Guest blogger: Cynar … Where do we go from here?


The New York Rangers “Where do we go from here?”

By Cynar

Ok so I had this whole article written, then told Carp to hold up, I just didn’t like it. I was being a little too negative for a year where we made the Final!!!!! Look, last year seemed like a little bit of a team that had all the right bounces, (at times) and things just fall into place. I thought we were a very good team, BUT I also thought there were some deficiencies in our lineup and that’s my point as far as saying, “where do we go from here?”

In my humble opinion, we went out and got some free agents that weren’t exactly eye popping signings of yesteryear. We have some needs, and although these players look to be capable, I just don’t see some needs being addressed. We just signed this Hayes kid, and that’s a player to get excited over!! I’m not saying that some of these other guys won’t be or don’t have the talent to be great hockey players, but I just don’t have a clear picture of our future.

I have to admit I haven’t been following the blog real closely or very much lately, but does anyone else have a problem with the thinking that Derek Stepan is our No. 1 center? I just don’t see it. He’s a great player, and still hasn’t reached his potential, so there is hope for someone like me who doesn’t see it … YET dare I say I would like nothing more than to be totally wrong.

My picture of a center, especially a No. 1, is the go-to guy!! A guy who doesn’t have to wear the “C” but if he’s out there on the ice, everyone knows it. Especially the other team!!! I’m hoping someone on this roster will fill that position but I’m just not sure who it is. With all due respect to Stepan, he strikes me as a great playmaker better suited for the second line, since the first line is going to get the other team’s best defensemen. Does that make sense??? Is that a concern that some of you might agree with? We are talking No. 1 defense pairs, against Stepan. I guess it’s his size that I see being the No. 1 issue. The other would be his lack of goal scoring, and penchant for passing instead of shooting.

2014 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game FourI think this team played awesome for good portions of the year. I think it still need some more scoring and maybe this Hayes kid will bring some of that with him. Some of the guys we went out and got don’t seem to be the goal-scoring type of players we need. I saw some articles that said these guys were signed and are essentially on the roster leaving little room for some young guys to make this team. This is very troublesome to me. We lacked scoring last year, and I believe some of the youth need to be given the opportunity to step up and show what they can do. One writer said they will be fighting for two spots on this team!!!!!! That’s a problem. I think we got were we did because this team was playing a unique style of game play that no one thought of in a SINGLE COACH’S DESIGNED GAME PLAN.

So what do I mean by that??? Well Dan Girardi, and the animal he is, was out there blocking shots, like he did for his last coach. So were many of the other players. I don’t THINK Alain Vigneault was intentionally keeping that part of his game plan, but as the season progressed this two-pronged style of play was working awesome. John Torterella took a defensive style and drilled it into this team, and they played that way with all their heart and soul. Then Vigneault came along, and wanted offense from this team that played mostly defense for the last couple of years. So here we had two styles of play that blended so well together that we made it to the Final.

I do believe we still have great talent, and this team is still capable of playing some great hockey. I just have a feeling that things really fell into place for them, things around them happened at the right time, combined with some great two way hockey, and we almost finished a great season with the ultimate prize.

So maybe it’s just jitters about the upcoming season, and the unsure feelings about the roster turnover, but like any fan, I’m just a little worried. I don’t exactly know where we are going, but I do think a player like Hayes is a step in the right direction!! I also think that once in the playoffs one just never knows.

Look at last year, gentleman. Once in the playoffs, get hot at the right time, and clear room for another trip to the Final!!! We can only hope, but I do have a lingering fear of the roster, and where do “we go from here?” type of feeling.

Thanks Carp, and all the others for listening.

Steve (Cynar)

Photos by Getty Images.


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  1. Good Guest Blog Cynar.
    I know most people think Steps isn’t the top center we see on other teams but our lines are really built on our wingers strengths.

    This year we need to see a progression from our young guys and the new role players step in and contribute. Im Looking forward to seeing Boyle and if Hayes can cracking the roster.

  2. bull dog line on

    Derek Stepan has been the number 1 center for 3 years now! a trip to the ECF, and a trip to the SCF in those 3 years with him as the number 1. he is the least of the worries.

  3. Cynar good job! Were do we go from here? AV is thinking 3OT goals was about as close as he could get to HIS goal as possible!

    We skate to win. This team will be better than last year. Boyle will be an improvement over Stralman on the Blueline AND on the power play! The King will be better than last year from the start, he is the best goalie in the league, no worries about the contract. AV won’t have to go on a 9 game road trip and dig himself out of a hole like his NEW team did last year. He will have a faster team this year.

    The young guns have 2 positions to fill. Miller/Lindberg will skate for the chance to be MSL center, Kristo/Hayes get to skate for the RW of Brassard & Zucc. I really believe Stempniak will ride shotgun next to DMoore and Glass. He will blow the doors off of Boyle’s numbers last year.

    Seriously this is going to be a FANTASTIC year!!!

    Have a SIOUXper day! I took the whole day off to golf with my kids on my birthday! Wicki beware my kid is off to your state soon :)

  4. Nice blog entry, Cynar…although not sure I agree with all your concerns. Step has been solid as center. It’s a team sport, and may just be the reality that they make the SCF without your vision of a first line center who is large and lights up the lamp at will.

  5. Has there been a less respected SCF team the season after? Sure we lost some key pieces, but outside of Stralman, they are all fairly easily replaceable pieces. Whether we have those pieces now, I’m not sure. I know we all loved Boyle for what he was, a heart and soul guy, but he can’t score, can’t skate, and really only cranked it up in the playoffs. You might be putting a kid with much more talent on that line in his place with a chance to develop. Pouliot? Remember, this guy was a bust everywhere he played and had a decent season and meshed well with Zuc/Brassard. But those two guys were the key to that line, not BP. A Stepnialk or talented young kid could easily replace BP. Richards? Wasn’t everyone here glad to see him go? I’m not worried. We brought in D. Boyle. I’m skeptical he can still play D, but he (hopefully) adds to the PP. You have to hope Nash is over his concussion issues and can be a force more often than last years.

    You look at the East again, and to me, at worst they are the 4th best team (after Boston, Pittsburgh, and TB) and all the above are flawed teams. There’s no reason we can’t repeat.

  6. I agree Steve. Look at the change in Pittsburgh, how many D did they lose last year, Neal is gone, their coach is GONE. Lots of changes on that team. Tampa Bay is young, and they have great talent, but to tell me they are a better team than the Rangers – not in goal!
    Boston – is a tough team to play against, but they will have just as tough playing against the Rangers speed.

    When AV gets the flow of four lines rolling AND scoring, this TEAM is going to be ALOT of fun to watch!!!

  7. bull dog line on

    I don’t see what everybody else sees in Tampa. even if true, that Tampa’s a contender, they have a very small window. Stamkos is gone in 2 years.

  8. Not a very focused commentary, but I do agree with Stepan point. For those who love him, open your eyes. He is NOT a #1 center and this will likely be his last year with the team. He will ask for a fortune and he is definitely not worth whatever he asks for.

  9. Please. Stepan has been in the top 3 in points on this team for a long time. Look at his numbers compare to other top Centers, he ranks as the 20th top center in the league, with what 30 teams. Do the math, I’m sure doc can pull a stat sheet to prove it.

    Step is the type of player you don’t let get away, he is not Del Zotto, he isn’t a head case like Zherdev, or a player you trade away like Gaborik to get the “biggest” return because you not going to sign him the next year.

    He is a player you build your team around. Whether he plays the 1’st line, 2nd line, or 3rd line. Brassard’s line was our best line last year, does that make HIM the #1 center?

  10. bull dog line on

    Stepan will probably get 5 years, 30 mill, and he will be worth every penny. Stepan is a 2 way center, who kills penalties, and is out on the ice in the last minutes of close games. he also is on the top PP, and centers a top line. those guys do not grow on trees.

  11. Good optimistic post, Cynar. Totally agree about Stepan – nice kid, but not a 1st C, never was, never will be, lack of natural aggressiveness. His relatively high statistic among low scoring Rangers’.
    Just wanted to add, that I’m sure we will be pleasantly surprised with some of the new recruits, either Lombardi or Stempniak or even Glass, the same way we did after first angry rejections of Benny Pullout and particular Carsillo.
    I would be careful though with any high expectation about this Kevin kid.

  12. I see some of you guys agree about Stepan, but I think the best point made was by 4everranger. He’s been top point getter on a team that doesn’t score alot!!!! That’s huge!! Maybe I dream of yesteryear with a Messier style center who can throw the body to change a game, or score a great goal. I do some points here that I didn’t think of, like the fact that it was a good team to begin with, and we really didn’t loose any top notch guys, so that’s a good thing. Either way I’m looking forward to this next season, and no road trip to start. LOL

    I hope you all enjoyed it, yes it was not a well put together article like Carp’s, I have a tendency to write like I’m talking, and I talk a lot and don’t get to the point!!!! At least that’s what my wife says!!! LOL

    Enjoy your weekend guys!!!!!!!!

  13. P.S. What do you guys think about them playing almost two coaches styles and it helping them become a team that I don’t think Vignealut thought they would be????

  14. The reason Stepan isn’t a “true” #1 is his reluctance to take open shots. It is all too common for his wingers to have their perfect set-ups fired right back at them into awkward shooting positions. This includes passes onto his forehand side, a real problem for one of the few right-handed shots on the team.

    Also watch him closely while Nash is carrying the puck, if he’s even on-screen. He generally is not getting himself into a good position to either receive a pass or shoot. This is holding back his linemates.

    A #1 center needs to produce more goals with what is out there for him on the ice. To me, he is a Torts vision of a #1 center.

  15. CARP,

    Are you willing to buy all of us “all-you-can-eat-shrimp” dinners at Red Lobster if Jumbo Joe comes to the no-talents?

  16. _Maybe I dream of yesteryear with a Messier style center who can throw the body to change a game, or score a great goal._

    In terms of current players, that comment is basically “David Backes or bust”, isn’t it? Stepan isn’t a franchise center, but he’s a legit #1 in my world.

  17. CARP,

    Are you willing to buy all of us “All-You-Can-Eat-Shrimp” dinners at Red Lobster if Jumbo Joe comes to the Rangers?

  18. Good morning, boneheads!

    Nice post, Cynar.

    I agree with some, you are undervalue Stepan. The reason he is not considered by most to be a true #1C is because he isn’t overly flashy. That a mistake. He is a very solid Center, with good vision, and plays two-way. Can be trusted in every situation. His PPG production has been increasing steadily, and he will get even better. He just turned 24. Try not to compare him to Crosby or Towes, but he is #1C on this team. Very underrated.

  19. Carp, if Sather planned that game to be in Tuscany, I’ll be attending. :-). I think I’m going to one on 10/3. I have to check.

  20. Tuscany?? Going to Don Ciccio’s place? (si, si).

    Wear loose pants. You will put on a few pounds there.


  21. It may get ugly in SJ. You can call him whatever you want, J. Thornton has been their best player since he arrived from Boston.

  22. SJ added John Scott to their lineup while they already had Mike Brown and Adam Burish. That’s shaping up to be a marvelous 4th line. Bound to play 4 min, if that. I can only imagine the reaction if Sather had that 4th line in NY. Meantime, they stripped Thornton of C, and Marleau of A.

  23. Jerkoff Joe & his group of pansies are the epitome of a choke artiste! He leads by example!

  24. Jerkoff Joe is a loser. The voters stole away from us 1 extra year of The Jaromir by voting that bum MVP.

  25. I’ll give Joe Thornton this: he was fully responsible for a turnaround, and eventually a very successful 2011-2012 season for NY Rangers.

  26. Jerky Joe is a loser. The voters stole away from us 1 extra year of The Jaromir by voting that bum MVP.

  27. Joe is a loser. The voters stole away from us 1 extra year of The Jaromir by voting that bum MVP.

  28. He’ll become a “true” #1 center when he stops firing back passes to out-of-position teammates who have just set him up for a shot. They will then have more room to maneuver.

  29. Step centers the #2 line right. Brassard centered our top line last year, wouldn’t he be considered the #1 center?

    Now Step could be the #1 Center once the dead weight of Nash gets off his back, or starts scoring.

  30. Stepan has been on the team for 4 years, he led them in scoring once, and has never been worse than 4th on the team in scoring. Doesn’t seem to me that he’s the offensive liability some people think he is.

  31. Thanks for the guest blog, Cynar. I enjoyed it. I like Stepan, think he’s a darn good player and getting better. He needs a little more anger in his game but if I recall he may have found some after his Prusting.

  32. Thanx, Cynar. Brass, Step, DMoops all fit, but who’s our other center? That’s more the question as I see it. Step could use a tad more fire, but maybe that is what it is.

  33. “Joe’s a heck of a player, but here’s a player popping off about our team, and Joe hasn’t won a god d— thing in this league. He could go down as a player, being one of the better players in our league never to win anything. So what he should do is just shut up. It was uncalled for, it was classless, and I’ve never had it happen like that before.”

    Bet you Carp misses Torts…

  34. “Robert Cohn had two friends, Braddocks and myself. Braddocks was his literary friend. I was his -tennis- hockey friend.

    ‘The Sun Also Rises’

  35. Hope everyone has had a fantastic summer. I just got back to the US last night. Shamefully will admit that I havent been following too much here. That’s about to change!

  36. You haven’t missed much, Lev. Kevin Hayes is a Ranger and everybody’s pouring ice water on their heads.

    Welcome back.

  37. Thanks ilb and Carp. Ice water? Umm….

    Ilb, was with the family in Israel most of the time and then went for a few days to Turkey. Last 3 weeks I did a bike tour around Kyrgyzstan. Quite the place. The customs guy yesterday looked at me like I was a lunatic.

  38. I’m on the blog way too much, my Ukrainian is deteriorating;)

    I’d rather see Kreiser with brass and zucc.

    Is jumbo joe a ranger yet?

  39. Great post cynar, thanks.

    The jumbo joe situation just reminds me of the Nash situation. Player says only wants to go to one team, then denials (rivers in Egypt) start and you dont hear anything else until the guy just shows up in your locker room.

  40. I’ll never forget Phil, on 18 in the final round of the 2006 Open at Winged Foot, needing only a par to take the trophy, and banging his tee shot off the hospitality tent, ending his chances.

  41. Acquaintance of mine just gave me a real sob story, seems his best friend just ran off with his wife. Tried to track the guy down but couldn’t find him because he has a common last name but he never knew the guys first name. Now it might seem strange that someone had a best friend and never knew his first name but you have to understand that he didn’t realize the guy was his best friend till he ran off with his wife. Wanted to track him down to thank him.

  42. Lol, Aneirin.

    … There once was a prince who asked a young lady to marry him.

    She said, no.

    And he lived happily ever after.

  43. Somebody stole my wife’s credit card, but I never reported it. He spends a lot less every month than she did, and so long as he doesn’t get crazy, he can keep it.

  44. I’m a lifelong bachelor. I’d NEVER consider marrying a woman who’d have me as a husband.

  45. coos, the shot off the tent didn’t end his chances. The second shot, which he tried (and failed) to carve around a tree instead of punching to the fairway, ended his chances. The third into the bunker didn’t help. While Furyk and Montgomerie and others were puking all over themselves on 18, too.

    “I am such an idiot.”

  46. I re-watched the NYR vs Pens game 1 last night again. And have seen a bunch of others from the POs this year. We’re gonna be fine, people. BRich was kinda awful with a few exceptions, after a terrific although unexpected bounce back regular season. He’s not coming into 2015 stronger and more fit to play almost 100 games. He won’t be missed. Neither will Brian “what’s the regular season” Boyle, who had his moments in the POs but will not be missed for his invisible regular seasons since he signed his first big contract after scoring 20 goals.

    Strals was good, but we’ll be fine with a healthier Staal, a continuing to grow McD and hopefully DanG will learn what he needs to do to pace himself for a long PO run as he was done midway through the POs after a surprisingly (to me) good regular season. Moore and Kline will be fine as 5&6.

    The PP will improve, without question. We all know why.

    Our nucleus up front will continue to grow as a group and will contribute even more, led by the No. 1 center who sees the ice with the best of them (running a close 2nd to Zucc who is uncanny). I feel Nash will be more consistent, we’ll have more scoring balance on the lines with Stepniak added in and a possible youth infusion from any of Fast, Miller, Lindberg or Hayes.

    I feel really good about this year. These guys know what it takes to win. They’ll figure out which regular season games they need to take the foot off the pedal for which will in turn help them later on down the road when they’re playing their 105th game of the season. I cannot wait for this year to start.

    And, THE will score 30 goals this season. Book it!

  47. Robby Bonfire on

    bull dog line –

    Of course THN is published by Montreal people, so Subban has replaced God, as the supreme being, thereabouts. McD should be honored that God was down-graded even more than he was in the player rankings. I don’t see God ranked, anywhere, making Him the new Brodie DuPont of the universe.

  48. We are all chopping on the bite for this year Cynar. As much as I have not liked Sather. He has done a great job getting us to the final…We need some infusion of youth. You want Hayes and JT Miller to step up.
    We do not have a true #1 center your right but we have 2 number 1.5 centers. Brassard is good and will show you more. Dan Boyle will help the power play. He will be rejuvenated. We may have lost a little on D with the loss of Stralman but the boys will be fine….Give Glen credit for signing Hayes, Haggerty and Matt Bodie….Those are #1 and 2 picks….
    It will be a fun year. 56 years of being an NYR fan still lovin it.

  49. Bogey would have put him in a playoff with Ogilvy, who I believe chipped in, or holed a putt from off the green, on 18. And wasn’t on the radar to be in a playoff. If Phil chips out he has a chance to get up and down for four and the outright win.

  50. Bad as Richards was at many times, they still haven’t replaced his offensive production, IMO. Though the PP point will be better with D. Boyle instead of 19.

  51. Having MSL from start will replace Richards’ offensive production during regular season easily. Playoffs is a different story.. Although, his 12 points was exactly what Hagelin produced. Hagelin had more goals.

  52. July 1st Mets made third annual payment of $1,200,000 plus to Bobby (‘I’ll show you the ghetto’) Bonilla. Payments (with 8% interest) end circa 2036.

  53. Robby Bonfire on

    Thanks for sharing your cogent thoughts, Cynar. My concern, foremost, is just about the same ever year – cohesiveness. All these new plugged-nickle journeyman stop-gap guys, coming in here every year, rarely lasting two years, and rarely playing up to expectations.

    I am about as excited about Lombardi-Glass-Stemp as I am about fat free powered milk. This is THREE system players who are younger and potentially will amount to more in their NHL career, except, they won’t be getting their career started on time.

    I consider it a minor miracle the Slats landed this Hayes Whale, while blowing cigar smoke in his face and making Hayes pick up the tab at Nedicks. So we will see how this go-round goes.

    I put the Hartford Shuttle overs and unders total for Hayes at three. And I put ice time in NY for The Duke this year at zero. This adds up to I put the Rangers this year, at 50-50 for making the playoffs. With zero chance of getting anywhere near the Finals. So surprise me again, Boys.

  54. Alan and Steve, good posts, Vibin. I feel good too going into the season. I guess I always do.

    LGR !!!

  55. What will be interesting is if multiple players from the Miller, Hayes, Kristo, Fast, Lindberg, Haggerty group have great camps. For that matter Allen, Bodie and McIlrath On D too.

    I imagine no matter how many kids have great camps, one or 2 forwards might make the team out of camp but doubt any of the d prospects make the opening night roster.

  56. Great news….

    Brian Leetch will return to MSG Network during the season for part-time in-studio work!

  57. Stranger Nation on

    If you want to see young unproven talent learn at the NHL level, feel free to watch the Ice Landers or Earlers. Seems to not work out much save for the studs. If the player has the physical gifts, he can get away with the mental gaffes (i.e. THE). If they do not, the veteran will provide a well rounded game without the rookie mistakes.
    Always love to speculate on the potential of the kids and management ha$ a $ignificant desire to play the pups, but if you are a winning franchise, the rooks learn in the minors.

  58. ZzZz NYR ZzZz© on

    Top 3 Canadian Sports Brands

    #1 Habs , Winning a million Stanley Cups and being as old as dirt , Canada’s top sports brand. Well done Montreal Canadiens .

    #2 Maple Leafs , These guys haven’t won a cup in I dunno how long…Wendel Clark and Tie dummy are some pritty cool characters . The TML are loved Canada wide.

    #3 The Saskatchewan Roughriders ( not ottawa ) Canada’s third best brand and being a CFL team!!?? That’s amazing! Our green pride can not be matched , our games are never blacked out. We are united as a province and with Rider jersey’s and hat’s found all across north America . The RIDERS are the Champions .

  59. Stranger Nation on

    Carp – need to post to see most recent updates/posts

    Blog tech has been screwy all week – someone must pay!?!

  60. Last year at this time all the talk on this site was about how the Rangers had absolutely no identity and what a horrible coach AV was going to be for this team. And of course, Fire Sather! Now we have an identity… As one of the fastest teams in the NHL. Also having by far the best goalie in the game and a defense ranked as good as any in the league. Not to mention a team full of good young players that are improving with age, not getting worse. Stepan is a certainly a #1 center and Brassard is certainly a #2 center, both of whom are improving with every game they play. Can there be any more of a difference between this offseason and last offseason? BTW anyone who still thinks Sather should be fired, is a complete moron!

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