Guest blogger: Authorben (Part II)

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So in Part I yesterday, I chronicled the Rangers rockin’ first half. But in order to see more stick salutes, its time for them to do the real heavy lifting. Teams will be desperate for playoff position. Points will be harder to come by. And now, they have become the hunted, used by other squads as a “measuring stick” for their success. What do the Rangers — players and management, have to do (or not do) from here — in order to make this spring truly memorable?  Read on.

1. Win lots of the monster match-ups — There will be lots of key games to keep the Rangers battle tested. Opportunities to show they belong atop the standings. These include five more matches against the Devils, three more against the Flyers, Bruins and Penguins, two against the Blackhawks and Capitals, and one against the Red Wings. Want to be the best? You’ve gotta win the tough ones.

2. A top-four seed will help them succeed — Captain Callahan spoke about it early on; the Rangers need to gain a top-four spot in the conference. It will be a big step up from last year and gaining home-ice advantage would be a major confidence builder.

3. Glen’s gotta know the deal — For the first time in his much-maligned tenure with the Rangers, general manager Glen Sather will not be buying with the intent of just making it into the playoffs. Any move he orchestrates from now until the Feb. 27 deadline will be made to position this team for a deep run. The Rangers could really use a scoring forward and with Michael Sauer suffering a setback in his attempted comeback from a concussion, they could use help on the back line, too. You can never have enough D-men — and that holds doubly true in the playoffs. But, let the buyer beware!

4. Marc cannot be Staaled — After missing 36 games this season with post-concussion symptoms, Marc Staal is going through his training camp right now. He is beginning to round into form and will need the rest of the regular season to do the fine tuning. However, should he go down again — particularly after the trade deadline — the Rangers would be in a tough spot.

5. Keep cookin’ at home — As I stated yesterday in Part I, The Garden has been great for this year’s team. They need to keep getting the wins at home — keep the crowd on their side. MSG needs to become a cauldron again.

6. Be prepared for March 17 — I’m not talking about St. Patty’s Day. The 17 refers to the number of games the Rangers will play in March. Four back-to-backs will be included here. Remember, the Rangers have been great in these situations all season long.

7. Take care of the balance sheet — More balanced scoring is needed. The Rangers must get more contributions from Brandon Dubinsky, Brad Richards,  Derek Stepan, Artem Anisimov and Brian Boyle. Wouldn’t hurt if foot soldiers Brandon Prust, Ruslan Fedotenko, John Mitchell and Mike Rupp knocked in a few, too.

8. Fix the powerless play — I know the Bruins hoisted the Cup last year with a putrid power play. But special teams have been integral to many long playoff runs throughout the years. If they were only half as good on the man advantage as they are on the penalty kill, the Rangers would become a much more dangerous opponent.

9. Keep doin’ it “The Right Way” — The Rangers must continue to play with the requisite amounts of commitment, determination and enthusiasm that have become their trademarks. We’ve seen what can happen when their level drops even a bit. The coach will keep putting the petal to the metal with these guys and here’s why: other teams don’t like playing against the Rangers, because of the punishment they can dish out and the way they can drain the life out of ‘em with their relentless puck pursuit in all three zones. Gotta keep it up, boys.

10. Fast-forward to 2012 B.C. — B.C. as in Boston College — where the Rangers top prospect, Chris Kreider currently plays. If the 6-foot-3, 225-pound junior turns pro and can provide the Rangers with the size, speed and skill that they need up front — he could become a key player down the road.

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179 Comments

  1. Good read again Ben.

    I really hope Kreider is a beast in the NHL, all those years bigging up Grachev before he turned into borderline-NHLer and got traded, coupled with the pleasant surprises like how good Hags is and how our core is made up of lower-round draft pick players.

  2. Bet your bottom dollar that Kreider will be a focus of any team willing to make a deadline deal with Rangers .
    Sather has some tough choices ahead.

    Hope they decide to give Hank a chance before slidding. infront of another Chara missile.Injury free second half would be a nice change.

  3. Great posting again.

    But missed what will truly happen: this bunch of not-talents are going to miss the playoffs.

  4. Great job here! Enjoyed reading!

    I think we have to have faith with the Rangers evaluation of their college talent. Hags, Step, Mac Truck all played north american Div I college hockey.

    I honestly believe that Kreider has the ability to be an impact player in the mode of Hags. I had the honor of seeing him play one game live. The 2010 Beanpot tournament. He stands out. I have been an avid ranger fan since 1968, I have rarely seen a guy with his size skate as well as he does. He also has great hands. In the one game I saw him play, he streaked down the wing with the puck, did a mind blowing inside out move that undressed the defenseman and then FINISHED the amazing play by stuffing a goal in after a deke.

    I think Kreider is the real deal and will be an impact power forward for years to come. I hope and pray that they do not trade him away…

  5. But can he actually adjust to the NHL game and make an impact right away? Who would come out?

  6. Pimp, I do think he can adjust. He has the size and most importantly the speed to play at an NHL level. But, that is a great question, who would he replace??

    Boneheads, who would you take out to give Kreider a look see?

  7. Nice post. Good morning all.

    Everyone could use a night off so put Kreider in for a few games to see what happens while we rest some players for a game. If he is as good as some say then that is a good problem to have.

  8. Nice problem to haver indeed. If Kreider is a good as everyone hopes and can contribute right away, Rupp and Mitchell alternate as the opponent dictates.

    Hags – Step – Gabby
    Kreider – Rich – Cally
    Dubi – Boyle – Feds
    Prust – AA – Rupp/Mitch

    Wouldn’t hurt to give Prust the odd game off to heal, if necessary. Or AA to refocus.

  9. I could be wrong and usually am, but if BC makes it to the Frozen Four and possiby to the championship game (April 7), the only games Kreider would be able to play for the Rangers this year would be playoff games. Even if BC gets knocked out earlier would that be enough time for the coaching staff to evaluate if he’s NHL Playoff ready? Would he be eligible for the playoffs in the first place? I’m not sure how that works.

  10. Another great read Ben. Thanks!

    PIMP – remember, Krieder might end up joining the team and replacing someone who is injured. We have been pretty fortunate so far in that regard.

  11. Good point Manny, I should have mentioned that in my rambling post. Someone is bound to go down during that brutal stretch in March.

  12. Rambling? No way! Your post taught me many things I didn’t previously know since I don’t know anything about College Sports.

  13. Excellent question BANJ! does anyone know the answer as to the timing of the frozen four and also rules regarding players joining teams just for the playoffs?

  14. I agree, Mitch has been good in his role. And Rupp would be the first option unless you expect fireworks. But IF Kreider is the real deal (IF!!!) and assuming no other changes to the line up due to trades or injury, who else but Rupp or Mitchell?

  15. GiantRangerFan on

    Great 2 part post. Thanks for the interesting read. It would be sweet if Kreider could step in and contribute this year. Maybe he’s that X-factor for the power play. It’s got to be out there somewhere. Let’s face it, there aren’t going to be any gives in the market place waiting for them to pluck. They have too much good young talent to be able to fly under the radar to scoop a ringer.

  16. Korpikoski made his NHL debut against Pitt in playoffs …..so I think itd b okay….just a guess though

  17. The Power Play is awful. It looked decent pretty early on but the problem (in my useless opinion) is that their Power Play is too one-dimensional. They don’t have a plan, or at least they don’t execute a plan well, when the other team plays up at the blue line and doesn’t allow them to gain the zone. Also, they just don’t move their feet enough, pass quickly enough or shoot quickly enough or just simply shoot enough. I don’t know if one big shot is going to fix that.

    One man can’t a good power play make.

  18. I like Mitchell. The guy’s earned a spot on this team. You really can’t say anything bad aboot him, with the way he’s played. Pretty much forced EC and Wolski out of the lineup. Maybe we can get a second round pick for him?!?! Or can you only get second round picks for Swedish kids that don’t sound Swedish?

  19. Powerplay problems are down to lack of movement: of both people and puck.
    The whole point of the man advantage is to drag the other team out of their shape, wear them out and work an opening, we seem to slow to get the puck cross-ice to open the shooting lanes and content to let the other team sit in their square or diamond without forcing them to do something.

    Any trades will have to involve fringe players or prospects/picks and i’d imagine Slats is making Kreider and McIlrath untouchable

  20. possibly Erixon, JT Miller, Bourque and Thomas might be untouchable too – BUT you have to give up something in a trade so if there is a transaction we might lose one of those guys.

  21. I have to agree, ORR. I think maybe Erixon, Woywhatever, Eminger, Bickel, etc. are probably all touchable.

    Untouchables: Staal, McBust, Girardi, Del Zaster.

  22. GCBlue – You’re heaping an awful lot of pressure onto a kid who hasn’t had as much as a scrimmage at the professional level. Even if BC is eliminated early, I would fully expect the Rangers to send Kreider to Hartford until their regular season ends. I just can’t see a set of circumstances arising where they would bring him to New York, much less start him on second line and expect him to skate those kind of minutes. Sather has been very good about easing kids along this past few years. We saw it with McDonagh and now we see it with Erixon. Hold your horses with Kreider. He’ll be here eventually, just not this season.

  23. Vibz – the difference with Korpikoski was that he had two seasons and 20-something AHL playoff games under his belt. Absent half the team going on the IR and Kreider turning into Wayne Gretzky during his final months of BC, I kind of doubt we’ll see him in New York this season. Hartford, maybe. If they can make the playoffs

  24. Ben does it again! Good job, bro!

    You don’t move Erixon, Kreider, or McIlrath unless it’s the right deal.

    LOL! We got Mitchell last year at the deadline for a 7th rounder! Great work, Slats!

  25. Agree Phil. While he might have all the tools it takes to be successful in the NHL I doubt Torts throws him into a situation where he’s facing an exponentially tougher level of competition in games that will most likely have playoff implications for both the Rangers and their opponents. It’s a very short list of players that can make an immediate impact in the league during the first taste of the big leagues.

  26. Hey CT – glad you’re here. There was a question above that I think you could answer:

    *************************************

    BANJ January 27th, 2012 at 8:48 am

    I could be wrong and usually am, but if BC makes it to the Frozen Four and possiby to the championship game (April 7), the only games Kreider would be able to play for the Rangers this year would be playoff games. Even if BC gets knocked out earlier would that be enough time for the coaching staff to evaluate if he’s NHL Playoff ready? Would he be eligible for the playoffs in the first place? I’m not sure how that works.

  27. Phil,

    I said IF Kreider is as good as everyone hopes AND he can contribute right away………….then, and only then the second part of my comment applies.

    That said, I agree the assumption is a BIG stretch and I personnally don’t expect it will happen. Maybe Kreider adds a burst of energy for a couple of games but in the long run, he probably needs time in Hartford.

  28. I think he could be eligible to play, but I’d wonder what that does in terms of starting the clock on his entry level contract.

    My thinking is that he’d probably not play a big role on the NHL team this season or playoffs and it wouldn’t be worth it from an arbitration standpoit if he burns his first year on his ELC.

  29. To all,

    Morning.
    Hope everything is well.

    Thanks again for all your positive feedback on both posts. Greatly appreciate it.

    And Carp – thanks again for giving me the opportunity.

    It was truly a blast.

    Have a wonderful weekend, everyone.
    Ben

  30. Good morning, boneheads!

    Great post again, ben…

    I think there is a minimum requirement of games the player needs to play in order to be playoffs eligible, not sure it’s applicable to college players. And CTB is right, there is huge implications on his ELC in terms of RFA status. But most importantly, it isn’t realistic to expect him to step right in and produce…I’m sure some people would disagree, but that is a reality.

  31. if BANJ is correct and he won’t be eligible for any regular-season games if his team makes the Frozen Four, I don’t see Kreider playing here this season at all, except possibly as an emergency fill-in during the playoffs. I doubt they’d toss him into the playoff lineup.

  32. That ocean doesn’t know what’s about to hit it. If Prust dives into the water the resulting wave might destroy a small nation.

  33. Phil, my point was just that Korpikoski was eligible and able to just be called up for a playoff game….someone here didnt know if hed b allowed to just get called up for playoffs….i get ur point though that Korpedo was more seasoned….i wasnt discussing Kreider’s seasoning….

  34. ” It’s a very short list of players that can make an immediate impact in the league during the first taste of the big leagues.”

    ***

    Little. Italian. Kid. From. Norway.

  35. Good afternoon all! Great job again Ben. Got me tix to two Bruce shows!!!! Ticketmaster is for carcillo!

  36. Manny???

    I’ve missed youse guys this week! Seriously learned SO MUCH about viral hepatitis though…

  37. This may be a saxless tour. Don’t know what Bruce’s plans are.

    a shout out to tiki, jpg and mrs. jpg who assisted in my effort!

  38. Ilb, did you know that there are many strains of viral hepatitis include Hep A, B, C, D, E, G, and X? Did you know that Hep G may actually help slow the progression of HIV for co-infected individuals?

  39. Going to Africa makes you immune to lots of stuff.

    Funny story: when I got back I asked my Doctor to do a quick Tuberculosis test on my arm (the bumpy thing) because MDR and XDR Tuberculosis is rampant there. He told me that he didn’t consider me a candidate for TB. We had a brief argument about it. He won.

  40. Ria( the silent bonehead) on

    Another great read ben good way to get us through these next few days without any hockey!

  41. Hey, totally agree with the need for a top 6 power forward. Additional defensive depth would be a nice addition but not at the expanse of giving up any of the talented youngsters. Another need for a deep push is more depth up front. WOWski and Christensen are not able to play Ranger style hockey. Don’t think Newbury is talented enough and Zucs is just to damm small.

    Hey maybe we could bring back Redden….. Just kidding :-)

  42. “Zucs is just to damm small”

    The conventional wisdom on Zucc has to be dis-proven once again, it seems…

    Ever find $20 bucks in your pocket that you didn’t know was there?

  43. Lunch – New England Clam chowder…in honor of the fantastic comeback win last night for the Celtics!!

  44. Lunch – Maple Oatmeal.

    True Story: I am a bit hungover so I wanted a nice greasy lunch. I went down to my favorite deli and ordered a steak n cheese, grabbed some Sun Chips and a Ginger Ale. Got to the register, looked in my wallet and had nothing in it. No Credit Cards, Debit Cards or money. OOPS. Had to put it down, apologize and go back to my office where I ate my Oatmeal.

  45. You want me to be able to type after lunch?

    Then I had a separate pint of IPA afterwards to top it off.

  46. “Hey, I don’t have to take this abuse from you. I’ve got hundreds of people dying to abuse me.” – Dr. P. Venkman

  47. Actually, Latona. You do. Check your contract buddy. Paragraph 39, Section 1A-6

    Once I read a pre-nup, when I was working in CT, and the woman that signed it and was asking about it’s legitimacy was Japanese and spoke little to no English (despite having a phD). There was a paragraph in there that essentially allowed for the husband to sleep with anything that moves and the demanded that the wife be 100% faithful for fear of bringing a disease home to her husband. Saw a picture of the husband – looked like a guy that was lucky to get A woman to sleep with him, let alone many.

  48. The Powerless play has at least been shooting from the high points and high slot as of late, though no goals. I think our biggest concern is the grinding month of March relative to the health of our defensemen, and team. I worry about how hard we must work to win a game like the shut-out of Winnapeg. We had to work VERY hard to beat that team with our defensive game of attrition, and the Jets weren’t even good enough to challenge that system, whereas many teams in March WILL be good enough to get more odd man rushes from our own-zone mishaps, and good scoring chances. If the Jets had had Dust Buff that game launching rockets from the high circles, it may have been a different game. Point is, we had to work very hard to beat them with our style. Too hard, in my opinion, to sustain for the rest of the year and head into the playoffs with steam.
    Without a doubt, Dubinsky is the most underperforming NY Ranger this year, relatively speaking, esp for the new money. basically he has been flubbing around since last the last third of last season. Hopefully, the playoffs will change that. If not, put him on the 4th line where he belongs cause I doubt we will trade him this year. Plenty of guys with his jam in the league. He cant score, he takes dumb penalties, bad hands, and, he hasn’t even been clearing the slot in front of Hank this year.
    I miss Sjostrom’s speed. Wish he was on a line w Hagelin.

  49. I would love to see Krieder play this year and start a brilliant career. However, at best there is 20% chance, probably less, that he will make the line-up before next season. Even next season it is likely that he’ll spend some, most or all in the AHL. He may be a 30-40 goal scorer in the NHL someday but my understanding is that he is still a little raw and needs a spot of refinement. As for trades, I am really curious. Do they believe in this team and feel no major trade is needed or do they believe in this team and feel now is the time to make a major move? It seems like they’re good but not #1 good and that a whopper deal might be premature. Then again, I’m not the GM, am I?

    Also, nice post today.

  50. do we have enough scorers going forward? are y’all confident that we have the offensive firepower needed to make a deep run to the . . .easy, says Torts :)

  51. eddie eddie eddie on

    good reads brutha ben…know what i am sayin?

    3 things I know to be true:

    1) the rangers will win the cup
    2) the Gmen will win the Bowl
    3) the greatest band in music history – Loverboy…the blood in my veins literally and figuratively races once i slip on my hot pink leather pants and matching head band…”everybody working for the weekend” …..john lennon wished he wrote such an amazing song…the music is powerful and the lyrics are nearly shakespearean……

  52. eddie eddie eddie on

    listen, do you want to know a secret? dooo wahhhh dooooo, do you promise not to tell? dooo wahhhh doooo

  53. eddie eddie eddie on

    its time for some prime time organic, or should i say, chronic, its moronic, seattle supersonic, gin and tonic, it be laconic, parabola is a conic…section, the election, it be an erection of the direction, delivered by C-section….

    boyeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

  54. eddie eddie eddie on

    i need to be medicated, its syndicated, not eradicated, or populated, i am related, not dated, my color be faded, dont be jaded, never slated, or abated, when i fish i like to be waded……

    boyeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

  55. It be sour,
    I got the power,
    like Hags,
    see the size of these bags?
    the tail on the dog wags …. fast
    Remember blast from the past ?
    He was a troll who couldn’t socialize
    He couldn’t keep his on the prize
    Carp had ban his Aasen – Like Zuccarello
    My favourite colour be yellow…

  56. eddie eddie eddie on

    how bout those mets? wearing sweats, taking bets, ny jests, really blow, dont you know, the way to the show, i love the go go’s, i be 3 eddies and not 3 joes…..david klein is outta his mind, watermelon rhine, rain or shine, drop a dime, lemon or lime, i got the the time, commit no crime…

    boyeeeeeeeeeee

  57. do you mind explaining why you guys dont root for the Knicks? it’s really hard to understand…. New York sport’s fans should cheer for NY teams.

  58. eddie eddie eddie on

    i dont mind the knicks….but stopped caring about the NBA a long time ago…college hoops are much better….

  59. eddie eddie eddie on

    demi moore was smokin, wasnt just tokin, giants wont be chokin, frogs be a croakin, just saw an ad on TV, it was bob dole, talkin ED. that be dysfunction, petticoat junction, f is a function, of x and y, gotta be sly, dont be shy, i really wonder why, i am the guy, when i really try, live and let die, i like james bond, had a magic wand, hockey on a pond….

    boyeeeeeeeeeeeee

  60. duckbill Plat-y-pus on

    Lev (not to be confused with the Levy of Chevy fame or Dungarees nomenclature, we hate the knicks because they are not the New York Rangers from the island of Manhattanhenge.

  61. eddie eddie eddie on

    to bad prince fielder wasnt named center and played CF,,,,,

    now batting, center fielder, center fielder….like major major major of catch 22 fame

  62. ORR imposter? Where?

    Lev, I don’t believe that NY’er’s should root for all NY teams. If I’m not going to root for the Isles, then why should I root for the Knicks, Giants, Jets, Mets, Yankees, etc.

    I only care aboot NYR. I want every other NY team to lose. I only want NYR to be winners!

    Go Pats/Celts! Larry Bird!

  63. duckbill Plat-y-pus on

    eddie eddie eddie, this is the duckbill..duckbill plat-y-pus to be exact. Duckbill finds your words amusing and confusing (no clyde frazier).

  64. eddie eddie eddie on

    yo duckbill, i aint george will, i always need a thrill, i just took a pill, zero is nil, my pickle is a dill, send me the bill, if looks could kill, cookin on a grill, had me my fill, fishies have gills, workin in a mill…

    boyeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

  65. What exactly does a ‘smayer’ consist of? I’m all for it, unless it involves torture or weird stuff, lol.

  66. Yeah, Eddie, I’m a Rangers fan. You know that. And I know you’re a *Ranger* fan, like you said. We should be on the same page by now!

    Mickey, I was just watching Two Towers before. Never thought of that one though! Giroux doesn’t look that manly!!

  67. Orr, the “Mets fan” was back again causing a ruckus. I think he just got ‘smayer’d

    Eddie – C’mon, brutha….you know da truth….u know what I’m sayin’?

  68. Aaaaand I meant Faramir, not Boromir. I always get those 2 confused!

    Thanks Orr, I’m watching Return of the King right now and it just came to me!

  69. So, we have the Super Skills Comp tomorrow!

    I can’t believe Gaby wasn’t selected for the Fastest Skater….didn’t he win it a few years ago?

    Obviously, He-Man has to be the favorite…

  70. Many good suggestions here vis a vis Kreider ( I’m stikkkking to this spelling) ( there goes that electric hand again), but we don’t have to make death dealing choices here, and Chopper has it right. Bring him in, let him acclimatize a few games before making un-reasonable demands of him, even a few mistakes- ————-what ———–Roszival never made any?

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