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Posts Tagged ‘marc staal’

Yes, Sid the Kid graced us with his presence and Marc Staal and Colton Orr showed him to his seat.  If you’re looking for analysis of the game as a whole, Jen C. over at Rangerland.net described it best.

Every time two good teams get together, no one team dominates. One might dominate for a period of time and the other will dominate for other times during the course of the game. And there will be times that the game is even.

And I think we saw that for the most part Wednesday night. The Penguins had their moments of dominating play, and the Rangers had theirs. It was a back-and-forth game, and I thought overall it was a good game.

That is exactly how that game played out.  The Rangers, of course, came tumbling out of the gate (as they have been doing for a while now) and didn’t show anything good until early in the second.  Even when the Penguins went up by 2, the Rangers came roaring back and scored just 1:21 later to keep them in it.  And tied it late in the third to force OT.

Whether or not the Penguins sat back on their lead and let up on offense, the Rangers didn’t quit and that has been a common theme throughout the season.  In previous seasons, if the Rangers were trailing heading into the third period, it would seem as if they just gave up on the game.  This season, I actually have confidence that they can claw themselves out of the hole and dominate late in the games.

Some notes:

  • It was amazing how well Colton Orr distracted Sidney Crosby from playing his game.  Crosby was so worked up at one point that after getting hit by Orr along the boards in the first period, he grabbed Orr’s jersey with no penalty called there (surprise, surprise) and yapped at him until Orpik came and got called for two penalties against Orr.  Crosby and Michel Therrien were even yelling at Orr from the bench until Don “Have Another Doughnut” Koharski settled them down.
  • Orr did so much last night but only had 4:56 of icetime?  That can’t be right.
  • Dmitri Kalinin should be embarrassed at how easily Sidney Crosby took the puck from him right before the Penguins first goal.  Crosby gave Kalinin no respect and frankly, why should he?  Crosby knew how easy it would be to overpower Kalinin and it paid off.
  • In a combined 46:12 of icetime, Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin were held to 1 assist and 5 shots on goal.
  • Petr Prucha looked like he was everywhere on the ice with only 13:10 of icetime.  He came through in a big way by burrying that bounce off the boards.  That was a typical Petr Prucha goal.  Now put him on the PP to clean up the rebounds from Drury’s shots.
  • Oh yeah.  I liked having Drury at the point during the power play in the second period.  He was ripping shots like there was no tomorrow.
  • I’m glad the refs decided to swallow their whistles in the 3rd.  It gave the game some flow and made it much more intense and physical.  It almost felt like a playoff game.
  • PRUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU

Prucha

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Hello!  Yes I’m alive and so are Marc and Rory.  They say hi.

The Rangers are 17-8-2 right now which places them atop the Eastern conference.  But are they really as good as their record would suggest?

Some days I watch them play and I would argue that they are just as good, if not better than their record suggests.  On other days (Oct 15, Nov 8*, Nov 22, Nov 30) they play terrible, uninspired games.  Why is it that there is such a large swing from game to game?  How can the Rangers right the ship and keep it that way?

*What happened to  “Every goal of every game,” NHL.com?

1. Fix the Power Play. Yes, I know. dead-horseBut seriously, something must be done about this.  The Rangers have the most power play opportunities in the entire league, their offense is what some would call stacked, yet they are ranked 11th in the Eastern conference.  Let me just throw out a few teams that have a better power play.  The Islanders, the Thrashers, the Lightning.  In the last five games, the Rangers are just 2 for 21 with the man advantage.  At least Tom Renney is now admitting that there is something wrong and is even considering putting a forward at the point. aaaaaaah

I think there’s forwards who can do that job. There’s defensemen, too. They just have to do it with a certain level of confidence and assertiveness.  We can look at a number of different guys. What would Zherdev be like back there? Chris (Drury) we’ve tried. What would Scott (Gomez) be like back there? What would Nazzy be like? That’s a short list of guys.

The problem I have with putting a forward at the point is that the Rangers are already leading the league in short handed goals against and they’ve been playing with two defensemen on the power play the entire season.  By putting 4 forwards on the ice, you’re conceding that your PP unit will not be as defensively sound.  Look how easily Chris Drury pounces on the defensive mistake of Martin St. Louis, caught out of position along the boards during a Lightning power play.

So, what do you do if the defensemen on the PP have not been effective but adding a 4th forward would add to the risk of shorthanded goals for a team that already gives up too many shorthanded goals?  Take the defensemen that aren’t working *cough*Rozsival*cough* on the PP off of the PP and put a different defenseman on the point.  Marc Staal doesn’t need the perfect pass to rip a slap shot.

Scott Gomez, please stop hanging around at the half boards and pretending to be Jaromir Jagr.  Cycle the puck and get some low, hard shots to the net with a man set up right in front.  Rebounds and deflections galore!

76074654CM010_NEW_YORK_RANG2. Give Petr Prucha a chance. Dear Tom Renney, Why is it that Dan Fritsche is allowed to have so many games to be consistently invisible yet Petr Prucha gets very few games to play hard, throw the body around, and draw some penalties?  You recently allowed Fritsche to play 10 games in a row.  He scored 1 goal against the Panthers and got 3 assists against the Devils (2) and the Bruins (1).  He scored his first goal of the season in his 9th game in a row.  I wonder if his goal came as a mix of playing against an inferior team plus getting more comfortable playing as he was playing on a more consistent basis.

Please, please allow Prucha 10 games in a row to show you that he is the better player and that he deserves much more ice time than you give him.  Why not try him on the Power Play?  Nothing else seems to be working so far.  Don’t forget, the teams you will be facing in the next couple weeks are much stronger opponents than the ones you faced in the last two weeks.

3. Stop stumbling out of the gate. The Rangers played 13 games in October. They scored first in eight of those games and had a record of 10-2-1.  They played 14 games in November and scored first in only four of those games.  Their record in November was 7-6-1.  In fact, before the game in Tampa, the Rangers had gone eight games without scoring first.

It might be alright to play catch up with a team like the Lightning or the Brodeur-less Devils.  Especially when you have a goalie like Henrik Lundqvist to keep you in it, but what happens when you stumble so hard that you can’t get up in time and give up 4 goals in the first 23 mintues of a game?  You need to come out of the gate strong and finish strong as well.

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That’s right.  Last night in Calgary, the Capitals had a NINE-MINUTE POWER PLAY.  Now, one might ask, “How do you get a nine-minute power play?”

Like this:

Tyler Sloan gets a nice open-ice hit and then Rene Bourque pounces on him.  Bourque was given 4 penalties.  A five-minute major for fighting, a two-minute minor for instigating, a two-minute minor for unsportsmanlike conduct, and a 10 minute misconduct.  Keep in mind that it was just a misconduct, not a game misconduct.

On Friday against the Maple Leafs, Marc Staal laid a nasty (but clean) hit on Matt Stajan.  Almost instantly,  Jamal Mayers went after Staal and proceeded to wrestle him to the ground.

Those two plays were very similar, yet they had very different outcomes.  As I said before, the Capitals ended up getting a nine-minute power play (which they failed to score on) but in the Rangers’ case, both Staal and Mayers were given five-minute majors for fighting.

But Eric, Staal fought back while Sloan didn’t!

That’s not true.  If you go watch the first video again, you can see that Sloan throws his gloves off as Bourque comes after him.  Sloan just didn’t get any punches in and fell down almost instantly.  Staal, on the other hand, stayed up a few for a few seconds.

So why do the refs deal with these two similar plays so differently?  Is the league trying to crack down on this sort of thing?

Also, why is it that Paul Mara gets a game misconduct for sticking up for himself after he avoided what would have been a very dirty hit from the guy that broke his face last season, but Rene Bourque only gets a misconduct (which allows him to return) even after being given an instigator AND an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty?

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I guess you could call this a Season Preview but we’ll just call it the Game Preview. Also, today is my birthday!

Back on October 5, 2005, the New York Rangers played a game for the first time in over a year. The NHL was finally back after a lock-out that led to the cancellation of the entire 2004-05 season.

It had been 8 years since the Rangers had last made the playoffs–when they lost to the Philadelphia Flyers in the 1997 Eastern Conference Finals–and the idea that the Rangers were going to end the drought was ludicrous. That year, almost every “expert” had picked the Rangers to finish 30th in the NHL.

Honestly, did you have much faith in that team? Look at the lineup they sported for the 2005-2006 season opener against the Flyers:

Rucinsky-Nylander-Jagr
Straka-Ruccin-Hossa
Moore-Betts-Ward
Hollweg-Lundmark-Ortmeyer

Rozsival-Malik
Poti-Strudwick
Tyutin-Kasparaitis

Weekes
Lundqvist

Admit it. You looked at that team and thought, “We’re screwed!” But Slats was keeping his word; the Rangers were rebuilding. We couldn’t expect greatness in the first year. Honestly, I would have been content no matter what happened that season. But what happened that year stunned everybody.

The Rangers sat in first place in the Atlantic Division until the very last day of the season when they were passed by both the Devils and the Flyers. More importantly, for the first time since 1997, the Rangers had made the playoffs and Jaromir Jagr broke the Rangers single season records for both goals (54) and points (123).

Now fast forward to this season. The Rangers come into the game with a 2-0-0 record with two wins over the Tampa Bay Lightning last weekend in Prague.

Here is the line up that the Rangers sported for the first two games of the season:

Naslund-Gomez-Drury
Dawes-Dubinsky-Zherdev
Prucha-Korpikoski-Callahan
Voros-Betts-Orr

Rozsival-Redden
Girardi-Kalinin
Staal-Mara

Lundqvist
Valiquette

Only two, yes two, players from the 2005 opening night roster are still on the team. Only one of them actually played in that game! Petr Prucha was called up from Hartford soon after the start of the season and stayed up for most of it. But still that is only 3 players that remain from the October 5, 2005 to October 4, 2008. Speaking of Petr Prucha, of all the players currently on the roster, he has the most games played and most goals scored as a Ranger.

Looking ahead to this season, the Rangers are a younger, faster, more offensive minded team that can still shut things down when needed. The problem is that almost every offseason move the Rangers made is counting on the player playing better because of a change in scenery. So far, Naslund and Redden have scored goals. Zherdev has shown how wonderfully he can control the puck but has not finished. He does have the potential to set up many goals for Brandon Dubinsky. I really hope Zherdev doesn’t end up like Matt Cullen did with the Rangers.

There were some questions heading into this season about Dubinsky. Would he have the dreaded sophomore slump? Would he be able to produce without Jagr on his wing? We’re only 2 games into the season, but Dubinsky doesn’t look like he’s going to hit the proverbial wall any time soon. He was arguably the best player on the Rangers throughout the Preseason and has skated very well with new linemate Nikolai Zherdev.

Some other young players that must prove themselves are Nigel Dawes, Ryan Callahan, and believe it or not, Petr Prucha. Dawes and Callahan will most likely thrive in a faster and more offensive minded environment. As will Prucha who is scratched for tonights game. But Tom Renney has to give Prucha more ice time. At least some more time on the Power Play.

As for any predictions, I think the Rangers will fight for control of the Atlantic with the Penguins for the majority of the Season. They will probably end up finishing in second place in the division which is good enough for 4th or 5th in the Eastern Conference.

Tonight, the Rangers will hold their true home opener against the Chicago Blackhawks. This team made a big splash in the free agency market by signing Brian Campbell to an 8 year contract for about $56.8 million. They also improved in goal with the addition of Cristobal Huet. This team is young and looking to prove themselves. They were very close to making the playoffs last season and you can be sure that New Captain Jonathan Toews and Sophomore Patrick Kane will skate circles around our defense at least once.

Hopefully the Rangers can find their scoring and break out against Huet who they have been fairly good against in recent memory.

I will be at the game and I might snap some pictures. I’ll post them later tonight if I can along with the recap.

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Nobody was blaming Marc Staal after the Devils overtime winner in game 3 ricocheted off his foot past Henrik Lundqvist. But you can bet Staal wasn’t too happy about it, especially after the play earlier in the game where he couldn’t clear the puck and Elias scored. But wow, the kid played awesome tonight. The game winner was sweet, but that wasn’t the only bright spot about Staal’s game. He was solid through all 3 periods. Along with his partner Rozsival, Staal was very effective breaking the puck out of the Rangers zone, and when Staal and Rozsival were on the ice, the Devils barely got a sniff at the net. Plus that game winner was sweet. Did I mention that his game winner was really sweet?

My favorite public address announcement of the night came 13:36 into the 2nd period. It was, “Devils penalty on #30, Martin Brodeur. 2 minutes for diving.” HAHAHA. FINALLY. If a referee gives you a penalty for diving, he is basically calling you a little bitch. That probably didn’t sit well with Marrrrrrrrr-teeeeeee. Brodeur is a flopper, plain and simple.

Game highlights can be found here.

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It’s finally here.

The moment you’ve all been waiting for.

Here is the definitive Rangers/Devils series preview, brought to you by a joint effort of the creators of this blog. Can Sean Avery and the Rangers expect more of the same against the Devils during the playoffs? The only way to find out is to keep reading.

It’s on the long side, so click the “more” link below to continue reading.

(more…)

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