Under John Tortorella's defensive system that preached collapsing, cutting off passing lanes and blocking shots with reckless abandon, the Rangers defensemen (minus Del Zotto) thrived. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said under Alain Vigneault.
The defenders have been slow to adopt to his new scheme which stresses outnumbering the opponent in the defensive zone, recover and start the transition or clear the puck out of danger.
And here's the proof according to Steve Zipay at Newsday...
"Marc Staal and Dan Girardi, for example, each is minus-7. Michael Del Zotto is minus-6, Ryan McDonagh minus-5, John Moore minus-4 and Anton Stralman minus-2. Last season, Staal was plus-4, Girardi minus-1, Del Zotto plus-6, McDonagh plus-13, Moore plus-9 and Stralman plus-14."
Here's Vigneault on his defensive unit's latest struggles in St. Louis (via Zipay)...
"I thought our 'Ds' were fighting it a little bit," Vigneault said. "On two of the goals, that was a simple read by the 'Ds'; I'm not quite sure what happened. Those are reads that good players can make and they're good defensemen, so we'll find out on Monday."
...to me the issue seems to be the defensemen are getting caught puck watching. Because this new system calls for the defenders to outnumber the opponent to regain possession in the defensive zone, they've been way too concerned about when they're going to slide over to the puck and are ultimately either going too early or at the incorrect moment, leaving the front of the net wide open. It doesn't help that the forward who is supposed to fill the empty void isn't getting there in time, leading to a number back door layups this early season.
...i've also noticed that the defensemen have been way too aggressive when the puck enters the zone, especially the man on the opposite wing, who's focused on the puck carrier instead of his man driving to the net as seen here by Marc Staal Saturday night...
...and the mistakes aren't just relegated to the defensemen, as the forwards are having their own issues trying to decipher when is the appropriate time to outnumber the opponent as seen by Derek Stepan on this goal in Anaheim when he unnecessarily goes behind the net to aid a defender leaving the slot wide open...
...i think once the defenders get more comfortable with when to jump the puck to create the mismatch AV is looking for in the defensive zone, you'll see a much more sound defense going forward. Then we'll just have to worry about the Rangers goaltenders actually making some saves.
LOL, you're a poet and didn't know it, Rose! I think it's a bunch of factors with the team...hopefully we see a turn around tomorrow night
Maybe if they played the man and not the puck they might have more luck. OH look I rhymed it!! It is silly just to blame MDZ... Stralman sucked last year but he pulled his head out of his ass. Girardi and McD need to step it up a few notches. It is not all MDZ's fault.
@TheNYRBlog goal tending has been a little weak as well .
Cant stand vigneoult saying well find out monday?? wtf? you cant find out when they get off the ice right then and there? he makes it like the video will tell him everything, isnt that why hes the coach, so he can correc shit on the fly without studying film 2 days later. Get you head out of your ass alain , your in NY
they played top 5 teams in the west with horrible goaltending, a new system , no preseason, no home games . We are used to them playing 1 goal games in the torts/renney system , we need to get more used to 3 goal losses but also 3 goal wins in the near future. Lets go rangers!!!
hate to say it but didnt it look like staal just didnt see him? i love him to death but to think he can play top end NHL defense with half vision is foolish. I hope maybe he gets used to it, but it was scary to watch that because thats definitely what happened. More then the defensive lapse i worry about him getting lined up and hit real hard, already has a concussion. STOP THE BITCHING EVERYONE PLEASE! wait til hags and nash get back and we will see where we are at. They are a call up or trade away from being right where we want
Most of the bad goals were allowed off the rush like the 1st one by St Louis (Steen). Staal let him go right around him to the net. The goal against the Ducks (Perry) as well. He went right around McDonagh. I don't understand how or if AV has different coverage schemes on rushes like that but I'd think its pretty basic. The defense has been pretty bad.
Don't panic its early and there is too much talent on this team so after the first 20 games then you can evaluate this team new coach isn't easy to adapt to his x and o's of his style easy does it
this blog is almost becoming unvisitable (that a word) due to the amount of ads that constantly crash my internet browser and iphone. I understand why it is the way it is and if it weren't for great content, I would be long gone.
Lol struggling defense and delzaster is the picture. Doesn't matter what system it is, that kid would struggle playing defense if we had 8 guys on the ice at a time
Good read. I think you can also blame the defensemen struggles on the forwards as well. You mentioned they're not getting back in time. Under Torts, they collapse mentality. AV is trying to get them to be more of an offensive zone, puck possession team. When they struggle and lose the puck in the offensive zone, they'rte having trouble getting back in time. They'll all figure it out.
I think they looked good against the Blues. The Blues are arguably the best team in the west, and we stayed with them for the whole game. That 2nd period was as good as we can play.
Oh, I wish Michael Sauer was still on this team. Just out of curiosity. Any update on him? I'm sure his hockey career is over, but is he doing ok in general day to day in life? (unlike say Marc Savard)
Great article Kev. Couldn't agree more with this. What we're seeing is the growing pains associated with a new system. Its an adjustment for these guys, but it will improve.
Well dmen like Moore and Staal are struggling at times cause they have had to cover for and play with Del Zotto most of the season so far. He is a joke....
@jp41 quit bitching, dude puts alot of work into this.
@jp41 Yeah, I'm thinking about shutting some of them off. Which ones specifically are the most annoying?
@gravey94 Agreed. Too many turnovers as well.
@shoot_the_goalie No longer part of the team as he wasn't signed this offseason. No one's heard a peep from him. Very sad.
No weasel. It was just given to him. He has the best shot on the blue line. His mins have gone up too.