As was mentioned on the blog yesterday, a concern for the Rangers going into the season is a carry over of the lack of toughness the team displayed last season.
After stating that right now there's no indication that it will be a problem (although he did say he could change his mind), Alain Vigneault added that similar to his time with the Canucks a good power play could be used to push back against opponent's physicality...
"Are we going to have a push back with our power play? I'm going to get to know this group and I think we have the potential to have a good power play. I also feel looking at some of our people, that we have size and physicality. And it doesn't have to be through fights. It's by being strong on the puck. By protecting the puck. By finishing checks when you have the opportunity."
....not everyone is going to agree with me on this, but I couldn't be more disappointed with this answer. I know AV has stated he didn't want to look at tape from last year as not to have preconceived notions about players before seeing them in person, but I think by not doing that he's missed a big reason why this team was so easy to play against last year. Lack of toughness.
...is he right by saying an effective power play will all but end teams taking liberties against Rangers players? Absolutely. But that only works when the other team is penalized. Being strong on the puck and finishing checks isn't going to deter a team from legally being physical with the Rangers skilled players. You think the Bruins are going to stop running Nash because Boyle finishes a check? LOL! At some point, there has to be a push back through fighting. Not only does that send a message to the opposition and the rest of the NHL not to mess with players such as Nash, it also builds chemistry and a sense of closeness within the team similar to what we saw with the 2011-12 Rangers.
...and it's not so much what AV said, it's what he didn't say. It would have been nice to hear AV proclaim that this Rangers team will not under any circumstances allow themselves to be pushed around the way they were last season. And if any team did, his players would make sure it would never happen again. BOOM!!!!!!
Here's AV's entire press conference...
To watch at Blueshirts United, click here.
Wow, the 2nd PRESEASON game and you guys are climbing over each other to damn this team to last year's fate! Everybody take a deep breath...
We all know the Rangers have a long way to go but we have to give it a little time. Change of system, of emphasis from defense to offense. And from crazy coach to not crazy coach, it won't happen overnight. But without Tortorella's "I'm patient but I am not really patient" Dog House, these guys are going to be able take some chances and build their confidence.
Stop worrying and be excited! Just 16 days to go!
Wow he didn't watch the Boston series. Lack of team toughness hurt us big time. Even through out the year. This is why the burins are one of the toughest teams to play against. Their pp is good. They can play d. They can score. They can hit and fight. You need a balanced team. Wait till Nash gets knocked out with a head injury for 3 months see how well the PP does. Unreal I hate coaches who talk like that. Anyone who's played hockey would know when your going into a game against a small sized skilled team you don't worry about a couple of 6'4 220 monsters running you through the boards. A lot easier to go into the boards and fight for pucks. Easier to attack the net knowing no one will fight you.
I don't disagree with what you're saying, and it may fall on the shoulder of Ryan Callahan and Ulf Samuelson to explain the AV the whole blueshirt = blue collar relationship. But on the flip side, you can't disagree with the fact there were probably more than a few coaches who, by the tail end of last year, didn't mind one of their guys taking a "bone-head" penalty against us, because there was really no consequence. Your example of the Bruins is perfect. If I'm Claude Julien in the 2nd round, I'm begging Milan Lucic to go take a run at Rick Nash, the worst thing that could happen is Lucic gets 2 minutes to catch his breath, Julien has to play his 3rd and 4th line penalty killers, and his goalie (finally) might get to see some action.
I just think of all the times where I wish one of our guys would cross check Sidney Crosby, or throw Malkin head first into the board, and then I realize too many of those and they'd kill us with their PP. I wouldn't mind being the team with the good PP for a change.
Unfortunately we all are afraid of just how bad our PP could be, so we'd hate to go into a game against a physical opponent with neither...
I would take having a resemblance of a power play over toughness any day of the week.... but the thing is we don't have a good power play and probably never will since we continue to not have that big shot back at the point or a "QB".
Therefore, the only way to counteract a bad PP, is to have a very physical team and one of the best penalty kills in the league (for example the Bruins). One thing that went pretty unnoticed last year was the drop off in our PP... it quite simply stunk.... 14th or 15th in the league is not nearly good enough, especially when your PP is bottom 5 in the league. Hopefully AV can get it back into shape... we have Boyle and Cally which is a given, then hopefully Stepan (contracts pending) and Lindberg or even Kreider (love his speed and size for the PK) but he has to get way tougher.
Whoever it is I think our PK has to be way better
what i watched far too much last season was bad d zone coverage; giveaways by a sub par d group; bad penalties and the worst PP I have ever seen...plus I watched Torts completely destroy a 40 goal scorer and then trade him, bring in a legitimate superstar and ruin him too...and when Staal went down, defensively, we never recovered...
The toughness that I'm talking about it is purely for the regular season. It goes out the window in the playoffs when fighting is non-existent. It may not be a popular opinion, but I think if the Rangers want to be successful they need to send a message that they won't be pushed around the way they were last season.
last year had nothing to do with toughness and all to do with Torts and his wearing out his welcome. team under achieved in all areas including between the pipes...can we give AV a break and all regroup after 20 games?
At lot of interesting points made from both sides of the argument. My love affair with what Prust brought was that he made the Rangers a team to be reckoned with. I am old enough to remember the beating that Dave Shultz put on Dale Rolfe many, many years ago. I was never more embarrassed to be a NYR's fan and I never, ever forgot that fight, which is why I hate the Flyers so much to this day. I never, ever want to see the Rangers become a team of puss&*^! like they did back then. Check out the old video and you'll understand my comments and why I feel so strongly about this point.
Oh, yeah, Brandon Prust. Yeah, he was HUGE for the Canadiens last season on their march to win the Cup. Oh, wait! They didn't! They were defeated in five games by the Senators in the first round. It wasn't the "toughness" that got the Bruins barely out of the first round against Toronto. It was Toronto's poor defensive play, and the fact that the Bruins suddenly remembered how to score. And all their *toughness* couldn't help them against Chicago, who just decided to out score the Bruins in order to win a Cup, instead of fighting them. And, on another note, the Rangers were one of the *toughest* teams in the league in 2011-2012. Nobody disputed their *toughness*. Nobody. No team. And for all that *toughness*, I seem to recall it was the L.A. Kings who won the Cup after defeating the Devils, not the Rangers. The Rangers need to be able to take hard hits as well as dish them out. But if that's all you've got, (which some "fans" seem to think is all they need), you'll remain an also-ran, which is just what the Rangers are right now.
Richards scoring over 60pts, Gaborik with 40 goals and Callahan with a career high in goals had more to do with the success of 2012 than fighting.
don't worry we have Zuc! you remember that stare he gave to Parros!? nobodies going to be taking liberties with us as long as that mean mug is around!
I think you are looking too deep into this quote he said "It doesn't have to be through fighting" In no way does that say the Rangers won't fight or won't be tough.
Rangers led the league in fighting majors in 2011-12 and were the best team in the East. Bottom of the league last year and had to fight (no pun intended) to make the playoffs.
i haven't looked at or listened to the press conference but i agree with your last two paragraphs 100%.
If they score at 40 - 50% clip then I guess he will be right..if they languish at under 20%, then teams will do what they always do to the Rangers and that is challenge them physically. This is nothing new. BTW who are the undersized skilled players on our team that we need to worry about? Hagelin? Don't include Callahan, as he never needs anyone to "protect" him.
I hear ya on your concern, but that's easily addressable. I just don't think it's this horrifying pressing need that everyone bemoans every single goddamned season. Toughness is useful, yes, but it's lead to Ranger fans romanticizing players and systems that ultimately don't win games. Hitting and fighting are cool but in and of themselves, those weren't the biggest issues with NYR last year. The issues were a silly system where the team collapsed into its own zone and conceded the points, an overemphasis on shot blocking (which injures players and screens the goalie), and giving too much icetime to overrated crap like Boyle. the offense (especially the power play) are far more pressing concerns than "dropping the gloves."
The Bruins Physically dominated the Cup Finals against AV's Canucks . And the Bruins had one of the leagues worst PP that year . By the end of that series the Sedin twins couldn't get rid of the puck quick enough .
Wait, WHAT? A powerplay is the perfect antidote to ruffian teams - it penalizes them WHERE IT MATTERS, on the score board. Contrary to popular belief, toughness doesn't win games, at least not directly....goals do. Standings points aren't awarded for the toughest team.
Pansy. At the risk of starting the old "here we go again," the Rangers haven't been the same since Prust left. Gutless wonders ever since.
@award Trust me, I'm not trying to say the sky is falling, but I was disappointed in his answer. I don't care how long it is into AV's tenure I can still disagree with something he says.
@GLENsatherVSglennDANZIG That was my favorite moment of the playoff run last year....since the goal scoring and PP were not very memorable to say the least.
If only Dan Girardi could fight. Big G doesn't even feel pain. He's the peaceful terminator.
@GLENsatherVSglennDANZIG Totally forgot about that. Disregard above post. lol