During today's very optional practice for the Rangers, Pat Leonard at the Daily News reports that Marc Staal was one of the few Rangers players skating.
...i refuse to get overly-excited about this. Just because he's skating doesn't mean he feels comfortable in game action. Especially against a physical team like the Bruins.
...while I feel the Rangers have been fine defensively without Staal, his ability to carry the puck through the neutral zone is sorely missed especially on the power play where the Rangers have found it very difficult to enter the opponent's zone cleanly.
Meanwhile, it looks like the Bruins backline might be a bit more healthy on Sunday...
...not sure how truthful Julien is being, but I'd kill to see Redden take the spot of any of the three rookies who were on the Bruins blueline last night. All three looked very poised in a tough spot. Although I'd love to see how all three react in what should be a frenzied environment at MSG for Game 3.
Here's John Tortorella earlier today saying he needs more from a lot of players...
To watch at Blueshirts United, click here.
One of those players is obviously Rick Nash (zero goals in the postseason), who had this to say about his line's performance last night (via ESPN.com)...
"At the end of the day, we didn't get the job done."
...i'm completely dumbstruck at this point with Nash's lack of productivity in the postseason. Is he likely banged up? Sure, but it's not like he isn't getting any chances. He really needs to heat up soon or it's going to be a quick exit for the Rangers.
Not worried about Nash as long as he contributes well, makes plays and we win games.Richards is playing like a fourth liner, but he's better than JT Miller or another plug in-makes less mistakes- so thats OK too if we win. Staal is missed badly even tho our dfence is good.With him our dfence is Amazing which is what it has to be, Callahan also needs to give more,he can and has to score.Boyle and Krieder have to find the net also. Zuccs should try shooting more-he tends to look for the snipers-but he has a good shot. We have to get the goals from other people besides Nash and Richards.They'll find the net,especially Nash, but we can't depend on when they do that. Discipline again is key, stay out of the box.
What does Richards contribute to this team? Defense? Hardly. physical play? LOL.. Faceoff wins? Not since last year. Scoring? Nope. Leadership? Not from the 4th line. Shot from point? he never shoots on the pp. speed? Maybe slower than clowe.
It seems that Torts is loyal to a fault. This guy needs to be benched and allow Miller or Newbury to give the rangers a contribution that Bradley cannot.
Took me a while to calm down after that game last night...I was so angry and disgusted on how this Ranger squad performed. No doubt, the worst I've felt about this team all year.
I can't really speak about offense. In my playing days I was brutal offensively. I was a bottom pairing stay at home defensman, occasionally played on the wing, who played a rugged tough style of play. You'll rarely see me be critical of goal scorers, because goal scoring and me...never really mentioned in the same sentence..until now...lol.
I'll post about defense, hitting, fighting, bringing energy...being physical..cause that's what I know.
And in my eyes, how this team came out last night....inexcusable. Everyone knew that Bruins were going to come out flat...and that's exactly what happened. The Rangers had the rare opportunity to out-muscle a more physical club..on the Bruins home ice no less...and not only failed to do so...they came out flatter than the Bruins. They were outworked, outhit and outhusted by a flat Bruins squad that was ripe for the picking. The Bruins came into the series banged up with three young dmen in the line-up. Did we hit them all night long? Nope. They felt nice and comfortable all night.
I've complained about the physicality of this Rangers club all year. Save for a few players...this club would rather skate than hit. And that's not going to get it done in the playoffs.
Things need to get straightened out quick, fast and in a hurry.......
Torts...your team should have hit the ice fired up and ready to go against a team that everybody and their brother knew was going to come out flat. Instead they "outflatted" a flat team.....inexcusable.
Callahan. You're the Captain. You're supposed to lead by example. Playing a flat opponent...you had 3 hits in 26 minutes of ice time? Inexcusable.
The Rangers were credited with 42 hits(a whole lot of love taps were apparently counted)...the third line and Rangers Dmen accounted for 28 of those 42 hits. Everyone else in the line-up...combined...14 hits. Inexcusable.
So, how does Torts fix this? Well, he needs to do what Capuano did in the Isles-Pens series. See the problem/ and fix it quickly. After Game 1, Capuano benched his best defensmen...the swift skating, small Hickey...and put in the slow skating, but tough Carkner.,,(along with another move or two) .
Torts has to break up the "Frankenstein Line"....Kreider...young player still learning how to be physical...also a defensive liability....Richards...a goal scorer who can no longer score, and is a shell of his former self...and a tough guy in Asham. That's our 4th line...and it's not going to work in this series.
My two cents....Richards...benched. Newbury in. Kreider off the 4th line...Haley in.
So now your 4th line is Haley Newbury Asham. That line may not get you goals...but you can count on them..every shift..to be physical and take the body...and we are going to need more hitters and bangers for this series.
And I can't believe I'm going to say this....but I would like to see Kreider stay in the line-up as well. I love Zuccs, but his size is going to be a problem for us this series. I would kick Kreider and his 230lb frame up to the second line....giving us more size. Kreider seems to be coming around a little physically, so I think its worth a shot. I dont feel like watching Zuccs get swallowed up along the boards for the entire series.
Cmon Torts..the buck stops with you. Make the changes that need to be made..and do it quickly.
I believe Nash is pressing a bit but he is still contributing. I think he is hurt too. But I cant for the life in me figure out why they don't even try to do anything different on the PP. All they do is change personnel. If I was the coach I would have scrapped their PP system a long time ago and tried something else. I don't expect them to be a juggernaut on PP but I would take mediocre. It cant be much worse than the 2 for 31 they have now. If that doesn't get fixed they will continue to play close and OT games and rely on one guy Henrik to come up big every night. And on nights when Hank is just really good and not great, the result will be like last night.
Everybody needs to relax. Every goal scorer needs time to figure out the playoffs. From Trottier, Gretzky, Lemieux, all of them struggled at first. Stevie Tzerman was almost run out of Detroit after a 1st rd loss to the Sharks in 94. In the meantime Nash is doing the little things to help us win. His play led directly to 2-GWG. Spare me the Gabby hero worship cause the same guys who r talking about how good he is were killing him last year. So please give enough w-that. Its also amazing how the same guys on here always panick after a loss. Bench this guy trade that guy....blah blah blah blah. Again the same guys were wrote us off after Game-5. Its the Playoffs its up & down & never easy. Thank God Torts & the players aren't like that.
He's not banged up. He just isn't playing playoff hockey. His finesse deke around everyone game does not work in the postseason. He needs to be smarter and he needs to play with more intensity.
I am convinced something is physically wrong with Nash. He is lumbering and looks slow. Knowing Tortorella's edict to say nothing about injuries, I wouldn't be surprised we will find out he is hurt after the playoffs.
The fact that he's banged up doesn't change the fact that the players he's up against are banged up too. GET THE JOB DONE RICK!
Can anyone recall the last time Nash took a hard shot on net? It seems to me, especially on the power play, he doesn't even think about shooting. Pat Leonard said his wrist has been wrapped since mid-season. I think something is very wrong. He's usually willing to rip a shot from the circles from time to time.
Also, I know its against Patrice Bergeron, but Stepan can't go 5 and 14 on face-offs, giving up way to much possesion. We need better at the dot from him, otherwise we did fine on face-offs against the best team in the NHL at them
Players that need to step up:
If these players don't start playing better hockey the Rangers could be out quicker then I anticipated. I expected it from Richards, and honestly dont expect any change in that regard. However, it is highlighted with the lack of production by Cally and Nash, those two really need to step up, and i am not just talking about doing the other things. I really think Cally played one of his worst games last night, so it can only go up from there. As for Nash, he looks better, but the guy needs to score and do it soon.... 8 games in and 0 goals is unacceptable
Well thought out well written. I really agree on Cally. He is the Capt. & far too often he is not ready to play in big games he needed to show fire & leadership. Instead he was lost & he never pays a price.
@McPhee37 It seemed that the Rangers were tired which is hard to fathom; kind of a let down after an emotional come from behind series win - these are suppose to be professionals but I guess we give them one game off to continue building upon what looked like a team finally coming together. I thought Zucc would disappear in the playoffs but so far has continued to be one of our better players, and he threw more hits last night then some of the checkers. though the Brass line needs to change it around a bit as apparently the Bruins know their going to try that cross ice pass everytime that worked for them in the Caps series but they still look good to me as a line. Slump or whatever why is Torts wasting Richey on the 4th line -either play him to score or bench him - though my low opinion of torts has come up a notch during the homestretch this coach remains an enigma to me. Got to adapt more quickly in this lightning fast game of hockey. Boyle 4th line (taking d-zpne faceoffs on the fly) with Pyatt and Asram or Newbury would make sense to me unless they're going to bench Richey, but I can't see that happening. Nash is finally starting to look healthy. We need him to do damage. We won 1 series with no nash goals and a power play percentage equal to the Devils shorthanded goals percentage for the regular season (according to 1 reader here) - 2 would really be pushing our luck. Let's see what we got in game 2.
Well said. It's sooooo frustrating. They have the dumbest PP alignment. Nash in no mans land, Zucc to the goalies right instead of a right handed shot to slam a one timer & a small guy screening the goalie (Cally). It's so pathetic I can't watch anymore!!!!
@AL55S I posted here after game 1 of the Caps series that nashty looks hurt. Got a lot of flack for that one but by the 4th game everyone here was saying "nash is hurt" and that is no excuse and if he can suit up he can score and yada yada but he is skating strong again and shooting and of course we'll never know for sure if he's had an injury as it's part of the game and players have to play through it. Torts seems a bit stubborn to me, like he's trying to prove he's right or something and he becomes slow to adapt compromising his coaching skills. He should be making subtle adjustments every game, especially on the failed power play. Other teams know exactly what they will do on the PP and just wait for them to futilely attempt to execute.
@ThrSage first sensible thing i've read.
@ThrSage Agreed. Fan reaction here has actually served as a source of amusement and a nice outlet after a loss lol - wish I had a dollar for everyone who criticized me for suggesting that we actually could still win without a power play, or a Nash goal. And we did. that's why this is a team sport and for the 1st time this season we came together as a team IMHO. Meanwhile we did take a step back last night but we'll be fired up the rest of the way. Nash has looked better the last couple games, and he had that intimidating look back in his eyes last night which seemed absent against the Caps. He was skating better as well and I;m pretty confident he will score in the next couple games.
@BBJ36 like i have said 100 times, Gaborik played with one arm last year and still had 5 goals including a triple overtime goal!!!! At this time of the season there is no excuse, otherwise you end up on the golf course.... If he doesnt turn it around, that is where we will be because we can't keep going without him, that is a FACT!!!!
@Josh6 I'm not sure what is up with Cally. He didn't look like himself at all last game and he had fewer hits than even Zucc (if I read that stat right) - he's the Capt'n and is tenacious - I think he'll come back strong next game.
@Josh6 Richards wasn't that great during the regular season and has been absolutely brutal in the playoffs. Every time I see him do a blind, behind-the-back pass (often to the opposing team), it makes me want to punch him in the face. After 8 playoff games, Hank has only 1 less point than Richards does.
I agree. Only the simple minded say stuff like "if he suited ip he should score" or "we can't win w-out him scoring". His play led to 2-GWG in the Cap series & he is opening the ice for others. Plus all goal scores need time to figure it out. He should be complimented for his hustle he could be like Ovy or Gabby a guy who sulks when he doesn't score.
@Josh6 @BBJ36 I think you (Josh) were one of the ones who argued with me when I suggested that we can still beat the Caps without a Nash goal or a power play - and we did. Granted we don't want to keep playing these 7 game grinder series if we want to go all the way but just saying. this is a team, not a group of individuals and if Cally, Richey and Nash are not producing other players are picking up their slack. Players slump. Fact. This is what teams do and the Rangers ARE (finally) becoming a team
...and like I've been replying 100 times this whole "if he can lace up he can score" edict is utter nonsense. It depends on the nature of the injury so comparisons to gaby (who btw scored 5 in 20 last playoffs, half his season's production which tailed off markedly toward the end of the season) is ridiculous. Just his presence on the ice helps the team because the opponents have to watch him carefully no matter what because they know how dangerous he is. One thing I'll give you is that during the playoffs there are no excuses - but is Nash making any? Is he hanging his head crying "I'm hurt" or is he suiting up, taping his ailing wrist (and his forehand shot looked harder last game - good sign), healing the possible groin injury and playing the best hockey he can?
Nash 11.9 0.0
Richards 10.0 6.7
Cally 11.1 4.3
Hagelin 7.6 8.7
You would expect to see some drop-off in the postseason due to tighter games and lower scoring but those first 3 guys have really dropped off. Hagelin is a rare bright spot.
@Josh6 Actually he did make several errors that I noticed, and at times looked lost and out of position. I've actually been a supporter during the season, and he seems at his best when he gets nasty - but I'm starting to think I've been wrong.
@Josh6 No glaring errors for MDZ? did you miss the part of the game where Henrik was yelling at him for standing directly in front n shying away from a shot from the point? MDZ had created a screen! He's been awful this post season. I agree with you on Nash but I've lost hope for Richards. I think this it for him. IF by mid season next year he hasn't turn himself around say goodbye. I think Cally is the only out there on the O-line that consistently plays hard each nite. I never worry about his goal productivity because he's not a 40+/season forward. He does so much to make his teammates play better! LGR!
@Josh6 @calithirteen Out of these examples the Gomez signing was the one that made me sick, and I predicted the sad outcome to the tee. Most over rated player ever, and I loved the chemistry between Jagr and Nylander (the guy they let go of to make room for Gomez). Absolutely horrible decision. Drury was unfortunate but I don't fault Slats for signing him. I think Slats has been a bit better with his signings since the Gomez disaster. Richey is over rated as well IMHO, but he was the best free agent in the weakest market in a decade and plus he won under Torts in '94. that combined with his reputation as a set up man made it a logical signing given the fact that Gaby had no one who could get him the puck (and still scored 42), but this season Richey negotiated during the lockout instead of going to Europe to play, is 33 and had personal problems this year. This I believe contributed vastly to his poor season. Between his winning record and his good relationship with Torts I'd be surprised if they bought him out before the end off next season, so if he wants to stay a Ranger he better work hard, show up at camp and revive his career. He's a good player, I'll even give him "very good" but not great IMHO as many believe, and never has been despite his great run in '04
Yeah scratch a proven playoff performer who won a Conn Smythe has the moniker Big Game Brad cause of all the big plays he has made in his career. Yeah bench him for a career minor leaguer who at his best is not as good as Richards at his worst. Good grief u people r crazy!!!!
Josh not sure what game u were watching MDZ was his usual space cadet self last including running to the corner when he was the only one back on a 2 on 1, leaving a Bruin all alone in front. If the pass gets thru the Hank would have been left hung out to dry. I like MDZ but he is an airhead.
@rangersfan Couldnt agree w/ you more. If i had my way Richards would have either been traded or sent to Hartford by midseason. I'm just being realistic: SAther will wait on him to see if his investment turns around especially given the history of Torts and Ricahrds. I disagree w/ you on Kreider. I think he is solid n would be a better player had Torts no gotten into his head. I think Miller would be better off up w/ this team right now instead of Richards
Why wait until mid-season? Our future is Stepan and Brassard in the middle. Richards will never be a 3rd or 4th line guy. There is no seat for him anymore. Arguably, he should be scratched now and insert Newbury and Haley as your 4th line instead of Kreider and Richards
@Josh6 @calithirteen True. Cally did look tires esp on the powerplay. he seems to go thru that a lot during the season. a few games of high production n then flat. MDZ is scaring me the way he is constantly out of postion n dropping to the ice while forwards skate around him.....its like watching peewee hockey. I'm praying he doesnt end up like richards who I agree needs to get gone now! Never have I seen a player of such talent become so obsolete so quickly.
@calithirteen @Josh6 i dont know, he lost the puck so many times last night, and he looked dead in the 3rd period and OT. As for DZ he is a 4th dman and he didnt play great but he was suitable, which is all you can ask for him right now. Definitely better than he played in the first round. Richards should be bought out this season, he is a terrible hockey player.... just awful