Found March 21, 2012 on Blue Seat Blogs:

With a playoff spot clinched, we are running a new series about turning points in the season. These posts will focus on moves the Rangers made that effectively turned their season from mediocre to great.

On November 24, the Rangers had lost two games in a row to the Montreal Canadiens and Florida Panthers. It wasn’t so much that the Rangers lost the games, it was that they were getting beat to every single loose puck in those games. They looked slow, and even looked slow in their six wins prior to those losses. The two players made an immediate impact, and the Rangers won their next five in a row, including three in a row against Washington, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh.

But those wins weren’t just ordinary wins. The Rangers looked faster, and for good reason. Hagelin and Mitchell eventually replaced the revolving door of Erik Christensen, Wojtek Wolski, and Sean Avery (with a little Andre Deveaux as well). Only Avery had some sort of speed out of that trio. Their success paved the way for the removal of all three spare parts (and distractions) from the Rangers locker room, permanently. It was not only addition by speed, but addition by subtraction.

It wasn’t just speed though. Something was different. Both players immediately bought into the John Tortorella system of forechecking, two way hockey, and grinding out games. The Rangers had the puck more often, and it showed. Their time of possession in the offensive zone shot up noticeably, and the Rangers were generating more offense off the physical offensive zone play. They had the puck more, it’s as simple as that, and it was mainly due to Mitchell and Hagelin.

Puck possession is an easy enough metric to figure out, as it’s defined by the stat Corsi. Corsi is a stat that counts the number of shots directed at your net (missed, blocked, saved, or goals) versus the number of shots directed at your opponents net (missed, blocked, saved, or goals) while a specific player is on the ice. All shot attempts for – all shot attempts against = Corsi. Essentially, the more shots directed at your opponents net, the more you have the puck, and vice versa.

Relative Corsi (I’m going to abbreviate this as RCorsi) takes Corsi to a different level. Generally speaking, the better teams in the league will dominate Corsi. RCorsi accounts for this, and takes the Corsi of the player (as described above) and subtract the Corsi of the team when that player is off the ice. This makes for a more balanced measure of puck possession, as it eliminates the team concept and focuses solely on the player, and how he affects the team.

Now that we’ve explained RCorsi, it’s easy to see why Hagelin and Mitchell were instrumental to the Rangers long term success. They boast the two highest RCorsi among forwards on the team. Mitchell’s RCorsi is 13.1, and Hagelin’s is 12.6. To really put a value to this, the next best Ranger is Brandon Dubinsky at 8.5 RCorsi. Brad Richards sit’s in 4th at 2.7 RCorsi.

What’s even more impressive about their RCorsi is that Hagelin starts less than 50% of his shifts in the offensive zone (46.5%) and Mitchell is barely above 50% offensive zone starts (51.1%).

The best part is that these guys are showing they made a difference on the ice and on the scoreboard. Despite playing 20 fewer games than the rest of the team, Hagelin still sits in the top five in scoring on the team (14-23-37). Average that out over a full 72 games thus far for the Rangers, and that’s 18-30-48. That’s Calder discussion worthy. As for Mitchell, he has 15 points (5-10-15) while playing mostly checking line duties.

The Rangers didn’t just call up two AHL guys, they called up two difference makers. These two almost single-handedly righted the ship for the Rangers in what could have been a disastrous stretch. Just think Mitchell was acquired from Toronto for a 7th round pick, and Hagelin was a 6th round pick in 2008. Not bad Mr. Sather.

Scotty Hockey@ScottyHockey

@TheNYRBlog Just fyi, you do get used to people calling you an idiot after a while. I take it as I am doing something right …

THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Is Ryan McDonagh the Rangers best defenseman?

With Dan Girardi tiring in the last few games (not a criticism) and Marc Staal clearly still struggling for consistency following his return, has Ryan McDonagh emerged as the Rangers best defenseman? It’s a valid question and perhaps just another way of heaping praise on McDonagh for the way he has developed since his call up midway in to last year. A lot of people don’t pay...

Yogan/Ceresnak join Connecticut; Girardi is Masterton nominee

Two little tidbits hit the news waves this morning. First, as said here on Monday, Rangers prospects Andrew Yogan and Peter Ceresnak have officially joined the Connecticut Whale. Both are on ATO’s, which means that Ceresnak can return to the OHL next year. Yogan is playing for his Rangers career, and will need to earn an entry level contract. The other news is that Dan Girardi...

Rangers Hold Off Devils; Recap

Two smart periods and one sloppy period equals Rangers win. It wasn’t perfect but the Rangers got what they deserved out of the game as they beat the Devils 4-2. They were the better team throughout and ten minutes aside in the second controlled play, were defensively solid and could have scored more if not for some sharp goaltending by Brodeur. On to the notes from the game...

Yogan And Ceresnak join the Whale

As we said earlier in the week, Andrew Yogan and Peter Ceresnak signed ATOs with the CT Whale. They both will report for practice tomorrow (stick tap to Bruce Berlet) We believe Yogan will get to see playing action but Ceresnak might not until the Whale have secured their playoff spot. Here is the press release: HARTFORD, March 21, 2012:  Connecticut Whale general manager...

Girardi is Rangers' Masterton Nominee

Rangers chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association announces Dan Girardi is Rangers' nominee for Bill Masterton Trophy.— Andrew Gross (@AGrossRecord) March 21, 2012 Per Wikipedia, the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy is awarded annually to the National Hockey League player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to...

Rangers edge Devils, clinch playoff spot in East

Brandon Dubinsky scored shortly after a fight-filled opening faceoff, and the New York Rangers became the first Eastern Conference team to earn a playoff spot by beating the New Jersey Devils 4-2 on Monday night. Three fights broke out at the outset and that seemed to jump-start the Rangers, who had lost two straight and five of seven as their once commanding lead in the East dwindled...

Whale Sign Pair of Ranger Draft Picks to ATOs

HARTFORD, March 21, 2012: Connecticut Whale general manager Jim Schoenfeld announced today that the team has signed forward Andrew Yogan and defenseman Peter Ceresnak to Amateur Tryout (ATO) agreements. Both Yogan, a fourth-round (100th overall) draft pick of the parent New York Rangers in 2010, and Ceresnak, who was selected in the sixth round (172nd overall) of the 2011 draft...

HBO Real Sports Lundqvist Feature Tonight @ 10pm

Tonight HBO Real Sports will have a feature on Henrik Lundqvist at 10 p.m. Here's a sneak preview... Remember to follow me on Twitter & Facebook or e-mail me at nyrfan94@yahoo.com.

Game Preview: Rangers vs. Red Wings

Standings: Red Wings (44-25-4), Rangers (45-20-7) NYR Leading Scorer: Marian Gaborik (35-31-66) DET Leading Scorer: Pavel Datsyuk (17-43-60) NYR Goaltender: Henrik Lundqvist (53 GS, 1.89 GAA, .934 SV%) DET Goaltender: Ty Conklin (9 GS, 3.40 GAA, .880 SV%) Rangers Lines (probable): Carl Hagelin-Brad Richards-Marian Gaborik Brandon Dubinsky-Derek Stepan-Ryan Callahan Mats Zuccarello...

Rangers Clinch Playoff Spot With 4-2 Win Over the Devils

While the first three seconds of the hockey game between the New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils provided a lot of theatrics, it all ended up meaning very little for the rest of the game as the Rangers went onto to clinch a playoff spot by beating the Devils by a score of 4-2. For the first since the 2005-06 season, the Blueshirts managed to clinch a playoff spot with a few weeks...

Red Wings-Rangers Preview

The New York Rangers got perhaps the spark they needed to break free from their recent struggles. Their next opponent is still looking for one. The Rangers will try to build on a contentious victory Wednesday night when they face the injury-plagued Detroit Red Wings, who are slumping but will look to continue their domination in the series. New York (45-20-7) had dropped five of...

One Point Closer to the 100-point mark

Due to having a men’s league hockey game last night, I was not able to catch any of the New York Rangers 2-1 overtime win over the Detroit Red Wings last night at Madison Square Garden.. Based on the highlights I did manage to see, I know that Rangers’ forward Brad Richards scored a nice first period goal and that team captain Ryan Callahan scored his 27th goal of the season...

Tuesday (3/20/12) Headlines

Bergen Record - Rangers beat Devils, 4-2Bergen Record - Martin Brodeur, Henrik Lundqvist less than stellarBergen Record - Gross: Atlantic foes may throw Rangers off courseNew York Post - Outslug Devils for playoff berthNew York Post - Tortorella puts fight in RangersNew York Post - Do or die for goal-challenged DubinskyDaily News - Rangers win game, fight vs. DevilsNew York Times...

Video- Devils/Rangers Start Off Their Game With A Brawl

00:03 NY Rangers Stu Bickel: 5 minutes, fighting 00:03 New Jersey Ryan Carter: 5 minutes, fighting 00:03 NY Rangers Brandon Prust: 5 minutes, fighting 00:03 New Jersey Cam Janssen: 5 minutes, fighting 00:03 NY Rangers Mike Rupp: 5 minutes, fighting 00:03 New Jersey Eric Boulton: 5 minutes, fighting 00:03 New Jersey Bryce Salvador: 10 minutes, misconduct

GDT - Game #74:  Red Wings at Rangers (7:30)

DET (44-25-4) are at the Big Apple tonight to play the Eastern Conference leading NYR (45-20-7).  NYR goalie Henrik Lundqvist is posting Vezina numbers this season, 33-15-5,  1.89 GAA (3),  0.934 Save% (2), #2 inWins, and #1 in Shutouts with 8.  No worries though, the Wings will counter with goalie Ty Conklin or Jordan Pearce (in what would be his NHL debut). In their past...
NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.