Brad Richards on the left wing, and on the point … Alain Vigneault’s choice

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Before I forget … and I should have gotten to this earlier … we will do the Three Rangers Stars polls on game nights again. Also, I’d like to have some of you guys join me in picking the stars, along with Kenny Albert and sometimes Josh Thomson, 26, in my next-day game review.

If you’d like to volunteer for a game, or several games, please drop me an email at rcarpini@lohud.com.

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

Here’s a short story, undedited version, I wrote for The Journal News and LoHud.com:

By Rick Carpiniello

GREENBURGH – Rangers coach Alain Vigneault obviously runs a ship with less tension than his predecessor, but make no mistake that Vigneault’s in charge.

On Tuesday he was discussing the decision to move center Brad Richards to the wing – a move with which Richards insists he is fine – when the coach smiled (VIDEO ABOVE).

“He probably prefers to play the middle, but he’s going to play the wing to start,” Vigneault said with that grin.

When he was asked if Richards was receptive to the idea, Vigneault said, “I didn’t ask.”

That said, Vigneault’s explanation for the decision is that he feels all three of his top centers – Derek Stepan, Derick Brassard and Richards —  should be among his top six forwards, along with Rick Nash and soon Ryan Callahan.

They all got time on the power play in practice Tuesday, including Richards at the point. With basically the same personnel, Vigneault and assistant Scott Arniel are trying for vastly different —  better – results.

“It comes down to getting some consistency with our units,” said Michael Del Zotto, for the moment the other first-unit point man. “Time will tell. But the way we’re working on it, and some of the little details, it definitely feels different. But it’s a matter of contributing and being productive in games.”

As Stepan said, Vigneault and Arniel have one basic principle:

“I think there’s going to be a lot more pucks and bodies at the net,” said Stepan, the lone right-handed shot up front until Callahan returns during the opening trip.

In place of Callahan (shoulder), who insists he won’t play Thursday, rookie J.T. Miller also saw some power play time in practice.

Twitter: @RangersReport

 

 

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257 Comments

  1. Oh god. I’m sorry Gravy. As commissioner I can edit your lineup for you after the fact….

    *COLLUSION*

  2. Of course, the guy I have been lobbying for gets injured on the first night. That’s horrible. I can’t tell you guys how much I freaking love George Parros. That’s really upsetting.

  3. I’d like to see some old tapes of lunatic Milbury at Colgate. (though not technically Ivy)

  4. During the same scrum, Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid dragged Burrows out of a pile of players on top of Boston goaltender Tim Thomas. McQuaid and Burrows were nose-to-nose and the two were shown chirping at one another on the video board.

    It was quite clear McQuaid said to him: “You gonna bite me?”

    from ESPN Boston, 6/6/2011

  5. Burrows not Lapierre that’s right. Lapierre mocked Bergeron though with a fake bite the next game.

  6. I really picked a winner. She would compliment you Cooscoos but she thought it was insulting to everyone else on the blog. She doesn’t get how it works around here, yet. Insults = great!

  7. I read somewhere that Liz was considered the most beautiful woman in the world back then. But, on to Power Play units.

  8. Mrs. Manny, can you handle the *fresh posts* when Mr. Manny is asleep at the switch?

    Can you rig a beard contest?

    also can we call you Mrs. Mannu, Mrs. Nanny, Mrs. Many?

    So many questions.

  9. Hi boys! I’d like to spend more time with Manny and I hear this is the place to do so. All questions will be answered as we move forward.

  10. Mrs.Manny welcome to Boneheadville, population unknown, opinions mixed. One thing we all love is a W, although if it comes due to the BCATHGE we’re ambivalent.

    Manny will no doubt provide a glossary of terms to explain the “piece of Cooke/Carcillo”, “WTB” etc.. you might see from time to time

  11. As for Parros, no chinstrap, facial foliage, visor or cage is going to protect you when you fall face first with your hands twisted up between your opponents jersey and his arms. Freak accident. Hope the moustachioed maestro is OK.

  12. Good morning, boneheads!

    Welcome, mrs. Manny!

    Was watching Montreal- Toronto last night. Defense, apparently, is overrated.
    Horrible accident. That was their second fight. Parros didn’t look good at all. Apparently, he was just coming back from shoulder injury. I don’t think we’ll see him for awhile.

  13. Brian Boyle will be on WFAN at 8:45 AM.

    No word on whether Bole will also be interviewed.

  14. I watched that Mtl game then the Edmonton game. EDM was ahead 4-2 when I went to dinner, I saw the final score and decided to watch the rest.

    Winnipeg is pretty good. Edmonton is pretty good too. I am sure glad hockey is back.

  15. ILB, thanks for the article.

    Here’s my take:

    When Nash plays good, he can always be better.

    PS: maybe Nash reads this blog and realized how much he offended (pissed off) fans with his “good” comment?

    FWIW, all is forgiven by me. I hope the guy tears it up this year!

    Lets Go Rangers!!!!!!!

  16. BTW, while Larry Brook’s column was “good”, I thought the one up there ^ by Carpie was “better”. :)

  17. Nash does a lot of things well that put him in a position to shoot the puck. The problem comes at that point when he either loses possession or makes a ridiculously dumb pass to someone that’s on their off side.

  18. Great to see Banj back around here (forgot to mention that). Especially with him being in the correct post and all.

  19. Rob in Beantown on

    As much as the spin-o-rama annoys me sometimes, its true that Nash gets hacked repeatedly and almost never draws a penalty. It’s more than a little absurd. A lot of other skill players get that call but Nash doesn’t. Why? Is it his size?

  20. We are quickly going to find out how talented this core of mobile defensemen really are. It will be a critical issue for this team moving forward, how the defenseman get the puck out of the defensive zone.

    No more simply chipping it up or sending it blindly around the boards.

  21. That’s my guess too. He’s so big he *should* be able to take a slash from a guy 4 inches smaller and 25 lbs lighter, right? Its dumb.

  22. @Bear. We may get real, actual, outlet passes this year. For sure will be a learning experience for fans to see what we’ve got.

  23. Manny not sure if you caught cccps comment last night…but it WAS funny! Welcome Mrs Manny -)

  24. Washington: “Our boys will get through this Valley Forge thing.”

    Francesa: “You don’t know what you’re talking about.”

  25. I think the D is going to be just fine with it … the problem is that they’ll be passing to a lot of third-liners.

  26. II’m sure the next ruling after Parros will involve keeping your facemask on during any scrums. At least Orr was a gentleman .

  27. Ah, speaking of D, memories of Torts playing Hamrlik, Eminger versus Bruins late in vital game. That alone…

  28. Gravy, Just Gravy on

    Does anyone remember how dominant Nash was during the first 15 games or so last season? He owned the puck, but he just couldn’t score. That was when everyone else stunk.

  29. Good point. Breakout most times is a coordinated team effort, not just the responsibility of the Defense.

    But it certainly is nice when you have a DMAN who can carry the mail or make that nice quick accurate against the grain pass to cleanly beat and ultimately trap the forecheck deep.

    We’ll see if that first pass is to a player in motion as opposed to a stationary wing along the boards.

    After four years of chipping and winging it around the boards, It might take some games for the team to become efficient at it.

  30. _Does anyone remember how dominant Nash was during the first 15 games or so last season? He owned the puck, but he just couldn’t score. That was when everyone else stunk._

    Yeah, he had a few drives to the net that half the guys in the league couldn’t do without the puck that were just insane. I gave up on whining about losing my boy Dubinsky right around that time. Hopefully the more open offense will allow for a lot more ice and a lot more super cool drives.

  31. McDonagh MVP this year
    the rest of the team, well, let’s just say I’m not so sure we’ll be happy with the results
    Well, Miami will be

    I’d love to see Manny and Mrs. Manny fighting over the I-Phone to post first during the games

  32. Actually, fat guy, Mrs. Manny has her very own iPad. There’s no fighting in our relationship. Just ask Carp.

  33. Government shutdown prevents subsidy payments to help Hamrlik finally purchase that elusive vowel

  34. “I’m tired of playing on the team,
    It seems I don’t get time out anymore
    What a change if we set the pace face to face
    No one even trying to score

    One on one I wanna play that game tonight.”

  35. YOu call yourselves a married couple with no fighting? Where’s the spice? You may as well have just stayed close friends! You guys definitely dropped the Chalupa on that one

  36. Stranger Nation on

    Putting Richards with Step and Nash is a defensive disaster, we better control the puck on those shifts. Hank is going to have a lot of rubber coming at him from the point. But +/- is a useless stat, so who cares

  37. Don’t disagree, Stranger, but what potential top 6 forward on this team do you trust to cover up defensively aside from Callahan? We need two Callahans.

  38. Do you guys think that the excessive amount of goal scoring last night was more due to the terrible goaltending all around and poor defense or did the pad size actually make a huge difference?

  39. pad size made a difference Manny,
    you are going to find out real fast who the athletic goalies are, and who the goalies that relied on there equipment are. I am concerned Hank is the latter.

  40. hags-step-nash
    cally-brassard-miller
    shoot everyone else save on cap space and play 6 our only hope. Pathetic forwards maybe bottom 5% in the league

  41. 4 Callahans, 2 Dustin Browns, 2 Anze Kopitars, 1 Datsyuk, 2 Crosby’s, 1 Ovehckin, 1 Stamkos and 1 Bergeron

  42. @Manny…Dunno. Price was the only top 10 goalie playing last night so it’s tough to judge at this point. Very curious to see how the elite’s look the first few weeks of the season, though.

  43. _I just didn’t see a lot of 5-hole goals._

    Maybe goalies are shrinking in and leaving themselves more vulnerable on tips the equipment might have saved in the past?

  44. what I saw was goalies stuck in the middle. go into butterfly, or stay up and take angle. saw some long range goals, and shots off the wing goals. smaller goalies, make bigger net to shoot at.

  45. Good point on Price, Booby. The Maple Leafs averaged over 3 goals a game last season I think so 4 goals isn’t crazy for them. They can really fly, eh? I guess I will give it a few weeks.

  46. Not only did he not deserve the Conn Smythe but Rask probably deserved it more despite losing.

  47. Leafs offense is AWESOME to watch when you’re not playing them. Really really fun, actually.

  48. Probably plenty of illegal sticks, but everyone lets it go because, as with the goalie pad reduction, the league wants more goals.

  49. Sitting around here since 8Am waiting for my mechanic to arrive and install a new battery in my old Vette. You’re stuck with me until he appears. So solly.

  50. I was surprised yesterday when it appear the boneheads who made there predictions had Montreal ahead of Toronto and I’m not just saying this because Toronto won last night. I think the maple leafs will come in 4th place in there division.

  51. Was a time when the League rigged “drafts” to make sure Montreal was at or near the top every season.

  52. Gravy, Just Gravy on

    _I think three games is a sample size that the advanced stat nerds call “small”, Månnu_

    Three games is a larger sample size than many here have already used to pass judgment on this year’s team and coach.

  53. _All my friends that are Capitals “fans” think he’s like top 5 in the NHL. So annoying._

    My friend that’s a Flyers fan is deep into convincing himself Mason just needed a change of scenary and his rookie season should be the expectation, not the 4 that followed. So funny.

  54. Another annoying thing about Holtby…his parents. Does the camera still cut to them after every whistle?

  55. During most games, yes. Those are the people responsible for this self righteous freak. Also, his pre-game routine is so annoying.

  56. I bet he’s one of those guys who gets the good looking rep but its because he plays professional sports. Braden, the guy three cubes down, would just be that white dude with the pervy stare.

  57. Parros is probably the lowest paid member of his graduating class at Princeton. Powe even makes more than he.

  58. “Ugh, that Braden guy is really arrogant for someone who’s only been here a year. And I hate the way I catch him staring at me. He doesn’t even turn away when I notice him, he just does this thing where he tries to do a cute smirk but its just … creepy. I don’t know. He’s just really creepy. I make sure its never just us working late. One time I even packed up my stuff when I saw Jeff leaving, because it would have just been the two of us. I went down to the Starbucks for a half hour, then came back upstairs when I was pretty sure he was gone. Ick. You know?”

  59. bpg914@hotmail.com on

    “Someone actually DREW THIS!”

    I have tons of respect for the arts, but THAT is where you draw inspiration from? That’s annoying too.

  60. Gravy, Just Gravy on

    You’re crazy, coos :)

    It’s true. Also has $$637,500 in performance bonuses. Interesting that those are counted against the cap in full (if he were with the team), though I guess there’s really no other way to factor them in.

  61. Holtby would totally be warned about harassment and then fired with the “we warned you about the creepy eyes thing, Braden”

  62. Graves, so if he’s called up, he makes like $11,000 per game prorated, and if he goes back down, he makes like $800 per game, forgetting bonus money?

  63. Will be interesting if the Kreider is in contention next season for the Calder rookie award while also becoming an RFA simultaneously. Has that ever happened?

  64. It’s humorous to watch all these other teams send their rookies to Juniors to avoid the ELC. We never thought of that.

  65. Gravy, Just Gravy on

    Is Kreider still considered a rookie? He played less than 25 games last year, but do the playoffs from the previous year count?

    Either way, he’s going to be up at some point this year.

  66. @PaigeLewisFL 2m

    After Vokoun suffered from blood clots, Pens announce he will miss 3-6 months. Goodness.

  67. Oooo, Carp, Francesa better not find out you retweeted that parody or else he’ll spend two segments talking about how much he doesn’t care about twitter or that you retweeted that parody.

  68. Also Carp: How do you feel about our Richards/Brassard bet now? On one hand, this move solidifies Brassard as the 2C. On the other, if Richards can stick on the top line, he’ll rack up assists by accident.

  69. @AGrossRecord 37s

    #NYR lines same today: Richards-Stepan-Nash Pouilot-Brassard-Zuccarello Pyatt-Boyle-Fast Miller-D. Moore-Dorsett.

  70. Gravy, Just Gravy on

    I’d flip Miller and Pyatt, but that lineup is really average looking without Hagelin and Callahan.

  71. Gravy, Just Gravy on

    Agreed about Miller, but does anyone know if AV’s tendency is to roll four lines? If so, would make more sense.

  72. Carp
    i’m already starting my day with a
    headache
    and now i read that Richards
    is at the pp point?!?!?
    sheeeeeeeeesh!!
    talk about still trying to
    pound a square peg in a round hole!!

  73. So who is our best case 13th? Like where you would say “if _______ can’t even crack the top 12 right now, we’re in good shape”? Pouliot? He’d be the tipping point of “we just can’t keep the kids out of the lineup” probably, right?

    (No one can say Boyle. Boyle-Moore-Dorsett is our ideal 4th.)

  74. btw
    since it’s the start of the
    season
    i would have a little less
    problem
    if
    Richards was on a pp unit
    just not the point
    where he wasn’t helpful.
    most of his clutch goals
    were scored from around the faceoff circle
    so let him be a left wing on the pp
    sheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeesh!

  75. Its not the ice time I worry about with Miller, its the surrounding talent. Shades of Anisimov where he’d play regularly, but with guys who were the antithesis of compliments to his style.

  76. Pouliot is awesome. I expect him to be a 3rd line player all season. He’s the “good enough to be on any NHL team” and “not good enough to stick on any NHL team” type guy.

    I assume it’s Asham because of his back.

  77. Somebody who knows more than I, please explain the Ash/Haley pluses and minuses, other than age.

  78. Manny, my little game wasn’t who would be moved out, but who would be seen as a good sign if he was. That portrait of Pouliot is exactly why I think he fits. He’s good enough to play, but if he’s not playing, its because everyone else is better. Like throwing Halpern upstairs didn’t matter because he stunk and shouldn’t have been out there. Pouliot would be indicative of the forwards really playing well.

  79. Moore protects him on D, and Dorsett protects him on the ice. it is really a wise way to start the season for him. he will play with talent on the power play.

  80. Asham can occasionally look like a hockey player whereas Haley can’t spell his first name properly. I imagine that’s what it came down to.

  81. and Anisimov was given many chances to play with the big boys. the only thing he proved was that he couldn’t do it.

  82. Asham has actually hit the net
    with his shots
    unlike some of his teammates

    don’t have a deep hate for Haley
    played better/less goonish
    than anticipated last year

  83. Stranger Nation on

    Richards-Stepan-Nash (Step and Nash will be getting the puck for Richie)
    Pouilot-Brassard-Zuccarello (very pedestrian, vanilla and ordinary)
    Pyatt-Boyle-Fast (Fast with Pyatt to maintain equilibrium in the universe)
    Miller-D. Moore-Dorsett. (may be highest scoring line, will get looks)

  84. Haley to MDZ: “Hey, dude, can I get your autograph?”

    DZ: “Didn’t know you were a big fan.”

    Haley: “I’m not. Just trying to figure out how to spell Michael.”

  85. I mean, if Pouliot was the 13th forward that would be a great sign for us. Yes. Your point is good. I support it.

  86. Rob in Beantown on

    Micheal Haley would look good on a line with Arron Asham, Derick Brassard, or Darroll Powe, methinks

  87. As expected, #Flyers enforcer Jay Rosehill playing because of Leafs’ physicality.
    Retweeted by Rangers Report

    Watch out for the Kessel fella.

  88. Maybe giving the Leafs too much credit here, but they’ve stumbled upon a strategy that seems to make other teams much more likely to dress terrible hockey players.

  89. What all 6 teams that played last night that showed was team speed. Something the rangers lack offensively. Ranger have speed on blueline.

    Speed and finishers is thf new NHL.

  90. PennStateRangerFan on

    Richards is a pantload on a boat.
    Richards is a pantload, with a goat.
    Richards is a pantload in the rain.
    Richards is a pantload on a train.

    HES A PANTLOAD ANYWHERE!

    (except the pressbox, im okay with that)

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