Annoyed Vigneault: “We need to bring our A game” … another Live Chat today

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We’re gonna continue the roll here and have our third Live Stanley Cup Final Chat today at noon. Be there. Or else.

Here’s my column from The Journal News and lohud.com:

By Rick Carpiniello

SANTA MONICA, Calif. – With two days off between Game 1 and Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final, the Rangers and Los Angeles Kings didn’t skate Thursday.

The Rangers kicked back at their resort hotel just yards from the Pacific Ocean. But the warm breeze they felt was the breath of coach Alain Vigneault.

Vigneault didn’t use the phrase “big boy pants” as he did before Game 3 of the Rangers’ second-round series against Pittsburgh, perhaps because after he did, they were shut out in Game 3 and played their worst game of the playoffs in Game 4.

The Rangers had every chance to win Game 1 of the final Wednesday night in Los Angeles, yet Vigneault — and many who watched — wondered if they indeed deserved that opportunity that was squandered when a two-goal lead turned into a lopsided final 20 minutes of regulation, and eventually a 3-2 overtime loss on a bad bounce/bad decision by Dan Girardi.

“One thing that’s real evident to me, and it should be to our whole group, is we’re not going to beat this team if we do not all bring our ‘A’ game,” Vigneault said. “It is that strong of an opponent that we’re playing against.

“We had (Henrik Lundqvist) that brought his ‘A’ game (Wednesday). We had a couple guys. I don’t want to name who I think brought their ‘A’ game. But our ‘B’ game won’t do it. We’re not going to win if we bring our ‘B’ game to the table.”

Not to put words or names in the coach’s mouth, but the Chris Kreider-Derek Stepan-Rick Nash line didn’t do enough — Stepan’s turnover led directly to the first Kings goal, though Kreider took full responsibility for his earlier chance to get the puck out of the zone. The Brad Richards-Martin St. Louis Tampa Bay connection didn’t do much at all, though St. Louis had a chance to win it late, and their left winger, Carl Hagelin, was by far the best Rangers forward. The Rangers’ usually reliable fourth line gave up the tying goal. The power play did everything but score, and the penalty kill did score (Hagelin).

And the top four defensemen — well, all six really, but the top four especially — had some woeful moments.

You could argue that a lot of that had to do with the big, heavy Kings and the physical punishment they doled out.

“Yeah, we knew they were going to push, test us physically,” Ryan McDonagh said. “I thought we matched it pretty well. I thought especially the early part of the game there, we were able to break their forecheck, get out of our zone. They got a few more opportunities in the third because of their forecheck.”

If you’re looking for a reason for the Rangers to be worried, the Comeback Kings felt they were out of gas, physically and mentally, after their third Game 7 road win of the playoffs, Sunday in Chicago. They felt they played poorly the entire first period. They truly believe they are better than they showed in Game 1.

So are the Rangers, who played their best game of the playoffs their previous time out, Game 6 vs. Montreal.

“When we played Game 6 against Montreal, each and every player brought his ‘A’ game,” Vigneault said. “It’s not an easy thing to do. But against this opponent, I do believe our expectations are to win; got to find a way to do it.”

Time for the big boys to show up.

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

MCDONAGH, TEAMMATES SUPPORT GIRARDI:

Dan Girardi had the puck bounce over his stick, then lost his footing. Soon he was turning it over, his Rangers teammates were leaving the zone, and Los Angeles Kings forward Justin Williams was firing an uncontested shot past Henrik Lundqvist for the overtime winner Wednesday in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final.

Girardi’s defense partner, Ryan McDonagh, said he completely understood, having once shot the puck over the glass for a playoff-game-costing penalty in Washington. So McDonagh talked to Girardi right away in the locker room, and “that’s how we work through things as a group.

“If it was flip-flopped and it was me,” McDonagh said Thursday, “he would have come to me and asked me, ‘What could we have done differently; what could we have done better?’ ”

McDonagh also shared some of the blame.

“It’s an unfortunate play,” he said. “In those situations, especially at that point of the game, we’ve got to understand that when a guy is in trouble, maybe it’s not the right time to leave the zone. I was one of those guys that left the zone, anticipating a play that we were going to get it out. But at that point in the game, we just need to help him and be supportive and be close there in case it happens; be 100 percent on our plays before we know what happens.”

Former friend a foe: Marian Gaborik admitted it was “a little weird,” at first in Game 1, to play against the Rangers for the first time since the 2013 trade that sent him to the Blue Jackets.

Gaborik, who has spent 13 seasons in the NHL, is playing in his first Stanley Cup Final. He said he was present for Cup-attended celebrations for Boston defenseman Zdeno Chara and Chicago forward Marian Hossa, his neighbors in Slovakia.

“That maybe gives you that extra motivation to see those guys winning the Cup. And, no, I didn’t touch it, by the way.”

This and that: Teams winning Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final have gone on to win the championship in 57 of 74 seasons (77 percent) since it became a best-of-seven series in 1939. … The game was the 14th multigoal comeback victory of the playoffs, setting a single-year NHL record. … The Kings have erased 2-0 deficits in three of their last five wins.

Twitter: @RangersReport.

Photo by Getty Images.

 

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62 Comments

  1. Robby Bonfire on

    Three reality-based posts at http://www.tsn.ca.

    1. The Rangers are the worst team LA has faced in the playoffs.

    2. All the Rangers speed is good for is chasing back after the puck in their own end of the ice.

    3. We have already had the Stanley Cup Finals and LA beat Chicago in seven games.

  2. We get Moore back….he has some edge to his game..we are not gonna outhit these guys…but we gotta finish our checks. If not, we are going to wear down by the third periods..leaving them to tilt the ice. Started to feel like the Bruins series in the 3rd.
    Do the Kings use sticks made of balsa wood? Two minute call on Broussard the right call…Dougherty turned his back at the last moment..looking to draw a penalty..he just didnt figure he would take a hit hard enough to hurt. Once he knew it was a two minute penalty…he stopped his I gotta get to the dressing room act. At least these guys dont dive….oh wait…its Hollywood…they just do it better! I couldnt tell for sure..but on the Dougherty goal..was Dorsett unable to slide over because his stick was being held?
    Stay thirsty my friends…best is yet to come!

  3. Make that Doughty…like anyone outside LA (oh yeh…and Canada) cares! Team player..feels Kings cant win unless he plays his best….we used to say that about Brashear..and boy..how wrong we were.

    Hey Carp…how is golfing with Slats? Taking any of his fishnagels?

  4. By the way Carp..dont let Slats pull the Slazenger 7 switch on you…of course you will be playing Penfold Hearts….of course!

  5. Robby Bonfire on

    The dose of reality that keeps haunting me is how we have a G.M. who has mortgaged the future of this franchise, for at least the next three years, to build a “Just make the playoffs” team!

    That is the apex of myopic vision and insanity. Plus, it is getting to the point where, while they are not old, Girardi and Staal have seen their best days in this league, and need to be moved. As a noteworthy G.M. in another sport once observed…”It is better to get rid of a player a year too soon than a year too late.”

    Girardi and Staal are past their prime, and noticeably disintegrating, as these playoffs wind down. Richards has fallen apart, Nash remains virtually invisible, we all love MSL, but at 38 and smallish, his decline phase is knocking on the door.

    Zucc was great in the regular season, but has been neutralized in the playoffs, and I really can’t figure why he cannot make a contribution? The goals he scored early in the playoffs were not timely, game-changing goals. He is getting a pass in that I have not seen him getting any heat around here, but I have to ask: “Earth to Mars, Earth to Mars – Zucc, where the hell are you?”

    The decline and disappearance of the above, and others, puts too much pressure on the journeyman Stralman – D. Moore types. They have their moments but they are not capable of carrying this team on their shoulders for more than one isolated game in a blue moon.

    The present is daunting, the ominous future is swooping down upon this tormented franchise, at warp speed. We have bigger, long-term concerns than just being outclassed and humiliated in the Stanley Cup Finals.

  6. Rob in Beantown on

    Carp, it was nice to see an evening Charp last night. I couldn’t make it unfortunately but it looks like you got a lot of different faces and perspectives

  7. Robby, I’m trying hard not to comment on your posts out of respect. A lot of things you mentioned are true, but a lot of them are totally incorrect on many levels. I’d like to postpone this conversation until after this season ends.

    The reality, actually, is that they are playing in Stanley Cup Final, down 0-1, losing in OT, on the road. And the game could’ve easily gone either way. That’s the reality.

  8. Robby Bonfire… Easy there guy. Why are you so negative? The Kings had one dominant period and one lucky bounce. The Rangers also had one dominant period and a lucky bounce (Hagelin goal).

    Gaborik was invisible. Kopitar, Brown and Carter had been neutralized. Why don’t you let the series play out another game or two before becoming Glum Gus.

  9. You live and learn. Apparently, I had no idea how hard it would be for me to deal with NY playing in June and my work schedule. For me, June is loaded with final exams, tons of paper work, graduation parties for both Medical School and Residency program since June is when the Academic year ends. This will by my 19th year of graduating residents, and 16th year of graduating medical students. This year also coincides with my son finishing his residency training as well.
    Having said that, I’ll take this heavy schedule every year with pleasure if they decide to play every June from now on :-)

  10. The above posts will be part of my new book..A Birdeye View of The NY Rangers: Comments from the Ledge!

  11. Congrats ilb..now share with these kind folks the dangers of being in a hospital in July when the new residents start…that is worse than waking up this morning and finding Lucic is now playing for the Kings

  12. man, take a day off the blog come back after a pretty exciting back and forth game and the ledge is in full open season?

  13. Stranger Nation on

    Easy there Francis..I mean Robbie. You keep up this negative vibing we are going to have Professor Eddie x3 give you a take home math test.

  14. I don’t understand why you keep referring to the “big heavy Kings and the punishment they dole out” The only players I saw whining, embellishing and bleeding from hits were the Kings, particularly NBC’s golden boy, Doughty. IMO, the Rangers played a nasty, physical game and answered the Kings physicality back quite well.
    They did not back down, quite the contrary.

    I agree that they did not play well in the 3rd. But like one poster pointed out yesterday, many of the LA shots were routine saves. There were a couple tough ones and HL responded nicely as did Quack on the LA end. The fact is, LA cannot match the speed of the Rangers. AV is right. If they play their “A” game, they have a great shot to win against a very strong opponent.

    And I would hit Doughboy every chance I get. He does not seem to appreciate it too much.
    LGR!!!!!!

  15. SCF Trolls to the left of me
    SCF Trolls to the right of me
    Here I am,
    stuck in the middle with Boneheads!!!!

    Let’s Go Rangers!!!!

  16. Stranger Nation on

    If Girardi, Staal and J Moore bring there A games, we should have a different outcome

  17. Robby Bonfire on

    Thank you for your courtesy, ilb. Believe it or not, I am open to dissenting opinion, have learned so much both here and at the NBA site I patronize, from the valid perspective of others.

  18. jimG the desertrat on

    Flamboyant defenceman doubtie is second coming according to Peeair

  19. Robby Bonfire on

    Hi Stranger Nation –

    Seriously, where the math “issue” with Eddie, went south for both of us, here is what happened…

    First, there is nothing wrong with Eddie’s calculation method as regards standard deviation. I know how to calculate it too, as I demonstrated in an earlier post, and I use S.D. quite a bit, when compiling stats related to the stock market. So far so good.

    Where I lost Eddie was with his going off-track from the question he originally posed. He raised the question as to what we may mathematically project as the year for the Rangers next S.C. Finals appearance, given the gaps between 1950, 1972, 1979, 1994, and 2014.

    Eddie is correct that the arithmetic mean for this question is 16 years. But where he got off-track is when he tried to answer the same question using standard deviation, but instead of working with the Rangers Finals appearances interval year numbers of 22, 7, 15, and 20, he worked up the standard deviation number for the ~difference~ between 22 and 7, which is 15; the difference between 7 and 15, which is 8; and the difference between 15 and 20, which is five, and the difference between 15 and 20 which is 5.

    So that Eddie came up with “6” years as the answer, and therefore he took the position that the Rangers will be back in the Finals in 2020. So that Eddie’s math method is right on, but with his calculation he answered a different question than the question he originally posed.

    The correct answer to the question for when the Rangers are projected to next appear in the Stanley Cups Finals are 2030 – for arithmetic mean; and 2031 – for the method of choice – standard deviation.

  20. Admiral Akbar on

    Robby

    It is a bit premature for the gloom and doom stuff. Hopefully the team can make whatever adjustments it needs to remain highly competitive, if not elite in the offseason. But for now, lets enjoy this SCF.

  21. Admiral Akbar on

    Ilb

    Heartfelt congratulations to your son and family for his residency completion. Also, a big thank you for your decades of training tomorrow’s physicians. It is not an easy calling dealing with the young docs and their various personalities and talents!

    Ive been out 7 years from residency and not a day goes by where i dont utilize what knowledge and experience my residency director and mentors gave to me. I am forever grateful to them. As I know all those young doctors are grateful every day for all you have done.

  22. Robby Bonfire on

    Hi Admiral, Nice to hear from you.

    Something that keeps coming back to me, and this applies to all professional sports’ playoff formats, is that RARELY are the two best teams in any sport matched up in the championship round.

    This is the byproduct of too many borderline/mediocre ability teams being included in the playoffs, and the complete discarding of all regular season records, so that superior teams have to start even in the win-loss column with teams they should not even have to play in the post-season. This Rangers team may be the eighth or 10th best team in the NHL, this year.

    This overkill match-up the Rangers are now confronted with is not their fault, it’s the fault of the dreadful format which allows marginal playoff teams to have a hot playoff run and then muck up the Finals, when their apostasy finally catches up with them.

    The Rangers really do not belong anywhere near the Finals, this year. THIS, I contend, is the foremost reality we have to deal with at this time.

  23. Rob in Beantown on

    Bob McKenzie @TSNBobMcKenzie
    Jim Rutherford is going to be announced as the new GM of the Pittsburgh Penguins. #TSN

  24. Thanks to Robby Bonfire, I have officially checked out of the SCF. No need to invest any more time here….

  25. Doodie Machetto on

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  26. Stranger Nation on

    Robby – There is no doubt you have used that math knowledge to make a fortune in the market as evidenced by the amount of leisure time you have to post negative thoughts on the Rangers and nonsensical math which *nobody cares about*.

  27. We are watching our team in June and still reading game reviews from Carp (which are as important as the game itself IMHO) we have been blessed!

    I still believe in our team…and they certainly have earned our respect..regardless of the outcome! That being said WE WANT THE CUP!

    Side note to Mr Girardi..as we say in Brooklyn…fuhgeddaboutit and move on…we still believe in you!

  28. Glad to see Pierre didn’t get pens job. I thought he be great. I’m ok with Rutherford.

    Doodie why u saying nooooooo

  29. I just hope Tom first period isn’t a carryover from 3rd period. We need to lead after 1 tomorrow

  30. What’s this about comments coming out of the “Rick Nash Camp” that they are miffed he isn’t getting PP time?

    Uh, if there really is a “Rick Nash Camp”, riddle me this Batman:

    Why has Rick Nash only really shown what he is capable of ONCE this season (the game in Columbus). Why does he continually lose the puck and fall down? Why does he give up chances to shoot the puck? Why is he allergic to the crease? Why does he keep going to his lone move when every team seems to have figured it out (which would be spinning with the puck and, eventually, losing it or falling down)

    Rick Nash, more than any other Rangers, needs to pull on the Big Boy Pants if this is supposedly the reason why he wanted to come to NY – To win a Stanley Cup.

    Same goes for Stepan. I won’t begrudge Richards because he’s the slowest player on the ice and obviously looks like he really can’t get much done out there. Even if the spirit is willing, he’s got the food speed of Slow Poke Rodriguez (Speedy Gonzalez’s cousin)

    Still…losing in OT on the road in Game 1 doesn’t mean we’re toast. Even losing Game 2 won’t mean it’s over. But if the Rangers get blown out of the building tomorrow I can see their pysche taking a beating thinking “We might not have the horses to win this”

    Let’s hope for a BIG bounce back effort and speed all over the ice.

    Let’s Go Rangers!!

    Now off to the beach…

  31. My sincere hope is that on Father’s Day I can be with my Dad at Belmont Park (Father’s Day tradition renting a picnic area along the final turn) talking about the Rangers getting a chance to lift The Cup.

  32. Cjp i hope you have that opportunity with dad and luckily there will be plenty of picnic benches available. I always hit Belmont the week after the stakes with my old man…but we go on Saturday. Picnic benches galore.

  33. No one is getting blown out of any game this series, it’s going to be tight each and every one of the six games that leads to finality. Maybe seven.

    LGR

  34. ThisYearsModel on

    Jim Rutherford the new Penguins GM……….because look how Carolina turned out.

    He must have agreed to be Mario’s puppet.

  35. @ Boreale – we actually have a large enough group to rent out one of those fenced in areas along the last turn in the grandstand. We’ve been doing Belmont for Fathers Day for a long time but only last few years have we been renting that area. It’s always a great time.

  36. Eddie Eddie Eddie on

    Robby – what is the standard deviation for the data set 100,100,100,100,100,100,100,100,100, and 100? You mentioned that the mean and SD ALWAYS have to be close together…..

    You have no idea what you’re talking about. Man up, apologize, and I’ll let the matter drop.

    Given the Data Set 22, 15, 20, and 7, produces a mean of 16 and a standard deviation of 6. Now pay close attention: this means, especially concerning big time players in the stock market (are you in real life Warren Buffet perchance?) that the rangers with about a 67% probability, ie 1 standard deviation away from the mean that the rangers will next be in a cup final between the years 2024 and 2036. Albeit that population of Data is very small.

  37. Would it be too much to ask for Jim Rutherford to hire Regis to replace Dan Bylsma? FYI – McGuire’s full name is Regis Pierre McGuire :-)

  38. Robby – Do us all a favor, don’t watch anymore hockey this year. Really, what’s the point?

    Since you’re so bothered by this team being in the Finals there’s no reason for you to waste your time watching this inferior product. Come back after the season is over. By then a constructive negative view will be the status quo.

  39. Rob in Beantown on

    _the rangers with about a 67% probability, ie 1 standard deviation away from the mean that the rangers will next be in a cup final between the years 2024 and 2036._

    That assumes a normal distribution though, which is a big assumption.

  40. Robby Bonfire on

    Rob, I like the math, but what does your math say about the Rangers chances, if Sather remains the GM, from now until the Apocalypse hits?

  41. Robby Bonfire on

    Believe it or not, JJP, you are right on the money. Sound advice, thank you!

  42. Robby Bonfire on

    (Eddie) (Redundant) (Redundant)

    ok, you are making a mathematical case, however flawed, for the New York Rangers getting back to the SCF no later than six years from now, 2020.

    Tell you what, if you would like to make a secured wager on that with me, you just furnish me with the name of your bank and banker, have them confirm that you have secured the amount of money of your choosing, under the agreed upon conditions, that it will be released to me IF……And my share will be released to you, IF…. and when I receive this confirmation I will wire in my part.

    Start this ball rolling at my Facebook page under: Rob Bonter. Give my name to your banker. And thanks, Eddie, I know you put your money where your math is so that I am already planning my next trip to Europe – on your dime.

    I was going to just hunker down in Nice, but with your stimulus package to boot, why not book into the Hotel de Paris, Monte Carlo, on my next trip over there, is my thinking?

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