During the first half of the season, we've implored this Rangers team to play harder and tougher. We recognized that the skill set is not there to hang with teams like the Penguins and Bruins. However, dedication and commitment to Alain Vigneault's system along with a strong work ethic should be enough to overcome these deficiencies.
And, according to Brad Richards, it seems like the Rangers have finally figured that out (via New York Post)...
“We’re not good enough to rely on talent because we haven’t shown we can score at will, like some teams do. So it has to be structure, it has to be a team game, four lines. When we rely on that, and stay with that, we usually give ourselves a good chance to win.”
...for some reason it all started clicking in the comeback shootout loss to the Penguins two weeks ago. Including that game, the Rangers are 4-2-1 in their last seven and seem to be skating harder, winning puck battles and more defensively sound.
...i'm not sure if the reward of a point in that Pens game for their resiliency made a light go on in their head or maybe it just took half the season for the Rangers to finally feel comfortable in AV's system, but I do know for the first time all season I'm enjoying this team. From Kreider standing up for Del Zotto in Tampa to Pouliot doing the dirty work for goals in front of the net, I'm getting a much greater sense of a commitment to team with the Rangers. And not shockingly, it has led to wins.
Yes, we've been better. Baby steps and we'll take it but it will all come crashing down again if we don't continue this trend of sticking up for one another and especially if we don't bring any big mean bodies here. I hope Slats is on the phone with Minnesota right now.
ha - I don't believe in coincidences and I posted this (below) to the Fla. win blog probably as you writing this. I think it belongs here:
The non buyout of Richey was the hugest blow to this team for this season. I was shocked when it happened as it was a no brainer leading to my belief our GM is Lobotomized. With that cap space we could have gotten the type of players we need to be competitive. The Richey apologists were saying how he's working hard getting prepared and the free agent market was weak.yada yada and he did come out with more jump in his game and was rewarded with a few lucky goals but he's declining over all and never was as great as people believe IMO. His top seasons of 91 Points is impressive but is too soft on D for a Centerman and generally lacked the presence to be a dominant player. Also we did not need a marquis free agent last off season but rather tough grinding players who can open space for the smaller guys and wear down opponents. Nash on the other hand is younger and has the tools to be a higher impact player. I've got to believe the concussions have compromised his game. There was a time he use to actually hit people and pay the price. Given the 2 Id keep Nash but he's one serious concussion away from retirement and because our brilliant GM kept Richey we lack the resources to bring in the tough guys who reduce the odds of him getting cheap shotted. Slats is short sighted and arrogant from what I see. He was a tough guy on the ice. How the f*ck does he build a soft team as GM to not protect his highly expensive commodities?
He should take his own words to heart… he can no longer rely on his own talents to be a successful player as his talent alone will never at this point compensate for his softness on the puck, inability to play d, his lack of speed and tendency to disappear for games at a time. Richards time is up.
Wouldn't think twice with these possible trades with Toronto
What successful team relies on talent? Every team plays a team game...that's why they call it a team. And every team has a structure. When the Penguins play, it's not just Crosby and Malkin. All of their lines are hard on the puck. Did the Rangers honestly think going into this year that Nash would score a couple goals a game, Hank would get a shutout every night, and the rest of them could collect their paychecks and stare at pictures of Munn? That's a disturbing implication by Richards. What was AV doing?
It's interesting to see McIlrath name mentioned in this thread. The same day that Cam Fowler, a puck moving d-man with 25 points that we passed on to take McIlrath, makes the Olympic team. That's talent that we could have had. Whatever happened to drafting the best talent in the first round, regardless of position needs?
Playing NYR hockey is like being in a parade. You are either leading the parade......or you are marching in the parade...........or perhaps you are watching the parade.....or maybe you are you cleaning up after the parade!
Here is a guy Tampa Bay never wanted back.........Dallas never wanted back......NYR was the only team that offered him a FA contract.....and everybody knows that he will be released by the NYR at the end of the season and this guy is talking about what the Rangers need to win !!!????
How many people here are wildly or ever mildly inspired by Richards' words or by Richards' on ice behavior or by Richards on ice results?.....come on "raise your hands."
@TheNYRBlog you know what they say, hard work beats talent.
But either way, they're still not good enough to beat the better teams consistently, which means they go no where, even if they make the playoffs..... and that is a big IF.
Is this a misprint or did we trade for R Kesler??
@TheNYRBlog great read - thanks
@TheNYRBlog when is the last time they had a winning team with talent? It's been effort for the past 8 yearS.
I still look forward to changes. It's not enough to place Pyatt on waivers and get Staal, Stralman, and Callahan next, back in the lineup. It would be amazing if we could unload Nash, DZ, and maybe one or two other guys for some grinders and depth (and dare I say a goal-scorer -- I thought Nash was supposed to be one of those). I know Nash has a no movement clause, but I'm not exactly sure how it works, and doesn't it kick in after some point? Anyway, I'm really not sold on his skill set. His highlight reel shows him on breakaways and pretty much skating the puck right into the net. He doesn't have a big shot, he has no toughness, he's not the best skater ... for a guy taking up that much of our salary cap, he really doesn't make much of a difference out there and really doesn't look great at all.
In any case, before this team is a true post-season competitor, they need to make a couple key personnel changes (we could go on forever about what they should be) and then get that team adjusted to AVs system and committed to the team.
The Panthers game and the Tampa game are a microcosm of what this team can do.If they play disciplined, system perfect hockey they can find a way to win, They can score just enough goals most of the time, even if they are having bad puck luck or have lack of finish.With Callahan back and if everyone plays well things are going to be fine and a good stretch and playoff run.Lot of "ifs" but thats the way I see this team against the other teams.To sum up: First It depends on discipline and mistake free hockey . Second, everyone on the team playing to their expected skill level. What I liked was when Tampa attacked in the third the team bent, were knocked back, but didn't fall apart or panic an Lundqvist held them in there.That is a really positive thing that bodes well for the next part of the season.
@Betweentheworlds You said, "Slats is short sighted and arrogant from what I see. He was a tough guy on the ice. How the f*ck does he build a soft team as GM to not protect his highly expensive commodities?"
He wants to build a star-studded marquee team in NYC fashioned after his beloved Oilers. He insists it can be done within The Cap system and within the context of the greatest City in the world. He looks at The Pens and The Hawks as examples of how it can be done but forgets NYC would never stand for the extended mediocrity that would be required to "possibly" create such a winning team.
Torts in the short term persuaded him that "a Bruins/Devils defense first way would work" (without the stifling trap).......well it did for awhile as Torts built a defense first team centered around a drafted Marquee goaltender. Sather got bored and brought in Gaborik, Richards, Nash .......all soft offensive marquee players similar to most of the Pens but very different from the recent great Cup winning Hawks players who play an elite two way game. Torts willingly exited. I know...I know the press and the players ran him out.
Sather arrogantly believes he can win the Cup by getting proven marquee players from other teams.....which of course he has failed in doing. McD became an elite player under Torts' coaching.
Going back to his roots in Edmonton Sather always had a reputation for arrogance. Refresh my memory has Sather ever brought in a Marquee offensive player who has outperformed his previous achievements? What I have learned is that I have to always question why would an elite player ever be available to other teams in the first place......the answer is not The Cap but rather the perceived Value of the player to his original team.
@SpazzBrownI like both options for us but why would the Leafs want Girardi when he will be an FA at season's end and they just signed their D captain for a zillion bucks for a zillion years?
That's exactly what AV thought. He is a moron....He thinks rolling 4 lines with no toughness and enforcer is gonna win him a cup. ... how did that turn out 4 him In Vancouver?
Glen Sather happened... I brought this up a couple weeks ago as well... Fowler is a top 15 d-man in the NHL right now
Time to fact check:
The LA Kings, Toronto Maple Leafs, Tampa Bay Lightning and the Calgary Flames all made presentation to sign Richards, with (at least) the Calgary Flames being reported as offering more money than NYR did.
Going back to Dallas:
The Stars did offer Richards a long term extension which he passed on because of questions surrounding Dallas Ownership.
Couldn't find much on Tampa, but they traded him to clear cap space, he waived his no trade clause to help the team, and was reportedly very good friends with the GM at the time, Jay Feaster. Considering the Lightning made a pitch to resign him in 2011, I'd say he didn't leave on bad terms.
He won a cup in TB and was named MVP of the playoffs. He's the last guy to lead the Lightning in scoring outside of St. Louis and Lecavalier. His former coach at TB, Tortorella, was instrumental in bringing him to NY. He was a 90 point scorer in Dallas and the most coveted FA the year he came out -- admittedly a weak FA class. He wears an 'A' on the Rangers, and was one of the key player negotiators in the last CBA grind.The ONLY place he hasn't succeeded has been as a player for the Rangers. I think he has been wanted every where he goes and I think he is qualified to speak about what it takes to win in the NHL.
@SpazzBrown Haha awesome. It does say NYR next to his name. Guess hes a Ranger now. Im good with that.
@Hotfreak Terrible choice. Hes a wast of a spot.
Just about sums up Torts view of the team
@fs2020 Yes, yes, we are improving and we looked good, but let me point out that we are a team one game above .500. That is nothing to write home about. We are still missing the key element of being successful in todays NHL - team toughness! Just seems like yesterday half this blog was writing about how boring we were. Suddenly after a few games we are the real deal. No dice. No more fair weather reporting. The fact is we need to alter the chemistry of our team because the Stanley Cup goes through tough Boston.
@EHBIGAPPLE@BetweentheworldsThank you Bigapple! that would explain it. So why does the moron not realize that all these marquis players are going to get the sh#t kicked out of them and sit with injuries if they don't have tough guys to police the ice for them. all the mentioned teams have tough players to compliment the elite talent. The Oilers were no exception. He promised us "home grown" talent when he came here. I remember that and he hasn't reneged I wouldn't say but has fallen short, and now he wants to overpay these guys? Amazing.
@mando24179 Why........ it got him the head coaching job in the biggest media market in the world! "Like" always attracts "Like." Sather will always attract an AV and AV will always attract a Sather.
@johnnyb3910I stand corrected with your information. Thank you. I have never been a big fan of Richards as a 1st line center and as a big NYR Cap Space. For me he doesn't play a complete game to warrant his salary.....too slow......too soft in pressure situations and disappears in physical, defense first playoffs.....and has limited impact on the offense/defense performance of others. Quite obviously some GMs differ with my assessment.
His value lies on the PP with his elite passing and shooting. The PP gives him much needed ice to skate.....but at what cap cost? Thank you again for your info.
@Hotfreak@EHBIGAPPLETrue Hotfreak, but I still think he's over rated. Two 91 point seasons are impressive for sure and he's a very good hockey player no doubt but when you talk about signing him for a gazillion dollars like you would an elite player I don't agree. He's weak defensively for a centerman, soft on the puck and that quick maneuverability that made him effective in years past is waning away now. I understand Bigapple's points too but he wears an A and don't have a problem with him taking some stance as a leader here. Anyway you guys are making interesting debate so i thought I'd chime in
@Hotfreak@EHBIGAPPLEI like to look at the Big Picture when evaluating talent acquisition. There are reasons why Tampa Bay said "no mas" to him......there are reasons why Dallas said "no mas" to him.....there are reasons why there were no recorded offers for him when he went to FA.
There are reasons why none of those teams tried to sign him to extensions when they could have tried. Just like there are reasons why CBJ said "no mas" to Nash. I totally believe based on Torts' history that Torts' in the context of this present Ranger team he was coaching at the time never wanted Gaborik, Nash or Richards. Giving the "A" to Richards was a PR move to sell Richards to NY Media. I don't think views "a Lady Bing" winner as his leader/spokes person in this present Cap era of Hockey.
Granted your facts on Richards speak clearly about his success. I just hear what they say differently. Thank you for responding I respect your views.
I agree. Ideally, Mcilrath would provide the toughness we need but as much as I love the kid, he can use some more time in the AHL to work on his skating ability. I'm getting tired of all the "maybes" and "what ifs" with this team. They need to add toughness period. Not necessarily an enforcer (although we could use one because Dorsett is not an enforcer) but someone like Clowe, who we had last year. His concussion problems were too much of an issue and I agree with not resigning him but Sather was on the right path in picking him up. Although great power forwards are not easy to come by, we desperately need one or two. This is one element that is greatly missing from our team.
@mando24179Dude, you crack me up!!! Your input makes this blog more fun. Thanks
Cause AV is a tool....and thinks that his line up doesn't need any toughness happens when u never win a cup as a head coach and ur over hyped on credentials.
It's clear as day he hasn't a clue of how to coach. If he did he wouldn't have been fired in Vancouver with all that talent they had #1 power play.... 2 #1 goalies... He is garbage
Wait- AV got 3 jack adams nominations in vancouver, 2 presidents trophys, and is the most winning coach in vancouver franchise history. I'd say things turned out fantastic. 7 years is almost unheard of in any gig, especially as the head coach in a hockey town... it's not him. period
He most certainly did. I'm not blaming him for not drafting Fowler. Not sure if he listened to scouts, asst gm or if it was him. Just know that you draft the best talent in round 1 especially.
sather btw did steal mcdonaugh.
@johnnyb3910@EHBIGAPPLELike your ideas here....great assessment. I think Sather did not buyout Richards (in addition to your correct Cap assessment)because it was a great negotiating strategy in paying Stepan. Keeping Richards one more year "forced" Stepan to take less. "Poor Glen" would have liked to give Step more but the money just wasn't available.
For me it all comes down to strategy. I see Richards more of a liability to The Rangers because the true strength of the team lies in their defense, including The (8.2M) King, In my estimation Richards offensive upside(which dwindles daily) weakens the defensive strength of the team and ultimately weakens the team!
Richards is a very interesting case, and the more you dig in to it, the more pros and cons you come up with.
First of all, his salary was grossly inflated by the lack of other potential centers in the same free agent class as him. Part of me always wants to think that salary is what it takes to get a player to a team, and his stats should be what determine trades/buyout/etc, but in the cap era its too hard to do that. Cap Space is felxibility and leverage.
As for Richards' stats, I think we got exactly what was sold to us in 2011-2012: A player who's annual stats would be middle of the road, but would show up in big moments (GWG in the Winter Classic, up there with Hank on reasons we got to the ECF, I think). Last season was a tran wreck for him.
It was noted that he was heavily involved in CBA negotiations, choosing to stay in NYC and conduct business instead of training or playing overseas. His game, not surprisingly, suffered.
I think it was the right move by Sather to give Richards one more chance this year. We need the cap space more next season anyway if he gets bought out. 6 mil is space this past off season would have lead Sather to do something stupid. Richards trained hard and focused in the off season and was rewarded with a good start to the year, but hockey isn't marathon running. There is so much more to it than just being in shape. He clearly still has skill and vision, but at the end of the day, he probably isn't worth 6-7 mil, and he probably isn't realistically a top 6 player in the years to come. The penalties for him retiring or being bought out in the last few years of his contract are too dangerous for the Rangers to risk.
I personally think he will be bought out, the money will be used to sign a true #1 center in the off season, Brassard will be traded/released, and Step and Miller will be our 2nd and 3rd line centers in camp next year.