Rangers-Wilds in review

264

Happy Festivus! We will begin with the airing of grievances, followed by the feats of strength.

Thoughts:

Minnesota Wild v New York Rangers1) That was one of the Rangers’ best games of the season, and the second was one of the best periods of the season, and the third wasn’t too far behind. Why? Because guys battled. An example: On the 3-1 goal, Derick Brassard made a defensive play, fought through an uncalled hook and a slash to lug the puck out of the Rangers zone, Mats Zuccarello went to the dirty area in front, and the Rangers were rewarded with a goal. Another: Hagelin went to a dirty area in front for the second goal, even if it was off a deflected pass. The Rangers won puck battles, a lot of them, and the result was very noticable.

2) And whatever Alain Vigneault says about the scoring chances he counts, the Rangers defended better. Much better. There were three breakaways and a penalty shot vs. the Islanders. There was barely an odd-man break in this game. There were breakdowns all over the place vs. the Islanders, and maybe two or three in this game. I thought, especially, Dan Girardi and Ryan McDonagh were much, much better vs. the Wilds, noticably so against the Koivu-Parise line. I thought Michael Del Zotto had another reasonably solid game. Of course, the Rangers also had the puck a lot, and as when they had their previous little streak this season, they used their speed.

3) Calm Talbot. Hey, he gave up an early goal (not his fault) and for a young guy coming off a loss in his last start, then sitting for most of three weeks, back-stopping a fragile team that has trailed a whole bunch on this homestand, that was a critical juncture. Talbot was really, really good after the goal, and allowed the Rangers to get it together when another goal could have been “game over.” I think he starts tonight vs. Toronto. I think he should.

Minnesota Wild v New York Rangers4) Still troubling was the play of the supposed top line. Rick Nash rang one off the post, and had a fluke assist on a fluke goal by Chris Kreider. Nash’s play is still troubling, both short-term and long-term. Kreider hasn’t been the same player for much of the homestand and had his minutes limited again.

5) And this was another rough start for Derek Stepan, who lost the draw cleanly on the 1-0 goal. Then he had a brain-freeze when he high sticked the puck to cause a whistle and bring the faceoff to the defensive zone on the PP. On another draw he thought he broke his stick, so he leaned on it to check, and then it snapped, when he probably could have played with it before snapping it. Once it snapped, he had no stick in the defensive zone. He lost 10 of 13 faceoffs in the game, many cleanly (Brad Richards won 11 of 17).

6) That first goal was a real clown show. First you had the icing, with Nash supposedly shaken up and coming off. So the Rangers caught a break in all the confusion that the players were allowed to get a breather. Then Kreider — on the ice with two centers — was to take the draw. Got tossed. Stepan went in and lost it cleanly, nobody went near Suter at the point, and John Moore did a lousy job checking Jason Pominville.Minnesota Wild v New York Rangers

7) But you’ve got to like Moore going after that piece of carcillo Matt Cooke after the hit on Zuccarello behind the net. It was probably a clean hit, but you know Cooke saw him vulnerable and tried to deliver a dangerous blow. He’s such a piece of crap. Is it wrong to wish Shawn Thornton had done to Cooke what he did to Brooks Orpik? Anyway, Moore did the right thing, then Derek Dorsett paid him a few visits and racked him up a couple of times. That’s how you respond.

9) Give the power play credit on the 1-1 goal, because four of them — at least — made a good play. Richards did, Brassard did. McDonagh did. Benoit Pouliot did. Pouliot’s been better lately. Much better. Involved, contributing. You’d have to be a cockeyed optimist to believe it will last based on his history.

10) I’m going to remain, based on experience, noncommittal about the news regarding Marc Staal. I mean, great for him to be feeling better and skating again. And it’s wonderful news that this concussion isn’t the same or as bad as the last one. But it’s a concussion, and there’s no way of knowing the timetable on these things, nor how well or for how long a player can continue if/when he does return. To be clear, I hope nothing but the best for Staal. He’s a good guy, a beloved teammate, a leader and a crucial piece of his team. I just want to throw a warning of caution out there.

11) Whenever I see former future Ranger Zach Parise, I can’t help but wonder … of course. What if the Rangers had drafted him instead of Hugh Jessiman? Or what if they had decided to really make an effort to sign him as a free agent instead of going after Nash? I know, he wanted to go home, and he said that silly thing that he wouldn’t sign with the Rangers — which he kind of had to say — but if they had succeeded in getting him then, they might still have Brandon Dubinsky, Artem Anisimov, Tim Erixon (for what that’s worth) and the prospect they could have drafted in the first round last summer. And now, with Nash the way he is, they might instead have an albatross contract. I know, I know, it’s revisionist history. But that’s what I think.

*************************************Minnesota Wild v New York Rangers
My Three Rangers Stars:
1. Mats Zuccarello.
2. Derek Dorsett.
3. Derick Brassard.
*************************************
Your poll vote for Three Rangers Stars:
1. Mats Zuccarello.
2. Carl Hagelin.
3. Cam Talbot.
*************************************

Photos by Getty Images.

Twitter: @rangersreport.

 

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264 Comments

  1. All the time I play “What if,” re Rangers player moves over the years, and just about everything in life. It’s a great way of updating situations with the advantage of hindsight, so that you learn from experience and make better decisions as you become practiced at exercising judgment calls.

    My favorite favorite “What if” Rangers questions include: What if Gordie Howe had not been cut loose, circa 1947, because he was just a skinny kid? Had Gordie been a lifetime Ranger, you are looking at the Rangers winning the Stanley Cup in 1950, and a damn good run at Montreal in 1958, maybe even good enough to steal with Howe, Bathgate, Prentice, Howell, Worsley, Gadsby, Murphy, Fontinato, and a damn good supporting cast all the way down the line.

    Also, what if the Rangers had had home advantage vs. Chicago in game 7 of the semi’s in 1971? They had a better record in the original six division, less Chicago which was given a walk in the park transfer to the expansion division. Then Chicago given home ice vs. the Rangers because they had a slightly better record vs. vastly inferior opponents, all season long.

    Where the puck was Rangers Prexy Bill Jennings when that nightmare scenario for New York was hustled through? I mean, in the old days all the perks went to Montreal and Toronto. How the hell did Chicago get the gravitas to pull the favorable home ice schedule off?

    Off course the Rangers lost that decisive game, 4-3. And to make matters worse, Chicago blew a 3-2 lead in games vs. Montreal and the Stanley Cup with it, right on their home ice in game 7, which of course they led, 2-0, before the choke set in. Rangers would have won it all that year vs. possibly the weakest Montreal Cup winning team ever.

    And Emile and Hot Rod and Vic and Jean and Harry and Jim Neilson and Brad, and Eddie G.,etc. would have had their much deserved sip of champagne.

    Blame it on that accursed “What If?” Syndrome. I do, every day of my life.

  2. 25 points in 29 games since his benching, i’d say Zuke got the message? He’s been our most consistent performer, others have been better at times, but he brings it every game and unless he really falls off a cliff is going to deserve a new deal and a raise.

  3. I knew he was going to be a hit this year!!
    Everybody was talking about his size.
    I see big guys on that team playing without any grit.

  4. Correction: Rangers had the better record than Chicago in 1971, but Chicago won their division that year (surprise) while the Rangers did not win their division. Thus Chicago got the post-season scheduling cherry.

  5. Take half of Richards salary and give it to Zucc!
    Then Zucc gets what he deserve and Richard what he deserve!!

  6. gregm_oldsection403 on

    Spot on, as usual, Carp. My favorite read, win or lose, after a game. Hands down, the best, most objective coverage available.

    Heard you the other night on the radio during intermission. Great job too!

    So Carp, tell us how you really feel about Cooke?!!!

  7. He’s added a bit of an edge to his game this year, playing with a bit of a chip on his shoulder instead of being the nice little Norwegian Hobbit. Channelling his inner-Dorsett.

  8. Watch the Cooke hit on Zuke again, and how he raises his left elbow slightly to Zuke’s head. Piece of Cooke!

  9. Does Cooke leave his feet to deliver his hit on Zucc…my replay says he does….I understand that Zucc is much, much taller…so Cooke needed to leave his feet to be sure he made contact with the head….good thing Zucc is just over 6’…because if he was any shorter the hit would look like a delberate attempt to injure….and we al know Mr. Cooke is all about safe play!

  10. Some of us thought that Nash trade was a horrendous move right away, to much derision from a” home” crowd.

  11. you praise MDZ for playing “reasonably well”, but any chance you get you will knock Kreider. the guys you pick to defend (Boyle, and MDZ), and the guys you choose to knock, ( Stepan, and Kreider), makes me wonder what it is you think a good player is all about.

  12. Give Gnash a break, he’s just coming off a 2nd concussion, and looks it. Possibly playing through some problems…what it means long term is anyone’s guess. I turned the game off after the 1st period…seemed to be another one of their boring home stand games, all the Rangers standing around waiting for something to click. Sorry I did. Always liked Zucc, and knew he had grit and hockey sense, think Martin St Louis…only concern for me was his size…he’s playing bigger than that. Thanks for another great write-up, Carp. Yours is always the most objective morning after wrap-up in the universe of hockey.

  13. The Rangers’ Cup chances in 71, 72 anf 74 would have been significantly better if not for the weak, back breaking goals given up by the vastly overrated Eddie.

    ’71 G5 Bobby Hull OT
    ’71 G7 Cliff Korrol
    ’72 G1 Ace Bailey
    ’74 G1 “Rod Seiling”

  14. Minnesota interviewed Stepan and made it sound like he is a lock for team USA. The way he is playing right now wouldn’t you take Pominville instead whose also on the bubble?

  15. Good morning, boneheads!

    And Happy Festivus!

    Nice review, Carp. On that play by Brassard you’re talking about, I’m pretty sure he saved the goal by interrupting a pass. Just curious, was MZA coming off the bench to score on that goal and they lost him, or were all 4 Minnesota players just standing around watching Brassard skate?

    Talbot was good, but I don’t think he had to face that many tough shots. I attribute it, at least partially, to a much better defensive coverage by our forwards. The D had much better puck support than I’ve seen in weeks.

  16. My thoughts:
    1. Even a terrible team plays a good game once in a while
    2. This years team still sucks
    3. Their record will soon reflect that they are a bottom feeder

  17. I agree in some ways, FG…they are a Jeckyl and Hyde team.

    Like the girl with the curl
    in the middle of her forehead…
    when they are good, they are very, very good,
    and when they are bad, they are horrid…

  18. Stranger Nation on

    They play their best hockey when utilizing their speed to full advantage. Is it tough to play against physical teams? Yes. Is it tough to play against fast teams? Yes.
    Not a recipe for playoff success but when they hustle and pass well, this team can compete.

    Cam does a MUCH better job than Henk controlling the puck either by directing rebounds to the corners, making subtle but important plays behind net or firing it out of the zone.

    Pullout has pulled in?

  19. Looks like they will have to try and win games without Nash being a force. He is still afraid to get into any type of physical encounter. It is what it is. Let’s hope he recovers after the Olympic brake. If he does, they might get a 30+ goal scorer in the lineup.

  20. I’d add Zuccarello to the list of “untouchables”. I was thinking about who has been the most consistent forward so far and Zuccarello is always noticeable. I think he’s still adjusting to the league a bit, but for a little man, he has been far more noticeable than Nash.

  21. ILB, ignoring his performance and results, If Nash is compromised from injury or ‘afraid’, should he be playing at all? If he has not recovered from his concusion , why would Ranger medical staff allow him to play?

  22. great review Carp.

    I say ride Cam as far as he can get us, give the kid 4 or 5 straight starts.
    I also have no problem with the Cooke hit. He is a POS, but that was a clean hit, Zuc probably learned in PeeWee or somewhere along the line to keep his head up/

  23. Papa, I’m pretty sure he is cleared medically. They can’t place him on IR if he exhibits no physical signs. Just speculating, but I think internally they’ve ( him including) decided to let him play through this. He still requires the opposition to deploy their best D against him. They know, you let him freelance, he’ll burn you anytime. He still has a laser-of-a-shot.

  24. Staal wart, gotta be the guy with the most years left and bite the bullet on the other? Unless by some miracle you could move one, buy out the other.

  25. No brainer there- Richards, folks. Nash is younger, his contract is shorter, and, most importantly, carries negligible recapture penalty.

  26. I’m pretty sure I did a blog post in August on recapture penalty in general, and Richards’ recapture penalty in particular, and comparing him to Kovalchuk’s contract as an example. It’s deadly.

  27. Excellent review Carp and Happy Festivus to the rest of us.

    Regarding the play of the defense, I don’t know if it’s chicken-and-egg thing or not, but the they seem to play better in front of Talbot than they do in front of Hank. Is it because they feel less confidence playing in front of Hank the way he is going or does Hank feel less confident when they get all scrambly.

    Maybe these guys are accustomed to years of having the King save their bacon not matter how many snow angels they do. And Maybe they turn it up a notch knowing the rookie goalie is in there (it seems many of Rangers opponents practice this as well). Either way, you have to go with Talbot, if for know other reason than the confidence level of the 5 skating in front of the goalie.

    Regarding Nash, obviously the concussions have affected way more than just his health, his mindset seems tentative and skittish. That a-hole writer in Pittsburgh, calling Nash a dog when he plays in this condition, was probably standing and cheering when they gave a video tribute to that piece of (fill-in-the-blank Carcillo, Kaleta, Rinaldo, take your pick) Cooke the other night.

    Regarding Cooke’s hit on Zuccarello, the guidelines used by Shanahan and company have not really added to the safety of players but have merely set the rules by which a player can legally deliver a dirty hit.
    Speaking of

  28. Nash is like your battered old Grandfather. He hangs out in the nursing home and mostly just stares out the window at nothing. He says it reminds him of those cold nights in Normandy, but you can’t tell if he’s being serious. But every now and then, he has a lucid moment, and he tells you and the rest of the family how much you mean to him. Then he asks why you put him in that horrible home where they beat the patients and you hope he’s gone back into his “happy place.”

  29. ILB, whatever the case, it’s a shame he’s not the elite player we thought he would be. Nash and Richards, too bad they didn’t work out. In hindsight, I bet the organization would take a do-over on both.

  30. I now include in my daily prayers a petition to the supreme being that Ranger brass somehow be able to trade Nash and/or Richards before the trade deadline. If it happens I’ll call it the 2014 trade deadline “Miracle of the De-Loafing”

    Strength in numbers. Join me.

  31. Nash is to be commended for putting himself out there, clearly at less than 100%. No surprise there’s an A on his jersey now. Team player who’s beginning to get to the net, needs to find his shot.

  32. So Gaborik injured again – broken collar bone – 4 shifts into his first game back from a sprained knee.

  33. Wouldn’t Nash carry no cap recapture penalty since it wasn’t the Rangers that signed him to the original deal and he was traded pre-new CBA?

  34. I have so many grievances to air, personally, professionally and as a sports fan, that I dont know where to start. We may be here until next Festivus. Aren’t fat guys supposed to be jolly?

  35. Nash is playing at his usual level, maybe a bit off his usual numbers though. He’s on pace for about 60 points and 25 goals (in an 82 game season). He usually nets 30, so that part is down but the rest is around where he’d usually be. He’s on pace for 291 shots.

    He’s a streaky player and he’ll bet a bunch in one month and then go missing for the next one. Combine that with head injuries adding to his tentativeness, but he’s essentially the same guy he’s always been just with a different set of expectations.

  36. To say there was no difference in the way the team played last night versus the Islanders is ludicrous, as Carp pointed out in point #2. That’s not to detract from Talbot and not to give Hank a pass.

    The Rangers do seem to tighten up a bit defensively, and Talbot has obviously been very solid, so a good combination. I can only remember 2 goals that I felt he should have stopped (the one when he came in relief of Hank, which didn’t matter, and the last one in his last start).

  37. Those first three goals looked like ones that a skilled team scores. Very unusual to see from this team. And the fourth goal, as fluky as it was, wouldn’t have happened without THE’s speed.

  38. Did you see the way THE was giggling with the boys after that goal? He looked like a first grader that farted on the lunch line

  39. _Wouldn’t Nash carry no cap recapture penalty since it wasn’t the Rangers that signed him to the original deal and he was traded pre-new CBA?_

    Recaptures are split based on years played with a given team. Nash doesn’t carry one because his contract is backloaded.

  40. Point is I think the teams splitting the cap penalty provision is post-CBA trades. Pre-CBA trades only apply to the original team.

  41. Talbot and Biron before him show how significant is a goalie’s puckhandling. If Hank had that in his skill set he’d be so much better.

  42. Also Carp, I know you have a strong hatred for Cooke, but that was a clean hit on Zucc. Doesn’t mean he still isn’t a dirty player, but that was one of the few clean checks he’s thrown.

  43. CTB- Nash’s contract carries recapture penalty, there is no provision for pre or post CBA trades. Columbus will not get any penalty because during his current contract his salary was always lower than his AAV. The Rangers have the same advantage during his first year and “pocketed” $200K which negates his first 2 years of possible penalty ( 2014-15, 2015-16), After that, they will start paying in case he retires. The max they can pay is $200K if he retires after 2016-17 season.

  44. I didn’t think it was a dirty hit either. Predatory, yes. Liked how Moore responded.

    Gotta feel bad for McIlrath. Let’s hope his MRI didn’t show any significant damage. Same knee.

  45. Wicky©No one screens the goalie, no one gets to rebounds!!! on

    Great review carp and happy festivus!!

    I play talbot until he doesn’t have energy left to put on his pads then i have someone help him with that and roll him into the crease.

    Hank has been a great goalie for us in the past, but as far as I am concerned he is the most expensive back up in the league right now and unless he can get his game back…thanks and enjoy your new team (movement clauses and such be damned)

    Trade staal to carolina when healthy…please!

    We can still make the playoffs in the Least, if we make a few deals prior to the deadline. If we make the right deals, might even make some noise in the playoffs!!

  46. Nice writeup Carp.
    Was in the building last night & along with what seemed an excited & large crowd there was also a positive vibe. Everybody in a festivus mood maybe? My girlfriend who know s little about hockey singled out Zucc as her favorite & most exciting player. Like myself, she does find tinsel distracting however.
    LGR! Beat the Leaves!!

  47. Kenneth at clinchers of '89Flames '94Rangers '96Avs on

    _Talbot was good, but I don’t think he had to face that many tough shots._

    You have no evidence to support this.

  48. CTB- I see what you meant now. He was traded before new CBA was signed. So, even if Columbus did get “benefit” from his contract, they wouldn’t be penalized. The Rangers would, however.

  49. Kenneth at clinchers of '89Flames '94Rangers '96Avs on

    _What’s this smell?_

    How long ago did you last shower?

  50. Wicky©No one screens the goalie, no one gets to rebounds!!! on

    Luongo injured in vancouver…they need a goalie!

    Quick slats, trade hank to the nucks for kesler, bieksa, etc

    (s)

  51. Kenneth at clinchers of '89Flames '94Rangers '96Avs on

    _Looks like Talbot is starting_

    His stellar goaltending *inspires* the troops to play better.

  52. ….AND Tortarella, Wicky. *Hank* to Vancouver for *Bieksa, Kesler and Tort* (and Musky if he can be found)

  53. Rob in Beantown on

    _It’s believed that Sather is willing to entertain offers involving just about any player not named Chris Kreider, Rick Nash, or Henrik Lundqvist._

    Um, somebody very *important* is missing

  54. He couldn’t have forgotten about McDonagh. I think that was just because he paused to have a puff of his cigar…

  55. If there’s a market out there for Nash, it should be seriously explored, IMO.

    More revisionist history: Too bad the Rangers used their first buy-out on Redden. He had only a year left and given the crappy season last year, in retrospect, he should have been part of the bottom pairing and then free to go at no financial impact to the Rangers last summer. That would mean they could use their 2 buyouts on Richards and Nash this summer.

    More Sather messiness, something he’s better at, IMO, than anything else now.

  56. Kenneth at clinchers of '89Flames '94Rangers '96Avs on

    I wonder what kind of value Slats could acquire in a return for a Callahan rental. Cally is a good 2L, plays both ways and possesses all the personal qualities that a team seeks in a player.

  57. Kenneth: If he’s healthy a first rounder (low) is probably realistic.

    If come the deadline the Rangers are still out of the POs, it’s a no-brainer (if a first is offered up).

  58. Wicky©No one screens the goalie, no one gets to rebounds!!! on

    Like I’ve said before, I’d trade both OPG and staal prior to the deadline. Yes, you have to get some D back, but I would trade them both.

  59. Callahan would bring back more than a first rounder, considering Iginla brought a 1st and two prospects, and Clowe brought back a 2nd, 3rd, and conditional pick.

  60. Gravey: They could, but the BR contract is worse because it goes longer and he’s older. BR, unless he’s hurt at season’s end, will be the other buy-out.

  61. Sounds like the return might be Gryba. Would prefer Methot but I understand. Gryba would be a nice huge body being added to our blue line and a Lefty replacing Del Zotto.

    The questions is: what can we get for Staal and Girardi?

  62. ?@lindacohn Ha! *Zucc has a twin* ! RT @Scott_Source: .@lindacohn didn’t realize @zuccarello36 was such a die hard Lions fan…. pic.twitter.com/D3NIFHvJLN

  63. jim, of course. But, they can still use a traditional buyout on Nash (as opposed to the compliance buyout).

  64. Wicky©No one screens the goalie, no one gets to rebounds!!! on

    Absolutely methot…even if you have to include someone else.

    I still think you try and get ruutu (whom carolina might use a compliance buyout on) or gleason from the canes for staal.

    OPG is interesting…could you use him in a deal with mtl for patches?

  65. iWicky "Frag Out!!!" on

    It’s pretty cool watching brassard with better linemates putting up points!!

    I still think Stepan is a bit overrated and should be lower on the depth chart than brassard.

    Traid him!

  66. Stepan was *Captain* of a Gold Medal winning WJC team for which he was on the ice for the OT MEDAL CLINCHING GOAL. Thus, I love him.

  67. Good afternoon, Sally!

    bull dog, do you really think I have an agenda against Kreider and Stepan? Why would I? Do I have an agenda when I criticize Richards, Nash, Girardi, Vigneault? Do you think Kreider has played well at all this past week and a half or so? Or that Stepan’s been good this season?

  68. Interesting game tonight. Two teams with the highest value, the highest revenue, and are the highest contributors to the new NHL Revenue sharing program.

  69. iWicky "Frag Out!!!" on

    Manny
    While I appreciate your loyalty to step, I think you are not taking into consideration the linemates, ice time, and playing situations both guys have been put in over time.

    If brassard had the same amount of ice time with linemates with the same capability as steps, he would have just as good if not better stats.

  70. Kenneth at clinchers of '89Flames '94Rangers '96Avs on

    _linemates with the same capability as steps, he would have just as good if not better stats._

    No evidence to support this.

    A winner has been declared: *Manny*

  71. Wicky, assuming they would have the same production, and that’s a big assumption considering the years of mediocrity/underachieving/etc. Brassard has had, Stepan still makes less money and more controllable years than Brassard.

  72. Eddie Eddie Eddie on

    Brassard played a great game. Much more team unity in after whistle scrum fests. Tam must start again and play till he loses 2 in a row.

  73. iWicky "Frag Out!!!" on

    Brass has a higher faceoff percentage, only 5 less points, 35 more hits, averages 3 minutes less ice time per game, and has played one less game than step, and has definitely not had the luxury of the linemates all season that step has so no offence, but step is overrated and brass seems to be doing more with less!!!

  74. I just think that overall, Stepan is a more consistent player and a better two-way forward. For me, his defensive ability puts him a notch above.

  75. Stepan should be a much, much better player though. Brassard’s been fine in what he’s done. Stepan hasn’t played to his level most of this season.

  76. Yes, Brassard has less TOI because Stepan kills penalties. Can you remember a Brassard hit that separated an opponent from the puck?

  77. iWicky "Frag Out!!!" on

    You really think he is better defencively? I think that is steps worst trait, he is a lot like secretariat defencively IMHO.

  78. Eddie Eddie Eddie on

    Stepan is allergic to physical play. Hard to tell who the biggest Mr. Softie is between Secretariat, Gnash, and “don’t step-any where near me after the whistle blows if you’re an angry opponent”

  79. iWicky "Frag Out!!!" on

    Gravy
    As many as those board rattling hits step throws…oh wait

    If you are expecting brassard to throw huge hits like kronwall, you will be waiting a while, but at least with his hit numbers he is trying to get involved physically, which is more than we can say about Stepan.

    On a team that seems to not have always have effort I’ll take brassards involvement level over steps any day.

  80. Eddie Eddie Eddie on

    Gravy – I’ve seen brassard accidentally bump into opponents harder than any check stepan has delivered. Stepan waltzes near another player the way he slides into clean, soft, silk sheets at night…

  81. Eddie Eddie Eddie on

    Brassard has a much better shot and oodles more creative with the puck than stepan.

    Duguay, I’ll point out is very pretty.

  82. Really? I think he’s actually pretty good defensively. He’s not a terribly physical guy but I think he’s sound at covering for people and such…

  83. iWicky "Frag Out!!!" on

    Manny
    For someone who always talks intangibles ie hits and such when talking about players like prust and Bickel and so on, I find it odd you seem to abandon that position when discussing brassard and step (a player who offers none of those intangibles).

  84. I think Stepan is much better defensively than Brassard. Much more aware. And through all of this season he’s been really good on the PK.

  85. Fair enough on the hitting, fellas.

    But, you are underrating his defensive play tremendously, especially compared to Brassard. Brassard is like Richards to me, but making a ton less money. Not good defensively, blind and cross-ice passes that lead to scoring chances, not picking up his assignments, etc.

  86. Wicky – advanced stats have shown that stats have more to do with ice time and less to do with line mates. A few rare cases, but most times guys improve their stats when they get more ice time.

    Doesn’t really defend or reject the fact that Brass should have more ice time than Stepan, but it shouldn’t matter who his line mates are.

  87. Kristo called up yet? on

    Happy Holiday Monday Boys!

    #11 Carp. There isn’t a year go by that I don’t miss the Rangers not picking one of my favorite all time Sioux players. He is such a great guy. I’ve met him several times when he comes up for Cullen Charity tournament in the summer.

    Now I mostly day dream if Kristo, will turn into the same type player. They played a very similar type of game for the Sioux, and both left as point leaders. Both had a way of getting that 3rd period greasy goal to win a game.

    Some day soon, if not next year, we will get to see the kid score some goals.

  88. iWicky "Frag Out!!!" on

    Carp
    If you are saying step is positionally sound, I certainly wouldn’t argue that, but I am not a fan of positionally sound players (which is hockey speak for soft lol).

    That was a great rush and pass by brass on that hobbit goal.

  89. Kristo called up yet? on

    Manny another Holiday Brawl between the FIGHTING Sioux and the Murders!

    Has the making of the Holiday Classic don’t you think?

  90. Eddie Eddie Eddie on

    I have never seen, and I’m serious, stepan deliver a nasty face wash during a scrum to *anyone*

  91. Carp, agreed re Brassard. For the money and expectations, he is completely fine. I don’t believe that he’s better than Stepan, and I think he’d be exposed at $4M+ as a second line C (which he may be for the team next year).

  92. Step too often skates in sand. He’s a step short. He has to play at (his) full throttle to be effective.

  93. Eddie Eddie Eddie on

    Gravy – last 8 games or so, I’ve seen step make some horrible passes too especially on the PP. Step likes to throw soft passes kind-of-towards-the net that usually go off an opponents stick to another opponent.

  94. iWicky "Frag Out!!!" on

    Well, I would keep brass over step, but opinions vary, and we might have both or neither in the future.

    Happy festivus to you guys and I’m off to work.

    Thanks for the discussion!

  95. I’m not *abandoning* my principles. I personally think Stepan is much better defensively than Brassard. Brassard might be a bit more creative offensively or something like that. I don’t think that _every_ player on the ice has to drill opponents. Brassard can get physical down low which I enjoy.

    Again, I like Brassard. I just don’t know that he’s worth $4M+ to center your 3rd line. He’s not consistent enough to play 2nd line minutes, thus, we have a quandary.

  96. What Gravy said at *1:08PM* is what I see from Brassard as well.

    Vibin’ with Trades and Posts, buddy.

    Again, WE DONT HATE BRASSARD. He’s just going to get a more money and it’s not clear what role he can fill.

    Stop getting all defensive of people like they are your children. These are players on our underachieving and failing team.

  97. Eddie Eddie Eddie on

    Jonny – I disagree in tenor….you play Stepan on a line with Boyle and Dorsett as Brasard had for several games and you’d notice a big drop off in scoring…Brassard has had poo-yo on his wing a lot to and only recently that noodle was awaken…Line mates do matter.

  98. Yeah, I don’t hate Brassard, and based on the injuries, we’re *winning* the Gaborik trade. But, I don’t think he’s better or more valuable than Stepan from a game, cap, etc. perspective.

  99. My complaint about Brassard has been the same since his name came up in the Gaborik deal: the guy is inconsistent, has a tendency to become a ghost and has a very fragile attitude.

  100. War Admiral is spending so much time at tanning salons, he’s beginning to look like a Jamaican Jerry Lewis.

  101. Got to get that round dried spaghetti sauce stain off my TV. For the second time in a week, I mistakenly thought I saw Richie come out of a wall ‘battle’ with the puck.

  102. Stepan (Career) = +43
    Brassard (Career) = -49

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

    Normally I don’t pull out the old +/- but that is a HUMUNGOUS disparity.

  103. Kenneth at clinchers of '89Flames '94Rangers '96Avs on

    _Normally I don’t pull out the old +/- but that is a HUMUNGOUS disparity._

    It suggests that Stepan is better defensively at even strength (;

  104. Before he got married, McD roomed with #21, which might have been good for Step. Step said they would put on a movie and Donuts would be zonked out 5 minutes in. Pure speculation.

  105. iWicky "Frag Out!!!" on

    Talk about disappearing like a ghost at crunch time Stepan during the playoffs…

    37 career games 5 goals 9 assists

    Brassard

    12 career games 2 goals 10 assists

    Smaller sample set, but perhaps you should re evaluate your ghost disappearing act criteria!

  106. Well, the entire NYR team disappears in the playoffs, as does scoring in general, but I understand that Brassard, in his first taste of the playoffs, played very well. I remember Pyatt playing really well too…..

  107. eddie eddie eddie on

    gravy – the eyes test reveal a greater disparity in the hitting contest….Stepan reminds me of Maverick in Top Gun, after Goose cracked his coconut, when he refused to engage…….They really angered ice man…..

    That volleyball scene when they were oiled up is best “gay heaven” in cinematic history…

  108. Onecupin74yearsandcounting on

    Carp, Come join me and my family for the Christmas EVE feast of the 7 hot dogs from Walters. Onions Kraut and mustards from around the world..

  109. eddie eddie eddie on

    when the play gets physical, as playoff hockey does, then the guys with balls rise and shine…stepan has never done much in the playoffs….. and to me plays scared….

  110. _Normally I don’t pull out the old +/- but that is a HUMUNGOUS disparity._

    Worth noting Columbus was never a + team during Brassard’s tenure there. I’m far more comfortable assuming a guy was on a bad team (or good team) by his +/- than I am assuming anything about the player himself.

  111. Kenneth at clinchers of '89Flames '94Rangers '96Avs on

    How are those that previously wanted Pouliot waived or traded for a bag of pucks feeling these days?

  112. Gravey: The cap hit on buying out Nash is significant. After this year, he’s got 4 years left. Buying him out this summer would result in a $2,666,000 cap hit for 8 years!

    That’s a middle of the pack player you take away in terms of contracts by doing so. OUCH!

    For sure, explore trading him before you take on that hit.

    Nash is for me probably the most disappointing Ranger in many years.

  113. Eddie Eddie Eddie on

    If poo-yo can keep getting better….he’ll be fine….he has asserted himself, playing with more passion, and he’s been smarter and more engaged……Let’s hope it continues…

  114. Eddie Eddie Eddie on

    Last year vs Boston in the playoffs, Brassard challenged Marchand and chased after him…..Haven’t seen Stepan even remotely so same…

  115. More evidence of Sather’s incompetence: The Rangers are struggling to make the POs and their number 1 farm team is tied for last in the AHL.

    And their feeder amateur feeder system is now considered as one of the weakest in the entire NHL.

    Ridiculous…

  116. Rob in Beantown on

    _Step is also three years younger._

    I *always* forget this. In my head Stepan is the veteran and Brassard is the kid. Stepan seems like a much more mature player. I won’t lie though, the follicle situation on top of his head probably has a lot to do with that perception

  117. HAPPY FESTIVUS!!!!!!

    now if the Rangers revert to their carcillo playing tonight the airing of grievances may go on through Christmas Eve!

  118. IMO, Stepan’s biggest problem (and it’s not really his problem – it’s the fans’ problem with perception) is that he’s not a number 1 center and not a go-to guy.

    He’s a solid supporting player capable of manning the 2nd line and brings defensive acumen to his game.

    The only go-to guy the Rangers have is Nash and alas, as we are all painfully witnessing, he’s not that either. He accomplished nothing in Columbus and in New York (with arguably a stronger cast) is continuing that tendency. He’s 29 and is what he is: A very talented big and mobile winger capable of high-light reel goals but incapable of producing when the chips are down.

    His contract is onerous. And rapidly becoming an albatross, as will Lundqvist’s if he doesn’t rediscover his game (actually the King’s will be reprehensible very quickly – like as soon as next year – if he doesn’t straighten out).

  119. _IMO, Stepan’s biggest problem (and it’s not really his problem – it’s the fans’ problem with perception) is that he’s not a number 1 center and not a go-to guy._

    Yup. “Why aren’t you playing like the #1 center I recognize you aren’t???”

  120. _Nash is for me probably the most disappointing Ranger in many years._

    Really? He scored a point per game last year, and still has a long way to go this season coming back from his second concussion. I can think of 10 players who I’d label as more disappointing.

  121. Stranger Nation on

    somewhat lost in this last streak of 4 games where they began scoring more 2 per game is Richards move to the wing (and down the depth. chart) and Miller’s solid contribution.

    Only melt down was on PP vs Ice Landers featuring Nash and Mr Ed on the ice and plays more like a shorthanded 4v3. led to 3 of those breakaways on Henk

  122. Eddie Eddie Eddie on

    Richards is the most disappointing….Gnash has head issues – mentally and physiologically ….

  123. Richards isn’t all that disappointing for me because I was like “oh gross” when he got 9 years.

  124. eddie eddie eddie on

    when the men on the chessboard
    get up and tell you where yo go
    and you just had some kind of mushroom
    and your mind is moving slow
    go ask alice
    i think she’ll know

    when logic and proportion
    have fallen sloppy dead
    and the white Knight’s talking backwards
    And the red Queen’s “Off with her head”

    remember what the door mouse said

    feed your head
    feed your head

  125. eddie eddie eddie on

    It’s not that Step is going bald, it’s that new hair refuses to replace the old dying hair….

  126. If only Richards could stop leading the team in points and forward minutes, think how much more disappointed you could be. Keep rooting for poor play from him, and the true disappointment you seek will be upon you.

  127. Stranger Nation on

    Step is a likable player – probably should be a 2B at his age and lack of experience. in the west coast swing he was targeted and hit hard early in every game and dissappeared afterwards.
    He can be creative with time and space, is smart positionally, and always hustles; conversely he has an innacurate shot, cannot win a board battle, is weak on faceoffs and is really not a strong defensive center.
    Another downside of Mr Ed signing is his inability to handles #1 pivot chores and force Step to play first line minutes.

  128. I’m not disappointed precisely because I am paying attention and have no interest in being one of the Negative-Nancy group-thinkers here.

  129. Listening to Puck Podcast who has an amazing take on elite goaltending: They are saying that, there is such an excess of _good_ goaltending in the NHL, and so many backups have proven that they are very, very good (more goalies than starting jobs available), that you’re insane to pay a goaltender as much as you pay Hank or someone similar.

    *must note that the host saying this is a Kings fan and thinks they should *not* be paying Quick that much.

  130. And you know how to use that Bold button. Sorry to have semi-missed that particular quotation.

  131. eddie eddie eddie on

    Norm – my 5 favorite horses in order:

    1. Secretariat
    2. Seattle Slew
    3. Alydar
    4. Spectacular Bid
    5. Brad Richards

    willllllber

  132. Manny:

    That was why I was against signing Hank to $8.5, even the good Hank.

    75% of the goalies it is very hard to discern the difference between.

    Martin Jones is the latest greatest goalie to ever live.

    If he is on Edmonton….

    Team depth mainly by building through the draft is how you in the NHL today.

    There is no Bernie Parent or Patrick Roy leading a team to the Cup.

    Hawks win with Nik. Khall and then Crawford.

    Bruins with Thomas just miss with Rask etc. etc

  133. eddie eddie eddie on

    brad can skate 5 furlongs in 58 1/5 if he’s given a three furlong head start….not a world record time…but not bad either…

  134. Hey, I remember that from last year! You have included Richards in a list of horses, as though to say Richards himself is a horse. Because his teeth are more prominent than other players’ teeth, right? And “Wilber” is a humorous reference — again one that never gets old — to a talking horse from an old TV show. There’s a sense of irony there that makes us laugh because Richards, too, can talk, even though he is like a horse. What’s most amazing is that this line of humor is so, so funny that it never gets old, can still get laughs from the gang no matter how many times you bust it out. My sides continue to shake.

    Richards is like a horse! Neigh!! Whinny!!!

    HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, !

  135. Is the basis for the group-think “focusing on just the raw total points for a points-only player with significant other negatives is a bad way to evaluate”? If so, I’m on the list. Points per 60 …

    Rick Nash: 2.43
    Chris Kreider: 2.39
    Mats Zuccarello: 2.38
    Brad Richards: 2.19
    Carl Hagelin: 2.07
    Derek Stepan: 1.99
    Derick Brassard: 1.94
    Ryan Callahan: 1.79
    Benoit Pouliot: 1.43
    Ryan McDonagh: 1.34
    Brian Boyle: 0.95
    Derek Dorsett: 0.81
    Michael Del Zotto: 0.79
    John Moore: 0.77
    Dominic Moore: 0.68
    Dan Girardi: 0.59
    Justin Falk: 0.58
    J.T. Miller: 0.57
    Anton Stralman: 0.33
    Marc Staal: 0.30
    Taylor Pyatt: 0.22

    And given usage (both linemates and the fact that he has almost a full period of PP time over the 2nd highest), that’s a pretty generous 4th spot.

  136. eddie eddie eddie on

    norm – i heard that he’s hung like a hebrew national as well……truly horse-like

  137. How many seconds until Papa Bear says Wilburrr! again? I’m laughing already in anticipation. It’s going to be so-o-o-o droll!

  138. OH, MY GOD. A reference to horse-penis length! I can hardly breathe I’m laughing so hard! I think the last time I laughed this hard was in third grade! I laughed so hard I wet my pants. With my PENIS! Ha, ha, ha, ha!!

  139. Kristo called up yet? on

    I was stuck in a Charity tournament all day yesterday, so I’ve only seen the highlights.

    Good to know he was OK. Sure wish they would give the Kid a few games over the holidays.

  140. eddie eddie eddie on

    norm – seriously…..how long do you suppose it takes brad to brush those chompers? if you were in a hurry, hanging with brad, and he told you that he needed to floss……you wouldn’t get angry?

  141. eddie eddie eddie on

    norm – if i could dangle it off a bridge and land it in the water, i’d be impressed too…..no need to get angry…..it’s his best feature…

  142. Eddie, have you no mercy? Seriously, I’m almost dead with exhaustion laughing myself soggy over your inventive horse jokes! Floss!! I’m calling 9-1-1, I’m that hysterical. It would take so-o long for him to floss, right, because his teeth are so long and, I guess, wide? And so you’d get angry because you’re in a hurry, and all that flossing would add delay because his teeth are THAT BIG? I can hardly wait for your next joke, if only I don’t stroke out…

  143. Manny:

    It took me a long time as well especially since I was schooled in the Bernie Parent, hot goalie era.

    The game has changed significantly.

    So many good goalies. Have to avoid the soft goal. Handling the puck a plus.

  144. THREE LEGS!!! HAR-HAR-HAR-HAR!!! I think I know what the third leg is. You scamp, Eddie. Hey, wait, it’s Eddie, Eddie, Eddie, isn’t it? You don’t think…

  145. eddie eddie eddie on

    norm – my beef with ritchie rocket has little to do with those giant molars….it’s his play on the ice….he isnt worth/producing anywhere near what he’s being paid…..shame on sather

  146. eddie eddie eddie on

    norm – when richards sat in the back row of class, his teeth were in the front row….that’s impressive

  147. Out of control here, weaving all over the house trying to keep my balance in response to the latest humorous offering. Will this laughter ever end? The implication that I have been wetting myself even after third grade was so out of left field I had to gather my family together to bring them up to date on the sheer frivolousness of it all. They are roaring with delight! How do you keep topping yourself, Eddie? Are you in stand-up?

  148. eddie eddie eddie on

    norm – on another note…you like me don’t you?…i mean really like me…it’s sweet and touching…

  149. eddie eddie eddie on

    tooth fairy after visiting brad’s house as a child – a hernia, and three slipped discs……who knew?

  150. eddie eddie eddie on

    when one is highly critical of another…it’s a sign of love……i love brad and norm loves me……

  151. eddie eddie eddie on

    norm – but i do like how you are attached to me like a shadow….. i really think its cool….

  152. eddie eddie eddie on

    while there isnt a cool kid’s table per se……we will let you sit a few tables away if you like….

  153. eddie eddie eddie on

    hush lil darling go to sleep
    look out the window count the sheep…

    what’s important today…
    a broken line on the highway

    hus lil baby
    poor lil thing

    what’s important in this life?
    ask a man that’s lost a wife

  154. eddie eddie eddie on

    love, love me do
    you know i love you
    I’ll always be true
    so pleassssssssse love me do

  155. _Saw a reference somewhere else to McIlrath being injured in the AHL? Anyone got details?_

    I can’t find anything, so its either “nothing major” or “MRI once the swelling goes down”. Given this season … yeah …

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