It took three months, but we're finally getting a glimpse of the offense we all expected under Alain Vigneault.
The speedsters who where suffocated under the John Tortorella regime, such as Chris Kreider, Mats Zuccarello and Carl Hagelin are now leading the way.
After the Rangers thumping of the Capitals Sunday night, the players discussed how they're using their speed to create offense (via Bergen Record)...
“I think once we get pucks deep our speed really pays off. We can get to pucks first, we can get a forecheck established. I think when we get in trouble is when we don’t get pucks deep and turn it over on our blue line and their blue line.”
“It’s one of our strengths. We have a quick lineup and we can get hard on the forecheck if the D-men are bobbling pucks or anything like that. We create a lot of turnovers that way and I think you can see that in our play.”
...yes, speed is an obvious factor for the Rangers renaissance, but as myself and many on the blog have been saying, it always comes down to battle level. Earlier in the season they took way too many nights off and weren't a hard team to play against. Now they're skating with a sense of purpose, displaying a tough forecheck and it's translating into offense. Speed is great trait for a team to have, but it becomes deadly when combined with determination.
...now I'm not sure if the three games in December in which they rallied from deficits against the Flames, Penguins and Islanders in successive games (only won one of those games) proved to them that they needed effort to go along with AV's offensive system to be successful or maybe the Carcillo acquisition (6-1 since he joined the team) gave the team a sense of confidence knowing someone now has their back, but they're now playing with the energy and passion we've been begging for all season.
...and how much fun has it been to watch these guys buzzing all over the ice, while finally seeing guys like Nash and Richards display the type of skill that has made them elite players in the NHL.
While I agree the Rangers are playing an enjoyable, successful style of play, the playoffs always come down to a physical brand of hockey. This team is not quite built for a long run to the cup. I see a trade of either Girardi or Callahan ahead, but not both as long as we're in playoff position and to appease both sides of the issue. The smarter choice would be to trade Girardi, not only because he would be more of a detriment to the coach's system going forward, but because of what his trade value could return for us into the future.
Good times right now. The Carcillo stat remind me of the old "with or without Avery in the lineup" stat we used to always see years ago. I also agree about batte level being extremely important. In additon, one thing we have done recently is HAVE A GOOD START which in itself can often win you games.
All of these people who think that resigning Cally and Girardi is a good idea are crazy. Forget money, it doesn't make sense by virtue of the years alone. The way these guys have played and the miles they have on them make it exactly like buying a used car, except with these guys you are buying a used car from a rental agency where the car has been used for 4-wheeling for years. So do you think that buying a car that is just coming out of warranty and has 50,000+ miles on it from abusive drivers is a good idea?? Just because it served you well for the first 50,000 miles? No, of course not. You sell it while it still has value, FULLY recognizing that you may lose one good year, but also FULLY recognizing that not only is the car CURRENTLY not what it once was, but that you are staring down a HUGE decline in performance with heavy associated costs over the next few years. These Calla-fans are just silly, especially when they point out how a goal, or even a recent surge dismisses the realities as stated above. In two years Cally's contributions could be achieved by an average hockey NHL player who you could pay one tenth the amount some idiot GM will be paying Cally. Hopefully it is not Sather.
A good perspective I think from a guy who taught guys i played with in juniors to fight about the clown show out west if anyone is interested.
Well, they are infinitely more enjoyable to watch lately. Unfortunately they are still not at all set to deal with the smaller ice and tougher play that is playoff hockey, but nonetheless they are at least exciting to watch while the ice is nice and roomy.
One problem with this speed game though, is that our Stepan and Richards are not good skaters. They carry the puck up the zone, and their streaking wingers have to slow down to not be offsides. That's part of why Brassard's line is so effective, fast wingers, and a fast center. They get a lot more sustained pressure and set up quicker. Stepan and Richards hold their lines back in that sense.
Remember the old days...dump and chase, dump and chase, block a shot, block a shot...now, every foray down the ice is interesting to watch, great playmaking...now it is OUR team that applies pressure in the offensive zone, spending a minute or more buzzing the net...in the recent games, I had the sense the Rangers could have scored a whole lot more goals than they did, plays just missing by a fraction of an inch, but obviously more than enough connected to allow a string of victories...
Others have posted about toughness and whether this team can compete with the Bruins and Pens...guess we will find out the answer to that one in the coming weeks...would love to see us decimate the Islanders tonight...obviously. I am STILL burned by Druin's OT goal back in the 70's!
Glad to see Kevin back!
Is there anywhere to easily see/download data on games, such as SOG, time in offensive zone, etc? I'd like to see how the past month compares to the rest of the season. With no data to pull from, it seems like we have put a lot more shots on net and spent significantly more time in the offensive zone, on average, over the past 10-15 games than we did in the first 30-40 games.
For years Gordie Clark has been drafting speed but Torts never used it. Now we get to see that game style and the Rangers are one of the fastest teams in the league. Torts might have been the better coach, only time will tell, but this is a lot more fun to watch. (Plus, I don't see AV getting suspended for 15 games any time soon.)
Also calling up a backup - hope he's able to make it in that weather!
@FireSather Spot on with the Avery record comparison.
Average goal differential for wins has been increasing and avg goal differential for losses has been declining, both very good trends. Our wins have been getting more definitive and our losses have been closer games.
You always make good arguments, jmac, from a cold business perspective -- and I don't mean that pejoratively. These arguments are important. But Hockey is still a game of passion, and not all of that is generated on the ice at the time of the game. Much of it is about the chemistry that develops between players and personalities, how they fit the community. These things develop over time and by going through hardship together, failing and succeeding.
If you clean out all of your character guys and start over and over again, you'll never get where you want to go.
You've now argued to get rid of Lundquist, Richards, Callahan and Girardi (that I can think of off the bat). These are all character guys who help a team knit together. Are they in decline? Most likely. Is their on ice play worth the money they will ask for? Probably not. Would any team in the league welcome them on their roster, in the clubhouse, over the summer, on the bench in crunch time, etc. Fuck yes.
@Say my NameI think it all comes down to the terms. Yes, I agree with you if it's a six-year deal, but I'm confident both Callahan & Girardi have four good years left in them. Neither of them are 30 yet.
Now are they willing to sign just a four year deal? I'm not sure.
@DaveFLGood article by an even better ref!
"As for Tortorella, I don't really get what makes him tick. His schtick is to be constantly angry and adversarial. It wears thin pretty quickly."
Agree with Stewart on this one
Absolutely agree. They certainly are fun to watch this way, but they are easily countered by the physical game. In the playoffs, teams get used to each other and switch strategies (unless they're dumb like the Caps). The Rangers still have the significant weakness of being unable to compete physically.
That's what passes are for. Some of Kreider's best scoring chances this season have come from long home run passes from Stepan, either off the boards or over the heads of defenders. A good passer can make up for lack of speed to keep up with the likes of Kreider and Hagelin.
Biggest thing I noticed in the 1st few games was that the D were making little 3 foot passes in their own zone trying to make plays rather than just clanking it off the boards and recovering for the next rush. I think now they are more comfortable with it so it means the forwards don't have to come as far back on their backchecks and are getting bigger heads of steam.
Spot on! You could tell from the drafts, trades, signings, etc. that the plan was to have more speed in the line-up because Sather feels that is the way the game is played now. As long as they're using their speed to forecheck and play D, this can certainly be a recipe for success. I remember when the Kings won, everyone was talking about how big they were, but the thing that stood out to me was how quickly their D moved the puck on dump ins, basically negating any forecheck from the opposing team. The Rangers are starting to mold into that style of play as well.
not unless there is PED's in that gum.
LOL...great points, BUT may I say in my defense that I have not submitted that ALL of these guys should go at one time. Had they NOT resigned Hank I would be more inclined to keep a Cally, or Girardi for a few years beyond their cost effective performance years. I agree that you must make this type of concession for a small portion of your team for the exact reasons you state, but Cally, Girardi, Hank AND Nash...will be too much, so far as top dollar, elite contracts go. Pick two (as far as I'm concerned).
Haha...the dream is too funny. I definitely see (and agree with) your point and were we in a bar instead of a blog we could much easier converse with the various moves, or holds with we as the GM's..lol. As for character I DO agree that it is somewhat important, but not to the degree that we fans like to think. Winning I believe is more a function of individual skill and competitiveness than Character; the charter being attributed after the fact to the winning team as "important". In short, "character" is only considered AFTER the player brings his skills to the table. If Cally can't bang and Girardi can't catch up with a winger, or move someone out of the crease, trust me when I say NO ONE will be talking about how their character is important to the team. They will only notice the decline in the non-intangible 98% of the player. So while it is important not to dismiss character I think the real danger is to overestimate it's impact.
Cheers. Notice I didn't include Nash in my "character guy" list.
I accept your defense, lol. Still, I would be careful of falling into the quantitative deep end.
I had a dream 2 nights ago that the entire Rangers team was traded for the entire Penguins team. Oddly enough, it didn't make me happy. The dream ended with all of us in a car, sinking into a lake, and I had to decide whether to open the window or not.