Did the Owner Derail the New York Rangers’ Rebuilding Efforts?

The New York Rangers and their fanbase have always been pleased that the owner had generally kept his hands off the operations of the hockey team. That all changed last week when the owner not only decided to call for the firing of a top NHL official publically, he fired the President and General Manager.

Why? Because the rebuild was not going fast enough.

This impatient person has now interfered in a way that has had him widely panned across the NBA for the way he handles the Knicks. The impatient owner fired John Davidson and Jeff Gorton because a team with the second-youngest roster in the NHL did not make the playoffs. In a pandemic shortened season, no less. Almost all pre-season pundits genuinely believe that this would not be the year that the young Blueshirts make the playoffs.

The good news is that at least the owner had the sense to hire Chris Drury as the replacement, who will also get a helping hand from Glen Sather.

But at this point, that might be good news/bad news as it now seems likely that this owner will know run constant interference as the Rangers strive toward the goal of making the playoffs next season.

As the Rangers talk with the media for a final time today, Ryan Strome mentioned this in his Zoom conference. “That’s the goal. I think that message has been sent and received,” Strome said.

It will also be determined soon what the team’s makeup will look like next season, including whether or not head coach David Quinn will be allowed to continue with the rebuilding process.

The New York Rangers owner did not help with the public relations of the organization.

While many around the league rallied around the Rangers after the Tom Wilson incident, that was not the case for the organization’s public message on the NHL and the alleged Department of Player Safety.

It was very nice to read our own Fireside Rangers Twitter page and see all of the supporting comments concerning what happened to Pavel Buchnevich and Artemi Panarin at the hands of Wilson. It also somewhat validated what Ranger fans believed should happen when many Devils and Islander fans also called for a suspension.

Realistically, an overwhelming number of knowledgable hockey people outside of the Nation’s capital knew that Wilson should have been suspended.

The owner did not need to make that statement. He already had so much support around the league from the NHL community and the media.

Now the Rangers have to hope that any player they want to bring him to help this young and talented team will not look past them due to the past and possible future actions of this owner.

Yes, the Rangers rebuild effort has been temporarily derailed. It is now up to Chris Drury to get the rebuild back on track and keep it there.

 

 

 

 

 

New York Rangers lose to the Washington Capitals in a penalty filled game

The secondary story of Wednesday night is that the New York Rangers fell to the Washington Capitals by a score of 4-2.

The main story is the aftermath of the Tom Wilson incident from Monday night. If the NHL was hoping that nothing would happen after just fining Wilson for his actions Monday night, they were sadly mistaken.

The action started right from the face-off as Colin Blackwell, Phil Di Guiseppe, and Kevin Rooney all square off with the Capital’s starting forwards. Brendan Smith later took on Wilson when skated for his first shift. The sides combined for six fights and 72 penalty minutes just over four minutes into the heated contest.

Wilson did not return after the first period. The Capitals reported that Wilson had suffered an upper-body injury.

After all was said and done, both teams racked up 141 penalty minutes.

The New York Rangers fall in a penalty-filled game

Lost in all of the Wilson business is that the Capitals T.J. Oshie returned to play after the passing of his father. Oshie responded by getting a hat-trick in the contest.

Morgan Barron scored his first NHL goal to close the gap to 4-2 after Oshie’s empty netter. Alexis Lafreniere scored the Ranger’s first goal.

Probably due to the high level of emotions that came with this game, the Rangers took quite a few non-fighting penalties.

Pavel Buchnevich received a five-minute penalty and a game misconduct for a cross-check to the head of Anthony Mantha. This came in the second period after Buchnevich took a slashing penalty against Wilson and a high-sticking call against Zdeno Chara late in the first period.

Ryan Strome received a 10-minute misconduct penalty after taking a tripping call.

The Rangers go right back into action on Thursday night when they travel to Boston to take on the Bruins.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The New York Rangers to lose Panarin after Wilson melee

After Wednesday’s practice, it was confirmed that the New York Rangers would be without Artemi Panarin for the final three games of the season.

Ryan Strome mentioned the news after Wednesday’s practice, as reported by the New York Post’s Mollie Walker. Head coach David Quinn later confirmed the news, stating that the injury did occur due to the actions done by Tom Wilson in Monday night’s game.

Walker reported that Strome made a point to say Wilson is a skilled player that can produce in this league but added, “I know it’s not my responsibility, but I just can’t believe that. It sends a bad message, in my opinion. I just think that the league missed one big time.” Strome also added that “I think it’s a joke, to be honest with you,” about the fine the NHL levied against Wilson.

Strome finished his statements about the NHL: “As players, you want the league to have your back in those situations. I just feel like they didn’t.”

Quinn echoed Strome’s sentiments, based on Walker’s reports of the press conference. “To me, anybody in hockey, certainly in our organization, is very disappointed. I certainly thought it warranted a suspension, which is really disappointing. A line was crossed. [Panarin] didn’t have his helmet on, vulnerable, he got hurt. You know, to me, there was an awful lot there to suspend him.”

Wilson only received the maximum $5000 fine from the NHL’s Department of Safety.

How will the New York Rangers respond?

Strome and Quinn were also asked how the Rangers would respond as the two teams meet again on Wednesday night.

According to Walker, Strome responded to the question of how the Rangers would respond by saying, “Just go and play hard. They have a big, strong team. They’re heavy. We know who we are. We know who they are. I don’t think there’s going to be anything crazy. It’s not the type of team we have.”

Some of the Ranger’s more physical players are out with injuries, including Chris Kreider and Ryan Lindgren. Quinn also stated that Lindgren and Jacob Trouba would miss the last three games of the season.

Quinn told the media that “We’ve talked about it as a team this morning. The fact is, we’ve got to protect each other. We’ve got to stick by each other, which is what we did last night. There are different ways to do it. The way we’re built, it’s not going to be a brawling situation.”

Walker asked Quinn about calling up Mason Geertson, a 6-foot-4, 216-pound defenseman with 43 penalty minutes in 18 games this season in Hartford. Quinn did confirm any scenarios but did say that “We’ve talked about a lot of different scenarios.”

The game between the two teams will be nationally televised on the MSNBC network.

 

 

 

 

 

The New York Rangers use a Buchnevich Hat Trick to Defeat the Devils

After dominating the New Jersey Devils for almost two and a half games, the New York Rangers almost lost a four-goal lead on Saturday afternoon. Pavel Buchnevich had his first career hat trick and the Rangers held off a Devil’s rally to win by the score of 6-3.

Buchnevich is the first player in franchise history to score a hat trick on his birthday. He is the 14th
NHL player with a birthday hat trick and only Wayne Gretzky did it twice.

After scoring the first four goals of the game, the Devils rallied back with three goals to narrow the margin. The Rangers then added two empty-net goals to seal the victory.

Artemi Panarin added four points in the effort, scoring a goal with three assists while Mika Zibanejad and Ryan Strome also added three assists.

Igor Shesterkin finally gave up a goal to the Devils after going over 199 minutes of holding them scoreless.

Per the NHL Public Relations, Shesterkin has established a Ranger franchise record for the longest shutout streak against one opponent. He broke the record held by Dave Kerr, who went 198:07 against the Montreal Canadiens during the 1939-40 season.

The Rangers jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first period as Buchnevich scored twice. Strome scored the other goal in the first period. Panarin scored in the second period while Buchnevich and Chris Kreider added the empty netters.

The New York Rangers were not pleased with their third-period effort

In his post-game Zoom conference, Mika Zibanejad addressed the issues that led to the Devils almost coming back from a four-goal deficit. “We stopped playing a little bit. We just made it way too easy for them. They were good enough to take advantage of their chances. That obviously was not good but I like how we stuck it out and got the win.”

“They were winning way too many one-on-one battles,” head coach David Quinn said in his post-game conference. It really was a reflection of where we were mentally. Once we got up 4-0 we disrespected the game and our opponent. I wasn’t surprised by the pushback we got from New Jersey. We got outplayed in the second half of that game and we have a very, very difficult game tomorrow.”

The two teams will for the final game of their four-game series on Sunday afternoon in New Jersey.

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

The New York Rangers Should Make this Trade

The 2021 NHL trade deadline for the New York Rangers and the rest of the league arrives on April 12 at 3 p.m. ET. While the expectations are that the Rangers will not do much, they could make a move or two by the deadline.

The Rangers are still a very young team, the youngest in the league, having used over 10 players age 23 and under. Any trade that they make might require giving up some of that talent. However, there is still a small move or two that the Rangers could make that would not require them to give up a lot, and still help their team.

The Blueshirts could trade for a shooter.

That’s right, trade for a player who can score some goals because they are not afraid to shoot the puck. Having the ability to win faceoffs would be an added bonus.

One of the issues that the Rangers have had over the past couple of years is the unwillingness to consistently shoot the puck. Something that has not been lost on head coach David Quinn.

After Thursday night’s loss to Pittsburgh, Quinn discussed this issue in his post-game Zoom conference. “Not shooting the puck has been a problem for us all year. It’s been a problem since I’ve been here. Sometimes when you win a game 8-4, or you score the number of goals you have, you change your mindset a little bit. You do that at this level, you’re going to get what you deserve. We’ve got to find that balance of being effective offensively and playing the right way. That’s just the balancing act we’re always battling. And it bit us in the ass tonight.”

Last season, the Rangers scored more than their share with 3.33 goals per game, despite an unwillingness to shoot. They averaged 31.1 shots on goal per game, 20th in the league. They have a little better this season, but still not quite at the level needed. It can even be heard almost nightly on the MSG telecast from Joe Micheletti and in the studio from analyst and former Ranger goaltender Steve Valiquette.

Is Jack Eichel still on the New York Ranger’s radar?

Eichel would fit the bill of a shooter. But is the price too high for the Buffalo Sabres superstar?

Recently, The Athletic’s Craig Custance asking anonymous league executives about trade proposals involving the Rangers and Eichel.

Custance reported that a likely trade could look like the Rangers giving up Nils Lundkvist, Pavel Buchnevich, Braden Schneider, Ryan Strome, and a 2021 first-round pick.

It is likely that the Sabres would want more and the Rangers may be unwillingly to give up as much as was just mentioned.

But they do not really need to give up a lot to get the player that they need.

They could go out and get a nice top 6 or even top 9 forward who will come in and show many of the young players that is just fine to take that good shot instead of making that extra pass or two that the Rangers sometimes engage in.

Having the ability to win faceoffs would be an extra welcome bonus. Going into Saturday night’s games, the Rangers face-off win percentage was 44.9%. Which is dead last in the NHL.

There are times when the Rangers have brought the only reliable faceoff man they have in Kevin Rooney, only to shuffle him off after the face-off. Something that happens more in lacrosse than in hockey.

The New York Rangers and their fans will be curious to see what happens in the next couple of days. On Sunday at 7 p.m., the Rangers will once again tangle with their rivals, the New York Islanders. Then on Monday, everyone waits to see what the Blueshirts Brass will or will not prior to the NHL trade deadline.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The New York Rangers use big First Period in Victory over Pittsburgh

The New York Rangers jumped out to a 4-1 lead in the first period and cruised to an 8-4 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Eight different Rangers scored goals, which happened for the first time since Jan. 19, 2010, vs. Tampa Bay.

Artemi Panarin had three assists and a goal to lead the Blueshirts in their scoring outburst. Panarin has certainly enjoyed the Broadway spotlight as he has recorded a three-point game in six different games this season. All of these have been at MSG Arena.

Pittsburgh goaltender Tristan Jarry allowed four goals in the first period before being replaced by Casey DeSmith to start the second period. The Rangers also scored four times off of DeSmith.

Colin Blackwell celebrated his promotion to the second line by scoring the first Rangers goal and providing one of the assists on Kappo Kakko’s goal.

Adam Fox continues his red-hot play as he added a goal and two assists on the night. Per NYR Stats&Info, Fox has registered 30 or more assists in each of his first two NHL seasons. He is the first Rangers defenseman who has tallied at least 30 assists in each of his first two NHL seasons since Reijo Ruotsalainen in 1981-82 and 1982-83. He also has an 11-game point streak, the longest by a Rangers defenseman since Brian Leetch had a 14-game streak in the 1996-97 season.

Ryan Strome, Alexis Lafreniere, Pavel Buchnevich and Mika Zibanejad also scored goals for the Rangers. Igor Shesterkin had 41 saves on the night.

The New York Rangers discuss their offensive outburst.

In his post-game Zoom conference, Fox talked about the Ranger’s fast start. “I think when the power-play scores goals, it helps,” Fox said. “I think we just capitalized on our chances and got some goals around the crease.”

“I thought we were very opportunistic, our power-play was very good,” said head coach David Quinn in his post-game Zoom conference. “It was a funny game. We found a way to win tonight but we are going to have to play better than that if we want to win consistently.”

The Rangers went three for three on their power-play, which tied their single-game season-high.

The two teams square off again on Thursday night at MSG.

 

Colin Blackwell: Player on the Rise for the New York Rangers?

Nothing separates the New York Rangers fan base, as well as all of New York sports, like questioning the decisions Big Apple coaches make in their lineups. Today, the Rangers raised a few eyebrows when head coach David Quinn shuffled his lineups in practice, as posted by lohud.com’s Vince Mercogliano:

Of course one of the first things that everyone noticed was the “demotions” of Kappo Kakko to the third line and newcomer Vitali Kravtsov to the fourth line.

It was not like either player deserved to be demoted and Quinn explained after practice in his Zoom conference that neither player should look at the line shuffles in this manner. “We like Kakko, it is certainly nothing with the way he has played,” Quinn said. “I am anxious to see how they (Kakko, Alexis Lafreniere, and Filip Chytil) play together.”

As far as Kravtsov going to the fourth line, Quinn said “That doesn’t mean that Kravstov will be down there forever, or even during the whole game, you can move people around. Right now we feel that it is the best lineup we have at our disposal.”

The New York Rangers shift Blackwell to the second line.

The other move was to put Colin Blackwell to the second line with Artemi Panarin and Ryan Strome. Blackwell also received some time with the second power-play unit during Tuesday’s practice.

As for Blackwell skating on the second line, Quinn said: “One of the things that we thought were getting Blackwell on that line with Strome and Bread, it gives that line a little bit of a different look. This is the best lineup we feel we have for tomorrow night.”

With the move up from the fourth line to the second, Blackwell will bring a little more of a defensive presence to that line. He has also been a little more opportunistic than some other players and is not afraid to shoot the puck, something that Quinn has stressed with the team in recent games.

Blackwell discussed his new role in his post-practice Zoom conference. “I was just kind of waiting for my chance,” Blackwell said. “I have done it in the American Hockey League on many different occasions. That chance doesn’t always come, and a lot of good players do get their chance but then they don’t necessarily make the most out of it.”

The Rangers signed Blackwell as a free agent on a two-year contract worth $725,000 annually.

Blackwell had one of his best games in the NHL on March 28, which also happened to be his birthday. On that night, he scored a career-high 2 goals against the Washington Capitals.

The Rangers will start Igor Shesterkin in goal as they begin a two-game set at MSG against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday.

 

 

 

 

 

Mika Zibanejad Helps the New York Rangers from Looking Foolish in Buffalo

Mika Zibanejad saved the New York Rangers from a really bad April Fools prank. Zibanejad scored off an Artemi Panarin pass to lead the Blueshirts to a 3-2 overtime win over the Buffalo Sabres. The Rangers appeared to be destined for a regulation win until Buffalo scored late in the third period to send the game to overtime.

The goal and the win spared the Rangers from a loss against the team with the worst record in the NHL. On Wednesday, the Sabres ended a shootout-era record of 18 games without a win by beating the Flyers 6-1.

In his post-game interview, Zibanejad talked about his overtime goal. “It’s a little bit of different game 3 on 3. We got a 2-on-1 and we took advantage of it. We took the two points and we move on.”

Zibanejad tallied his sixth overtime goal with the Rangers, which is the fourth-most in franchise history.

After giving up a first-period goal to Sabres Rasmus Asplund, Colin Blackwell tied the game with a goal in the second period. Blackwell has registered three goals/points in the last three games, according to NYR Stats&Info. He currently ranks fourth on the Rangers in even-strength goals and is tied for fifth on the team in goals his season with nine.

Ryan Strome assisted on Blackwell’s goal. Strome now has an 11-game point streak, which is the longest active point streak in the NHL. It is also tied for the third-longest point streak in the league this season.

The New York Rangers controlled the action in the last two periods

Filip Chytil scored at the 6:14 mark of the third period. His goal gave the Rangers the lead which held up until Buffalo’s Tage Thompson scored with 3.6 seconds left to send the game to overtime.

The Rangers controlled most of the action in the last two periods. The Blueshirts outshot the Sabres by a margin of 47-23, including a 37-11 margin in the final two periods and overtime.

Even though the Rangers had 47 shots on goal, head coach David Quinn still feels that the Rangers still need to shoot more often. After describing how the Sabres overtime goal gave them a kick in the butt, Quinn said in his post-game Zoom conference that “we still have to have more of a shooting mentality.”

Igor Shesterkin stopped 21 of the 23 Sabres shots on goal. He appeared to have been hurt when form Ranger Steven Fogarty was called for interference after sliding into Shesterkin. Shesterkin told the media after the game that he feels fine.

The two teams meet again in Buffalo on Saturday night with a 7 p.m. puck drop.