Rangers-Penguins in review



1) I said it before and I’ll say it again (though I’m sure it won’t placate any of the NNs, or Chicken Littles, the “fire Torts” gang or plain old trolls. If losing three out of five is as bad as it gets, or even four out of six, this is going to be one fabulous, unbelievable, wildly-successful season.

2) Everybody’s going after Evgeny Malkin lately, and I’m not saying he doesn’t deserve it … but it seems to me that you wake him up when you go after him. That sometimes he’s a sleeping dog you don’t really want to wake up. When he’s nasty, he’s really good.

3) Speaking of nasty, Pittsburgh, top to bottom, is as nasty a team as there is, at least in the East. And I mean that as a total compliment. To have that kind of talent, and an edge, is really what you want in a team, right?

4) I’m not like you guys who think there’s a Pittsburgh conspiracy. But I do think the officiating has done a 180 from what it was the first six weeks or so this season, when everything was called and there was rampant pansification. And I definitely prefer it this way, where men play like men, where you have to fight through stuff, where not every little tap or minor tug is a penalty. Marian Gaborik, for example, gets mugged when he drives to the net now, and he’s fighting through it. That’s hockey. I’m not even going to make a stink about mistaken calls, like the double-minor on Gaborik in the Nashville game, when one Predator cut another with his stick, or the high-sticking call on Brandon Dubinsky last night, caused because Dubinsky got hacked from behind. Mistakes happen. But you have to call the freakin’ slew footing, and you have to call it when an odd-man rush is stopped because one of the attacking players is hooked from behind. You just have to.

5) I’ve been saying for a while that most staged fights are useless. But sometimes they do jack up the team(s) and the crowd, and Stu Bickel’s fight did that. I also admire the manly removal of helmets when one guy (in this case Eric Tangradi) is wearing a shield. Honor in fighting. Good for those guys.

6) That start was God-awful, though. I thought they got it straightened out and it really was anybody’s game before the Staal pinch and the bad backcheck by Brad Richards and Brandon Dubinsky on the 2-1 goal. Staal and Richards sure haven’t been very good lately, and you can throw Artem Anisimov on that pile, too, though I thought he was better last night.

7) Did you know that Staal has a brother on the Penguins?

8) When that piece of clarke Matt Cooke slew-footed Richards, at first I thought it was Staal, which would have been awful considering the way he landed on the back of his head. Then I wondered if Richards might have gotten hurt (he had a concussion late last year). Then one of the Pittsburgh guys in the pressbox told me that was one of the few times all season that the “new” Cooke did anything like that, and that the Penguins are trying to get him to hit somebody. What a piece of carcillo he is. Staal gave him a nice shot at the end of the first period. I fully endorse it.

9) My concourse tour continued. I strolled the new concessions and almost got the prime rib sandwich. Got scared off by the $18.50 price tag (and worse, imagining my wife’s reaction when the Visa bill came).  So I went back to the burger. It is good. Thus, nothing new to report.

10) Funniest chant of the night from an annoyed crowd … and it was small and didn’t last very long: “Shut up Dolan!”

11) I think a lot of people are making way, way too much out of the next game, in Boston Saturday afternoon. If the Rangers win it, or if they lose it, it’s going to have no bearing on the rest of the season or the playoffs; and it’s not going to definitively tell you where either team stands in relation to the other. That said, I can’t wait to see it.

12) Interesting to see how much ice time Staal got (team leading 26:02 originally, which I think was later changed to 24:58, just behind Ryan McDonagh’s 25:21) and also to see how the rotation went, with Michael Del Zotto moving over to the right side when playing with Staal, and Bickel and Anton Stralman seeing limited time. I really wonder what they’re going to do with Del Zotto when Michael Sauer comes back, and how they’re not going to diminish his minutes.

13) Which was worse? The Rangers power play, or the ice? And are they inter-related? Because the PP has been bad on really good ice, too? But it sure can’t help when your guys already have jittery hands to have the puck hopping around like a rabbit.

My Three Rangers Stars:
1) Carl Hagelin.
2) Marian Gaborik.
3) Derek Stepan.

AP photos, above.




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  1. First!
    Given those 3 stars Carp, i’m guessing you like the look of the new top line?
    Shall we name it the SHaG line?

    Not seen the game, so cant comment on anything other than the highlights but that Malkin boy can play a bit cant he?

  2. That 3rd period was putrid…

    The PP needs help….

    If the Rangers want soup, they must start playing better..

  3. billybleedsblue on

    Carp, (and Boneheads) the upcoming game against the Bruins will be a litmus for this club, and obviously there is going to be a lot of comparisons between these teams with some contrasts to what makes each club work, but would you say that this Rangers team is really in the same ‘league’ as the Bruins (I don’t mean ‘NHL’)?

    If there is a gap (between the Blueshirts and a team like the Bruins), how can the Rangers narrow said gap?

    I realize it’s really too early to start with the p-word, but, will the Rangers’ D-first, blue-collar game produce enough scoring to take them deep into the playoffs?

  4. Carp: I posted on here last night about ‘slump time’ citing 3 losses in the past 5 and possible 4 in 6 seeing as Boston in Boston is up next (and if they play like they did last night, it’s almost sure loss).

    You’re right in that if that’s all it is (meaning the ship is righted after that) then woo-hoo, I’ll take that sorta slump anytime.

    However, I”m concerned about this team’s play overall since the winter classic, a game they won where 1/2 the time was spent in their own end.

    For me it started there and has continued – some games worse, some games better – but the pattern is there and getting more pronounced on the negative side.

    Is this the end of the world (errr season)? Of course not, but what I’m seeing here we’ve seen plenty over the past few years and that’s meagre offense.

    This, I believe, other than the silly start-up schedule, is the first time this season the team is facing some adversity. It will interesting to see how it plays out….

  5. And what the heck has happened to Brad Richards? Disappearing act for sure.

    Some on other boards, are musing that he’s glum over a breakout with some chick named Olivia Mumm (never heard of her) – if that’s affecting his play then OMG!!!

  6. Staal’s struggles are more understandable; I’m seeing stretches of great Staal play, marred by absolutely dreadful play – let’s hope he figures it out sooner rather than later or he’ll force Tortorella’s hand…(ie pushed back to the 3rd pairing).

  7. onecupin72yearsandcounting on

    The regular season isn’t the most important thing… the playoffs are, as the Giants are proving.

  8. Some times the puck just doesn’t go in…like last night. throw out the first ten minutes and the Rangers were the better team, hands down.

  9. I think the Rangers need to add more checkers to the lineup. Bill Berg should be added to the lineup.

  10. The team is an a bit of a funk but other that I’m sure they will come out of it. I just cant stand the daily “lets make a trade meatheads”. It’s drives me Berzerkowitz.

  11. Blueshirt in Paris on

    Carp, they are 18.3% at home on the PP. Unless you can find stats of the PP at home before the Knicks started playing and after it would be hard to find that correlation.

  12. Stranger Nation on

    The worst thing about cooke’s slew foot is they replayed it twice and byfuglein Sam and Joe would not even call him on it. I feel these guys are announcing for Buttman and not the Ranger fan. Don’t need a bunch of homers, though Joe makes me wonder, but get a flipping spine, please!

  13. What the power play needs is more passing.

    Yeah, definitely more passing.

    Did I say it needs more passing?

    Bull dog line…Bill Berg? Brilliant!!!!

  14. Hey Cuz, had the game on but kind of listened because I couldn’t get the damn wood burning stove lit. Sounded as bad as it looked. Got the kids this weekend so no journey to my friend’s luxury box in Bahston. You mentioned Inginla. How likely is that and can he fit into this system? Would love to see him in a Ranger jersey.

  15. Good morning all! Is it safe to come out now?

    If I hear about the new Cooke one more time…..puh-leeze. Would love to know your reaction to that Pitt reporter Carp :)

  16. Is Richards injured or just playing really poorly? Regardless, he needs to watch a game from above. Tort’s favored treatment is not helping him wake up. He appears slow, soft and dispassionate.

  17. Just wonder what the reaction will be for the following outcomes against Boston:

    1) Rangers blowout win, 3+ goals (non empty net variety)
    2) Tight game, 1 goal win/loss or a game that goes to OT/SO
    3) Rangers blow out loss

  18. CT:

    1) We’re winning the Cup!
    2) We’re winning the Cup!/Fire everybody!
    3) Fire everybody!

  19. Stranger Nation on

    Richards may have the same ‘bug’ that affected Gabby last season partially caused by living the single life in the naked city. Seriously, he does look much slower in the last month than he did in the first two. Put Prince Carl back with him and watch him look better.

    Artie started to skate harder last night and had some good chances. All he has to do is watch Hags hustle to learn how easy the game becomes when you hustle all the time.

  20. CT, there are other options and BR needs a boot in the butt. Sitting for one game may do him a world of good.

  21. Anisimov needs wake up and get his shot off quicker…..no time for those kind of wind ups …everything is getting blocked

  22. I’m not trying to defend Richards’ play the last several games but I don’t see him getting replaced in the lineup by any of the scratches or any of the likely call ups from Hartford. Does anyone really want to see more EC?

  23. Good morning, boneheads!

    Wasn’t a bad game, in fact before the third period I thought they’d win it. Two bad mistakes, blown back-checking, the game was over. No doubt they will get their game back on Saturday. Speaking of which- agree with Carp, too much is already talked about that game, how they measure up, etc…In reality, it has very little implications on the rest of the season and the playoffs. I’d say the game on Tuesday against the Jets is as important. Because that’s when they should grab 2 points to solidify their standings while in a little slump.

    I was ready to cut Matt Cooke some slack because of what he went through with his wife, but he is off my Xmas list again. His slew foot play was dangerous. A pile of carcillo. Richards, btw, was laying on the ice and looked a bit apprehensive, to me at least it looked like he was afraid he was concussed again.

    Carp, maybe the blog will start a little collection and get you that prime rib sandwich since LoHud is too cheap to pay for it? Hey, we owe you that much! :-)

    Most importantly, stay the course. No need for knee jerk reaction, bad trades, or changing too much. If they can get some help up front for picks and prospects, fine, but do not mess with the team. It still probably isn’t about this year.

  24. Oh no, we suck again!

    Again, I had to watch this game on some low-def internet feed so I can’t really say what occurred. I did get the impression that the Rangers were getting beaten to the puck and sometimes crowding the same areas to the sides and back of the net. I would like to see some better timing on the offensive rush. Seems like they get beat when there is a rebound but the entire team is in too deep to retrieve it.

  25. Got to be careful with Hagelin. He’s been great, but, remember, he isn’t used to playing that many games. Do they play what, 40-45 games playoffs included in college? It’s still 37 games to go in regular season. The speed is his weapon, need to keep him fresh. He is already used on 1st line, some PK, and ( gulp ), limited PP….

  26. Manny is untouchable. Why would you trade him for some aging veteran with big contract, who would not care about this team? Keep your young nucleus! No knee jerks!

    Mannu, on the other hand, could be dangled around….But who wants him, anyway? ;-)

  27. Gregm_section403 on

    As everyone knows, the MSG is is probably the worst in the league.

    Can’t the NHL come in and tell MSG to figure out a way to make the ice better?

    Rather than spending millions on renovating the arena, maybe MSG should update/improve/replace the ice making equipment under the ice?

  28. It was tough last night in the Manny household, CT. Long night waiting by the phone. That call never came so I am going to just prepare and spend my day doing my best for the blog I am currently on. I can’t look ahead at the “whati-ifs”

  29. I think ranger fans got spoiled with where the rangers are with points in the standings. Let’s face it, the rangers aren’t as good as people think they are at the present time but they aren’t as bad as people think they are, most likely the rangers will finish around 5th over all in the eastern conference. If the rangers can make it to the second round it would be progress towards getting to the stanely cup in the next few years.

  30. Loved how Torts told the reporters:”Don’t beat the carcillo out of the team, they played hard.” You think he knows his team and their mentality?

  31. Morning All,

    So here are some thoughts:

    The Rangers are a young team – and because of this – and because of being in such rarified air – they are feeling some pressure – especially since other teams are now using THEM as a “measuring stick.”

    Yes – the last 6 games have been uneven – but you have to expect these kinds of performances during the course of the season. As much as we would like them to be 82-0, it ain’t gonna happen.
    Cant paint a Rembrandt every night, folks.

    Marc Staal is going through HIS training camp right now – you will start to notice improvements in his play as the season moves along. But please, do not expect him to be playing at his all-star level just yet. Give the guy a break.

    Players go through slumps in sports – just a fact. Richards and Gaborik are not producing right now. But they are pretty much point per game players throughout their careers – and you will see them take it up a notch.

    Give the coach some credit here – he reads the pulse of this team quite well and knows what buttons to push – and also understands that they are in work in progress – perhaps slightly ahead of where he thought they’d be. The owner opened his trap and the players – again many of them in their early to mid 20’s – may not be ready to play with such great expectations. The coach quickly squashed the cup pronouncement – doing what he needs to do to keep the team grounded.

    The Bruins tomorrow – these two teams have played it very close to the vest the last few seasons – lots of low-scoring, one-goal games. You can expect the same tomorrow. But if the Rangers lose the game, the season – and the world – will not come to an end.

    Adversity happens.

  32. CT

    1. Despite this win, Boyle sucks
    2. We’d have won by more / never have lost if Boyle didn’t suck
    3. I told you that Boyle sucks

    Did the Månnu trade get voided, Blair Betts style?

  33. Here is another thought: Remember last year when we dreaded the All-Star break because this team was playing it’s best hockey going into the break. I think they climbed into 5th or maybe even 4th place. This year, the break can’t come fast enough. These guys clearly need to reset and recharge. Hopefully it works in their favor.

  34. Since carp used the word nasty a few times in his review, I figured I’d chime in.

    I am not worried about the team. I don’t think that they are going to go completely backward now and go on some horrible downward spiral. Every team hits a few hiccups during the season. We have to get back to being more consistent, and we will. I do think this team will make a trade or two leading up to the deadline, and we ARE going to be a team that nobody wants to play in the playoffs.

    It was tried earlier in the year, and it didn’t work, but I would like to try Richards and Gabby together again.

    Gabby Richards Hags
    Cally Step Dubi
    Prust Boyle Feds
    Mitchell Amo Rupp

    Also, we don’t need to play staal as many minutes. He needs to be eased in. Don’t get me wrong, Staal and Cally are my two favorite rangers along with Hank, but we really need to bring him back “The Right Way”.

    I think Girardi and McD should be put back together, and leave Staal on the third pair for now.

    That is just my two cents. Hope everyone is well.

    Let’s hope tomorrow is a good hard fought game. The last few years Rangers/Boston games have been amazing, and the comeback win last year might be my favorite rangers game of the last 5 years.

    I would love to see NYR/Boston Yankee stadium a few years from now.

  35. Hey Elvis, we have to win this race.

    We gotta win this race.

    Hey Elvis, want some lemondae?

    Lemonade, that cool refreshing drink.

  36. Good morning, Carp

    Ilb, good idea about pitching in the buy Carp a prime rib sandwich. The Carp Fund: Money for Sanwiches.


  37. Carp,

    What are you talking about your VISA bill? You just put the steak sandwich on the expense report.

  38. The Rangers lack creativity on offense. This is nothing new. They have rocketed to the top of the conference with a tenacious fore-check and relentless fight for ice. We have only 1 player in the top 40 in scoring. Gaborik is that player and he is number 40 in the league.

    Time to bring up the Little Italian Kid from Norway when he’s feeling better. He’s too good for the AHL. Can’t hurt. Make it so! Do it #TheRightWay !

    Most Rangers fans have written him off as a player that’s too small for prime-time! That’s bologna and swiss on pumpernickel!

    Zucc was a catalyst to winning games in January and February last year. The power play improved with him in the lineup. That’s a fact. People with selective memories may like to forget that.

  39. I hope we haven’t peaked too early. Let’s see how they respond tom’w.

    Curses to fkng Dolan for that BS press conference stunt the other day. He might has well have jumped up and said, “No hitter.” What an a-hole!

    Team was flat and lifeless in the first 10. Outshot 8-0 or something.

    Yes the curse of NYC is these young single guys out partying too much. The reason the 1994 Cup team was able to avoid this was cuz Mess was a no BS, no fkng around kind of guy. You didn’t want to let him down. Cally is balls-to-wall player but he is a young, single dude. Makes it tough. You know Dubi is a party animal too.

    The team seems to be running on fumes now. I hope Torts’ hasn’t overworked them in the first half.

    If our weakest D-link right now is Staal (2 gaffes last night?) then I am OK with it. Staal has played, what, 6-7 games this season? It’s still early for him.

    Tomorrow becomes a bigger litmus test because we’ve been playing .500 hockey lately. By no means is it a “sky is falling” moment. I’d rather slack a little into the All-Star-Break than be playing the best hockey of the season. Will keep us humble and erase Dolan’s assinine comment from our memories.

    Keep the faith.

  40. Stranger Nation on

    Ben the Author, agree with your sentiments, but Let’s not loop Gabby and B Rich together when discussing individual performance. B Rich as 7 pts in his last 20 games including only 2 assists and significant PP time. Gabby has 15 pts in last 20 games including 10 goals, albeit none in last 7 games.

    The off puck interference not being called may be a bigger problem given small physical stature of our skill players. B Rich has looked particularly ‘small’ on the ice though the lack of back checking is more a hustle issue. He may be cheating more to the Offensive side of ice to get going, but it’s not working on either side of ice now.

    B Rich has looked slow in both his skating and decision making. Does he need a Power forward to play with him? Yes, but right now that guy is going to class in Beantown. Hoping he begins to turn it around starting on Saturday, especially on the PP, because we will probably have a bunch of them.

  41. we are not primed for a deep run in the playoffs with this roster. it just lacks enough game breakers. the fact that we sit here today on top of conf to me is unfathomable. if nash is out there i would seriously look into it.

    this pp is just a utter disaster and b rich needs to get his butt in gear. the man looks like he aged in the last few weeks. get him playing with hags and maybe he will look good again.

    staal what you could say i never see him make those mistakes. hopefully its out of his system.

    agree with ILB 100% tuesday vs winnipeg at home who struggles on the road is a MUST WIN.

    tom hank may have to steal it. get me a pt and i will gladly take it

  42. oh and by the way lets go niners beat the giants. sick of this giant talk everywhere.

    this coming from an eagle fan

  43. Stranger Nation on

    Eric – I hope you are channeling your inner Miami Pimp with the Giants comments.

    If not, let me be the first to remind you this is a NEW YORK Rangers blog and the NEW YORK Giants fans will be not only insulted by your lack of taste (Eagles? Really? HA!), but will be disappointed you chose this forum to express those sentiments about the other beloved Big Blue Crew.

  44. Maybe I’ll start panicking when they actually lose two games in a row #LOL

    P.S. I don’t use Twitter, so I don’t really know what I did there.

    P.S.S. I’m pretty sure that I did not post on the days of the TOR and NAS games, but did on the day of the MON game and yesterday.

  45. Also – rooting against a team is just classless, eric. You can root FOR your team. Rooting against another team is gutless. (pause) gutless.

  46. Least amount of blocked shots or lowest shooting pct.

    Henrik and Biron have zero in both categories….TRADEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

  47. Wow, we have only allowed 94 goals all season thus far and scored 126. That is a +32 difference. That stat really shows that if we had an able PP, we could be a good amount ahead of every other team in points. We really need to get that straightened out.

  48. yes i am an eagle fan

    grew up in a jet and ranger household and couldnt root for the jets after seeing the misery they caused on my father. and then the giants always rubbed me the wrong way mostly beacuse close friends were big fans and were always talking so i decided when i was 10 yrs old to root for the eagles because i liked randall cunningham.

    so yesterday i turn 33 and the rangers and eagles are the two teams i root for. mlb and nba could care less about

  49. We are tied with St. Louis in goals against, and the only team better, we are playing tomorrow, the big bad Bruins. I expect a stingy game on both sides.

  50. They haven’t slumped all year, so it’s about time they do. I’d rather them get it out of their system now and start to roll again in once March/April comes around.

    As for the PP, it’s movement, but I think the ice plays into it. They had a decent 1st PP and got some chances, but the puck doesn’t move quick enough. They hesitate to make that last pass. I’d rather them just shoot than hesistate to pass because that window is only open for a short time because a defender closes it off. The ice doesn’t help since they are also probably hesitating as they wait for the puck to settle.

    Still not much of an excuse because Detroit has pretty shitty ice and they’ve had a great power play for some time now.

  51. Good job, eric. Eagles fans NEVER talk. It’s purely a Giants thing to be a disrespectful fan.

    (im just teasing you. I don’t care who you root for and I wish you personal happiness in all your sporting endeavors)

  52. Can’t say I didn’t see it coming. I’m essentially the Wolski of RR.

    Also, I’m pretty sure that we could look at what the team across the River did with goaltending, defense, and timely goals up to a few years ago. The last time they won the Cup, they averaged 2.63 GPG and had a +50 differential.

    Maybe they just are who they are, a good forechecking, defensive team. I am not going to profess that they are going to win it this year, but I think they are building a foundation here.

    CTBlueshirt January 20th, 2012 at 10:48 am
    Rangers Report transacion log:

    Gravy has been put on unconditional waivers.

  53. Can’t say I didn’t see it coming. I’m essentially the Wolski of RR.


    You show up for a short time and team drops 3 games, hm…

    Just kidding, welcome aboard…@for now.@

  54. stranger nation on

    Not sure why Artie does not get more PP time. He has good hands and with his size can play in front of net. May also help get him going offensively.

    Probably issue is lack of PPs so when you are at 15-18%, scoring every 6 PPs, and you have 7 PPs over last 4 games – do the math (oh no…I hope I did not awaken the monster…)

  55. Nasty!

    Good morning, Sally!

    Maybe Richards is banged up? At least there’d be a reason. And, yeah, I thought he hurt his head again on the slew foot by that piece of clarke Cooke.

    Newman, first we don’t use the word you tried to use by shortening it. So consider this another warning. Second, running on fumes? They were solid against a very good Nashville team, and played one of their most near-perfect games of the season in Toronto, and were right there with a chance to beat the hot Penguins when they made a couple of really bad defensive plays? That doesn’t suggest fumes to me.

  56. stranger nation on

    Between Wolski and Jim Dolan – that is a lot of negative mojo for this team to overcome. However, beat the big bad bruins and helmet kisses for all.

    If not, beware the haters for they lurk nearby and will emerge from the lagoon of despair to spew their vitriol.

  57. Thanks CT…I think. I’m not sure if I should test this theory tomorrow by posting, or not posting.

    stranger, the answer is 1.21 gigawatts.

  58. CTRANGER, my expense report for the entire month isn’t $18.95.

    Mama (8:14 a.m.), it’s so predictable that it isn’t even funny anymore.

    Tomorrow’s game could be decided by a 16th-round shootout goal, and if the Rangers get that goal they’re great and headed for glory, and if the Bruins get that goal the Rangers will be burned out, spiraling down to their doom and everybody should be benched/traded/fired.

    Even if this game is 7-0 either way, there’s no way it should be that conclusive. It’s one game. One of 82. Carcillo happens.

  59. ThisYearsModel on

    It’s Dolan’s fault for running his mouth. FIRE DOLAN! Oh, yeah, we can’t fore the owner. Damn!

  60. c giacomo, indeed, Tahir (Tie) Domi was the first to do the heavyweight belt thing to my knowledge. Before Aaron Rodgers knew which hand to use to throw a football.

  61. stranger nation on

    Gravy – do not hold back on the posts – especially with advanced math expertise this blog is so sorely lacking. Your answer was right, by the way, though round down to 1.2 Gigawatts for full credit next time.

  62. … also, I don’t see why the words “Stanley Cup” have to remain unspoken. In 1993-94, the team embraced that as the goal from Day 1 and discussed openly and often what it would take to achieve that goal.

    granted, that team was much farther along than this team.

  63. Tomorrow’s game could be decided by a 16th-round shootout goal,


    I assume this is exactly how you hope the game ends

  64. Since the Eagles were brought up that made me think of Cruelty to Animals which made me think of Mitt Romney. I am honestly SHOCKED that this doesn’t get more play in the news:


    He took a dog carrier and attached it to the station wagon’s roof rack, built a special windshield, and put his dog Seamus into the carrier, where the dog remained for the 12-hour trip.”

  65. say what you want about the lack of a conspiracy, but the Rangers were interfered with constantly last night, and despite your claim of “letting men play like men” (whatever that means), all the calls, particularly the marginal ones, were going in one direction.

  66. is there really no technology that can help to keep the ice in good condition at all times? i mean, we watch TV on our cell phones and they cannot come up with a machine that keeps the ice frozen?! M’KAY THEN!

  67. trade everyone, fire everyone who can’t be traded and tar and feather the guy who priced that prime rib sandwich out at 18.50! That is all!!!!

    btw- did anyone really think that January-April was going to go “7 game win streak. lose 2. 5 game win streak. lose 2. 5 game win streak” and so on and so forth?

  68. stranger nation on

    The Garden ice was particularly atrocious last night. Players on both teams were falling left and right. Very sad the richest city in the richest country in the richest planet in the richest universe cannot figure out how to lay a better sheet for a professional hockey game.

    Is the circus in town? No, that is just those clowns called the Knicks – aha, aha.

  69. to the idiots complaining about Brad Richards’ 0 points in the last six games, Brian Boyle and Ruslan Fedotenko each have 4 points since December 1.

  70. also, Anisimov having no points in 13 games and being a -3 in that stretch is kind of a big deal

  71. Stranger, how do you know Earth is the richest planet in the universe? The universe is so huMANgous big, afterall.

  72. nah you’re right, Boyle and Fedotenko are great players. it’s just a shame that only Rangers fans seem to think so.

    Del Zotto’s recent slide has gone largely unnoticed, despite his 2 points in the last 11 games and -5 rating.

  73. New Newman- I’m not sure whether you have an inside information as to Dubi being a party animal, so I’d leave that the way it is. But Mess really knew how to party back then. And Callahan isn’t a single dude anymore, sorry. Not as of last summer.

  74. You’re right Lloyd, bottom 6 forwards should shoulder most of the blame instead of a guy that specifically brought in at a huge cost to boost the offense.

  75. actually, Dubinsky is the only Rangers on the roster producing at a fairly high level at the moment

    the best of the rest of them are all sitting around 3-4 points in the last 11-12 games

  76. Shoulda picked up Orr on waivers when they had a chance. Non Orr pick up + Dolan’s comments = DOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM

  77. CT: 4 of the other top 5 forwards haven’t done a damn thing lately, either. Stepan and Anisimov are basically out to lunch. Callahan and Gaborik have been average.

    Richards’ “disappearance” is more noticeable now because most of the team are playing like bottom 6 forwards.

  78. Well that statement I agree with Llyod. Everyone that they’ve depended on for scoring has seen the well dry up lately. So with that in mind, why specifically pick on Feds and Boyle?

  79. You can name just abut any forward at the moment, and their production dipped considerably…Usually someone else picks up the scoring, hasn’t happened yet. Hence, that little bump on the road. Nothing unexpected.

  80. About…

    Why those two, CTB? Because the perception is the “idiots” on the blog only think that those two are good players, everyone else is garbage..

  81. Lloyd – Difference is we don’t pay Boyle and Prust to score goals, we pay them to play defense. Richards gets paid 6.67 mil for a reason.

    I’m not hating on anyone yet since it’s just a team slump (although I think it’s proving that this will last longer than most think and will prove that this is more of a 5-7 team and not a top 4 team in the East). But you can’t realistically try to compare Prust and Boyle’s stats expectations against that of Richards when Boyle and Prust make a combined 2.5 million to be 3rd/4th liners.

  82. CT:

    Largely because those guys (particularly Boyle) get played minutes and in situations that belie their supposed roles. I don’t think Fedotenko or Boyle are anything more than 3rd or 4th liners, but the coach doesn’t really treat them that way.

    What’s pretty amazing is how the Rangers have still managed to win roughly 70% of their recent games even without getting much of a contribution from anybody. Again, Brandon Dubinsky has been the best producing forward of late. Carl Hagelin’s probably second. After that, all forwards and d-men have been virtually invisible. That they haven’t wilted in this notably poor stretch is impressive and further proof that Henrik Lundqvist is the most important player on the team.

  83. However I will also say that we can’t really throw it all on Richards. The top 2 lines have gone cold completely. I know what you mean Lloyd in the sense that everyone will pinpoint certain players and complain about their production, but the fact is the team is slumping.

    You seem to try to compensate the other way by pointing out the role players lack of production though, which isn’t really a fair assessment. I get your point though.

  84. this league is a joke for not disciplining Cooke at all. it’s pretty obvious that he not only slew-footed Richards but was trying to be slick about it. the fact that it occurred in plain sight of everyone and didn’t draw a penalty is absurd; that the league reviewed it and still decided no infraction occurred is downright embarrassing.

  85. Largely because those guys (particularly Boyle) get played minutes and in situations that belie their supposed roles. I don’t think Fedotenko or Boyle are anything more than 3rd or 4th liners, but the coach doesn’t really treat them that way.



    Boyle and Feds are 7th and 8th in ATOI amongst forwards. Feds is 7th in Even Strength ATOI and Boyle is 9th. Seems to me they’re being used as 3rd line forwards.

  86. A bit simplistic, but based on TOI, 3rd liners is exactly what Boyle and Fedotenko have been used as. I’d suggest you could probably even tell that from just watching the games too.

  87. LLOYD SAID: What’s pretty amazing is how the Rangers have still managed to win roughly 70% of their recent games even without getting much of a contribution from anybody.

    And I hate to agree but cmon. Again, Did people really think they were going to just keep hammering out 5-7 game win streaks from January til April? Listen, They’ve done great. But they aren’t the 95-96 Red Wings. With that said- If losing 4 of 6 is the worst they’ll go through this season you better fall on your knees and kiss the butts of the hockey gods. The fact that Richards, Anisimov, Dubinsky and Staal are all struggling out there and yet they have still managed not to spiral out of control is pretty impressive. Let them fight there way through this. They’ll be fine. But it once again comes down to the fact that they do not have a clear cut #1 line. Stepan’s been great for Gaborik. Anisimov looked terrific on their LW until Christmas time. But they’ve leveled out. They need production from these guys. If they spend the next month or two relying on a garbage goal from guys like Rupp or Boyle to win games it may get hairy

  88. Also Boyle and Feds get minutes because even if they don’t score, they keep the puck low and tire out the opponent. If anything, their cycling possesses the puck better than our top 2 lines do at the moment. They get a couple of chances, nothing too special, but their wear down the other team.

    And as CT said, they play 3rd line minutes, which is what they should based on their skill set. They aren’t the problem with scoring. They haven’t played great either, but the top 6 have to step up and get more involved.

    It doesn’t help that Prust/Mitchell/Rupp are being cycled on there either though. I’m wondering if Torts is in one of his moments where he rotates the lines too much now. Sometimes it works out and I think it’s fine to shake it up every now and then, but its beginning to seem a little excessive lately.

  89. My real issue is why Staal played almost 25 minutes last night when he clearly didn’t look all that great. He had moments of the old Staal, but he needs some more time to get comfortable. 2 goals last night could be blamed on him either stepping up at the wrong time or just getting caught. Plus he had a bunch of key turnovers too.

    I know it’ll take some time and he’ll need to play minutes, but he didn’t really deserve it last night (not like Bickel was much better though).

  90. CT:

    You’re looking at average stats. I’m talking about specific situations let in games where scoring is needed and Brian Boyle and Ruslan Fedotenko are on the ice. In addition, Brian Boyle plays the power play – yes, I’m sure one of you guys in love with average statistics will tell me he only plays an average of 5 seconds a game on the power play, thanks – and he has absolutely no business playing the power play.

    Boyle was given a $1.7 million/year contract because he had a career offensive season, not because he’s such a great defensive player. His role as a defensive specialist is something he’s fallen into this year because his offensive skills have been nonexistent.

  91. I agree Johnny, Staal needs to get back into game shape, and forcing him into long minutes this early for him (especially against big teams like the Pens) only fosters bad habits while hurting the team.

  92. Staal’s been pretty much atrocious since he’s returned but it’s not like they’ve got a better option ahead of him at the moment. Stralman and Bickel are both AHL players. Moreover, Staal, as was pointed out earlier, is basically going through his training camp in January. Until you’ve got some considerably better defenseman to put in his place, he’ll have to keep playing. That said, Tortorella is playing him way too many minutes.

  93. Agree Jonny, no need to give Bickel only a table scraps for minutes and overload Staal. Particularly on home ice you can get Bickel away from the the other team’s top lines. The Pens were really a one line team last night and they could have used the last change more to their advantage.

  94. JonnyD- Torts knows his team, he has a good sense on who is going, and who isn’t. If your top two lines are not sharp, he’ll send grinders to forecheck and keep the puck out of their zone…

  95. This season:
    Boyle 3rd amongst forwards in PK TOI (total not average)

    Last season:
    Boyle 2nd amongst forwards in PK TOI (total not average)

  96. I have a disturbing feeling that entire blog is prepared to lose tomorrow. Critique is high and morale is low. Elongated enthusiasm seems over – everything about our team gets back in places it *really* belongs. From the very beginning, few believed Rangers to be a Cup contender this year, but team pleasantly surprise fans and unpleasantly opponents, thanks to the brilliant efforts, character and gave us admirable entertainment. I’m sure it will continue, but in a different way, this team as wonderful as whole, can’t run on a high octane by existing parts, even with high octane and Great Motivator coach.
    So, as I said before, losing games is not a tragedy, but stimulus for improvement, that’s for sure. Team accumulated a great stock pile of points, which gives an opportunity to try to experiment with some personnel, tactic, etc. without butterflies in a stomach about getting in playoffs and be ready when a time comes to get in as deep as possible. How deep?…that’s our biggest Shakespearian’s question and drama. I’m calm and ready for a ride, even a bumpy one.

  97. Well scoring is needed pretty much the entire game Lloyd, especially for the Rangers who might have a nice cumulative goal differential, but on average play tight games.

    So given that Boyle and Feds get about 12 mins of even strength time a game, that works out to about 4 mins a period of ES ice time. And the 4th liners on the team get even less ice time. So odds are that in every 20 minute period, the top 6 guys are getting the bulk of the chances to produce. Particularly when you examine zone starts for each player but I’m going to bore the blog (except for maybe that punk LW), Boyle and Feds are not getting placed in prime offensive situations.

  98. Amen, 4ever. I’d like to know how many people thought in September we’d be in this position before the ASG? And I’m not ready to surrender for tomorrow. In fact, I think they’ll come out swinging and expect a great game.

  99. If the Rangers win tomorrow, Stanley Cup is CLOSE.

    If the Rangers lose tomorrow, Game Over…Season Over.

    If the Rangers go to a shootout, HAMBONE CLAUS.

    Any questions?

  100. Lloyd im not exactly sure what you want from Stralman….he’s fitting quite well as a 5th/6th d-man….it’s not like you just go and get a first pair d-man, convince him to sign for cheap and stick him in that role…Stralman is doing fine….him and Eminger can be interchangeable….and Bickel at least can drop the gloves..

  101. Lloyd,

    I’m saying that Boyle was given his new deal in part because of his defensive work. Sure, his career year last season got him some nice dough, but I think the coaching staff understands that a lot of his value is derived from playing primarily a defensive role and freeing up the skill guys to play against weaker competition. No matter how much you want to argue that he’s being given all the prime minutes, there’s a modicum of evidence that suggests otherwise.

  102. Yes, I believe it was Carp who remarked only last week that Boyle starts 70% of his shifts in the defensive zone, which is basically higher than all but three or four players in the league…

    I wouldn’t suggest he has a load of latent offensive talent or disagree with the premise that he got paid for an offensive season that he is unlikely to repeat. But why damn a player for not scoring enough at the same time as saying he shoudn’t get offensive opportunities in the first place?

  103. LW3H:

    That’s flat out wrong. Boyle was absolutely projected to be a top 6 forward after last season.

  104. Bit pointless trying to argue about average statistics with someone who was adamant that Avery got six minutes per game last year by excluding all the games where he didn’t get six minutes.

  105. Time to bench Staal until he can actually be useful…strip the “A” and put it back on Girardi where it belongs. Once Sauer is back Staal should be third pairing only until he doesn’t give the puck up constantly and learns when to pinch in.

  106. Projected by who?

    I thought the team signed another (top six) center for quite a bit of cash? And could reasonably expect Stepan to play as a top six forward this year. Are you counting Drury’s minutes from last year?

  107. Lloyd,

    Post-Richards signing I don’t recall anyone thinking Boyle was going to be a top 6 player.

    I’m sure there were several permutations of the follow lineup:

    Richards as the top line center.

    Anisimov or Stepan as the 2nd line center.

    Gaborik, Cally and Dubi on the wings with the non-center of Anisimov/Stepan on the other wing. Maybe even throw in MZA or Wolski as having a shot on the 1st line LW.

  108. Hei, *Pen(i)s 200009*,
    Swipe your tears of joy and running nose, will ya. Don’t forget, that last season we put your beloved team in “Kama Sutra” position #57 of*4(four!)* times and 3 times this season. So, you have a lot pissing to do to feel this pot and still will not be proud of balance at the end, loser.

  109. Stranger Nation on

    MSG Between the Lines program last night was very telling about Torts’ style. Spoke about the infamous Rupp drop pass and Boyle’s emerging offense while playing on a shut down checking line.

    Is there a place where the capture scoring chances as opposed to shots? This measure more accurate depiction of offensive prowress. Stat sheet says Gabby had 6 shots but it was probably closer to 3 or 4 legit scoring chances.

  110. DFTT!

    Don’t worry, the jackwagon will be “looking at the moon” the moment Carp sees this garbage

  111. Izzy Mandlebaum on

    Penchamps position #1… Cranium-rectal insertion. or “looking at moon from inside”.

  112. Messier than you on

    Pen 2009 Champs…you must be one of the many…excuse me…ALL of your fanbase…that thinks your team arrived in Pittsburgh with the arrival of Cindy…well first off welcome to the NHL…its a league of 30 teams and the game is played on ice. Now that we got that out of the way…Championships are usually NOT handed to you like your team did in 2009 so it should say “Pen-man 2009 Champs” ill let you figure out what the “man” part is.

    Anywho—welcome and nice knowing you once “your” team starts losing again..


  113. makin just as dirty as cooke. undercut lecavlier that led to sucker punch and did same vs boyle.

    god i hate the pens.


    pens/flyers playoff series who would you root for or would u not watch. just curious

  114. I think everyone forgets what we played like around the time we got back from Europe. Good hockey, enough to be a mid playoff team, but not a top team. Then they took off and went on winnings streaks and people started screaming “STANLEY CUP!!!”. Now they are struggling a bit (haven’t lost consecutive games yet though) and people are screaming for a fire-sale.

    I think the team you should expect to see is the one that we saw to start the season. Not exactly the most gifted scoring team, but enough talent and defense to get over that and stick around the 4-7 spot for playoffs. I said I didn’t think they’d win the division, I also said they were playing above their heads, although not much. I see them cooling off here for a bit, then picking it up again down the stretch into the playoffs. Don’t see why this team can’t win a round in the playoffs, but I think it’ll be a second round exit.

  115. The reason Boyle and Prust play “so many” minutes is because they play against other teams’ top lines. They have been very effective doing that. I won’t start a stats discussion today, but there could be an argument that teams averaging a goal per game less against the Rangers is a direct result of their defensive play.

    So while the offensive production may not be there, they are still significant contributors.

  116. Scott Burnside wrote a “feel-good” piece on our friend Matt Cooke yesterday. Here’s the link:


    I did a rip job on Burnside for this one – which you can read in the Comments field just below this article.

    The media – both Canadian and American – keep aggrandizing the Pens and Caps – no matter where they are in the standings.

    Perhaps this is a mandate from Bettman.

  117. what a pile of carcillo. some of the media like these stories about somebody changing his stripes … but Cooke is a serial cheap-shot artist … it reminds me of all those times Darryl Strawberry straightened out his life and found God … only to be in rehab again in short order. People couldn’t write that story enough.

  118. This team is hardly in a downward spiral. They find a way to win games when their top dogs aren’t scoring. That said, the multi-millionaires need to start scoring more goals.

    I wouldn’t mind seeing MZA up for a few games this season.

  119. People like Matt Cooke don’t deserve 2nd or 3rd chances! Disgusting!

    Does Marc Savard have a second chance?

  120. The problem is that the media (no offense Carp) eats this stuff up. It’s a “feel good” story to them.

    Fact is…most hockey fans probably gagged on vomit when they read that piece by Burnside….what a disgrace….

  121. NYR FAN,

    I agree

    At times like this, I wish Ken Dryden were NHL Commish

    He’s written a couple of great pieces for the Grantland section of espn.com recently, talking about what the league needs to do in order to stop the concussion epidemic

    He would not stand for these types of acts perpetuated by “players” such as Matt Cooke – knowing full well there’s no place in the nhl for this type of destructive behavior

  122. >>>what a pile of carcillo. some of the media like these stories about somebody changing his stripes … but Cooke is a serial cheap-shot artist …

    So Carp, you agree that the Cooke play on Richards was a slewfoot? It looked kinda like Cooke did a “half-slewfoot”, but let up on it – but I’m amazed that there was no call on that play.

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