Saturday, December 24, 2016

Wild 7, Rangers 4

The New York Rangers (23-12-1) lost to the Minnesota Wild (21-8-4) by the score of 7-4. For a box score, click here.

3 Stars

1st Star - Brady Skjei (For not having to participate in that disaster)
2nd Star - Henrik Lundqvist (Textbook execution of how an employee starts his Christmas vacation early)
3rd - Tanner Glass (With back-to-back blowouts he'll likely be recalled before your first fish course on Christmas Eve)

Post Game Cocktail Recommendation

Not sure what was worse, having to sit through this train wreck for the second straight game or my wife forcing me to watch Love Actually immediately afterward. The only prescription for this nightmare scenario is a Mind Eraser.

Gif of the Game

With his three point night (2g, 1a), Chris Kreider now has 11 points in his last 12 games. Plus, how fired up was he after his first goal to open up the scoring?

Net Front Presence? What Net Front Presence?

The following content may not be suitable for young audiences:

I can't even look it's so horrifying. Sadly, it wasn't as horrifying for the Wild players. They must have felt like they were running through a dewy meadow while Ranger players showered them with lollipops and gumdrops the entire game.

Not counting the empty netter, four of the six Wild goals were scored below the hash marks without a single Rangers player placing even a finger on the goal scorer. On the fifth goal, I swear I heard Staal and Clendening take Zucker's drink order before he scored.

The lack of physical play from the Rangers in their defensive end has been embarrassing the last two games. Hell, the last two years. I've seen more snarl from my seven year old daughter after telling her it's bed time.

Until Rangers defensemen start making life miserable for opponents setting up shop at the top of the crease by punishing them physically, there's going to be many more nights like tonight.

Zone Exit Issues

One of the biggest reasons for the Rangers recent lack of transition offense along with being pinned in their own end is the defense's inability to create clean defensive zone exits.

I have no idea if this is being taught to the defensemen by AV, but it seems as if the Rangers breakout strategy of choice is the saucer pass out of the zone to no one in particular which usually leads to a turnover or an icing.

The two biggest guilty parties are Dan Girardi and Nick Holden. It's like a hot potato when the puck gets on their sticks in the defensive end. And last night, it cost the Rangers...

Despite token pressure and a wide open Pirri streaking up the ice, Girardi chooses to casually flip the puck out of the zone ending up in an icing which forces a tired group of forwards and an injured McDonagh (he had just blocked a shot with his hand) to stay on the ice for the ensuing defensive zone draw that resulted in a goal a mere seconds later.

Unfortunately, this isn't an isolated incident as it's become common place with this defensive unit. And until guys like Girardi and Holden start recognizing open forwards during a breakout, the Rangers are going to continue to have difficulty implementing their speed game.

FYI, you know who does have a quality break out pass? Brady Skjei. How'd he do tonight? Oh yeah...

Seriously Hank?

Now, despite everything I've just said about the defensive misgivings, the Rangers All World goaltender needs to do a better job stopping the puck or he's going to be losing even more starts this season.

Mini Recap

Similar to the blowout loss to the Penguins, it really makes no sense to analyze individual players in a game like this. My biggest concern, however, is this team's lack of energy. Where's the big hit on the forecheck to not only regain possession of the puck but to fire up the bench? Where's the Sean Averyesque antagonizing to get the opponent off their game? The snow shower in the opposing goaltender's face?  The cross check to the lower back of the opposing forward who's standing over your goaltender? I mean where's the pride? Jesus, let them know you're out there!

I'm just not seeing the enthusiasm the last few games. Was the third period encouraging? Sure, but let's not get too crazy as the Wild were in cruise control at that point.

I know I joked about recalling Tanner Glass the other day, and I'm not really advocating for him, but, man, this team needs some kind of physical presence in the lineup to set the tone, because right now the Rangers could play with a carton of eggs and not break any.


To end this on a positive note, I want to wish everyone and their families a happy and healthy Christmas and Hanukkah. 


  1. Other than that, how was the play Mrs. Lincoln?

  2. Always a quality recap when you can quote some Youngblood!!

  3. Great summary. Also, kudos with the Murray Chadwick video! Instead of Tanner Glass maybe we need a Racki on this team to push some people around. Seriously, teams have adjusted to the Rangers breakout strategy earlier in the year. Can this staff respond with their own adjustments. Didnt last year and I dont expect it this year.

    You nailed it. Pens game - Raanta 7 goals. Last night - 7 goals. The clear denominator - crap defense. I was willing to give Clendenning the benefit of the doubt, but last night was not good. But who do we have. I was sick and tired of the number of pucks bouncing over sticks in the defensive zone and the back line appears confused.

    SUMMARY - the opposition plays a tough game the night before in Montreal. The same team comes here and outplays the rested Rangers in every facet. THAT IS AN ISSUE

    1. Good point on the Wild on the second half of back-to-backs. Makes last night even worse!

  4. From Brooks - "Other defensemen — notably Ryan McDonagh, Dan Girardi and Kevin Klein — were worse in Tuesday’s 7-2 loss to the Penguins in Pittsburgh, but it is believed Vigneault specifically was alarmed by Skjei’s lackadaisical play behind the net on the sequence off which Nick Bonino scored the Penguins’ final goal at 19:49 of the third period."

    So A.V. makes Brady watch from the press box because of what he saw from #76 right before Pittsburgh's seventh and final goal. SMH. What about the 58:00 and change before that goal with guys like Girardi, Klein, and yes even McDonagh? I know you're not benching the captain but my god you're going to banish a player for what you saw out of him in advance of a seventh goal against? And I like AV but that one puzzles the shit out of me.

  5. Nice write up as usual. After watching that absolute shit show, I'd recommend a decent 100+ proof bourbon neat. I'm not sure I'd have the patience to even add ice to a (tanner) glass.

    Now seriously, maybe we can sign the kid that played the 2nd lobster from your new fave holiday movie. That kid had so e moxie that is missing.

    Lastly, when you follow up Hank being hammered harder than a young boy in the Penn State showers with back to back 7 goals allowed games, maybe it's an indication that the staff, not just the coach, has lost the locker room.