Larry Brooks at the New York Post feels that the Rangers are lacking the defensive structure that defined the team last season.
Here's Ryan Callahan on that subject...
“The defensive structure is definitely a concern. It has to be better. We know that the foundation works. It was the basis of our success last year, but we haven’t been the same tight unit that we need to be."
John Tortorella says the team is looking at tape to correct the defensive deficiencies.
...while I agree with Brooks and Callahan regarding the defensive structure, the lack of physicality is more of a concern for me. If you look at the current unit, not one of them (maybe McDonagh) is physically intimidating. Which is why, and I hate to say it, it might be time to put Bickel back in the line-up.
...last season, he was more than serviceable, while bringing a physical edge that opponents needed to be aware of. But then he makes one turnover in the playoffs against the Senators, Torts benches him and he hasn't been the same players since. Gilroy has been better than expected, but building up Bickel's confidence by getting him back in the line-up is probably best for the Rangers in the long run. If opponents fear going to the goal, it makes it that much easier to defend.
...and for those of you looking for the Rangers to bring up McIlrath, kid isn't even close to being NHL ready yet.
Besides upping their physical toughness, everybody, mainly the kids, need to develop more mental toughness. It is absurd that a benching should shake a professional athletes confidence, because you're going to face much greater challenges on your way to winning anything. Toughen up, ladies.
@TheNYRBlog cally and kreider are different players to compare them going up and down to hartford makes no sense .
If you keep changing the defensive pairings they will never get chemistry... need to establish pairings and leave them
@kuriloff -- i don't buy that at all. it's basically been the same group of guys. it's easier to change these defensive pairings than our forwards. Girardi is interchangeable with McDonagh and Staal, and that does not have an adverse effect on the rest of the pairings. D just need to watch out and make sure somebody is back, especially when DZ tries to force the issue and gives the opponent a 2 or 3 on 1 ... which he does on an almost nightly basis.
Forget the defense....how many more years could our PP just absolutely suck!! Can we get an offensive minded coach on the bench. Sully MUST go!
Rangers have little choice but to bring back Bickel, unless they can find a physical defenseman elsewhere. As mentioned a few weeks back, I saw McIlrath play in Hershey and I was extremely disappointed. He's at least another year or two away. The Rangers look soft as a team and, if the Rangers get into the playoffs (which is not assured right now) a team like Boston will run them out of the building. Yes, the Rangers won two out of three this year. The playoffs are quite another matter, however.
In his 51 games last year, exactly half of them he played more than 10+ minutes in (and we're not talking 10:02). Heck, with DZ out last March he played over 20 minutes two nights in a row! (And no, I didn't know that off the top of my head - wrote about this last week so did some research on it lol.) I really want to go back and watch games at the end of the year and playoffs to figure out where Torts lost trust him.
Right now, like the rest of the team, it's just mental. I'm guessing Torts is afraid to let him make a mistake in such a short season but I agree he may need to get back in.
"Which is why, and I hate to say it, it might be time to put Bickel back in the line-up."
Gee, didn't I get railed for suggesting that against Boston the other night???
@Beckfan5 Totally railed.
@_Jack Like prostitute.
@Beckfan5 Not the perfect solution, but we quickly forget how good he was last year with 10+ minutes of ice time a night.
@KevinDeLury @Beckfan5 and then, in the playoffs, he was standing in place as senators skated around him. Tough as nails but his lack of mobility is a massive liability.
@KevinDeLury I know!
Just like how most of the fans lately have forgotten Prust since they've been winning.
This is something that allot of us have been saying so this season.......Guys park in front of our goalie like they're setting up for a picnic., and our dee zone coverage hasn't been good.......Gotta also start taking away the neutral zone..........
@TheNYRBlog maybe but in the words of chuck he's #turrrrrrrrrible right now. Gilroy has played well too
@TheNYRBlog no way, would rather have 6 dmen play a full game the Bickel for 5 mins through 2 periods.
@TheNYRBlog physicality,,, hmmmmm,,, how bout McIlrath? The 6th defenseman hasn't been playing much anyway.