New York Rangers’ Jacob Trouba feels ‘team is tighter’ this season

New York Rangers defenseman Jacob Trouba’s comments on Sunday are raising questions about what went on in the locker room under former coach David Quinn last season.

With the New York Rangers enjoying the view from atop of the Metro Division (4-1-1 9 PTS.), the team has seemed to form a bond, something that defenseman Jacob Trouba hinted was missing since he arrived in New York.

New York Post’s Mollie Walker Tweeted out some comments that were said by the nine-year veteran player on Sunday. The discussion appeared to begin about how the team defends one-goal leads, but his answer appeared to indicate some friction in the locker room during the season last year.

“I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t a different feel in that situation… We know what to do, it’s not really overthought and everybody knows their job. Do your job and we’ll be fine. That’s the kind of mentality we’ve taken.”

Trouba joined the Rangers for the start of the 2019-2020 season following a trade that sent defenseman Neal Pionk to the Winnipeg Jets in June 2019.

The 27-year-old had been rumored to be in contention to be named the next captain of the Blueshirts before the club decided to go with alternate captains prior to the start of this season.

Regardless of having the “C” on his uniform, Trouba has been a consistent leader on and off the ice.

Last season he has was credited with mentoring rookie defenseman K’Andre Miller. The two were paired for most of the season, under David Quinn, with Trouba guiding the rookie through a successful first season in the NHL.

Trouba continued his conversation,

“I think there’s a little bit more cohesiveness and the team’s a little bit tighter. Guys are comfortable being themselves more than they have been in the past, myself included.”

The comments here seem to indicate that there was, at the very least, some tension between the players and the head coach last season. It is hard to judge exactly what went on behind the scenes last year, but for now, things seem to be playing out much better for Trouba and his teammates this season.

This comfort level could just be a result of the Ranger’s four-game winning streak or a combination of team bonding and a different way Gerard Gallant deals with his players.

New head coach Gerard Gallant’s vision of the Rangers must now be matched by GM’s skill

The New York Rangers held press conference on Tuesday introducing new head coach Gerard Gallant, displaying what kind of team Gallant wants to bring to Broadway, but might have had more questions than answers at its conclusion.

The Gerard Gallant era in New York officially began on Tuesday when the media had their first opportunity to hear what the new man behind the bench had to say. In an unsurprisingly voice, the 57 -year old let the NHL and Rangers fans know exactly what he wanted his new team to be known for.

“I want us to be the hardest-working team in the league.”

Work ethic, grit and never being outplayed by the opponent has been the trademark of every team gallant has coached.

Some other interesting takes from yesterdays press conference centered around the younger players on the team along with is acknowledgement that it will take all 23 players on the roster to turn the club into a winning team. when he was discussing the younger member’s of the team Gallant offered a statement of faith and opportunity,

“You give them the opportunity and hope that they take advantage of the opportunity they get. We know we’ve got some very young, talented hockey players on our team. They’re going to get every opportunity.” Gallant went on to say, It’s not going to take 15 guys to win; It’s going to take all 23 guys on the roster.”

Chris Drury Has Difficult Task Ahead

Incase one would be thinking that the hard part for the Rangers GM is over, think again. In order for this transition from David Quinn to Gallant to be successful, Drury will need to immediately look at what he needs to improve and then find a way to that. The laundry list of what to do next includes the NHL expansion Draft, the NHL Draft, and free agency which is scheduled to begin with the conclusion of the Stanley Cup Finals.

The Rangers have some players offensively that will not be touched.  Artemi Panarin, Mika Zibanejad, Alexis Lafreniere, Adam Fox, Jacob Trouba and  Igor Shesterkin are a few names to be mentioned.  The area where the team needs to improve is at the center position and the level of toughness that was lacking last season.

This team needs to be built from the bottom up. The players that sit on the fence regarding roster spots or remaining a Blueshirt should come as no surprise.

Staying or Shipping Out

Brett Howden, Julien Gauthier, Kevin Rooney, Phillip Di Giuseppe, Libor Hajek are some names I wouldn’t be surprised off of  the roster when training camp begins.

These players are good hockey players, but for one reason or another never found a productive place in the lineup consistently. A lineup that appeared bottom heavy will need to thin out and form into a tough, hard forechecking, reliable third and fourth line for Gallant to lean on. Some of that need is already there with Vitaly Kravtsov and Philip Chytil so the job for Drury does have some sought of outline laid out.

Great teams use a balance of a smart general manager along with intelligent head coaching that know how to push the right buttons at the right time. Gallant can only push the buttons of the 23 players Drury sets up for him.

The puck is once again of the stick of Chris Drury. If the Rangers ever needed a big score from their former captain its going to be over the summer battling hard against the NHL to come away with that big win that should launch this team back into the postseason.

The New York Rangers Sign Draft Pick as Trouba is out for Thursday

The New York Rangers announced Wednesday that the team has agreed to terms with forward Karl Henriksson on an entry-level contract. Henriksson was selected by the Rangers in the second round, 58th overall, of the 2019 NHL Entry Draft.

Henriksson, 20, skated in 44 games with Frolunda in the Swedish Hockey League (SHL) this season, registering one goal and six assists for seven points, along with 18 penalty minutes. He was one of only 13 junior (U20) players in the SHL (and one of only eight junior forwards) who registered at least six assists and at least seven points this season. Henriksson’s 12:34 average ice time per game in 2020-21 was the fifth-most among junior forwards in the SHL during the season. He also skated in four playoff games with Frolunda this season.

Internationally, the Malmo, Sweden native has represented his country in several tournaments. Henriksson helped Sweden win a bronze medal at the 2020 IIHF World Junior Championship, a gold medal at the 2019 IIHF U18 World Championship, and a silver medal at the 2018 Hlinka Gretzky Cup.

Zac Jones is a possibility to replace Trouba in the New York Rangers lineup

After practice on Wednesday, head coach David Quinn confirmed that Jacob Trouba will not be in the lineup on Thursday. Trouba was injured when he was hit by Islanders forward Matt Martin at 9:09 of the first period Tuesday in the Rangers’ loss to the Isles. He left the game and did not return.

Quinn did confirm that newly signed Zac Jones remains a possibility to see his first action as a member of the Rangers. The Rangers agreed to terms with the 20-year-old defenseman, a third-round pick (No. 68) in the 2019 NHL Draft, on an entry-level contract on April 13.

After practice, Jones was asked in his Zoom conference if he was ready to play in the NHL. “100 percent,” Jones stated. “I’ll be out there trying to help the team any way I can and anyway they need me to. So if I get that chance, I’m going to make the most of it.”

If Quinn decides to not insert Jones, Libor Hajek also is an option to play. The defenseman has been scratched the past two games after playing in 20 straight from March 11-April 17.

The Rangers face the Philadelphia Flyers in back-to-back games starting Thursday night at MSG.

 

 

The New York Rangers fall flat in loss to the New York Islanders

The New York Rangers found out the hard way that the Islanders are not the New Jersey Devils. Anthony Beauvillier had a goal and three assists for the Islanders in a 6-1 win against the Rangers.

The Rangers went most of the game without defenseman Jacob Trouba who left in the first period with an upper-body injury. Trouba got hit hard into the boards by Islanders forward Matt Martin and was visibly shaken up after the collision.

Martin, who ranks in the top 10 in the league in hits, wasn’t penalized on the play.

Trouba had registered 12 points in 37 games entering Tuesday. He ranked second among Rangers skaters in average time on ice, logging 21:59 per contest.

Head coach David Quinn talked about the Trouba injury after the game. “Obviously you saw the effect that it had, but I did not love what we were doing before that. Once Troubs went out our level of play dropped even more. Losing a guy like that hurts on and off the ice.”

Mika Zibanejad talked about the loss of Trouba in his post-game Zoom conference. “Obviously that shakes things up a little bit. But I think we should do a better job trying to work for him and work together in a situation like that.”

“We are all human, we all want to make sure he is ok,” Smith said after the game about the Trouba injury. “Emotionally you are always there for a brother like that. You can’t take away what he does for us on the ice, especially as a leader. You have got to respond and I don’t think we did a very good job of that.”

Kevin Rooney scored the only goal for the Rangers, off a deflected shot by Brendan Smith. Vitali Kravtsov got the other assist.

The New York Rangers return home on Thursday night to play back-to-back games against the Philadelphia Flyers.

 

 

 

Jacob Trouba Takes on a Leadership role for the New York Rangers

During the second intermission of Tuesday night’s game against the New Jersey Devils, something interesting happened in the New York Rangers locker room. The Blueshirts had just come off a lackluster second period, holding a slim lead of 1-0. At that point, a voice outside of the regular leadership group spoke up and provided some “words of inspiration” that rallied the team. It was 27-year-old Jacob Trouba who provided that extra spark that led the Rangers to one of their better periods of the season and the 3-0 victory over the Devils.

Teammate Ryan Strome talked about Trouba’s role in his pre-game Zoom conference on Thursday.  “Usually the older guys speak up in the intermission anyway, and Trouba took that initiative,” Strome said, “but I think just for him to take the reins a little bit and have the players control the dressing room for a period, you know, sometimes you can get caught up a little bit in the X’s and O’s and I thought in the second period we were kind of just off our game. I was really proud of the guys who stepped up.”

While Trouba acknowledged his role, he was less forthcoming about what happened. “I thought we needed to play better in the third,” Trouba said Thursday in his Zoom conference. “What happens in the room kind of stays in the room.”

By following an old adage that has been adopted by a certain city in Nevada, we will just have to speculate as to what was said during that time.

Nevertheless, since that time, the Rangers have played quite well in shutting out the Devils on two consecutive nights.

Trouba taking on a senior leadership role for the New York Rangers

While not exactly eligible for an AARP card yet, Trouba is one of the senior members of the team and has started to embrace that role. Something that has not been lost on his head coach.

“He plays hard. He creates a mentality in our locker room and he means an awful lot to us on and off the ice, Quinn said in his pre-game Zoom conference. “People have touched on the leadership aspect that he’s kind of embraced here this year, but I certainly like what’s going on on the ice as well.”

On the ice, Trouba started things going on Thursday night by scoring the first goal inside of one minute into the game.

The deal that the Rangers made on June 17, 2019, is looking really good. On that date, Trouba was traded by the Winnepeg Jets to the Rangers in exchange for Neal Pionk and Winnipeg’s own first-round pick in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft. That pick had been previously acquired by the Rangers in exchange for the Jets receiving Kevin Hayes.

The Rochester, Michigan native also finds himself in the role of mentor to rookie K’Andre Miller and now to the newly added Zac Jones.

Trouba will also continue to be a leader as the team looks to add some new faces on the blue line in the coming seasons.

 

 

 

The New York Rangers roll for a Second Straight win over New Jersey

Artemi Panarin scored two goals and added an assist to lead the New York Rangers to a 4-0 victory over the New Jersey Devils. The Blueshirts started the game hot as they scored three of their goals in the first period.

Igor Shesterkin shut out the Devils for the second game in a row, stopping all 16 shots. This was the first time that a Ranger goaltender has shut out a team in two consecutive games since it was last done in 1955.

Ranger nation was a little worried when the team announced that Panarin missed the morning skate due to maintenance. However, head coach David Quinn confirmed that he would be playing on Thursday night.

Quinn seemed very prophetic about Panarin’s performance as he discussed his star player in his pre-game Zoom conference.  “Artemi is a special player. There are not a lot of players in this league that can do what he does.”

Panarin scored the third and fourth goals for the Rangers. Jacob Trouba started the scoring for the Rangers and Ryan Lindgren tallied his first goal of the season for the first two Ranger tallies. Panarin has posted seven different three-point games at MSG this season. He is the first Ranger to post at least seven three-point games at home in the same season since Jaromir Jagr in 2006-07.

Colin Blackwell continues to do well with his promotion to Panarin’s line, adding three assists for the Rangers. Blackwell has established single-game career-highs with three assists and three points. Blackwell and Panarin were on the ice for each of the Ranger’s four goals.

The New York Rangers defensive unit has been excellent in all aspects.

In addition to Shesterkin’s fine play, the Rangers defense played well in front of him. The Blueshirts only allowed the Devils three shots in the first period and four shots in the third. The  Rangers were also credited for blocking 20 shots in the game.

The unit has not only been solid in their defensive end, but they have also contributed on the offensive end as well. Five different defensemen have tallied a goal over the last four games (K’Andre Miller, Libor Hajek, Brendan Smith, Trouba, and Lindgren), and each of the six NYR defensemen (Adam Fox, Miller, Hajek, Smith, Trouba, and Lindgren) have recorded a goal over the last six games.

Leading this offensive output has been Fox, who recorded his 35th assist of the season, establishing a career-high. He is the first Ranger defenseman 23 years old or younger to tally at least 35 assists in a season since Sergei Zubov in 1993-94.

The two teams meet again in a Saturday afternoon matinee at MSG.

 

 

 

Late Third Period Goal Dooms the New York Rangers

New York Rangers, Mika Zibanejad

After two straight blowouts, the New York Rangers were finally held in check by the Philadelphia Flyers. The Blueshirts were defeated by the Flyers when Samuel Morin put the Flyers ahead 2-1 for good with 4:27 remaining in the game.

After scoring 17 goals in the last two games against the Flyers, the Rangers were held to one goal in Saturday’s contest. Mika Zibanedjad scored the goal and was assisted by Ryan Strome and Adam Fox. Strome extended his point streak to eight games (two goals, 11 assists) and his assist streak to seven games.

Zibanejad registered his 50th career power-play goal with the Rangers, and he has tallied four power-play goals in the last two games. He is tied for fifth in the NHL in power-play goals since the start of the 2018-19 season according to NYRStats&Info.

Coming into the game, Fox had led the Rangers with 23 total assists and has 26 points. According to the NHL Public relations, That was his 15th assist in the month of March. His 15 helpers lead all players in the NHL over that span.

Shesterkin is playing well in his return for the New York Rangers

Igor Shesterkin stopped 35 shots on Saturday afternoon after stopping 41 in Thursday night’s win.

Jacob Trouba had a few very positive things to say about the play of Shesterkin in his post-game Zoom conference. “He’s looked great, definitely made a lot of big saves and made the saves you need a goalie to make to win the game,” Trouba said.  “He did his job tonight.”

Acting head coach Kris Knoblauch could not confirm if Shesterkin will start in goal tomorrow at Washington. He also added that is not sure if he will be behind the bench in that game.

Head coach David Quinn is coming to the end of his NHL COVID protocol leave but will have to go through some testing and procedures before being allowed to return.

The New York Rangers will travel to play the Capitals on Sunday at noon that will be televised nationally, starting at noon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

New York Rangers fall to the Philadelphia Flyers in overtime thriller

In a back-and-forth game, the New York Rangers got sloppy with the puck in overtime and fell to the Philadelphia Flyers 5-4. Jakub Voracek intercepted a Keith Kinkaid pass and scored at 3:47 of overtime to give the Flyers the win.

The Rangers played the game without Adam Fox, Pavel Buchnevich, and Phil DiGuiseppe. The three Rangers were earlier placed on the NHL’s COVID protocol list. This also led the Rangers to cancel their morning skate, something that may have influenced their slow start. The Flyers jumped out to a 2-0 first-period lead against the Rangers who came out very flat.

Tarmo Reunanen was called up and got his first NHL assist on Artemi Panarin‘s second-period goal. Panarin had two assists in the Rangers’ three-goal second period, and Colin Blackwell, Julien Gauthier, and Kevin Rooney also scored.

Head coach David Quinn talked after this game in his Zoom conference on the importance of Panarin’s return.

“You can see how our lineup is totally different when he is in there,” Quinn said. “We are just a much more of a balanced team. When you have a player of that caliber in your lineup, you are that more dangerous. The whole team feels better about itself and he has certainly given us that jolt in the two games he has played.”

The New York Rangers start slow after losing three players to COVID

Jacob Trouba talked about everything that went on during the last day in the post-game Zoom conference. “Before the game, it was a wild 24 hours for us. We didn’t get off to the start we wanted but I thought we came out and played much better in the second. It was kind of back and forth in the third but we lost the special teams game which was pretty telling.”

Quinn also addressed how his team rebounded from the slow start. “You have to shake off bad stretches. every team has them during the course of a game. How quickly can you shake them off and how quickly can you stop the bleeding? I really like our start of the second. I thought our guys approached it the right way.”

The Rangers will face the Flyers again on Wednesday night, with a 7:30 puck drop due to the national broadcast on NBCSN.

 

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The New York Rangers shutout in “frustrating” loss to Boston

New York Rangers, Mika Zibanejad

Normally, an article about the New York Rangers would start with a little summary of what happened in the game. Not tonight. This article is going to jump right into post-game comments after a very poor showing in a 4-0 loss to the Boston Bruins.

In his post-game Zoom conference, Jacob Trouba explained that the Rangers were trying to give it their full effort on the ice. “I don’t think it spiraled out of control. Obviously, we had some breakdowns that led to goals, but I don’t think it totally fell off a cliff.”

“Frustrating.” head coach David Quinn said in his post-game Zoom conference. “I thought we had a good start, was playing well, and had some chances early. The short-handed goal was the backbreaker in a lot of ways. You could kind of sense it. They got goals on their chances and we didn’t.”

Quinn was also disappointed by the lack of production from the Ranger’s power-play. “Our power-play obviously has to be fixed. They get a power-play goal and special teams were really the difference tonight.”

Echoing Jacob Trouba’s comments, Quinn said that “We kept competing right up to the buzzer. We got down 4-0 and it could have got ugly but we kept playing. There are certainly some positives to take out of it and we have to dust ourselves off and get ready to play Saturday afternoon.”

Quinn also mentioned that a lot of the issues for the Rangers was that when they make mistakes, they are big mistakes. This helps explain why the Rangers have been outscored 13-3 in their last three losses.

Takeaways from the New York Rangers loss to Boston

For the second straight time that he has started, Alexandar Georgiev was pulled during the game with just under five minutes gone in the second period. The young Russian gave up four goals in fourteen shots. On the four goals, Boston scored shorthanded, even strength, and on the power play.

Keith Kinkaid finished the game for the Blueshirts by stopping all 13 shots he faced.

Up until tonight, the Rangers had been outstanding in killing penalties. They had not allowed a power-play goal in 15 of their last 17 games, including nine of the last 10 games and each of the last seven games. The Rangers had killed off 54 of their opponents’ 58 power-play opportunities over the last 18 games and have held their opponents to only 73 shots on goal during their opponents’ 58 power-play opportunities over the span.

The two teams will play again Saturday afternoon.

 

 

Who will the New York Rangers start in goal on Tuesday night?

The New York Rangers have a bit of a quandary for Tuesday night’s matchup against the Pittsburgh Penguins. After Alexandar Georgiev was pulled in Sunday night’s loss, many will wonder if head coach David Quinn will give the young Russian another chance. However, the decision is not quite that easy considering that Kieih Kinkaid played very well in relief. He did give up two goals on odd-man rushes but otherwise was quite solid in net.

After Sunday night’s game, Quinn said that it has not given any thought on who would start in net on Tuesday night. As the Rangers did not practice on Monday, we have no idea who will start. If Igor Shesterkin is healthy, he would probably get the nod. But we may not know what is going on until the morning skate at the earliest. Even though Shesterkin’s groin pull was listed as minor, it would still appear that playing Tuesday night might be rushing things too quickly. So the decision may come down to Georgiev vs. Kinkaid.

Why the New York Rangers would start Keith Kinkaid

The biggest reason would be that he played well on Sunday night, even though he had not seen NHL action since  Nov. 30, 2019, as a member of the Montreal Canadiens.

Teammate Jacob Trouba had some good things to say about Kinkaid’s game during his post-game Zoon conference. “Especially me over the last two weeks, I got to see him a lot in practice and how he’s working and staying sharp,” Trouba said. “He got a chance to get in there, and he made some big saves for us and definitely kept us in that game as long as he could. He made some huge saves and it’s good to see out of him, seeing how hard he works and knowing the kind of guy he is. It’s positive for everyone to see.”

Quinn knows about Kinkaid from their college days when Kinkaid was the goaltender for Union College. The Rangers signed him for two years the last offseason.  While having an extra goalie during COVID-19 was needed, they wanted to have a qualifying goalie under contract to expose in the Seattle expansion draft. This way, they could keep both Shesterkin and Georgiev.

Even despite the three goals in 61 seconds against Pittsburgh, Georgiev was a little shaky against the Devils on Saturday afternoon. MSG analyst Steve Valiquette made a very solid point during the telecast. He pointed out that on P.K Subban’s slapshot goal from the blue line, this was a shot the Georgiev usually stops. Valiquette stated that Georgiev, when he has a clear view, had not allowed a goal on 257 shots from that distance in the last three years.

Why Georgiev will start for the New York Rangers

From a confidence standpoint, Quinn may want to start Georgiev so that the young netminder does not lose confidence in himself. At this point, everyone knows what Georgiev is capable of doing in goal. Putting him right back in there would signal that the Rangers have confidence in his abilities.

It should also be noted that Georgiev is not solely responsible for these goals. In the second New Jersey goal that temporarily tied the game, Adam Fox got caught up ice on a turnover, and Filip Chytil was beaten to the net.

The second of the three Penguin goals happened in part because K’Andre Miller fell at the blue line. On the third goal, Sidney Crosby split two defenders and beat Georgiev. Crosby has beat many of a goaltender during his time in the NHL.

So the Rangers have a bit of a small goalie controversy going into Tuesday night’s game. It will be interesting to see who the Rangers decide on to be their goalie when the puck drops at 6 p.m.