Still, the fact that the very next game happens to be one where Stepan conducts a blitzkrieg of offensive outpouring, scoring a goal and adding two primary assists on his way to the First Star, is pretty awful luck. Stepan's been playing better in recent games and a regression to the mean was inevitable, but for him to unleash like that the very next day... Oh, poor Kevin. Not that he'll be disappointed.
Anyway, Stepan gets and deserves the headlines for an exceptional performance and one he was well overdue for. But this was a fantastic game from pretty much everyone in a Ranger jersey. True team effort. It's a group that looked - and has looked - so finetuned and well organized that it's almost unthinkable that they were a dysfunctional mess weeks ago. Have they found their footing or is this 7-2-1 streak simply a nice stretch in what will end up an otherwise irrelevant season? We'll see. For now, let's just enjoy the ride and what has been some successful and entertaining hockey. Keep reading for some more
drunk in-depth thoughts of mine.
Cam Talbot: The "goaltending controversy" was stupid and irrational and non-existent from the beginning. Talbot knows his role, and that's behind Henrik Lundqvist. Still, that's not a knock at Talbot's ability or his importance to the team. Today's game was kind of a microcosm of Talbot's short NHL career. He's not going to wow you or make a ridiculous run of saves, but he does his job, stays in control when the team is on its heels, and ultimately does more than enough to put your team in a place to win the game. The Rangers did a great job of limiting the Senators' top weapons, but 29 saves on 30 shots is no sleepwalk performance. In a salary cap world you have to squeeze value out every roster spot and particularly can't afford to spend chunks of cap space on the back-end of your roster. Talbot's been a very good backup, which in itself is great. But there is no overstating how paying a goaltender of his caliber $562K through next season is a big deal when most teams are paying between $1-2 million for similar or worse performance.
Rick Nash: There's been a lot of wondering what has been wrong with Rick Nash. Maybe he was battling injuries. Maybe he had mental roadblocks. Maybe he was doing something technically wrong. I don't know. What I do know is that most concern was overblown because most of his bad games could be written up to bad luck, and regression to the mean was inevitable. A beautiful snipe tonight gives him five goals in his last seven games. There's your regression to the mean. Stepan, Nash, and Lundqvist have shown that, while you can make adjustments, sometimes the best cure for poor play is time. Eventually things have a way of reaching equilibrium. Six shots for Nash, the great goal, and a positive Corsi. This team is tremendously deprived of shooters and, even if it's unfair, the Rangers need Nash to take on a heavy load. He wasn't doing it in November. He is in January.
Mats Zuccarello: Look, I'm a journalist in training and one of the biggest parts of that is maintaining objectivity. But how can you not fall in love with Mats Zuccarello? The guy is an Oompa Loompa but finds ways to bounce off defenders and make plays. He takes no abuse from anyone and will dish out a slash or facewash (if he can reach) whenever someone takes a liberty. And he makes plays. Though Chris Phillips didn't exactly have his best moment, Zuccarello made a great read to force the takeaway and put his signature deke on Anderson to seal the game. He was credited with three hits. He was part of the unit that really limited Karlsson and Michalek at even strength. The points are a focal point and they need to be, but he's really turned into a well-rounded player. And the Rangers are paying him with shoe strings and whatever change Glen Sather has in his pockets that day. He's now tied for 49th in the NHL in points. He's going to get a nice paycheck this summer and it's going to be well deserved.
Ryan McDonagh: Another assist. Another 22+ minutes of shutting down the team's top line. Credit is shared with Girardi, but McDonagh has been and will continue to be the team's most important defenseman. Bobby Ryan, who is top-45 in the NHL in shots, was held to only one today. Kyle Turris only had two. McDonagh is, if not the best shutdown defenseman in the NHL, pretty damn close. And the assist tonight ties him for 13th among defensemen in points. He absolutely deserves to be in the Norris discussion.
Brad Richards: A strong game for Richards. He got the tying goal for the Rangers on the PP and earned five total shots. He held his own in the faceoff circle against a tremendous faceoff center in Jason Spezza. Richards has broken into the top 45 in points, with 36 in 50 games. Maybe those aren't the elite numbers you want from a guy with a $6.66M cap hit, but he's a big asset to this team and certainly a world away from last year's disaster.
My head hurts and I'm hungry. You get the idea. A great team effort and the team's best players played like the best players. Also a strong showing from Staal, Del Zotto, and Stralman. Pouliot and Brassard made things happen alongside Zuccarello and Captain Taco in particular had six hits. They were the team's best line in terms of Corsi. I'm sure if you nag Kevin he'll give you a reason the #CarcilloAffect was important. The Rangers get right back at it tomorrow night at MSG against the Capitals. It's an important divisional matchup; the Rangers have three points on the Caps but have also played two more games. A lot at stake, or at least as much as you can expect in January. I'm going to make some tortilla pizzas. Feel free to leave some comments or laugh at Kevin or both.
Post game talk:
Follow Me On Twitter: @Herman_NYRBlog
What a great game. Solid all the way down the roster, key contributions from all, many of which wouldn't show up in stats. Overall, despite going down a goal early, this team just kept going at it. This is becoming the norm. Me likes the norm.
I' m sorry I got to give credit where credit is due and that is to coaching. I was ready to blow up this team a couple times and other times amazed how well they played but lately the consistency of play especially defense of different teams and decision making with puck is showing me that they are well prepared. They controlling games, putting big numbers of shots up and exciting to watch.
This guy had the patience to work with and stick with the guys he had and I am still traumatized by the Pyatt experiment. He had the balls to play a rookie goaltender while sitting a just sighed big contract goalie. He has them playing aggressive on both ends of the ice all game. Some may see a lack of passion but the guy is going about his business and getting results.
I still think they could use a Clowe or Lucic type who can play and protect and as fan i reserve the right to be a asshole and change my mind but right now hats off to AV. He is making this team very enjoyable to watch.
Phew, finally a real game recap. That idiot DeLury has the hockey sense of an infant and couldn't write his way through a tissue.
That said, I see no smart reason to trade either goalie. Therefore, I think jvr's idea is ill-considered (but not in such polite words.)
Hank has a no trade claus and if we trade one of the best cost/performance back ups in the league who will we have as a back up???
Either trade Talbot or Lundquist...your gonna get some serious talent for one of those two....Most likely Talbot will get traded
McGrattan will be wearing a New York Ranger's jersey soon.... seems we get most of the big heavyweights - Booggard, Scott, Brashear, Orr, Shelly...
http://www.tsn.ca/videohub/?collection=72&show=277714 TORTS BEING TORTS. unreal
Canucks and Flames.......
Give Torts credit....Flames came out at puck drop looking to intimidate....McGrattan, Westgarth...etc.
A team, comes into your house.....YOUR HOUSE....and starts that kind of line.....you better make a last second line change....and get your tough guys out there. Never, under any circumstance do you back down from that type of challenge....not when your at home......NEVER.
I used to love games like that......because you knew it was going to be on the the second the puck drops.....you pair up as soon as you can.....and start throwing.
So.....Torts....you get a "Thata boy" from me.
And Sather....could you please trade for McGrattan.....he is an absolute monster....I dont care if you play him 5 minutes a night.......he is a true enforcer....a true deterrent.
Finally went over to Reddit and read the thread over there. Whatever. Keep up the good work Kevin, and nice write up Herman.
Considering he's almost 100 percent going to a healthy scratch his entire time in Sochi, you're totally right!
We've all made mistaken observations about players performances. But at least you gave your honest opinion.... Stepan could also have had a lousy game... who could have guessed.... Anyone can be a Monday morning quarterback. Keep up your provocative journalism and thanks for your video highlights!
To excuse most of Nash's poor performance earlier this season as "bad luck" is just plain silly; hopefully the suthor's observations will improve, his own regression to the mean.
Look at his goals scored last season, most if not all were scored with the opposing goalie either totally out of the crease and out of position or simply just a wide open net.
I understand. If it is that easy, we may need to call upon you again if production slows for some of the key players. LOL.
Reddit also doesn't like it when people post about how the opponents weren't exactly the hardest to play against. I see my friend's comment was downvoted to the point it's hidden bc it was true (Sens weren't playing well from their 1st period penalty box parade, to third period). All rainbows and butterlies over there at the moment.
@HotfreakAdmit it, you have a crush on Kevin.
@genetics73 jvr is probably some dim-witted 17 year old who feels surfing the net is more important than school. Trading a great tandem of goalies for more assets is about the dumbest thing I've ever read on this blog. Almost sub-human! Thank God jvr has nothing to do with the New York Rangers franchise. Otherwise, our hockey club would be bought out and shipped to Kabul.
@Brukie_ Mike Richter?
@jvrwhy would we deal Talbot? guy is making $500K in this salary cap era. With a 10-3 record and the proven ability to perform when he's called upon it would be a very questionable move by Sather & co.
we have no goalie depth behind these two guys, so you cannot trade one of them. That being said, if Winnipeg needs a goalie real badly and you can deal Talbot and a second for Evander Kane sign me up.
jvr you need to engage your brain before posting.
Why would you trade them. We have an excellent tandem.Your post makes no sense. R you a Devils fan??? ;-)
Torts is so easy to provoke. That's a weakness. Anyone with half a mind to can get Tortorella off his game.
That said, Hartley's a dick -- and that was a calculated dick move to start all those guys. Those stupid staged brawls are an embarrassment. That's on Hartley.
@KreiderisTheChosenOne I hope the Canucks win 5 straight now
@KreiderisTheChosenOne Torts was right
I just watched that video and all the Flames-Nucks highlights,...PASSION
Looking forward to seeing McGrattan in blue, red and white soon.
That's hilarious. Vancouver media's been waiting all year for this. Who would win in a fight, McGrattan or Torts? My money's on Torts.
You are the resident tough-guy-in-the-lineup on this blog, and I like it. What are your thoughts on this?
"Chris Neil ran over Dominic Moore, clean (for a change) and hard. With Daniel Carcillo on the ice and in the vicinity. Just proving once again that the presence of a tough guy—middleweight or heavyweight or whatever—will not change for a moment the way another tough guy plays. Nor will it stop a Conacher from bumping a goalie. That “enforcer” tag is prehistoric and extinct. You need guys who can play, like Neil. And, to be fair, like the way Carcillo has played so far (5-1 record, by the way).
@allagash Yes... there needs to be AN EXPLANATION for Stepan's poor performance recently, not simply say "chalk it up to the law of averages." Even with the law of averages, you need to understand why the ups and downs occur, so that you can manage your average performance upward....
@KreiderisTheChosenOne@jvrExactly my point...Rangers basically have two starting goalies in the lineup; is that going to win them a Stanley Cup?...highly doubtful; but, being that they just signed Lundquist to a huge contract wouldnt make more sense to deal Talbot to get a higher echelon NHL forward or center plus a little more?
Ok...first and foremost...Carcillo is not an enforcer...he's not a deterrent. He's a middleweight....and not even a great one...a decent one...that's about it. A true enforcer...a true deterrent...is someone that when he's on the ice...you have to be careful....because if you do wind up doing something and the gloves are dropped....you are either going to be in a lot of pain for the rest of the game(pain is a great teacher, by the way)....if he catches you on the chin..you're getting KO'd....or if he catches you in the right spot...jaw is broken and you're missing time....or your orbital bone is shattered...and your career is in jeopardy. That's a true enforcer...a true deterrent.
If i'm on the ice with Carcillo....he's not making me change the way i play....there's no fear factor. So, with that said...let's break down the Neil hit on Moore.......
Now, when you play the game as a tough guy..fighter...whatever....the first thing you must learn....is TIMING....when to drop the gloves...and when not to. The Neil hit on Moore was a CLEAN hit. Moore had been checked...turned around a bit...was facing forward with his head down..Neil just finished his check. It's hard, clean nasty hit. And as I said time and time again....with this Rangers club...you get a player in a vulnerable position...you finish your check. They're going to do it to you...you might as well do it to your opponent.
Now, the hit took place with around 8 minutes to go in the 2nd period....in a tie game. Neil could have skated away after the hit...but he was smart...because he knew he was going to get a response...and he did...from Moore. Carcillo also did the smart thing....he got in Neil's face...but didnt drop the gloves. If he did drop the gloves....he would have got an instigator....and next thing you know its a 4 minute PP.
Moore should have just got up...get the license plate number of the guy who hit him....and went to the bench...pay back can come later. Your next shift....you get Neil or another player in a vulnerable position...you finish them off.
As for Conacher....its obvious...team is down 3-1 going into the 3rd...he's looking to 1)...get Talbot off his game..2)..looking for Rangers to retaliate...and take a penalty. Once again...timing is everything.
You wait and bide your time til the game is out of reach....then its payback time. Coaching plays a part. An old school coach isnt going to let his goalie be hit without a response....at some point. Near the end of the game....when you have victory in hand.....you start settling "issues".
Coach puts me on the ice late in the 3rd with Conacher....I take the instigator and beat him senseless. Or we go the other route....and I take a vicious run at their goalie. Either way....message has been sent. And the next time we play...Conacher and any other Sens player will know that if you touch my goalie....either you're taking a beating....or your goalie is going to get drilled.
Teams will keep doing this to us until we start sending messages. The physical play and nastiness only increases from here on out boys.....get ready for it.
First things first tho....call Burke....give him the draft pick he wants....and get McGrattan in house. Get an enforcer....not a middleweight.....A DETERRENT.
@jvr . We don't know yet if Talbot has what it takes to be an NHL starting goalie. My opinion is that he does but it's only been a half a season with no playoff experience or high pressure games under his belt. Too soon to know this but even if true why would you not want this for your team? Goalies get injured? They slump sometimes. A strong backup makes your team much better. I say keep them both. Remember Richter had the Veneza quality Veezer as his back up during those very successful years.
@JoeyKocurYour a moron for talking in this insulting manner
@JoeyKocur You are a moron. You trade away great goalies then you don't have any decent goalies and have to trade again to get some. What an idioticidea, jvr.... you don't trade away valuable assets that are hard to replace. Thank God Satherr h
Thinking back not too long ago...remember the Canucks-Bruins Stanley Cup? Canucks playing very chippy....take a 2-0 lead in the series.....what did the Bruins do? Inserted Shawn Thornton in Game 3....the Canucks had no answer for him. His play changed the entire tone of the series. Don't think a tough guy can make a difference? Change the way a game is played? Ask the Canucks. ;)