Found September 24, 2013 on
Blue Seat Blogs:
By now, most of our regular readers are aware I was a big supporter of John Tortorella and the team concept he constructed for the New York Rangers. To say the least, I was very disappointed with Glen Sather’s decision to fire him.
Although I had an up close perspective of John that most did not, I still disagreed with some of his decisions/strategies. And while AV isn’t the type of coach I really identify with, there are few tactics AV could implement to win me over.
Below are three things AV should change about the Torts-era Rangers.
Give McDonagh a more offensive role
Like Torts, AV likes to use a defensive combo as a shutdown pair to deploy against the opposition’s top offensive forwards. Now that Staal is ready to go, AV should reunite Marc and Dan Girardi to reprise that role. While McDonagh filled in admirably for Staal, Ryan has a higher ceiling when it comes to offense.
Over the past two seasons, McDonagh has shown an ability to make the type of reads on the fly only an offensive-type defensemen can make. He may not be as slick with the puck as Del Zotto, but he can skate as well as any d-man, he has very good vision, and most importantly he can make plays on the blueline. McDonagh never really got offensive opportunities when Staal was injured, but now is his chance to provide a little more if AV affords him those opportunities.
Tweak defensive zone strategies
While I never bought into the media’s narrative that collapsing in the slot to block shots limits offensive potential (the Caps, Bruins and Pittsburgh defy that logic), I don’t think the Rangers always executed this strategy at the right times. With the evolution the game is making post-lockout, hybrid tactics are the way to go. This means d-zone strategies change based on puck location.
The low zone collapse (shown above) should ALWAYS be used when the puck is below the goal line, as you can’t score from those angles. However, when the puck is at the points, I prefer the box expanding and using two forwards to pressure the puck at the blueline. This is something Torts got away from the last couple of years and I would prefer AV use this team’s speed to challenge enemy point players.
Bring stability to power play personnel
I don’t know how much involvement AV will have with the power play and how much is on Scott Arniel. This is where my analysis of Sully always sort of went dark. However, whoever has ownership of the PP should be constantly tweaking strategies and formations, but leaving the same personnel together.
This is something the Torts/Sully regime got wrong IMO. They pretty much always ran an umbrella PP, but used different players within that same high-low structure. I think AV/Arniel should do the opposite and keep the same guys together, but run different power play formations to keep opposing defenses guessing. Obviously you need a little success early on in the season to commit to this philosophy, but I believe consistency in this area is important.
As a coach, having certain players never sniff PP time despite doing their jobs 5-on-5 probably won’t endear you to most of the team. However, Torts/Sully always rewarded players with PP time and look where that got them — a ****** PP and disloyalty. I wouldn’t have agreed with this in seasons past, but it’s probably the best way to coach this group.
BEST OF MAXIM
Ryan McDonagh is the Rangers top player under 25 years of age.
Over the past few weeks, the guys over at Copper n Blue (Oilers blog) have put together a voting contest where their fans vote on the best young core in the league. The guys at CNB have annually put together their list of top 25 guys under the age of 25, and many others have taken that idea and ran with it for their own...
Per Andrew Gross, the Rangers have cut the following players, and sent them to the AHL’s Hartford Wolfpack:
Goalies: Cam Talbot
Defensemen: Tommy Hughes, Aaron Johnson, Dylan McIlrath, Danny Syvret
Forwards: Micheal Haley, Michael Kantor, Andrew Yogan, Danny Kristo
While most of these were predictable (I got 8 of 9 correct), Kristo being sent to the AHL is a bit of a surprise....
Per Steve Zipay, the lines for tonight’s game against Edmonton will be:
Benoit Pouliot-Derick Brassard-Mats Zuccarello
Marek Hrivik-Oscar Lindberg-Danny Kristo
Micheal Haley-Dominic Moore-Derek Dorsett
Chris Kreider-JT Miller-Arron Asham
Ryan McDonagh-Dan Girardi
Marc Staal-Conor Allen
Aaron Johnson-Tommy Hughes
Martin Biron (full game)
There are a few things worth noting...
Hasn’t missed a beat (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
The Rangers lost their third preseason game –and second straight– tonight in Edmonton, but it was not all negative. J.T. Miller and Connor Allen played extremely well tonight. Allen is leapfrogging kids on the depth chart very, very quickly. We all know about Miller’s potential, and the kid played will with Arron Asham and...
A bounce-back season from Brad Richards would be a huge boost for the Rangers
Best case: Asham continues to provide comedic relief on Twitter and plays in a handful of games with the Blueshirts.
Worst case: New York is unable to find a taker for Asham on waivers and he spends the final year of his contract in Hartford.
Best case: The former fourth-overall...
The message from the New York Rangers bench might not be any different than in years past. The tone in which it is delivered most likely will be.
Whether the softer approach new coach Alain Vigneault offers in comparison to the barking tones of deposed bench boss John Tortorella is what the Rangers need remains to be seen.
Despite getting the club to the Eastern Conference semifinals...
One of the best moments of Nazem Kadri’s free-agent contract squabble with the Toronto Maple Leafs was when he called out the team’s irresponsible cap management in a martyr-ish way:
“I know I’m being pretty reasonable taking cap into consideration when really that’s not my job."
Alas he had zero leverage and took the money ($2.9 million against the cap) the Leafs...
(Andrew Theodorakis/New York Daily News)
Although the Rangers lost tonight’s game in Calgary, we learned a lot of important things about Alain Vigneault and his coaching style. The first, and it’s something we’ve heard a lot about, is that he preaches offense, and getting offense from his defensemen. We saw that on the first goal, when Marc Staal was down by the circles for...
Henrik Lundqvist for Head & Shoulders in your 12-year-old sister's leather jacket [The Nosebleeds]
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from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
They came down from the mountains Monday to start a week of NHL exhibition games – first in Calgary, then Edmonton, and then Thursday, in what might be September’s most-anticipated meaningless game, Alain Vigneault’s New York Rangers face off against John Tortorella’s Vancouver Canucks.
Three networks are televising the...
The Rangers are in Edmonton tonight to take on the Oilers in their second of back-to-back games, and second of a four-in-five stretch to close out the preseason. The lines for tonight’s game have generated some discussion, particularly when you look at the forward lines. This is a team that needs to shake off the rust, but needs to give their highly touted prospects...
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The Calgary Flames took on the New York Rangers last night in what was an entertaining game to watch with some big saves and big goals. The Flames played well against the Rangers as most felt that with Lundqvist in net and a few of their stars on the ice, it would have been a much closer game.
The final tally for the night was 4-1 for the...
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The Calgary Flames will take on the New York Rangers at home later this evening as both teams prepare to make their final player assessments and cuts before regular season.
Given the difference between the two teams, the Rangers have arguably all but decided upon their cuts and will be testing a few young guys for future roles, whereas the...
The teams swapped coaches. By definition then the Rangers are hoping to infuse the best of Alain Vigneault’s Canucks while John Tortorella wants to infuse on the West Coast – aka the Wet Coast – what worked so well for him in New York.
The teams’ identity makeovers intersect tonight when Tortorella’s Canucks host Vigneault’s Rangers at Rogers Arena a preseason game unusually...
John Tortorella is assembling the puzzle pieces that are his Vancouver Canucks and he still doesn’t know just where Zack Kassian fits.
It’s clear he’d like Kassian to slide in alongside the Sedin twins on Vancouver’s first line and develop into the type of power forward many project him to be.
So far that Kassian puzzle piece hasn’t exactly snapped into place. The 22...