothing for the rangers in any sense. The only reason i like him at the moment, is because he is a good PK man but that's not looking so good either.
Halpern is a gem, along with Asham finding his place now it seems, however id like to see him drop the gloves a bit more.
Feel bad for Hank this year, being left out to dry.
Everyone is giving Nash so much shit.. This guy creates the most offense on the team HANDS DOWN. He is taking shots, creating plays, battling. Gaborik has been struggling since the hatrick. Thought he played horrible against Jersey. It will only be a matter of time before Nash starts to bury the puck frequently, hes getting the chances.
What I've noticed this season is a lot of the new guys are stepping it up and bringing some energy to their game, but our core is lacking the fire in their play. I'm starting to wonder if some of the players bought into the hype too much this season. Guys like Pyatt, Halpern, and Asham all played with a lot of energy and jam the past few games, like they came to this team to win... Miller looked good, even fucking Ferreiro played with some passion and grit when he was called up. But the core is looking downtrodden, slow, and honestly kind of lazy. This team has such incredible potential, but there's something missing... not firing on all cylinders this season.
I still keep holding out hope that the team just needs time to gel. That coupled with the injuries isn't allowing for any chemistry to build up. Biron in net on Thursday? He deserves another shot.
Anyone else feel like this team does not have an identity right now? Last year the Rangers were the blue collar team that blocks shots, takes the body and fights. But right now, they dont do any of that more than the opposing team. Torts needs to give this team an identity because we are almost a quarter through the season and sub .500 will not cut it this year...
We proved last season we could win with a bad power play and a great penalty kill. This season, our penalty kill is below average and our power play is converting less than 10% of the time. That's awful. At a certain point, you do have to wonder if the seat under Sullivan is beginning to burn a bit.
As for our team, Miller and Kreider impressed me. Asham in the 1st period had a lot of energy and looked good. Aside from his penalty, I think he had a solid game. Halpern continues to impress me as well, and I like that he was paired up with Gabby at a certain point. I can't say I'm a big fan of a Hags Stepan Nash line though. That doesn't look like right to me. And Boyle...during Torts press conference after the game, he said some guys looked "tentative and scared." I think Boyle may be one of those guys. I think when Cally comes back, Torts is faced with an interesting decision.
Kreider Miller Richie though...those two seem to make Richie play faster and I enjoyed it. Richie at the start of the game didn't seem to have much going, but when paired with those two he got back into the swing of things and it was pretty.
I'm not concerned about the PK just yet. We have players that we can plug in, I just think we need to find the right combinations. The power play looked best with Step Miller Kreider and Staal moving the puck around with each other. And one more thing: McD is pointless in the first 8 games of the season with a -2 rating. He's working hard and doing solid defensively (had a few lapses throughout the season which is expected), but with his performance last year I'd expect more from him.
@ChrisP That ship has sailed my friend.
@ShreddyMercury So if Del Zotto, Bickel, Stralman and Gilroy all suck who do you consider the top 4 defensemen on this team?
@Scott_from_Jersey Richter was terrible at handling the puck also.
@Brianreich94 Torts said after the game Kreider and Miller were going to take people's jobs, so you may be right.
@traderserge How did I miss that?!?!?!
@chetti Very good points. I have been pleasantly surprised by both Halpern and Pyatt. I don't know why, but the team seems to be playing tentatively, like they are just trying to avoid mistakes. Unless guys like Kreider, Nash, Hagelin, etc are skating with the puck they seem to be so slow which allows the opposition to get back on defense. I wouldn't be surprised if Torts has something to do with this.
Torts post game message was clear: play well or someone else will play instead of you. With all these hungry young guys dying to get ice time, some of the vets will be sitting.
I think they need to stop putting 3 skilled players on 1 line. It doesn't work. Each line should have guys who can dig in the corner and keep the play alive. I would not play Gaborik, Richards and Nash together. Split them up like he did in periods 2 and 3.
Finally, losing Prust is not the reason why this team is struggling. Asham has played well in a similar roll.
@chetti Hope you keep commenting with insight like that. Welcom aboard.
@mprestop think he plays on Sunday if we lose tomorrow
@kicker75 Also looks like the Rangers got rid of the wrong bash brother. Would much rather have Prust than Boyle right now...
@kicker75 I had high hopes for Halpern coming in...I mean as high a hope you can have for a bottom six guy. At the beginning, he seemed...not great. Couldn't really win a faceoff. But the past few games he has been really fantastic. One of our better forecheckers and penalty killers. And the same goes for Asham. He's much better offensively than I expected, and he started the game off flying for us tonight.
@slapshot13j Agreed. Still time to figure it. My concern is that they don't have the personnel to be the tough, gritty team as last year. A lot of the grinders are gone.
@JoeNYR I see the reasoning behind it, but not sure how Lundqvist would take that. The last thing Torts needs to do is piss him off.
@JoshKaye I've mentioned it once before on the blog, but is there anyway the punishment McD took last year is affecting him this year? Guy laid it all on the line.
@Beckfan5 Obviously del Zaster is the 4th despite my distaste for his skills. Look he has flashes of brilliance yes, but how many times are we going to watch the other team score goals because of his mistakes?
I'm not saying those other D-men suck, I'm just saying that there is significant drop off in talent from the top 4 to them. I'm more worried about the lack of scoring.
Thank you for the kind words.
I agree with your point of splitting up the first line. The thought and sound of the line looks great on paper, but it is definitely not working as well as we all expected. Id like to see Nash play with some gritty guys as you said who can get in the corners, win battles and feed him pucks.
Nash is a goal scorer, put guys on his line that will give him chances to shoot, and hell score a ton of goals for us.
@KevinDeLury Then isn't it the coaches job to change their identity? And if he can't this year should we try and find someone that can?
Hmm, You're right.
I said this is because Biron was outstanding against Tampa Bay and brough the team some energy, Really underrated goalie IMO.
@KevinDeLury no messier appearance? haha i kid
@slapshot13j I think the team builds an identity from their play on the ice. Torts can only preach so much. Torts ain't going anywhere. Even if they miss the playoffs this year.
@JoeNYR I also think it would send a message to the team not to take Hank for granted. Best effort of the season was behind Biron.
@slapshot13j @KevinDeLury When Gilroy has been our sixth man he has played close to 10 minutes every night. With Girardi down, Bickel as our 6th man didn't get on the ice much which left other guys out there. Gilroy has been a solid 6th man who moves the puck well and hasn't been a liability on defense. When we have Girardi, we have three solid defensive pairs that Torts has shown he has trust in.