Bobby BevilacquaFollowing a loss to the Canadiens in which the Rangers (3-7-2) were thoroughly outplayed and saw their comeback, the Blueshirts look to rebound on a brief stop at home to play the Vegas Golden Knights (8-2-0) for the first time ever.
This has sparked trade rumors, articles from beat reporters about tonight potentially being Alain Vigneault’s last game as head coach of the Rangers if things go wrong, and more following the game, especially if the result and the team’s play is similar to their last game against Montreal.
Last night also saw some of the Rangers highest members of their management attend the Ottawa-Canadiens game, including president Glen Sather and assistant general manager Jim Schoenfeld. It’s very rare for a team to send people as senior staff like them to one game, so something big might be in the works. Read the rest of this entry
Last season saw the emergence of many good rookies, such as Jack Eichel, Filip Forsberg, Artemi Panarin and Connor McDavid. But Shayne Gostisbehere of the Philadelphia Flyers was one of the most exciting and promising players to emerge from last year.
Gostisbehere was coming off of a 2014-15 season where he tore his ACL and played just five AHL games. The Union College grad played in a full-time role for the first time last season, featuring in 64 games and scoring 17 goals and 29 assists (46 points). The 17 goals was a Flyers record for goals by a rookie defenseman. He also had a 15-game scoring streak, which was the longest by a defenseman in the last 20 years, and also was the first rookie to score four overtime goals.
He played on the top pairing against some of the top players in the league and was certainly a strong and effective defender. He was lauded for his ability to transition quickly, easily able to recover from a turnover and get back on defense. A great skater, an excellent passer and scorer, and a power play quarter back (8-14-22 on the power play last season), Gostisbehere had the look of an elite defenseman. Read the rest of this entry
Quick Hits: Kevin Shattenkirk rumors, Alain Vigneault contract extension, Rangers scouting the Kings?
Welcome back to Quick Hits, a series where I address some interesting topics about the Rangers and the league all in one article. The NHL is just coming out of the All Star Break and approaching the trade deadline. With a lot of teams competing for playoff spots, things should get pretty interesting very soon.
If there’s anything you want me to talk about in the next edition of Quick Hits, leave suggestions in the comments below.
Rangers one of the teams interested in Kevin Shattenkirk
This is a longstanding rumor linking these two teams, but they’ve come back again and it seems like the Rangers are interested in trading for him at the trade deadline. I have a ton of mixed feelings about this. Read the rest of this entry
Yesterday’s game against the Philadelphia Flyers saw Matt Puempel make his debut as a Ranger just three days after he was claimed off of waivers. He had no points and a minus-five rating in 13 games with the Senators, but Vigneault gave him an opportunity on the fourth line.
It wound up paying off, as the 23-year-old former first round pick played a pretty good game, skating for 12 minutes and scoring a goal. Puempel described himself as an offensive player (213 points in 195 OHL games) and that he was looking forward to a fresh start. Perhaps that’s just what he needed, as a change of scenery can do wonders for a player.
But Puempel’s insertion into the lineup meant that Oscar Lindberg was the healthy scratch. Lindberg has played mostly out of necessity because of injuries, and has only appeared in nine of the team’s 22 games, recording no goals and one assists. Read the rest of this entry
The topic of discussion for the Rangers seems to consistently be about the defense and how the current group of guys is seemingly not enough to win the Stanley Cup. Aging veterans and a lack of a true puck-moving defenseman have made things hard on the Rangers.
On Sunday, Dan Girardi made his return to the lineup against the Coyotes and wound up scoring the game winner on a bullet of a shot from the point. As a result on him returning, Adam Clendening was scratched. There’s been a lot of bad blood on Twitter between bloggers and fans about criticizing Girardi, so I’d like to clarify my stance.
I don’t think Girardi is awful and I don’t think he’s worthy of a healthy scratch. But I do think that he has to stay on the third pairing with sheltered minutes. He’s certainly capable in that role, but simply cannot fulfill the duties of a top pairing defensemen getting big minutes anymore. It comes with age and that’s expected. Also, nobody that criticizes wants him to do bad or is happy to see him struggle. It’s just more frustrating to see him struggle in a role that he shouldn’t be placed in, which isn’t his fault. Read the rest of this entry