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TheNYRBlog 12-Pack: Coming Alive (Games 13 & 14)

Just three days ago the Rangers were left for dead. Alain Vigneault had one game to prove himself. High ranking front office officials were seen scouting games. Chris Kreider was on the trading block. Henrik Lundqvist was washed up. And I was calling for a complete rebuild.

It’s funny what a couple of days can do for a team and its fan base’s confidence.

1. With back-to-back victories against Vegas and Tampa, the Rangers have now won 3-of-4 and 4 of their last 6 games.

Trust me, the Rangers still have a lot of work to do, but the last few games have been encouraging.

2. One of the big reasons for the turnaround has been the arrival of Boo Nieves. His addition has really stabilized the Rangers forwards as they’ve looked much more cohesive offensively since his recall. Now, anything was better than the 11F, 7D deployment AV implemented but a byproduct of Nieves’ chemistry with Grabner and Fast is it’s allowed the Rangers head coach to move Buchnevich back where he belongs on a line with Kreider and Zibanejad.

3. With the addition of Nieves seemingly sparking the Rangers play, you have to wonder if the ill-fated decision to put Filip Chytil on the opening night roster set the early season dysfunction in motion as Vigneault’s refusal to trust the rookie led to the club playing short-handed up the middle for five of their first ten games. It also forced players into unfamiliar positions (see JT Miller) likely leading to chemistry and timing issues.

4. This is why AV remains the wild card for this team. Since Vigneault was put on notice, his line-up and deployment decisions have mostly been on point, but you have to wonder how long till he relapses and falls off the wagon.

If AV actually continues to put his players in a position to succeed this team has a chance to be good. If not, it’s time to move on.

5. While his play is always under-stated, it’s no surprise that since Jesper Fast’s return to the line-up the Rangers penalty kill, which was the worst in the NHL earlier this season, has quietly become a strength of the team.

6. Raise your hand if you had Nick Holden and Steven Kampfer playing a role in one the Rangers best defensive efforts of the season.

7. Seeing Callahan and Girardi out on the ice together put a smile on my face as it reminded me of how much fun it was watching them pull the Rangers out of the dark ages after eight straight seasons without a playoff appearance. They, along with Dubinsky and Lundqvist, represented hope after the Rangers finally transitioned from attempting to buy a Stanley Cup to building a winner from within.

8. How about that Zibanejad/Kreider combination the last two games?

Maybe Kreider’s name should be in trade rumors more often.

9. Meanwhile, the third member of that trio is becoming more and more confident by the game. Just check out this sequence…

10. Just when you thought you couldn’t love Zuccarello anymore, he goes and does this:

11. Kevin Hayes must be a riot to hangout with. First he taunts Killorn from the bench, then he gives him a Lundqvist-esque water bottle squirt…

12. Unbelievably, today marks the 10-year anniversary of The New York Rangers Blog. In a million years I never would have thought the blog would become as popular and influential as it is today. One of the biggest reasons for its longevity is that I’m basically chronicling my journey as a Rangers fan. From the very highs of a Stanley Cup Final appearance to the lows of Derek Boogaard’s death, I’ve bled blue all over this blog. I’ve been fickle, passionate, contradictory and romantic. One day I’m calling for the team to be torn down, while the next I’m praising them as a Stanley Cup contender. There’s no strategy or thought process that goes into my blog posts. For better or worse, what you’re consuming is my naked truth on our beloved Rangers. There’s no filter or narratives, just my opinions. I’m nothing more than a fan, just like you. I have one goal with this blog, to convey my love for this team in a fun and somewhat humorous fashion. And for the last decade, I’ve attempted to do that to the best of my abilities, so I hope you’ve enjoyed the ride because I know I have. You’ve all had a huge part in the success of the blog and for that, I am truly thankful. Here’s to ten more years and LET’S GO RANGERS!!!!

Remember to follow me on TwitterFacebook & Instagram or e-mail me at nyrfan94@yahoo.com.

27 thoughts on “TheNYRBlog 12-Pack: Coming Alive (Games 13 & 14)

  1. Kevin, been following you for about 7-8 years now. Absolutely LOVE your recaps. My family and I read them aloud to each other, and really enjoy your perspective. Your posts are fun, funny, and usually very accurate! Thanks for your dedication to the blueshirts, and please keep up the great work!

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  2. Congrats Kevin! I absolutely love your recaps and your passionate takes on the Blueshirts. This sudden burst of optimism does have me just a tiny bit alarmed….

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  3. “There’s no strategy or thought process that goes into my blog posts.” The hell you say…
    Seriously, the Blog is great and it’s all you Kevin. Thanks for all the effort. Here’s to another 10. BTW, Zook going after Hedman is worth more than the price of admission. Superb.

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  4. This blog makes it all more fun… Thank you Kevin.

    To say Nieves will save our season maybe a bit over stated but from his first shift after his call up he looked like an NHLer who belonged. He’s been highly visible every single game he’s been here and i fully expect him to be our #2 center later this season with Hayes and Desjardin 3 and 4 as it should be unless we wind up with Duchene. Hayes, though better seems to dumb his wingers down.. where has Nash been the last few games? Anyway last night was encouraging. Certainly Tampa didn’t bring their A-game but it was the first game where our team D looked solid. Why AV’s job has to be on the line before he starts making good personel decisions is beyond me

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    1. Not really calling Nieves a savior, but having a competent center to put on the fourth line has stabilized the remainder of the line-up.

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  5. Kevin I have said it a million times. Your blog is what blogging is supposed to be about. I want in depth charts and analysis from people that are not at practice every day, not breaking down film or in the locker room I go to the beat writers not a blogs.

    A blog was always meant to be fan forum for someone like you and not what some have become. You are the first read the minute i see the post on twitter or facebook.

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  6. kevin, love your work in so many ways (gifs, interaction on the boards, and have since the beginning many years ago.

    as to the on ice stuff, i think it’s obvious that zuccarello is the heart of this team. in my humble opinion, he should be the captain because he is the positive catalyst and has been so many times in the past. look at last night’s game for example. look at how the team was truly changed after he took that bad head injury from the McD puck.

    i also believe that the team plays better (over a sample larger than pavelc has been a part of)
    in front of a goalie besides hank . i think that they rely upon him too much now and in the past. his work in his younger years would instill just that. but the fact is, he is 35 now and has been in decline for some years now. in benoit allaire i trust.

    it’s time to turn the page and make bold player moves. for the future. the rangers are a bubble team at best as you have said kevin.

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    1. I still really believe if we didn’t have more then half our D playing with fractures in their feet and ankles and Zucc wasn’t out from that puck to the head we would have won the cup that year. The year before was a surprise to be in the final but that next season when we won the presidents throphy and we’re good all year was the season we should have won. No Zucc was a big lose, too big.

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  7. I wouldn’t worry so much about what AV does only cause he’s done things that fans thought were nuts before and somehow we’ve ended up with over 100 points 3 out of his 4 years. I still think if we weren’t seeing guys like Mac, Smith and Shattenkirk turn so many pucks over we would see a lot more puck possession in the offensive zone. I think what you said about Fast was spot on. The guy is such a good penalty killer and I bet we would have won some of those games we lost by one goal in which we gave up PP goals. Yes AV has some strange moves for us sometimes but when you’re top line center and even 4th line center are taken away and really not replaced and you lose the veteran leadership of 3 guys, Girardi, Klein and Stepan it’s not that hard to get off to a bad start like the Rangers have. Let’s see what kind of moves AV makes when guys like Zucc and Nash start hitting the net more and half the D stops turning pucks over all night. I’m not trying to say AV is perfect either and I don’t care if my most hated players like Bobby Clark or Dave Shultz came here to coach the team if they were gonna get us a cup. I just wanna win another cup in my lifetime already. I enjoy your blogs man. Congratulations on your 10 years. That’s a nice accomplishment. Keep up the good work

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  8. Will say it again. What I said before Tampa game was if they play poorly on a road trip, I will be worried. They play like zombies in the Garden. Don’t know what sucks the energy from them at home but it is a problem.

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  9. Hi Kevin,

    Thanks for a great decade.

    I have not posted recently. This team is not as bad as their record. The bumps are always exaggerated both on the way up and the way down. The sum of the parts on this team is greater then their record.

    And the future is nearer then most think. The future down the middle? Might be real special in just a year or two. Zib-Andersson-Chytil-Nieves.

    Cheers, David

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  10. Great read as always. Went to a Wolfpack game Sat night. They lost 5-0, BUT the team is markedly better than last year. Chytil, Lettieri (sp?), DeAngelo play with speed and fire that the team sorely lacked last season. Nell was (censored) in net, offensively they hit the posts and crossbar 3x in the first period alone and doing their best to play a man down most of the first two periods didn’t help, but the skill level and team speed got a HUGE boost this season.

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