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TheNYRBlog 12-Pack: Are We Having Fun Yet? (Games 5 & 6)

Before the season began, I don’t think there were many Rangers fans who felt, as currently constructed, this Blueshirts team was a legit Stanley Cup contender. But God damn, I never expected this. So, let’s sort through the carnage after a lost weekend against Metro Division rivals.

1. Since arriving in New York four and half years ago, Alain Vigneault has portrayed a calm, cool & collected persona behind the bench. Basically, the antithesis of his predecessor. But for the first time on Broadway, we’re seeing some panic creep into his coaching style. Just six games into the season, AV has already reneged on giving Filip Chytil a chance to earn his keep in the NHL, dropped Kevin Shattenkirk to the third defensive pairing, healthy scratched Brendan Smith multiple times and deployed the rarely used 11F, 7D lineup twice. TWICE!!!!! Not exactly confident leadership.

This team needs consistency and they need it now. AV’s gimmicks and mind games aren’t working. He needs to stop being cute, put his horses in a position to succeed and allow them to ride the club out of this early season malaise.

2. Having said that, with the way the players have been performing I’m not sure it matters. They’ve been sloppy, lethargic and lacking any sense of urgency. I know this team is desperate for help up the middle, but there’s more than enough talent on this roster to make their failure to execute inexcusable.

3. Remember when Rangers fans used to criticize Derek Stepan for not being a #1 center?

For the record, Arizona is sitting in last place in the Pacific Division with a 0-4-1 record, while Stepan remains goalless on the season.

4. Actually, I don’t think the issue has been not replacing Stepan, as Zibanejad has done a tremendous job taking over the responsibilities of a 1st line center, it’s been not replacing Oscar Lindberg. With Lindberg gone, Kevin Hayes has found himself bogged down with increased defensive responsibilities and a permanent spot on the penalty kill instead of focusing on being a playmaker and having a permanent spot on the power play. You want proof? Hayes, who has averaged around one primary assist per 60 minutes during his career, has exactly ZERO primary assists through six games this season.

The Rangers really erred by putting all their faith in Lias Andersson making the roster instead of acquiring a Dominic Moore type, shutdown center this offseason.

5. I’m not saying AV should have dropped Kevin Shattenkirk down to the third pairing…but I understand.

6. I feel like the Rangers are missing something in the locker room but I just can’t put my finger on it…

Oh yeah, it’s called personality. Dan Girardi was a character. Derek Stepan was a character. Tanner Glass was a character. Now? Vanilla.

The 2011-12 Rangers, who advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals, had enough personality to fill Madison Square Garden. Which is probably why they were such a close knit group and one of my favorite all time Blueshirt teams. But in a disturbing trend since that season, the organization seems no longer interested in prioritizing locker room chemistry as we’ve seen a mass exodus of popular players including Carl Hagelin, Derek Brassard, Brian Boyle and the aforementioned Girardi and Stepan.

This can eventually take a toll as off ice relationships can have a huge impact on a team’s on-ice performance. Sadly, I feel this is an underlying issue with this year’s team.

Right, Mats?

7. With that said, the Rangers really could use someone who can put the puck in the net. Too bad they don’t have someone in the AHL who impressed the coaching staff so much during training camp he actually won a spot on the NHL roster only to be demoted after the coach felt a combined three minutes of ice time was enough to determine that he wasn’t in fact an NHL player…


8. It’s also too bad the Rangers don’t have a grinder in the organization who not only impressed during training camp with his physical play but also his skill set as well…

Double oh…

9. Hey AV,  the second power play unit has been struggling mightily so far this season, any chance you’re going to put that young, offensively skilled, puck moving defenseman you possess on that group?

10. Pavel Buchnevich has as many goals as Tanner Glass this season.

11. Dan Girardi is sporting 51.7% Corsi For while playing on Tampa’s first pair. Kevin Shattenkirk has a career worst 46.3% Corsi For while playing on the Rangers third pair.

12. I’ve seen a lot of so called Rangers fans jumping ship lately proclaiming the Rangers are headed towards another dark era. To you I say, good riddance and read these three tweets on your way out.

Yeah, unless you’ve had to deal with non-stop 1940s chants from relentless Islanders fans basking in the glory of four straight Stanley Cups during your entire public school career and then somehow endure basically your entire 20s without a playoff appearance, I don’t want to hear a word from you.

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25 thoughts on “TheNYRBlog 12-Pack: Are We Having Fun Yet? (Games 5 & 6)

  1. I saw a dude on Twitter say he was putting all of his Rangers stuff together and schlepping it up to his attic. To him it was a matter of protest. And only if the Rangers are in the playoff race by Thanksgiving would he get it down. This after the team was 1-4. SMH.

    I really wish we saw some emotion from these players. Well anyone besides Hank. All the postgame interviews are just sad. Somebody get pissed would ya? And go out on the ice and put the team on your back and will them to victory.

    Sack up FFS.


    1. Protest?!?!?! What? That after 11 playoff appearances in 12 years they’re having a rough start to the season. Yeah, life is tough. lol


  2. I was hoping Chytil and Anderson would bring the chemistry to the locker room (spits out own coffee after reading that)

    Love those last few comments about jumping ship. Saw my first game in ’68 against the powder-blue Penguins at the ‘new’ Garden. Anybody remember Jean-Guy Talbot?

    No , I won’t be jumping ship.


    1. I’ve been watching the Rangers since the 50’s, when they first were on tv on WOR Channel 9 and CBS Channel 2, if I remember correctly. Jean Guy-Talbot lived on, becoming the model for the Geico cavemen. After watching John Muckler, another great coach that the Rangers hired bury Manny Malhotra and the shambles he made of his teams, I have to think back to the Ranger’s great late season acquisitions of their version of the Over the Hill Gang; Boom Boom, Tim Horton, Jim Dorey (broke his leg in the first game after coming from Toronto), Marcel Dionne, and many others. Then there were the great trades; Jean Ratelle for Phil Esposito and after his crying fit, Rick Middleton for Ken Hodge. That worked out really well for Espo.

      I was at the first game at the new Garden, had season tickets in Section 340 for twenty years. The son of the guy I sat next to got tickets for the Feb.18th game against the Flyers. We met for the first time at that game and we’ll be back for the 50th Anniversary game.

      It’s easy to be a fan of a winning or successful team, but a true fan sticks with it, no matter what. To put it another way, you take the good with the bad, you win some, you lose some. I try to watch every game, though work sometimes makes that impossible. When I watch, I watch to, what is sometimes, the bitter end. There is something about the Rangers that is inexplicable.


  3. Someone needs to provide a spark on the ice when things start to go south. I thought it would be Zuuc, but he has not been able to light a fire. I’m not sure what’s up with the Captain. I know he is not a “rah rah” type, but he’s a little too disengaged in the post-game scrums. Personally, I think Hank needs to start barking loud and long at his teammates. And if someone yells at him to “relax” he should wallop him with that big stick of his…


      1. Yup. I don’t understand the segment of the fan base that refuses to see the value of those types of players. And I’m not talking about fighters – I want fighting out of the game once and for all. I’m talking about pests and agitators who get under the skin of the opponents and fire up their teammates ala Marchand or Gallagher etc. Doesn’t mean they aren’t skilled – they just play with an edge.


      2. Our players get scolded by their great coach when they play with an edge or stick up for their fellow players. Is there any wonder why we are emotionless and just go through the motions?


  4. 1002 times AV must go. I am tired of hearing the same crap post game from our players for years now.
    Hockey is and always will be a game of emotion and we take our lead from Mr. Monotone, controlled and reserved.
    The only good thing about losing is that we are 1 game closer to being rid of coach dumbass.


  5. 12:13PM: At Rangers practice on Monday, the team is using the following lines (Cyrgalis):

    Rick Nash, Mika Zibanejad, Mats Zuccarello
    Chris Kreider, David Desharnais, JT Miller
    Jimmy Vesey, Kevin Hayes, Jesper Fast
    Michael Grabner, Paul Carey, Adam Cracknell/Pavel Buchnevich.
    On defense, the Rangers have Ryan McDonagh with Tony DeAngelo, Brady Skjei with Brendan Smith, Marc Staal with Kevin Shattenkirk, Nick Holden with Steven Kampfer. (Cyrgalis)

    Coach DumbAss really doesn’t have a clue.




      1. I have been a fan since the early 60’s and I will not give up. Just ordered a new Ranger hat yesterday. You have good years and bad ones. If you are a real fan, you stick with it. LETS GO RANGERS!!!!!!!!!!!


  7. Yeah, this sucks. It’s bland and void of emotions. At this stage I would recommend: go out and have fun, f’k up a few times, get REALLY physical and just relax the next game. It’s too much tinkering and corrections. Kinda reminds me of a golf swing and the 523 thing you need to think about before you shank that sucker 50 yards to the right! And Zuc’s the guy to start it. Nash and 42 will join in and when Kreider (almost) runs over Murray, we’re good to go!


  8. This team will get its shit together. It’s only 6 games. We still have enough personalities in the locker room. Step was not good last year and it appeared there was a lot of clashing with coaches and other players. He had to go, why else would they be so eager to ship out one of their top centers. AV’s weakness as a coach is being exposed now. He’s only coached good teams so his record is misleading. This slow start may be a good thing in the long run…still we’re not going anywhere without a couple of moves. LGR


  9. God I love your posts. Your insight, accurate as it is, brings me down but the GIFS lift me back up. I know Ruff plays a “boring” system but AV’s “exciting” system is so pop gun with this line up I am not sure what the alternatives are beyond “tanking” until Igor, Lias and Filip are ready to be the young core to the vet core of Kreider, Zucc and MacD. Keep up the stellar


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