Rangers-Panthers in review … Happy New Year!

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Thoughts:

1) Happy New Year! Whether 2013 was good, great, bad or horrible for you, here’s hoping that 2014 will be better. And the dawn of 2014 means one thing: Honeymooners Marathon!! It also means Winter Classic today at the Big House, and after the game, the naming of the U.S. Olympic team roster. Ryan McDonagh is a lock, Ryan Callahan a probable. Will Derek Stepan make it? Seriously, though, is it just me or does it seem like we were talking about the Millennium a few months ago?

2) For the Rangers, 2013 was, thanks to a silly skills competition, a game over actual .500. In 101 games in the calendar year, including playoffs, the Rangers were 51-44-6. They are a game over NHL .500 for the sixth time this season. They have not yet been two games over NHL .500, and they go to Pittsburgh next (Friday).New York Rangers v Florida Panthers

3) Henrik Lundqvist. Guess that little break, while Calm Talbot played three in a row, was good for Lundqvist’s head. That’s six straight periods and an overtime and a shootout of vintage Lundqvist. There’s no telling where the Rangers would be right now without what Talbot has given then. But it’s pretty obvious they aren’t going anywhere without Lundqvist being Lundqvist again. Not that we doubted he would be. And let’s face it, the Rangers, with their lack of firepower, are gonna have to win some 2-1 games. Just a fact of life. These were Lundqvist’s first back-to-back wins this season. Hard to believe.

4) Yeah, that’s a crappy team they beat in a comeback and a shootout. But guess what. The East is loaded with crappy teams like that, and that team recently won five in a row, then beat Montreal Sunday. Also hard to believe the Rangers have won 10 of their last 13 on the road, after starting the season 2-6 in the first eight games of that nine-game trip. Hard, also, to believe they’ve won four of five with all the trashing they’ve taken on these pages.

5) Dan Girardi giveth and taketh. I am not absolving Girardi of blame on the Florida goal, not whatsoever. … But … somebody’s got to tell him that he’s getting pressure on the blind side there — either John Moore or Lundqvist. Still it’s Girardi’s bad pass that results in the goal … But … Brad Richards and Mats Zuccarello completely, absolutely stopped skating coming back. They both did, with two defensemen behind the icing line. Thus it was an uncontested goal after the giveaway. Again, it’s all on Girardi, but it didn’t have to be a goal.

New York Rangers v Florida Panthers6) On the tying goal, what a horrific play by Tomas Kopecky, who lost his stick and decided to go to the bench with the puck deep in the Panthers end. Girardi scored uncontested from where Kopecky should have been, where he could have made it a more difficult play for Girardi, even if he had no stick.

7) The power play again was really strong, I thought, and Alain Vigneault has absolutely made Zuccarello, Derick Brassard, Benoit Pouliot, Brad Richards and Ryan McDonagh his No. 1 unit, leaving the supposed first line on the bench. Even without scoring a goal, I thought that first unit was tremendous last night, and when the first line of Derek Stepan, Rick Nash and Chris Kreider came on, it was noticably poorer. Either something off the rush, or nothing. This isn’t popular here, but Richards has been superb on the power play.

8) That all said, I thought Kredier-Stepan-Nash were really strong 5-on-5. Kreider was beastly (his offensive zone penalty was aggressive, at least, not lazy), and in my opinion — and the daily Nash-o-meter — Nash was moving as well as he has in weeks. Let’s face it, Stepan and Nash MUST be better in the second half. Stepan, Nash and Kreider created the tying goal with the kind of O-zone shift they have rarely had in the first half.

9) Marc Staal and Anton Stralman return. To me, Staal looked really good, especially when you remember how, before the concussion and the 10-game absence, he was really bad. Shockingly so. And Stralman, for all the bashing he gets here sometimes, is just so much better than Michael Del Zotto, Justin Falk, and John Moore. He is.New York Rangers v Florida Panthers

10) Conor Allen. Memories of Ryan McDonagh’s arrival, and Michael Sauer’s, and John Moore’s, where a kid came up, made a first impression and stayed? It’s still very, very early, but Allen hasn’t looked out of place at all. But I also liked the way the kid answered questions with John Giannone between periods, and seemed to understand what was going on out there, and what needed to be better.

11) Del Zotto. I still think it’s crazy to just give him away without getting back a player who will make the Rangers a better team. I don’t know if that’s possible anymore, or how much longer the Rangers can wait.  But his value’s not going up when he plays, and it’s not going up when he doesn’t.

12) No Kreider in the OT. As I speculated last time, AV said he has four set pairs he likes to use in sudden death. So some wingers get knocked out of the rotation. To me, a good coach should be able to figure out how to get that speed and shot into those 4-on-4 open-ice situations. So, to me, it kinda says maybe he doesn’t yet trust the kid in OT? Maybe? I will add this. John Tortorella always played it conservatively in OT, figuring with Lundqvist it was better to take your shot in the skills competition. He even said so, repeatedly. I don’t necessarily agree with it. Maybe AV feels the same way.New York Rangers v Florida Panthers

13) The fourth line — Dominic Moore, Derek Dorsett and Brian Boyle — really has settled in and does a good job with its role now. It could and should, obviously, add a tad more offense. Or any. But, we’ve said so many times how soft this team is and how it’s not difficult to play against like it was in 2011-12. Well, that line lately has been difficult to play against, has gotten zone time and forced opponents to play deep in their own end, and hard shifts, too. You can’t discount the importance of a line that does that in these one-goal or tied games. Plus they all kill penalties, and that was some massive four-minute kill of the Richards penalty down 1-0 in the third.

14) Though not much happened in terms of shots and scoring chances, I really liked the pace of this game, especially early. The Panthers can move, and so can the Rangers. Neither team is terribly physical. But it was easy on the eyes, IMO.

15) Sure appeared to be a lot of chairs at the game.

*************************************
My Three Rangers Stars:New York Rangers v Florida Panthers
1. Henrik Lundqvist.
2. Derek Stepan.
3. Dominic Moore.
*************************************
Kenny Albert’s Three Rangers Stars:
1. Henrik Lundqvist.
2. Marc Staal.
3. Brad Richards.
*************************************
Your poll vote for Three Rangers Stars:
1. Henrik Lundqvist.
2. Ryan McDonagh.
3. Dan Girardi.
*************************************

Photos by Getty Images.

Twitter: @rangersreport.

 

 

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279 Comments

  1. Robby Bonfire on

    The Rangers won the “Best two out of Three Points” competition because they kept Kreider off the ice in O.T., and because they refused to allow Hags the chance to screw it up by giving him PP time, so that he cannot cheaply embellish his goal-scoring stats.

    I have a winning idea… Let The Kreider play in O.T. We know he will take a stupid penalty in that situation, right? OK, The Kreider is in the box, Hags is on the PK, Hags steals the puck and smartly moves in for the winning goal! So that we beat the “bad guys” with brains and with skill.

  2. Thanks for your New Year’s Eve writeup, Carp! Liked seeing the old Staal out on the ice. I think that is at least as important to this team as the old Lundquist. Have a Happy and Healthy New Year to all you Rangers and Ranger fans.

  3. bull dog line on

    even on New Years Day, you give us the full game review, no half assed shortened version. that is why you are the best Carp. thanks.

  4. bull dog line on

    as a Ranger fand, I want to see Stepan on team USA. as a fan of team USA, I wonder is Stepan skating is good enough to play on the big ice and be effective. as a fan of team USA, I think I want Dubi on the team instead.

  5. Step has no business on team USA let’s be real and take our cheerleader skirts off. Got to play your way on a Olympic team.

  6. Staal back is huge. I admit I wasn’t expecting to see him again this season — there’s only so much the brain can endure — but if he can play at even 80% that’s a solid option. Stralman is also a defender any team would be happy to have in its rotation. His inclusion in the Ranger-bashing that characterizes this site is frankly bizarre.

  7. Nice review Carp.

    Re: 12 -Carp, if AV wants to play it conservative in OT, why Richards and Nash and he unforced turnovers shift after shift?

    Re: AV, I agree completely. A good coach finds a way to get his best forward on the ice in OT. It’s utterly ridiculous that Kreider has not had a shift in OT. Borderline unforgivable. Here’s a thought,,,,,,,

    Maybe AV is not a good coach ????

    Wake up AV. Your not smarter than everyone in the room.

    I repeat: *Maybe AV not a good coach ????*

  8. Rob in Beantown on

    Happy New Year! Apparently there is an outdoor hockey game today? I wish I could watch but I’ll be on a plane when it is on. Hopefully I can catch the end of it.

    Let’s go Rangers! 2014 is our year!

  9. Now, having the Kreider lack of use in OT rant of my chest…….

    AV is the coach and he calls the numbers. If it doesn’t get the job done, he’ll eventually pay with his job.

  10. Even when they win, this team is not that exciting to watch. Give us Kreider in 4 on 4, add to the limited excitement the team generates with its on ice play.

  11. My best friend celebrated New Year’s Eve at the Fountainbleau (fancy hotel Miami Beach) with the Rangers team last night!

    He’s not even a Rangers fan (grrrr).

    I’m in DC and I celebrated by talking out the dog to the yard:)

    No, I also celebrate by watchjng a movie with my fiancée. It was really nice.

    I hope all of you had nice New Year’s Eves.

    Even you, CARP! You deserve it.

  12. In the context of what we have on the roster, I completely agree with Carp (#9). Stalman is not without fault, but by comparison, much more consistent and dependable than Falk, Moore and DelZotto.

  13. There are no easy wins in this league. Just happy to get the 2 pts on the road and get out of town.

  14. Matty"We'reAbunchOfCreamPuffs!!"Boy on

    Thanks so much for the review, Carp. Great as always!! Happy New Year!!

    Bright spots:

    1. Hank — it was obvious he was more comfortable. Perhaps this is a starting point for the rest of the year.

    2. Conor Allen — looked like he belongs again. Raw, yes. Smart? His Dad’s a law professor at Northwestern. Intelligent pedigree? Yes

    3. PK — especially needed after Richard’s lazy 4 minute stick late game penalty, but all game was very good. That means ‘useless’ players like Boyle doing their job and not getting any points for it.

    4. JT Miller — is learning. He had one exceptional play, taking the body while pushing an outlet pass to spring a 2 on 1 that Pullout could not can. But, the kid is getting smarter, more physical, and he is still only 20.

    Not-so-bright spots:

    1. continued baffling shifts and poor zone coverage by most of the ‘leaders’ on the team. Nash may have been ‘better’ than 2 weeks ago, but he still is a shell of what he should be. Richards, anything but on PP or SO, is common.

    2. outplayed by Florida’s first line.

    3. as usual, size matters and our team continues to not be able to get into the tougher parts of the ice, getting rebounds or knocking the opponents on their butts in front of ours.

    4. Girardi’s ‘play’ that caused the Panthers goal was plainly awful, more on him than anyone else. The rest of the game he played better, but THAT play from a team leader?

    5. This was the Panthers.

    6. Minimal ability to finish. Looks like, despite our brandy-new ‘offensive system’ and moving away from the ‘defensive system’ of Torts, we still will need Hank to win 1-0, 2-1 games.

  15. Matty"We'reAbunchOfCreamPuffs!!"Boy on

    Papa, in AV’s presser he said something like “Richards’ SO goal was a great player making a great play’.

    Says it all.

  16. Happy New Year Boys!

    Wishing each and everyone of you All the BEST in the new year!

    Ranger roll into the new year on a winning streak!

  17. Carp:

    Why is the skills competition a terrible way to end the game but 4 on 4 is acceptable?

    In a 60 minute game like last night where there was so little shill exhibited I thought both the OT and shootout was fun and a showcase for skill or lack thereof.

    Sports is supposed to be fun.

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

    _Why is the skills competition a terrible way to end the game but 4 on 4 is acceptable?_

    It is a cheap complaint that has been repeated a zillion times.

  19. I’d complain more about the 1st 56 minutes of that game which was brutal to watch. If I wasn’t invested as a fan I couldn’t sit through it. All the play at center ice or along the boards.

    I don’t advocate the wide open style as a recipe for success but contrast last night’s game to the USA v Canada game. I’d sit through 82 of those anytime.

  20. yesterdays game between the rangers and panthers was nothing more than two bad teams playing each other.

  21. The losing team’s lament: “We didn’t get the points, but there are some positives we can take out of this game.”

    For once, the Rangers come out with two points instead of positives, and now AV has no idea how to manage overtime. Ridiculous.

  22. I am watching the game for the third time…

    Stepan is good. That is why people who know hockey pick him….

    Kreider does some stupid stuff. He will learn… but I now see the reason he is benched….

  23. Richards is doing exactly what he did successfully inDallas; play the point on the PP and take lots of slap shots. Kudos to AV for putting him in a position to be his best.

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

    _I’d complain more about the 1st 56 minutes of that game which was brutal to watch. If I wasn’t invested as a fan I couldn’t sit through it. All the play at center ice or along the boards._

    That is a logical complaint.

  25. If Brad Richards gets seven points in his next seven games — obviously a pace he cannot likely sustain — he will match his point total through the 48 game schedule last year.

    How’s that for perspective? I know he got a pile of points late last year in a game against Buffalo that buffed his final totals, but still….

    9 goals and 18 assists through half a season is not getting it done.

  26. I’m positive Girardi had a blocked shot in the 3rd, not that it matters.

    (If the rangers went out as a team, did they sneak Miller in or leave him at home?)

  27. Stranger Nation on

    tommyG
    _yesterdays game between the rangers and panthers was nothing more than two bad teams playing each other_
    January 1st, 2014 at 10:52 AM

    1000% correct

    What did Richards do on PP that was so great? sorry I missed it…

    At one point J Moore was skating up on PP rush and Nash comes into picture skating the opposite direction getting ready to do his long slow cycle back up ice to join rush??
    too funny

  28. “(If the rangers went out as a team, did they sneak Miller in or leave him at home?)”

    Scott Arniel better not have spotted him!

  29. Good crack of noon, Sally!

    I don’t know, those are my opinions. I think Richards has been very good on a very much improved power play that was excellent despite not scoring last night. He is responsible for most of their entries, and he runs the PP from the point or the half wall, and it now moves and moves the puck through the box, side to side. I just think he deserves credit for that. At even strength he’s been bad for two seasons, IMO.

  30. Cap, I guess I might have a little less problem with it if they just called it a tie and then played the skills competition for an extra point … didn’t award a win or a loss to either team. Because to me it’s a crapshoot — and I get that it’s fun to watch, I really do; I enjoy watching it — and the team that loses feels like it lost a game, not just a point, regardless of how it played through 65 minutes of actual hockey. If the Rangers lost that shootout and lost the game 2-1, the feeling here would be a lot different here today, I guarantee you, even though the way they played through 65 minutes was exactly the same.

  31. Carp

    I think you’re right: No question the PP is improved. And no question that Richards deserves credit there. It’s just eerie how much better he has (generally) looked than he did last season …… and yet the production is actually down, if pro-rated.

  32. I dont know about Richards.

    He obviously has skill. ‘

    He looks so fragile sometimes…. I don’t think I would puck him for my Olympic team…………

  33. Torts used Richards on the point on the PP. it didn’t work last year because the team didn’t move the puck quick enough. Zuccarello & McDonuts add so much movement and creativity to the PP. so to Brassard.

  34. JT Miller can play. Leave him on that third line, let him go through the ups and downs, and then see how valuable a hockey player you will have a year from now —– at the ripe old age of 21.

  35. agree with that, Papa. Zuccarello, Brassard and McDonagh = big upgrade over Nash, Stepan and whomever was at the other point last year. And I think if you replaced Brassard with Stepan, Stepan would be fine there, too. Or if you replaced Pouliot with Callahan or Kreider. But Nash is not good on the PP, and Stepan has generally not been good when out there with Nash.

    That all said, IMO, it starts with Richards’ entries and setup.

  36. Guessing Callahan’s close to returning, so they’re sending Pyatt to Hartford. He’s pretty much done here, I think. There is some percentage if cap relief when he goes down.

  37. So Pyatt being waived must mean Callahan is back. So who comes out? With Pouliot playing well now.

  38. I will just assume he sits Miller.

    Tomb: Fantasy hockey is hockey where the Rangers have a shot at winning the Cup.

  39. The obvious choice to sit is Dorsett if you go by the criteria: Who’s a better hockey player, he or Callahan. Both can go into corners, but Callahan can actually score and give you meaningful ice time. Boyle another candidate in that regard. But it will probably be Miller, the safe, rookie choice.

  40. Stranger Nation on

    having Richards at the PP pt is not effective; he has a weak shot and I will disagree on his zone entry play which usually has him try to rifle it around if anyone steps near him. He has very good hands and would be better suited in slot in place of Nash who is horrible on PP this season.

    Zucc, Brass, McD and even Pullout have been the reason for the uptick in PP performance. Would take Norris Sweater Tug or J Moore on pt, move Secretariat down to slot on first unit.

  41. I like Boyle — good defender. But he looks as though he has finished his career as a goal-scorer. What an aberration that 21-goal year was! This team doesn’t score much, so you either accept that and go with Boyles or you try to improve your scoring at the second level.

  42. Absurd on Richards, who has been the best player on the PP from the beginning of the year, which is why AV has him on it more than any other Ranger. The coaches have added that center ice drop pass to actually be able to skate it into the zone this year, and Richards has been quarterbacking it just fine — an actual, functioning NHL power play for the first time in a long while.

  43. Stranger Nation on

    Current lines
    Kreid – Step – Nash
    Mr Ed – Brass – Zucc
    Hags – Miller Time – Pullout
    Olive Boil – D Moops – Double D

    Cally comes back to RW, forcing Zucc to 3rd line and sitting Miller (move D Moops to 3rd line pivot) and Pullout to 4th line LW

  44. you can argue it all day long, but the PP has been very good most of the season, and especially since they realized Zuccarello & Co are the first unit. They don’t believe they have a better option than Richards at the point. And I doubt they will break up what’s working.

  45. I’m totally guessing, but I think he keeps his fourth line together. It’s been exactly what you want from a fourth line lately, very good in tight games late, able to generate zone time.

    IMO, Hagelin or Miller comes out.

  46. … and if Miller’s going to be the extra forward for more than a game or two, then he would probably go back to Hartford. Not saying I agree he should be out of the lineup at all.

  47. Stranger Nation on

    Carp – agree AV will not change now; Mr Ed has 1G in the last 2 months on PP which came against Buff from slot I believe.
    My point is the PP would be better with him on first unit side wall which I think I read somewhere before

  48. That said, if he’s off the point and up front, then Zuccarello or Brassard is not on the first unit. I don’t think that works.

  49. @DarrenDreger

    For precautionary reasons, Gleason didn’t play last night and didn’t practice today. Canes working hard on trade. #tsn

  50. Eddie Eddie Eddie on

    Brassard will put the team on his shoulders and lead them home.

    Round 1: Rangers VS Caps

    Rangers in 6

  51. Callahan comes back.

    Package Nash, DelZotto or Moore for a right handed # 1 DMAN to play with MCD (Weber?)

    Connor Allen is here for good.

  52. It’s the Winter Classic! Get into it.

    The Rupper Salute !!

    Great right up Carp!

    Happy New Year to all of youse. Boneheads.

  53. @RealKyper: #Canes Gleason not practicing waiting 4 #NHL trade. Strong speculation is he could be a #Leaf today. Liles/prospect is talk going other way

  54. Stranger Nation on

    1st PP unit:
    McD, Mr. Ed, Brass, Zucc, Cally (for Pullout) – would put Brass on pt; dude has a blast – Zucc in middle
    2nd PP Unit
    Kreider, Step, Nash, J Moore, Stralman

  55. ThisYearsModel on

    This Richards is the Richards I thought the Rangers signed. He is helping the PP, as he did in Dallas. He scored the skills competition goal. He is a streaky scorer. Here is my question du jour……….the Rangers have to know they will buy him out after the season. What is the plan when they do? They cannot mess around with Stepan, Miller or Brassard with Richards going unless another center is going to materialize from somewhere. Unless they want Dom Moore as their #3. They cannot move Brassard without bringing back a replacement.

  56. Is this reliable!?

    @iancmclaren: #spittake “@vcarneiro: So now it’s Gleason, Bowman and Ruutu for Liles, Kulemin and Kadri. Leafs save $250k in cap space.”

  57. Rob in Beantown on

    Just walked into a sports bar at the airport in Philadelphia. Half the TVs are showing the Rose Bowl parade. The other half are showing Sportscenter. The Winter Classic is *not showing* on any of the TVs. The bar is full and nobody has complained. Will keep you all updated.

  58. I just re-watched 24/7 Flyers/Rangers. Funny moment during the 4th episode when Jeremy Roenick is giving Bryzgalov words of encouragement. He tells him “You’ll be the reason the Flyers win the Cup”

    LOL!

    The WC game was cool. Ruppelstiltskin the the two goals, and The Tooth Fairy with the game winner. Not to forget Hank’s PS save on Briere in the final minute.

    Loved that team!

  59. Love to see Cally NOT go to the Olympics, selfishly as a Ranger fan. Kid could use a good healing up.

  60. @ice_chip: Can confirm Canes will trade Gleason for Liles and a prospect. To be announced soon.

  61. I’m torn as well, love to see him make it but would love to see him rest. McD seems to be made of steel and never seems to tire so he can go, with my blessings. Lol.

  62. Maybe I’m a traditionalist but watching this outdoor game as it’s snowing is ridiculous. The snow is totally ruining the ice surface and it’s difficult for the puck to slide and the skaters to skate. The snow takes away everything that is supposed to be good about a hockey game. Another stupid idea but I realize todays sports is all about the all mighty dollar.

  63. Lmgo

    @PuckPodcast: Denver Post is reporting the Avalanche have traded defenseman John-Michael Liles to the Hurricanes for defenseman Tim Gleason.

  64. The Kreider is a +10 on the season. Closest guy to him in that category is Hagelin at 0. But he can’t be trusted in OT?

    “You. Play. To. Win. The. Game.” — H. Edwards

  65. @TSNBobMcKenzie: TOR prospect going to CAR with J-M Liles for Gleason is defenceman Dennis Robertson, 6th round pick in 2011 draft.

  66. Breaking News: Winter Classic Referees officiate game short one whistle.

    RELATED breaking News: reports from Winter Classic,players on both benches report that high pitched shrieking sounds appear to be emanating from Pierre McGuire’s arse

  67. What a lucid and insightful 5 Am recap by Old Number 61. (uh, not Nash.) Guess there was one person here besides me who didn’t touch a drop last eve. :)

  68. (Although, must admit that there have been some pretty fair writers who couldn’t get through three paragraphs without some holy water liquid stimulation.)

  69. Love the shout out to the 4th Line, who go too often unappreciated and unnoticed. Couple of goals here and there couldn’t hurt, boys.

  70. Carp:

    What about playoff position being determined by a game stickhandling through the snow?

    Rangers 2 of these?

  71. @incarceratedbob: **BREAKING NHL NEWS**Source: Islanders had an offer on table from Hurricanes.. Gleason+Prospect for Carkner+Ness … Isles turned it down

    IBob is alive!

  72. Happy and Healthy New Year to all of you!! I am welcoming a third this May. A little girl. I am going to sleep right now until then. I am going to need it, ha.

  73. My take on the plus/minus. If The Kreider was on the big club at the time, maybe not as many blow outs and everyone’s plus/minus would have been better coming out of the first nine games.

  74. I think both Ryans are a lock. If I am making the decision, Stepan doesn’t make the team. There is still half a season to play, but he has been a big letdown thus far. If they are looking for a playmaking center then he probably will make it as a 5th, but if they are looking for an energy guy who I could see a Dubinsky making it.

  75. Wick, here’s my take. You have 2 already and 1 more on the way, you are DADLIKE. wear it with pride.

  76. Shoot me, but I love seeing the wind blowing and the snow tumbling on the playing surface once in a while. Poor kids grew up playing the game this way and delighted in it. It reminds me somewhat of golf’s US Open as opposed to the rest of the Tour, challenging layout, less like a video game.

  77. Wonder what the little birdie heard couple of weeks ago when Slats made a visit to Pysie’s locker.

  78. Being Outdoor is a leveling factor for the skill players. Also, snow really slows the game down.

  79. Papa? Wick? I posted that about the “DADlike” jacket. Are you still drunk from yesterday?

  80. Cleary got sticked in the mouth, pulled his tooth out on the bench, wiped the blood on his jersey and rejoined play. Kudos to him and his ilk.

  81. The NHL is a multi-billion dollar a year business and they can’t land a decent musical act to save their lives. Chaka Khan, Nickelback and now this clown, Mayer Hawthorne? WTF

  82. Papa, you crack that Tallamore Dew these days just to get a sniff for the memories? Or just refuse to participate in amateur’s night?

  83. Happy New Year Needed Henrik to play the way he used to play and he did last night. He stole 8-10 games per year playing this way in the last two seasons. Florida is a terrible team that is over achieving and we tried to mail it in. Nash needs to score on some of his opportunities. Kreider should be played in ot; they need his speed. Also, the Rangers need to play their speed , puck protection game earlier in each game. Love the 4th line, particularly Dorsett. BACK TO THE HONEYMOONERS

  84. I like EVERY point, lone. I would add that Richie should hustle off the ice every time their is an enemy change of possession.

  85. Ryan McDonuts is three assists away from taking over team lead. What’s wrong (or right) with this picture?

  86. Some random thoughts:

    1)I also agree that Dubi should make Team USA over Stepan.
    Stepan simply hasn’t had a good enough season to make the team and Dubi has really stepped up this year.

    2) AV’s line combos should be scrutinized. If I were coach, the lines would be:

    Hobbit – Stepchild – The Kreider
    He-Man – Tooth Fairy – El Nasherino
    Poodle – Miller Lite – Brassballs
    Do. Moore – Flavah – DoorStep

    3) Mike Babcock is the man

    4) They should hold the Winter Classic in Cancun next year to expand the game. Gary Bettman is all about the pesos.

    5) The Florida Panthers have more real fans during home games at the arena in Sunrise that changes it name every 5 minutes than the Rangers do at the World’s Most Overrated Arena. The result of the fabulous SkyBridge presented by Chase and delicious $18.95 prime rib sandwiches.

  87. Happy New Year to all the boneheads! Here’s hoping 2014 is a better year in Ranger land. Good news is we won’t lose a 40 goal scorer or Cup-winning coach since we don’t have them anymore.

  88. All kidding aside the one and only guy to come out next for Cally is…..Richie. Miller has earned a longer look, has a little bit of grit n is slowly getting better each game. Hags at least puts the other team with pure speed. That’s what we are tryng for….I think speed not grit. Cally, j.mooore, Hags, the Kreider, Zucc all quick or move the puck quick. Plus God forbid if Wilbur pulls up lame, can’t send him to the glue factory without paying a Huge price.

  89. Manny, agreed. Calling them “skills” is a stretch. He rolls 4 lines and doesn’t put enough emphasis on establishing a forecheck. All offensive chances come off defections or rushes. This team is soft and it’s managed like a soft team.

  90. Right. Miller will take a hit to make a play and has upside. Little Hags will fight for a puck behind the net and can zoom. Richie is now in his career nothing more than a PP peg.

  91. USA girls hockey has more blondes than a PGA wives’ cocktail party or a Naval Academy wedding.

  92. Papa, I don’t take shots at Kreider. I just see a kid who is very raw and learning. I like him a lot, and I think he’s going to be a very good player. Some people here want to induct him into the Hall already.

    Previously simply pointing out the flaw in his plus/minus stat, which is a very real flaw.

    And, for the record, I very much think he should play in OT. I think it’s perfect for his speed and shot.

  93. The best 4-on-4 OT player the Rangers have had in recent memory is Gaborik. Why? Speed and shot. I never cared that he couldn’t play defensively or was suspect without the puck.

  94. Most kids are brought along today through juniors or college as offensive weapons, even the defensemen. Takes them a while (too often on the big stage) to understand how to play away from the puck and to comfortably assume effective defensive zone responsibilities.

  95. Leveling the playing field, like pond hockey, Mannu? You don’t want a 40 MPH wind in your face 2 out of 3 periods. Maybe?

  96. Yup, Manny. But it can’t be much colder than the pressbox in the ceiling at the Garden.

    I see they’re having trouble selling tickets to the night game at YS against the Islanders/

  97. These players with their turtleneck hoods head Cover things remind me if Raul Mondesi or Rey Sanchez.

  98. Carp, we see Kreider in a slightly different light. Raw? No way, not anymore.

    I see a young hockey player with tremendous talent who is a potential threat every time he’s on the ice, a player who through the first half of the season, has been as responsible in the defensive zone as any other forward on the team. His effort and compete level game in and out is as consistently good or better than another forward on the team.

    Best skater on the team (strength, speed, power, acceleration, burst, ability to separate) great shot and release, physical force, first on the forecheck, often first on the back check, When the puck comes his way in the d zone, he gets it out as much if not more than any other winger on the team. Good vision, soft hands, excellent passer. Works the boards as well as anyone on the team.

    You see him as raw? I can’t agree. IMO, He is already the teams best forward.

    Hear it hear a lot, but IMO It’s pure malarkey that he’s weak in the DZone.

  99. Matty"We'reAbunchOfCreamPuffs!!"Boy on

    great drive by Kessel. I remember when Nash could do that……..

  100. Matty"We'reAbunchOfCreamPuffs!!"Boy on

    Gary Bettman debating whether to warm up the Tiddly Winks Game Board or let them do a SO at OT’s end. He has, reportedly, notified owners of the pending decision.

  101. Matty"We'reAbunchOfCreamPuffs!!"Boy on

    Doc makes a 4 foot wide backhander in a regular season game seem like an Stanley CUp finishing goal.

  102. Is this true!?

    @Real_ESPNLeBrun: Next year this goes to 3 on 3 OT now…. but not today…

  103. I have to agree that The Kreider is a very raw player. Sure he has tremendous upside but he’s not there yet. He should absolutely play in OT though.

  104. Well, his current coach is more comfortable playing Richards and Nash 3 shifts a piece to zero for Kreider in OT. That says enough for me about AV.

    His former coach? I suspect if Kreider was playing at this level under the previous coach, he would have been leading the charge in OT and not glued to the bench as he currently is.

  105. That said, on the D side of the red line, I’ll still take the uncooked Kreider over the well done #19 night in, night out.

  106. Rob in Beantown on

    I’m unhappy Toronto won because that skills contest robs me of a *goaltender win*

  107. Me too, coos. I don’t think there’s a forward on the roster that I’d want in a d-zone situation than 19. And 61’s not far behind. Kreider’s much better than both of them, and lately better than Hagelin and a few others, too.

  108. I’m glad Torts didn’t let them shake after the WC in 2012. The Flyers were getting very chippy in that 3rd period and as time was expiring at the end of the 3rd, Hartnell was swinging his stick at McDonagh.

  109. PRIOR LIVES

    Cally: Major, USMC pilot
    Boyler: Motorcycle Cop, Holyoke, Mass.
    Hags: Bass Guitarist, Spinal Tap
    Stepan: Victoria’s Secret Security Guard
    Dorsett: Child Actor, Denis the Menace
    Pyatt: Gomez Addams’ Butler
    Richie: Equine Orthodontist
    McDonagh: Queen Victoria’s Beefeater
    Girardi: Family Man
    Staal: Slain Biblical Brother
    Straman: Pastry Chef
    DelZotto: Pizza Delivery
    Kreider: Pool Attendant
    Zucc: Toppo

  110. My wife just said to me,” you know with all these Olympians you’d think your team would be better”

    You’d think?

  111. Rob in Beantown on

    Callahan, McDonuts, Stepan. Wooo! Kind of agree Callahan could have used the break to rest and get healthy, but it will be fun to watch him there

  112. That’s another bizarre selection, Manny.

    What aboot Justin Faulk? Admittedly I have not seen much of him. I know he has a lot of potential, but is he really a better option than an experienced d-man like Yandle?

  113. Step will do exactly what’s asked of him, within his ability to do so. Value in that to a jumbled, put-together team.

  114. No Ryan, Yandle, and no J/E Johnson is pretty weird. Go USA!

    DET’s puck pursuit is just awesome to watch though.

  115. To me, it seems like USA expect not to win and would rather have the youngsters get some international experience before 2018. Which I’m really quite fine with.

  116. I like Stepan making it. He deserves it. They don’t select based on your last two months. They look at entire careers and Stepan is a very solid two way center, can log big minutes and has a history of success and leadership at the international level.

  117. ThisYearsModel on

    Team USA–Love Shattenkirk, Fowler, Carlson and Oshie. Hate Wheeler, Stastny, Stepan, Orpik and Martin. I cannot believe that Brooks Orpik is on the team while Yandle and the Johnsons are not. I really can’t believe that Step, Wheeler and Stastny are on the team and Bobby Ryan and Dubinsky aren’t.

  118. Stranger Nation on

    I Like Step, but he will be exposed on bigger surface as a little heavy in the skate, per se.

    Jack Johnson has not been good this season

  119. I think it will take Kreider until 2018, unfortunately. I also think that Dubinsky should be there over Wheeler.

  120. You pick Step-On based on potential alone. You know he’ll break out of this funk, and when he does, he’ll be a very reliable guy.

    This team needs Drury though! Captain Nyquil, quit Papa Drury’s and help your country!

  121. crazy that ben bishop didn’t make the team when he’s arguably having the best season of any US goaltender… also the orpik and martin picks seem silly… bylsma probably tried to see if skidney could be on the US team too

  122. “Also on the “change” front, assistant coach Peter Laviolette now finds himself with unexpected free time with which to help scout and game plan the U.S. effort, having been fired just three games into the regular season by Philadelphia GM Paul Holmgren, who also happens to be part of the U.S. team’s selection committee.”

    Awkward!

  123. ‘You enter here with a mind full of mush, and leave thinking like a GM.’ (The Paper Chase, Professor Kingsfield)

  124. Matlock Manny on

    I would really never root against anyone on my team to *not* make the Olympic roster. Honestly. It’s such an awesome honor and the experience can only help these guys in the long run. The Rangers are probably going to get a very long rest starting April 13, 2014 anyways. And if they don’t, I’m sure Vigneault won’t take it too hard on them in the playoffs. The Rick Nash “Good” attitude.

  125. Matlock Manny on

    How badly was Ovechkin rooting for McDonagh to not make Team USA?

    Here is my prediction for final standings:

    1. USA
    2. Sweden
    3. Canada
    4. Finland
    5. Russia

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