Rangers 4, Devils 3 (OT) in review

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Some thoughts the morning after:

1) For a preseason game, especially a first preseason game, that was a pretty good pace.

2) Too early to make a complete judgment but I think Frolov could be a really good one. Again, we’ll hold off before getting too carried away. But the guy definitely has some hands and some strength, and if the coaching staff thinks he’s good defensively, well, what’s not to like?

3) If so, presto, you have a first line. But for that first line to be a first line, it needs a first-line center. Again, too early to tell, but Derek Stepan has done nothing to make you think he couldn’t be it. We know that, unless Erik Christensen takes a major step upward, he’s not it. But he might turn out to be by default. I’m not sure that can work. Christesen’s not bad. But he’s not a first-line center on a contending team. I don’t think so, anyway.

4) If Brian Boyle can really learn to use his size every night, and if his skating really has improved as it appeared to have, then the Rangers might be able to push some teams around in the offensive zone and create energy and momentum.

5) Derek Boogaard may really not have to fight much. I think a lot of people are afraid of him. The Colton Orrs won’t be, of course. But a lot of people will. However, unless he’s in really bad shape, or unless he was really nervous in his first home game, he’s a worse skater than I thought. If that’s possible.

6) I liked Ryan McDonagh in spots. But what if he’s not ready? What’s that third pair going to look like? Semenov was OK. If Garnet Exelby has to make the team and play, it could be a big problem.

7) John Tortorella was in a good mood after the game. I almost asked him about having four forwards on the ice during OT — which he had on the power play just before the Rangers scored the winning goal. That’s was the topic over which we had our big TV blowup last season (also against he Devils). He thought it was a stupid idea.

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I’m going to be away from the computer most of the day. There will be cuts. I trust you guys will scan the other sites and post them when/if they happen before I get back. Please attribute the source if you borrow them from another site.

Fifteen games until Opening Night.

15: Thurman Munson. Tom Tresh.

15: Bart Starr.

15: Anders Hedberg. Jim Neilson. Mike Hudson (he was suspended late in the ’93-94 season and never got back into the lineup; during the playoffs he went into Mike Keenan’s office and said, “Coach, you know my suspension’s over, right?”).

Here’s my column from The Journal News and LoHud.com today.

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91 Comments

  1. was at the game with TBW(credit to fran fora new boneheadism)agree with you Carp, on all points.Stepan is looking legit,Booger had PL3 scared carcilloless and Frolov looked strong on the puck.McD didnt look out of place either
    Gentle Ben was throwin the body!but cant fight for carp.
    btw props to Prust for a great display of technical hockey fighting,havent watched the fight again ,but from what i remember he took Mills to school.
    Cant wait till saturday!
    Lets Go Rangers!

  2. 15 was my number on my roller hockey team!! good memories!

    carp, torts knows you were right, it wouldve been hilarious if u wouldve said something about it. i also liked boyles skating and agree about stepan. i dont know why torts put EC on the top line later on. he wasnt good.

  3. morg, McD was good, and he hits, so that will help him over guys like exelby, but i didnt think he was anything special. he was probably nevous but its only the first game. so the guys who played good i cant get too excited over and guys who werent i gotta give them another chance. stepan was flying though, and had some great shots, and mza was pretty good but hes just so damn small. its actually funny seing him out there with duby and Ec. there not real big guys ya know, but they looked like giants compared to him.

  4. Unfortunately, being in the suburbs of D.C. we are unable to see the preseason gamess. But I did follow the game via live stat tracker. My thoughts. If Stepan continues to play that well with Frolov and Gaborik than he should have the spot. Christensen has not been a top center for most of his career. He did show flashes last year of being able to center the first line, but it was not consistent. Let Stepan give it a shot. He’s young and talented and should make the team this year. Christensen, whom the Rangers took a gamble on played better for the Rangers than anywhere else he played. Than he holds out for more money???? I don’t get it. Most players would be happy to have a job, just my two cents. Go Rangers!!!!!

  5. Grabby,agree about McD ,you know who didnt look impressive to me?Volchenchov.didnt really notice him at all.havent checked the stats,but i didnt see any “hammer” in him,as far as hits.

  6. I was pleasantly surprised last night.. Stepan and Frolov keep it up along with Gabby we’ve actually got a legit first line.

  7. Didn’t get to see the game, but I have a question. I noticed that Staal and Girardi both had over 26 minutes of ice time. Since they are both locks to be on the team, wouldn’t it be better to give the other guys more ice time to see what they can bring?

  8. boxcareddiehospodar on

    boogaard serves one purpose and that is to keep the slugs off of gaborik.

    no more carcillo or anyone else taking a run at our players.

    second coming of joey kocur.

    i hope he beats the crap out of carcillo the first flyers/rangers game.

    he better play every night!!

  9. Good morning all! And a good morning indeed! It’s Friday and the day after a Ranges win! Man, did I feel bad for Spider here last night :)

    Gotta run…later!

  10. Exactly right Carp. There’s a reason Boogey only had 9 fighting majors last year. I’m sure we’ll see some battles between him and Shelly this year.

  11. Tank The Season on

    Boogaard is the only guy in history -at least that I can think of- who is a sensei at a hockey fighting camp for kids. Fighting him is like fighting an MMA master, nobody is stupid enough to try.

  12. I was really impressed with the way they played last night. It’s very obvious that this team will have a lot more raw talent than last years team. Gonna be interesting to see who makes it and who doesn’t. I agree with Orr, I think that both Stepan and McDonagh will both be on the opening night roster. I think MZA could also make it. Overall, very impressed with the way things are starting to look up.

  13. Too early to draw judgement on any of the players after one game. The one good thing about pre-season hockey though is that at some point in the game you will see rookies and training camp hopefuls paired off against legit NHL talent. It’s not always going to be 2nd, 3rd, 4th string players against each other.

    I liked McD’s physical game and his awareness was pretty good. Stepan looks comfortable out there but that also had something to do with the fact that Gaborik was flying out there last night. As with Frolov, the biggest reason I’ve seen that his production dropped last year was because the Kings put him more of a two-way role and cut down on his PP time. Otherwise I think he’s proven himself enough to be good for at least 20G/30A as a low end projection.

  14. Tank,the master became the student when DJ King and Booger fought last year.
    Boogey will find a dance partner about 15 times this year,i rekon.Orr King Carkner Shelley Gillies Godard Koci MacIntyre McGratton,and hopefully this saturday,PL3.

  15. Morning, ‘heads!

    Wanted to check in real quick. I had to watch game on delay so I wasn’t able to chat with you all. Just quickly scanned most of the comments and agree that it was a solid game played by most of the ranger hopefuls. Stepan looked real good on top line ( I like SFG idea ). Two players that didn’t stand out would be mza and ec, I thought both need to step up or be left behind. Weiss was completely invisible…did he play more than a shift or two?

    Super impressed wit stepan and mcd.

  16. Thinking out loud here – If Stepan makes the team, there’s no way Christenson makes it. He’s the guy that’s supposed to do what Stepan would prove to be doing if he makes the team. That would leave Drury, Anisimov, Boyle, and White fighting for the other 3 center spots or they move Drury to wing and then Stepan, Anisimov, Boyle, and White are the 4 centers. I think Boyle’s size (especially if he continues to use it) and White’s experience would end up sending Christenson to Hartford.

  17. Hey everyone, it’s been a while. Great to see some NHL action finally.

    “5) Derek Boogaard may really not have to fight much. I think a lot of people are afraid of him. The Colton Orrs won’t be, of course. But a lot of people will. However, unless he’s in really bad shape, or unless he was really nervous in his first home game, he’s a worse skater than I thought. If that’s possible.”

    I thought he looked fat. You could just see it in his face. It also looked like he has a gut.

  18. Never mind hockey, the Rangers have the making of a good mid-major college basketball front line with Boogaard at center (6-8) and Boyle (6-7) and Semenov (6-6) at forward. Toss in a few of the kids who are 6-5 and 6-4 and I think they could make some noise in college basketball if hockey doesn’t work out! :-)

    BTW, ya gotta love the move Frolov put on Uncle Daddy for his goal. I wonder if Fatso has found his jock yet – the one that Frolov deked him out of. I know it is only pre-season, but any time we beat the Devils the next day is good day!

  19. Staal looked like the worst guy out there at times,had some bad plays,as did Boogaard,who fumbled his stick,fell over.Fedetenko didnt impress me at all.

  20. boxcareddiehospodar
    September 24th, 2010 at 9:06 am
    boogaard serves one purpose and that is to keep the slugs off of gaborik.

    no more carcillo or anyone else taking a run at our players.

    second coming of joey kocur.

    i hope he beats the crap out of carcillo the first flyers/rangers game.

    he better play every night

    I LOVE IT , THE SECOND COMING OF JOEY KOCUR. LOL

  21. I wouldn’t be too worried about his ice time. He also got a lot of PP, which in general is less stressful minutes.

    I don’t think Staal is going to play every pre-season game. Remember Gilroy, Eminger, Exelby and MDZ didn’t play last night.

  22. Yeah

    I saw the game, sort of …I spent much of my time just trying to figure out who was on the ice. I swear, those two shmoes in the broadcast booth are pathetic. Never follow the play by play, never let you know who’s coming or going ( Johnson was out there and made a late save, and if he hadn’t I’d have thought that Biron was still out there).
    All that you hear from those blabber mouths is peripheral chit chat about stuff not remotely involved with the game at hand. It’s obvious that they got their jobs not thru skill but by who they knew. ( Chuck Kaiten where are you now???) Each year they get progressively worse. When they do finally get around to the action ON ICE..they’re inevitably late and have to play catch up, and by then they’re missing the immediate action. Ye Gods.

    I liked seeing the passing game improved…hitting stick blades with authority and not going wide or looping over heads, or bouncing off blades. The skating for the most part looked good..several of the newbies looked good in taking advantages of opportunities. It will be a relief when the numbers of people on ice resemble the numbers that the Rangers have posted for their players. ( They had two different guys listed for the same # in several instances.)
    at least in the roster that I found listed. Let’s not mock Resch or any of those other mike men as long as Rangers have those two dorks. Cranky? Yeah…now and then..incompetence masquerading as professionalism always has irked me.

  23. One thing I did notice was that they were skating harder to the net. As they moved the puck into the offensive zone the puck carrier would wait a split second for his supporting players to start driving toward the net and then fire the shot toward the goal. We saw very little of this last year and it was good to see some fundamental attacking going on.

  24. Unless there’s something rotten in Denmark, Stepan, McDonagh and MZA are making this team. Book it, Dan-O.

    As Fran said, the passing game improved noticeably, and it was mainly due to the 3 guys mentioned above, plus Frolov. Passing was a big liability last season and these kids gave it a big upgrade last night.

  25. I agree with the others, loved the way Stepan-Gaborik-Frolov looked together, could be exciting.

    Re: Boogaard; I didn’t know making some guy crap his pants was a misconduct, I didn’t see it in that rules video.

    btw, I like Joekuh’s idea, Boogaard is Chong Li from Bloodsport (greatest American made martial arts movie ever)

  26. True Fans Bleed RW&B on

    I agree… we will despise the Booegard contract in the next year to year and a half (while he still has 3 years left!).

    Carp, I wonder if the four forwards idea started to seem less stupid when the team lost their playoff chance during an OT shootout?? Hmmmm.

  27. Fran,

    Chuck Kaiton is doing radio play-by-play for the Hurricanes. I’ll usually listen to him if there’s a Hurricanes game on while traveling to Raleigh to play. He does the whole show – there is no commentator with him. And, he does the between periods stuff all by himself. Sometimes on the radio (in the car) he’s a little hard to follow because he talks so fast, but he does do a good job.

  28. In two years, when they have the seasoning, Stepan and Anisimov down the middle will be one of the better 1 – 2 combinations in the league. Stepan is a playmaking center. Anisimov just needs to get his confidence firmly rooted and he will be a solid number 2. Then, with Grachev and Kreider coming soon after, the Rangers will be pretty solid. Throw in Staal, DelZ, McD, Girardi and the Rangers have a good young core of players. Jettison a couple of contracts and they could make some noise before Hank retires. I still think this year is a 7th place finish if EVERYTHING goes their way. Otherwise, they will be scratching for 8th as usual.

  29. MickeyM stopped UNpacking to watch Rangers hockey! on

    Morning folks!

    I think Torts was trying to see how EC did with Gabby and Frolov compared to how Stepan did with them, but in a game setting rather than scrimmages. That is why he switched them up last night. I do believe that after what he (and we) saw, that Stepan will be centering those 2 those for the rest of the pre-season and into the regular season. Stepan was mighty impressive last night.

    As for Boogaard, I have a feeling that he will be Prucha’d for many nights as from all accounts and what I saw last night, he is just not a good hockey player, period. Until he can prove to the coaching staff that he CAN play and at least keep up with the likes of Boyle and Weise (who I think may make the team as the 13th/14th forward with Boogey), then I think he’ll find himself Prucha’d more often than not.

    Rozy was invisible last night, and not the good kind of invisible.

    15- Carlos Beltran, who imho should not be on the Mets next year, but who just might be there.

  30. True Fans Bleed RW&B on

    Just a question:

    Guys who can’t play hockey, well, shouldn’t?
    At least, they shouldn’t be signed to real dollars over 4 years.

  31. Gross reporting that rosi came out of game with sore groin. Nothing serious.

    Staal did have a rough game, but I think he has a track record of slow starts. Not too worried about him. I thought girardi played a strong game.

    Like I said earlier, the only two people with a chance at making the lone up that didn’t play very well were MZA and EC.

    Can’t wait for weekend games to start getting a sense of who really wants to make this team.

  32. Eh, there’s not a whole lot you’re going to get for Beltran if they try to trade him, especially if they only eat minimal amounts of salary (if they’re going to eat salary on anyone it should be Castillo and/or Perez). Might as well see what you have after a full offseason. 75% of Beltran is better than most replacements.

    I’m not 100% convinced that Pagan is the real deal for another full year. His splits from the 1st and 2nd half are pretty stark, his batting average is down over 50 points and his on base percentage is down 70.

  33. Joekuh - still playing NHL '94... on

    dshea, that’s the same thing that was said of gomez and drury when we signed them…i liked both of those signings BTW.

  34. Joekuh - still playing NHL '94... on

    PS. Everytime I read the name “shoryuken on sather” I laugh to myself. I’m laughing while I type this.

  35. on point #7,couple”WTB is Gabby doin on the point on the PP?!” could be heard heard in section 321 last night.

  36. Gabby played the point on 5 on 3’s last year. He also played the point in Minny. Playing him there gives him more room to maneuver and unleash his shot. He’s also still one of the best passers on the team.

  37. Joke, what didn’t you like about MZA’s game last nite? I thought he looked ok. He definitely brings some much-needed speed to the lineup. He’s petty good at controlling the puck too.

  38. problem with Stepan is he is pretty weak on faceoffs. can’t have your top line center being weak on faceoffs.

    Zuccarello will probably go to HFD to start. It was evident that the talent is there and his size shouldnt be an issue but he needs to learn how to play NA hockey first.

  39. Messiah,

    I think your own second sentence says it all…he did in fact look “ok”.

    I was a bit bothered by his inability to control the puck for more then 2 or 3 seconds at a time. It looked like he was having a log of trouble getting the puck offthe boards and bring out into an open area. Compare that with stepan who was carrying the puck into the zone, retrieving the puck from the corners and dishing it to players for good shots. It also seemed like MZA was always trailing his opponent when a devil had the puck. MZA was behind the player giving little sacks with his stick. Could just be timing etc, but just overall it seemed like his speed didn’t lead to opportunities and it seemed to easy for a bigger bodied devil to just ride MZA to the boards and wait for help.

    Don’t want to come off like the kids a bust at all, just my one game assessment thatthe kid will have to find another gear if he wants to make the NHL line up.

  40. 4generations 4 cups on

    teams dont win cups with ridiculous albatrosses on the team. Rozsival is still a huge huge liability with him differing to someone else on a PP opportunity. He’s not an offensive defenseman and if he thinks he is, he’s a frightened one. Boogaard is good, he makes us a team to fear not just mess around with, i like his presence. MZA will learn to get out of the way of the bigger players once he adjusts to the smaller ice and faster speed. Good player.

  41. Like many of you, I generally liked what I saw last night. For the most part defensive coverage was improved. Opposing players in our zone had a little less time and space to create scoring opportunities. The offensive push up the ice was improved and players focused on getting the puck to the net.

    However, one thing that I didn’t see much improvement on was the physical aspect of our game. The Devils put several real solid hits on us but our response to that was fairly lame and not nearly strong enough. There are too many times I see our guys pass up the opportunity to punish an opposing player. I’d like to see us put a little fear into the other team or at least have them hurry their play because they know someone’s coming at them and they’re going to get hit. Not just more jam, but more BAM!

  42. While I don’t necessarily disagree with everything you said, I think he brings an element that we are sorely lacking. It was also his first game, so he might have been nervous too. I realize it was only one game, but I like his potential moreso than EC, Kennedy, Weise, White, etc. Just my opinion. We have sooooooo many guys in camp!

  43. These are my lines as of now. They better not get rid of avery. That is actually a pretty solid deep lineup. I would love to trade rozi and a forward for Souray. You agree?

    Frolov – Stepan – Gaborik
    Dubi – Anisimov – Callahan
    Prospal – Drury – Avery
    Boogard – Boyle – Prust
    Extras – Christensen, Fedotenko

    Stall – Girardi
    Del Zotto – Rozival
    Mcdonagh – Gilroy
    Extra – Semenov, Exelby

  44. Stepan does need to improve faceoffs, but that will come in time. He was 50% last night. I have faith that he will pick it up reasonably quickly based on his intelligence and work ethic. With Drury on the team, he has somebody who can mentor him in that regard.

  45. wicky (Our D is SOFT and give Prust an A!!!!) on

    morning ilb and all!!

    after watching the game again……

    I still think girardi and staal were the 2 worst d men on the rangers (no d man stood out to me at all except sauer and semenov in scrums and around the net).

    stepan looked good

    boyle looked better than last year, but still isn’t the best fighter

    I really do think boogard scares guys he can really hit as well.

    mcdonut didn’t look bad, but didn’t really stand out either (i wasn’t very impressed, but first game though)

    I agree with cw from last thread…and it’s kinda what I have been saying all along. Rozy is worse than redden (you take dollars out of the equation, which is what you should do for on ice evaluation). Redden hits and fights more than rozy (which isn’t saying much) but when you consider the softness of our d, that is what we should be looking for out of d men, rozy is the worst by far. I still want them BOTH gone yesterday though.

    I can’t wait to watch valentenko and exelby at some point soon I hope. Roster for tomorrows game out yet??

  46. I was happy with most of what I watched last night.
    Great seeing LIVE Ranger games again.
    I can’t watch another Ranger Classic game from the 70’s again.

  47. i thought Roszival actually had a nice game yesterday. in the beginning he was aggresive, and on one play he actually took a puck away, rather than give it away.

  48. all the cuts were the expected guys except I see Kreider is still around

    Maybe he gets a Preseason game in??

  49. I thought Rozy had a pretty solid game last nite. He played almost 20 minutes – had some PP time – the main thing I noticed was that He was looking to shoot. He had 2 shots which more than any other defensemen, and he missed the net a few times.

    I think he finally realized what his strength is …. His Shot

  50. Orr …

    all 4 of those guys are heading back to Juniors – they really didnt stand a chance to make the team, so its better to get them back ASAP and playing with their respective teams, learning the systems, tearing up their leagues

    Kreider is the exception because of his NCAA status. He could sign and make the club – He will get a game or 2 in against some NHLers

    I wanna see Valentenko, Kreider, and Exelby play

  51. 15 more cuts to go …

    The absolute definites are:
    C. Johnson, Manning, Byers, Newbury, & J. Williams

    Bubble Players are:
    Eminger, Exelby, Redden, Sauer, Semenov, Valentenko, Boyle, Fedotenko, Grachev, Kennedy, Stepan, White, Weise, & Zuccarello

    I think Avery makes the team

  52. I completely disagree with the post that said that he wanted AA as the first line C and Stepan between Dubi and Callahan. Stepan is a great passer, an excellent setup centerman, and that is exactly what is nedded between 2 scorers like Frolov and Gaborik. passing and settting up his wingers is not the best strength of AA. he is a good 2 way center who has goalscoring potential and ability, but his passing is nowhere near as good as Stepan. and Frolov and gabby need a setup man, not another goalscorer between them.

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