Blues-Blueshirts in review


Hi kids. My story on John Tortorella ran in The Journal News and on today. But as I typed this, the link had not yet been posted. So if any of youse want to go to and find it and put it up before I awaken, please do so. I think you’ll enjoy it, because this guy has really done a remarkable job with your team.

I will put up the link in a separate post if I ever do wake up this morning. It’s 50/50.


1) You know, in addition to all the heart and jam and resilience and youth and determination and togetherness, we’re sure noticing something else. All of last year, there just wasn’t enough skill. Well, there is some skill now, isn’t there? That play by Dubinsky to get the puck to Zuccarello, and then the pass by Zuccarello to Stepan, and then the Step-kid’s move in tight quarters and goal … wow. Zucc, in addition to his OT and shootout goals, has made some remarkable passes, and Stepan really is starting to be a young veteran, 43 games into his career. Not to mention Anisimov, whose game is skyrocketing … provided he doesn’t get his head removed by an opponent one of these days.

2) On that Blues’ deflection goal, both Marc Staal and Dan Girardi were there. I wonder if the Rangers coaches think the right play is to put a body on that guy making the deflection, or at least tying up his stick with your stick. Or if that’s just one of those plays where you tip your hat? Again, we criticize the No. 1 s defense pair, but absolutely must add that they were incredible for most of the night.

3) It’s the 21st century. Don’t you think that a league with the television part of its game so critical to its success could see to it that these arenas have center-ice camera positions where fans’ heads don’t get in the picture?

4) Martin Biron was sensational. He didn’t face quantity, but he faced a lot of quality shots by pretty good players and in big situations. What a signing he is turning out to be.

5) The power play, in my opinion, has too much turnover, too many combinations who don’t get to spend nearly enough time together. If I were coach … and I’m not  … I’d just pick my six most skilled forwards, and make two units and leave them together for a while. A good while.

6) Dubinsky=Well, you know.

7) It looked like Marian Gaborik — who was pretty good in this game, again — might have been arguing his case that he should have been credited with the goal Sean Avery got. Now, I’m not convinced that the goal shouldn’t have been his … but you can’t do that, especially when the guy who got the goal hadn’t scored in 34 games. I think Gaborik and Avery are buds, so this shouldn’t be an issue. But it didn’t look right, if that’s what it was.

8) How much did you enjoy it when that Blues player, I think it was Steen, took an extra whack at Biron’s pads and ended up in a Prust headlock?

9) Notice I’m not trying to quantify that win last night, only because every night these Rangers take it up a notch, win another game that impresses the holy hell out of you, and because I am running out of words to describe their ascension.

10) After the game, I watched the Super Bowl Champion Jets win.


AP Photo, above.

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  1. Point #3 is one of my biggest peeves. Most of these arenas have the camera angle so low that you might as well be there in the stands watching half the game through the glass and seeing almost nothing along the near boards. They need to take a lesson from MSG.

  2. bull dog line on

    so 53 points, and a little more that half way through, do you add a pice to take a shot? the obvious need is a goal scoring winger. do you sacrifice a Grachev, or a Gilroy, and draft picks to get him? I think the team has shown enough to get them the help they need. I would do it.

  3. Reading some comments from the feel good win last night, we have to be careful. Jonathon E, about we keep getting better and LQ is the best goailie in the world. Is it me or as a long time NYR fan am I being paranoid. We are not there yet! Can we make a run …sure but everybody aint getting better MDZ,Drury,Aves Gabby have all backed up. BB, Dubi,Gilroy,AA Prust have made great strides along with some real good additions. But we still need some pieces and LQ to steal us a round against someone better just to get to the Eastern Finals. He’s nowhere near the world’s greatest goalie until he atleast does that never mind the Cup.

  4. Carp, Nice article on Torts. Bulldog the team chemistry is really coming along I am leery of trading some of those parts because as you know trading for that piece sometimes kills the chemistry.

  5. Great article on Torts. Great 2 game road trip. Great to have a team with 53 points when they’re 43 games into the season. While I still fear them hitting a wall at some point I have to say this is the smoothest transition into a good team I’ve ever seen. No Rangers haters are jawing at me this year about how as soon as they lose so and so theyre done or how they’re just overachieving ‘for now’. I like how Torts mentioned the deadline in the article- if there’s a solution to a team need available and you can get it done the way you want to then you do it but you do NOT force it. As in these debates about do you give up a pick a prospect and a player for Richards or Iginla or whoever are just a waste of time. They’re obviously going to stay the course if they have to give up too much of what makes up this teams “identitiy” as Torts would say.

  6. Agreed on all points…four big changes I have noticed this year, they have skilled youth whom can score when they have an opportunity (that nifty Stepan goal last night) they seem to have cohesion and movement on the forecheck on the outlet passes out of their own zone, they have skilled players with size whom can hold the puck in along the boards, and they are in condition to outlast their opponents. Also, fewer give-aways in their own zone. The Gerardi-Staal defense pair has matured from last season to this one, and their defense as a whole is younger, more physical, and not making as many mistakes. See McIlrath as an important addition here, nice to see other youth fill-in from Hartford, when needed, which leads me to my last remark…when the current crop of young veterans (e.g. Dubi, Cally, Staal, Gerardi, etc.) had come up from Hartford, they had a cohesiveness through Schoenfeld’s tutelage…and before that, through Tortorella (for those of you who remember) and the new crop is gaining this same cohesiveness and training in Torts’ system from the new staff in Connecticut…when Weise or MZA or McDonaogh play, they seem to fit right into the flow…This year, I think Sather is looking more like Lou Maoriello’s lost a birth twin brother in terms of the results, and he shouldn’t do anything to spoil the chemistry. If this is a rebuilding year, he got a good roll of the dice!

  7. Excellent points about Hatford being on the same page and finally being able to reach down there and bring up who we need. Kudo’s to Schoney for a long time, a real professionial, always the stablizing force. They are going to sit tight for the most part IMO.

  8. Hedberg- Drury is just done. hes out of shape and a step behind and they know it. theyre just not healthy enough to lessen his role right now. Aves is Aves and MDZ is in CT til he can get himself back together..maybe even for the rest of the season. our D is playing well. we have a legitimately reliable top 4 for the first time since probably the mid 90s!

    But Gaborik needs to find the offense for this team to go anywhere post season. they need a top line c/w that can come in spark the offense and hopefully ignite gabbys game too. will such a player be available? idk. but if there is one that fits and hes there for the right price i feel like he’ll be here in ny. in the meantime they need to get healthy and stay consistent.

  9. Paul in sunrise on

    Coincidence? Rangers goal scoring down since adding the extra padding on the gloves. Extra padding equals more weight and less mobility. Just an interesting coincidence.

  10. Great article on Torts, Carp. Looks like he is here to stay. Last year some people were asking for his head, but most of us said he needed another chance. Here you go, we got ourselves a coach. I think his main asset is getting the best out of his players, that has been known since his famous relationship with VL in Tampa. Take Prust, for example. Brandon was told in Calgary, at best, he can only be a 13th player on that team. You think they would like him as their top 6 now?
    I am also very happy that he, apparently, has much more to say about the trades and other players decisions than I thought. I’m still afraid that our ownership and GM will get delusional this year and trade away some youth to make a run, but I don’t think it’ll happen. I’d love to have another cup soon, but not if that meant the Rangers will become futile again for the next 10 years.

  11. Didn’t get to see the game last night but I saw the replay of the second goal and I thought it was Gaborik’s. The puck came down over the line before Avery whacked it in again. Of course, the most important thing is that awesome win. This team is really fun to watch now (most of the time).

    Carp, what’s with the 10? Not enough energy for 3 more?

  12. coincidence? no its not. but if fedotenko wore the less padding gloves would he be next to cally right now? less goal scoring but still getting 2pts on the road in back to back nights against “good” teams

    has somebody given props to the coaching staff for the improvement of staal and girardi? these guys are one of the best combos in the league. what about the job sauer has done?

    Roszival= wally pip?

    bottom line here is that the rangers are getting much more that expected out of most of the roster. boyle, prust, fed, stepan, dubi, AA have all stepped up there games above expectations.

    credit to them, the coaching staff and …um…sather?

  13. idk about that Paul. great point but they havent exactly been playing against bad teams or weak goaltending. Look at the goalies over the last 5 games- Brodeur, Vokun, Ward,Lehtonen and Halak..despite records or anything else none of the guys on that list get lit up very often..the only one I left out is the kid in TB. I was bitching and moaning about that offensive performance just about all night.

  14. I missed most of the last 2 games. Can anyone give me an unbiased summary of how MadD played? Not many complaints, so i imagine that was pretty good. I saw the shift were he was on for the goal against v. Stars. A lotta blame to go around there, but I didn’t see enough to make judgment.


  15. McD was ok. not spectacular, not bad. what you expect from a rookie. if you compare him to roszy he does the same thing for A LOT LESS $$$$!

    makes you wonder if roszy gets back in or can we send him away in a trade or to the whale? damn they would have about $13million in 3 dmen lol

  16. Just went out and got the paper out of the driveway and went right to the Torts article. Nice job, especially the contrast between the 3 Torts personas – the really nice assistant coach guy- easy to do when you are not he head guy, Last year’ ogre-ish behavior at tkimes, and this years seeming correct mix of chastisement and encouragement. Whatever the reason, it is working very well this year. I’m enjoying the team more this year than I have since the first year after the lockout with the Jagr-Hank excitement. I love the grit and intensity that these guys show in so many different situations.

    By the way Carp, did you and Torts have a chance to revisit the 4 forwards during the OT scenario? Just asking.

  17. Morning, all. Another big win last night and my nails are still intact. The feelings I used to have going into third periods have vaporized. Maybe that’s an exaggeration but I don’t stress over it like in other years. It sure is a nice feeling.

    I agree with #4 Carp. It was really important to get Hank a back up that’s a quality goalie. Kudos to Biron (I hate to say Marty, for obvious reasons LOL).

    I loved Carp’s article. Carp used to write a special column every Sunday on the NHL (back in the days when he was the Rangers beat writer). It was fantastic. I couldn’t wait to read it.

    I think the reason why Hank (NYT article) is comfortable in NY because fans aren’t in his face every minute is because it’s hockey. It must be different for Jeter or A-Rod.

  18. On point 2, the correct play is to drive into the man and lift the stick as the puck arrives. The closest D, Staal I think, was just a tad late reacting. He might not have seen the puck or thought it was going wide and in today’s NHL’ if he took the guy out too agressively and the puck wasn’t near him, he’d be in the box. In the old days, you would just flatten the guy because all kinds of mayhem was allowed in front of the net.

  19. How much $$$ gets freed up by putting Rozi and Frolov on LTIR?!?


    Technically none, you’re allowed to go past the cap to an equal amount to their remaining cap hits which is about 50% of their $5M and $3M hits respectively. But the Rangers aren’t going to do it any time soon with carrying no extra forwards and their extra D has a whole 20 mins of NHL experience. As much as people dislike Rozi the coaching staff trusts him with 20 some-odd minutes a night and to play in all situations. You can’t have Staal and Girardi playing as much as they have forever or they’ll be gassed before the playoffs.

  20. That Dubinsky-MZA-Stepan passing sequence was one of the best plays I’ve seen all year long in NHL. The best part of it- their combined age is less than the grandson’s of Chris Chelios.

  21. “credit to them, the coaching staff and …um…sather?”

    How much of this was Sather? It is not a coincidence that the youth movement didn’t start until Torts became coach. I have a suspicion that Torts came in and told Sather no more overpriced, underperforming vets and Sather swallowed his cigar and gave in.

    Of course, if you want to give Sather credit you can give it to him by drafting guys like Anisimov and Stepan, but I think that if Sather was running the club solely on his judgement then they would have traded for Kovalev early in the season because Stepan “needed more seasoning.”

    Do you realize that this team is only 3 points behind Pittsburgh and 4 behind Philadelphia? Back in September would you have thought this happening? Thank you Torts for making hockey relevant again.

  22. Carp – Did you actually see the goal that Avery scored? Because the re-play clearly showed that the puck that Gabby shot hit the crossbar and bounced out; it did not cross the line. Gabby didn’t score and should not be credited with the goal.

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