To say that Kevin Klein’s season has been a disaster is an understatement.
Last night was another awful game for the veteran defender, continuing his shocking regression from the last two seasons. Sure he scored a goal, his first of the season, but Klein is not here for his slap shot. The defensive part of his game this season has been a mess, and that’s what’s really important.
Poor puck management on the blue line is a continued problem 50 games into the season, and there’s really been no effort to try and change things up to improve transitions, breakout, and puck management. The same problems pop up every game and they are the main reason for why the Rangers have come up short in their losses. Read the rest of this entry
It’s no secret that for a large portion of the season, the defense has been the biggest issue for the Rangers. Sure, it’s been better over the last week or two, but the defensive deficiencies and inability to make three balanced pairings has been the biggest source of problems so far.
To recap: Dan Girardi hasn’t been much better than last season, Kevin Klein has been far worse than last season, and the other players haven’t been spectacular either. Ryan McDonagh has done his best to carry this team, but has had some bad games and is often dragged down when partnered with Girardi and Klein. Holden has been a steadying force, Staal is okay and Skjei has had an encouraging rookie season with the expected rookie mistakes and growing pains.
Regardless of what you think about the defensive corps, which also includes Adam Clendening, the bottom line is that they haven’t been able to get the job done on a consistent basis and have cost the Rangers more games than they’ve won. With Marc Staal out, the Rangers have been able to test out Clendening and while we’ve seen some good things from him, he’s not the solution to their problems. Read the rest of this entry
1. There is nothing positive that should be taken from this game. This cannot be viewed as a look at the Rangers’ resiliency or battling through adversity and nearly completing a comeback. There should be no positive light shed on this game, and it needs to be treated as it was – a disaster.
The Rangers were manhandled by the Stars for 40 minutes, and they looked absolutely lost on the ice. They were outshot 27-15 and surrendered seven goals. Henrik Lundqvist was not at his best but there were consistent defensive issues from the defensemen and the forwards, which did not help at all. The Rangers woke up for the third period and the Stars went into a defensive shell, which explains the 25-4 shot advantage from New York in those 20 minutes. Winning one period but looking pathetic for the other two does not warrant any praise. Treating this game as anything other than a failure would be to ignore the many, many problems that this team has.
2. To emphasize, this team has many, many problems. There needs to be a change, or many changes, but not at forward. It’s not a coincidence that the scoring has gone up with the return of Rick Nash, Mika Zibanejad and Pavel Buchnevich. This is the best, most complete forward group that the Rangers have had in quite some time and it’s a group of forwards that could win a Stanley Cup. Read the rest of this entry
Last night in my recap of the Rangers’ win over the Arizona Coyotes, I wrote that it was a mixed bag of performances from some of the players. Guys like Matt Puempel, Nick Holden and Kevin Hayes had fantastic games, but in reality, the Rangers let one of the worst teams in the league stick around and almost win.
Part of that had to do with the defensive effort. There were some bad bounces, like on Anthony Duclair’s goal, but there was also just bad coverage and decision making throughout the night.
In the Rangers’ win over the Ottawa Senators, Dan Girardi had one of his worst games of the season. This came after Alain Vigneault said that starting him on the top pairing was a “no doubt” decision because of the two player’s “history together” and because Girardi is effective when he’s “making his reads” and “moving his feet.” But he was way out of position on the first Ottawa goal, had countless turnovers, and struggled with his passing. Read the rest of this entry
After getting embarrassed at the hands of the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Rangers (23-12-1) had yet another disappointing effort, losing 7-4 to the Minnesota Wild (20-8-4) and giving them a franchise record 10th straight victory.
The Rangers offense was fine tonight, scoring four goals, but the defensive struggles continued. This time, goaltending wasn’t there to bail out the constant defensive miscues and blown coverages. Henrik Lundqvist was not at his best, allowing two weak goals, but there was nobody there to help him. Antti Raanta came in and gave up two goals, both two completely wide open Wild defenders.
You can complain as much as you want about the goaltending, the forward injuries, the lack of “grit” or “toughness,” but none of those issues are as big as this defense. It’s a tire fire at times and the usual offenders (Girardi, Klein) are not getting any better. Yes, it’s still December, but it’s better to solve this problem now. Read the rest of this entry