In the first few weeks of the season, the Rangers could barely complete a pass, now they have Mats Zuccarello working his Hobbit magic to drop ridiculous dimes like this...
...there's not too many players in the league with the creativity and/or skill to even attempt a pass like that. Unreal.
...if you've been reading this blog for awhile, you know I was vehemently against the Rangers originally signing Zuccarello in 2010. And while I was initially correct with my skepticism, his second run on Broadway has forced me to do a 180. The kid has turned into one of the better play makers in the NHL, who won't back down from anyone. Just ask George Parros.
...when the Kreider-Stepan-Zuccarello line is given space, there's not many teams in the league who are going to be able to stop them. The issue now, will be when an opponent is able to neutralize their speed as the Ducks did the other night, can they make the proper adjustments. We shall see.
And while that line gets all the glory, one player who continues to put his head down and get the job done is Brian Boyle, who has easily had the most under-rated season of any Ranger player this year.
He wins faceoffs (57%), he does a tremendous job on the penalty kill, he forechecks and finally, last night, he was rewarded with his first goal of the season...
...i'm always baffled when Rangers fans lump Boyle in with Pyatt's awfulness. Yes, they're both big, slow players who rarely use their size to dominate physically. However, as I mention above, Boyle does the little things that teams need to win in the NHL. Not everyone needs to score, but everyone does need to know their role and execute it perfectly. Which is exactly what Boyle is doing.
Reader Annoying Joe snapped this pic of Boyle celebrating after his goal last night...
Kreider is the catalyst for that line and his speed and physicality creates the space for Zucc and step to work their magic. If CK keeps up his performance that line will continue to produce and be a devastating second line for this team!
Id like to see hank signed for 5 at top pay then go back to the table for 3 or 4 at a reduced rate . Not that he dont deserve 9mill a yr but . In a cap word , at if u wanna win superstars are going to have to agree on less money and have some loyalty for the betterment of the team , And honestly would it really be such a big difference financially if you made 7 mill instead of 9 mill for 3 or 4 years ? And have a shot at a cup ?
Like Zucc and dont understand the fans who want him gone, cuz his consistent good playmaking outshines his small stature and getting knocked around .That said, he has to finish. Thats what its all about. in NHL world. Doesn't have anything to do with his size, the same rules apply to everyone.You have to score some goals to stay on the top lines in the NHL.He has to get that puck in the net.
My internet cut out so I missed the Stepan goal and intermission. Shitty NBC never even mentioned it the rest of the game. Too busy worshipping a spoilt child and committing war crimes against the English language.
Glad to see Cally back. It was getting a little sick that Zucc was throwing the hardest body checks on the team
It was a great pass. You rarely see guys try the pass to open ice, which is weird, because it's so effectve. Players must not be trained to do it.
Starting to see a team move the puck real well, I don't remember watching a Ranger team pass that well since the Czechs and here i thought it was the ice. Also guys looking for space to shoot around the net not just crashing and shots, lots of shots....great . In past Hank would keep the team in the game and they would take maybe 2-1 win away, This could be promising and if this Coach can keep it consistent he would deserve a lot of credit even with his love for you know who..
One thing that i did not realize and was mentioned last night is that 15 contracts are up at the end of the season, if this team continues to play well it could make for interesting time for fan favorite Sather
WOW...relax! All he did was throw a bloop pass into the open space. Very much like a soccer play. It worked out well, but come on..."not too many people in the league"....people mentioning him in the same sentence as Gretzky now? Get a grip. It makes us sound like silly fan boys.... I'm all for blindly loving the team but let's not chuck our hockey brains out the window.
I know we're all excited after a win but let's keep it real peeps.
Over the past 5 games, the Zucc-Stepan-Kreider line has combined for 18pts (6g, 12a)
There's a reason why I've been representing with my Zucc jersey since 2010
Totally agree about Boyle. He's a player I've admired for a long time. He gets grief from many fans because he's not a big playmaker and much of what he does goes unnoticed. The Rangers would be a worse team without him.
I've been saying that about Boyle for the last two weeks... I completely agree.. And like Lucic he performs better in the playoffs. The rangers absolutely must resign him this off season. Letting him go would be the equivalent too if not worse than letting prust go
That's why half this fan base is a disgrace. They will throw the team under the bus every chance they get. No faith. They don't bleed blue. Let's Go Rangers. Believe
Dead on about Boyle. He's been really good all year and is a very valuable player for this team, it was nice to see him get rewarded for his effort last night.
THANK YOU for someone finally showing some appreciation for Brian Boyle. You can also add: plays physically, stands up for teammates when needed, plays strong defensively, and shows up bigtime in the playoffs.
And loving that Zucc is getting some love. Aside from his amazing hands that are finally getting a chance to flourish he's shown a surprising amount of willingness to both hit and stand up for himself.
I've been defending this kid up and down this blog since he was resigned. "He's too small. He disappears in the playoffs. He loses all the board battles etc etc. BS!!! There are subtleties that many miss but hea got guile and how many times does he allow himself to be in a situation where his size disadvantages him. He does not hold the puck. Does not over stick handle and does not get trapped hardly ever. And he hardly gets hit even though I'm sure opponents want to check his little ass into next Tues. he does surprisingly well in the corners as he's quick on the puck and is a nasty little MFer. His game is direct North South. Quick passes. When a pass isn't there he dishes to the point and commits few errors. Has Gretsky like vision even if not quite the skills, but those passes. Tape to tape over sticks from impossible angles. He's only a notch or 2 under the great one. Still needs to finish more. Work on his D and muck but what a steal. Go Frodo!!
@omnishambles2013 "...committing war crimes against the English language." If you're referring to Doc Emmerich, I'm right there with you. Hilarious.
8 are RFA contracts and of those 2 are Mash and Falk. Need t ensure Kreider and JMoore get locked up. Other RFAs (Zucc, Talbot, MDZ, Brassard) have reasons for/against signing and will come down to cap increase and rest of this year performance.
There are also 8 UFA contracts - players were Rangers could easily lose (no offer sheet match). Oviously top 2 that need to be signed in this category are Hank and Cally. In the 'let walk' category of UFA are DMoore, Pyatt and Pouliot. In the 'maybe/maybe not' category are Girardi, Sralman and Boyle (need to have a reasonable value signing for these I'd guess).
Saucer pass was necessary on that play to get over sticks AND lead the players and it was a perfect saucer pass. You'd be surprised how many NHL players can't make that pass. I don't know much about soccer - maybe it's an easier pass there
@AveryYesBettmanNo Ha! I actually coach my daughter's soccer team and as soon as he made that pass I made her watch the replay and explained that's exactly what they need to do in he soccer games...pass to an area and let her teammate run to the ball. Very astute observation on your part, but the pass was nicely executed for sure.
@AveryYesBettmanNo Dudes got great vision. He is just dropping gems all over the ice. The dude just serves fresh sauce, all day.
I'm pretty sure he played soccer too. I remember reading a story where he had to choose between playing for the Norwegian soccer and hockey teams (the tryouts conflicted). I think he made the right choice
@KreiderisTheChosenOne I'd be shocked if Hank is back in there. Rangers finally have a capable backup. Need to use him to keep Hank fresh.
@KreiderisTheChosenOne Yeah, he's the prototypical, you don't know what you got till it's gone player.
@jasonshyer I've never been critical of Brian (though I am the one who coined the nickname "leadfoot" lol) but last year was brutal at times. I;ve liked his game from the getgo this season
@Betweentheworlds "He's only a notch or 2 under the great one"...If your definition of a "notch" is not even close, then your right ;-) Come on now. He makes nice passes for sure, sees the ice well, and I like his game, but he's nowhere close to an elite player, never mind even in the same universe as Gretz. But to be fair, nobody was or ever will be in that universe. Everything else you said is on point.
3 games is a long way from capable. And hank is in vezina form now. Also a win puts us back at .500 tonight. It's a must win. Honestly I play talbot against Florida on sunday
@Hotfreak I think they should sign him too if the money is right, for every reason mentioned - particularly that he does not disappear in the playoffs. That said, the reason why he gets criticized is valid. He is a huge man. That is nothing to do with skill. While it is unreasonable to expect him to crush everything all the time it IS reasonable to expect him to physically dominate any area of the ice he is in - and that does not happen. Accepting this is like accepting Hagelin not skating fast every shift. You've got to use what God gives you man, otherwise people are going to notice.
@KreiderisTheChosenOne Talbot has been playing well and helped win a couple games. Why throw him in only for the soft games? Give him some real important minutes and give him a chance to show his teammates he doesn't need softies. That can pay off in the long run--especially if Hank gets injured.
@KreiderisTheChosenOne All fair points. I'm not going to go crazy either way.
@gravey94 @Betweentheworlds let's just say that particular play was very Gertsky-esque and it's not the 1st time Zucc has made plays to open ice to lead a team mate but of course he couldn't even put a pimple on the Great One's behind. Not yet anyway. He's got a ways to go but great vision and passing skills are a good start.
@gravey94 also I was just referring to his passing skills in the comparison to the great one as well as his vision
@gravey94 @Betweentheworlds @Hotfreak You are correct - I did the math wrong but that is pretty damn close especially with one of those 2 players chronically injured - and it might be interesting to note that Lemieux scored .75 goals per game and the great one scored .60. Yes of course injuries are a part of the game but my point being that what Lemieux did in a career marred by cancer and chronic back issues is every bit as astounding as what the Great One did, who enjoyed a relatively injury/illness free career. There is no argument that Gretzky is the man but what if Mario was healthy during his career? Would he have gotten the same recognition?
@Betweentheworlds @gravey94 @Hotfreak Actually, Lemieux had 1,723 points in 915 games (1.88 per game). #99 had 2,857 in 1,487 games (1.92 per game). Gretz has more assists than any player in the history of the league has points. Oh and he also had close to 900 goals. Lemieux is definitely a top 5 all-time, but there's Gretz and then everyone else. Hell, Gretz is a top 3 player in sports, period. Also, part of being a legend is longevity. Lemieux's Hodgkin's and back problems were terrible, but it's part of life. What would Orr have been if he didn't have bumb knees, or Koufax if he pitched another 10 years, or Bo Jackson if he didn't have a bad hip, or Griffey Jr? Health is a big part of legends.
@gravey94 @Hotfreak @BetweentheworldsIf you compare the careers of Gretz and Lemieux, even with Mario's
Hodgkin's Disease, back problems etc. he still put up more points per
game than Gretz. Granted Gretz's career carried into the grab and trap
era but still if Lemieux had stayed healthy he would have been considered on the same plateau as the great one and personally when he was in his prime I thought he was if anything even better. different style so hard to compare but he was a big guy who could take the body, protect the puck and outmuscle people with a scoring prowess on par with the great one and passing skills that were not too shabby either