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Rangers Stars Out of Excuses and Must Deliver for Peter Laviolette


Phil

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But the burden of proof lies equally with the top-end playing personnel that has chewed through two coaches in the last three seasons while indicting — who used that word? — both David Quinn and Gerard Gallant for deficiencies behind the bench and in the room.

 

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These players have used up their allotment of gripes. They are not going to fire another good coach and another good man. And they are not going to be let off the hook by Laviolette, hired Tuesday after a five-week search throughout which the 58-year-old was the leader in the clubhouse from Day 1.

 

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But Laviolette’s greatest challenge will be transforming the team from a regular-season Smoke Show into a snarly playoff opponent that can thrive in the dirty areas, shut down the neutral zone and control the middle of the ice.

 

It isn’t so much getting through to Mika Zibanejad and Artemi Panarin — again, to pick two names out of a bucket — it is giving these players tools with which they can succeed in the spring the way they do through the winter. That is not exclusive to No. 93 and No. 10.

 

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I’d say these are all fairly obvious points. I’ll add the caveat that there are still “, as of today anyway, glaring issues with the makeup of this roster. I haven’t read the article but I’d throw Drury on the hot seat at this point as well. 
 

we’ll see what he does this off season. 

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It isn’t so much getting through to Mika Zibanejad and Artemi Panarin — again, to pick two names out of a bucket — it is giving these players tools with which they can succeed in the spring the way they do through the winter. That is not exclusive to No. 93 and No. 10.

Nailed it.

 

And for all the whining about them, they played hard. I'll say it again, they played hard. They gave it their all, they didn't coast. They care. They needed the tools. All they got as a guy who was a tool.

 

And totally agree. You run it back out and if you get the same results, you do what you gotta do. But today ain't that day.

 

Unless this makes Panarin wildly unhappy to the point he asks to be traded. Then you have to listen.

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"But Laviolette’s greatest challenge will be transforming the team from a regular-season Smoke Show into a snarly playoff opponent that can thrive in the dirty areas, shut down the neutral zone and control the middle of the ice."

 

This also nails it.

 

They "played hard" but too many of their most important parts aren't hard players, so I'm not sure how valuable that is, really. This is why I keep coming back to the roster composition and the nature of the players.

 

There's a big difference between how hard Kakko and Goodrow try versus how hard Panarin and Zibanejad do. Or it might be better said that no matter how hard the four try, there's a noticeable difference between them because of their inherent natures.

 

But I think the underlying argument is sound: this is it. If they fail again, they'll go nuclear on this group.

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11 minutes ago, Phil said:

 

This also nails it.

 

They "played hard" but they aren't hard players, so I'm not sure how valuable that is. This is what I keep coming back to about roster composition and the nature of the players. There's a big difference between how hard Kakko and Goodrow try versus how hard Panarin and Zibanejad do. Or it might be better said that no matter how hard the four try, there's a noticeable difference between them because of their inherent natures.

 

But I think the underlying argument is sound: this is it. If they fail again, they'll go nuclear on this group.

Yep. Agreed.

 

Just about every team that has won has gone through its battles and come out on the losing end before finally getting it. Look at Tampa in 2019. It would have been easy to fly off the handle after that nightmare. 
 

“You need to learn how to walk before you can run.” It’s a true statement. Maybe we all expected too much after 2022. Maybe the group got too comfortable and too confident in looking past a lot of things across the season and was looking ahead to the playoffs all year. No. Enjoy the ride. Do the work. Develop your team game. And then be ready for the ups and downs come playoff time. This team seemed ready, but once there was even an ounce of doubt, they folded like a cheap tent.

 

I get people being upset by not seeing the Rangers look for a Bednar or Cooper type. The time for that isn’t now. If Drury went that route and he swung and missed, it’d be his ass, because going that route is taking a flier on someone who is an unknown. For now, for this current group, a well established guy with a proven track record was always the more likely outcome. And I think they can use a little of his fire to stay the course for the entire ride instead of kicking into autopilot the way they did way too often last season.

Edited by RichieNextel305
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6 minutes ago, Phil said:

 

This also nails it.

 

They "played hard" but they aren't hard players, so I'm not sure how valuable that is. This is what I keep coming back to about roster composition and the nature of the players. There's a big difference between how hard Kakko and Goodrow try versus how hard Panarin and Zibanejad do. Or it might be better said that no matter how hard the four try, there's a noticeable difference between them because of their inherent natures.

 

But I think the underlying argument is sound: this is it. If they fail again, they'll go nuclear on this group.

You don't need every guy on your roster to be Lucic. That's not realistic, nor is it the way all the other playoff teams are built. There's a mix. "Paying the price" doesn't mean you're crossing the middle and getting your head taken off all the time. Sometimes it's just the second effort in the corner, or taking the hit to make the play. Everyone talks about being soft, and then they point to the same 3-4 guys. Mika, Bread, Fox, Miller (just because he's tall and doesn't hit, not because he actually is).

 

I can point to Kreider, Kakko, Lafreniere, Trocheck, and the 4th line as players who with the right fire beneath them have enough jam in their game to get to the middle. Kakko even does an excellent job of that with his skill.

 

Shutting down the NZ and controlling the middle of the ice is just...you guessed it...Systems.

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1 minute ago, Pete said:

You don't need every guy on your roster to be Lucic. That's not realistic, nor is it the way all the other playoff teams are built. There's a mix. "Paying the price" doesn't mean you're crossing the middle and getting your head taken off all the time. Sometimes it's just the second effort in the corner, or taking the hit to make the play. Everyone talks about being soft, and then they point to the same 3-4 guys. Mika, Bread, Fox, Miller (just because he's tall and doesn't hit, not because he actually is).

 

I can point to Kreider, Kakko, Lafreniere, Trocheck, and the 4th line as players who with the right fire beneath them have enough jam in their game to get to the middle. Kakko even does an excellent job of that with his skill.

 

Shutting down the NZ and controlling the middle of the ice is just...you guessed it...Systems.

 

None of this is about bulldozing the opposition. It's about not being soft on the puck. Not predictably giving it up because you only like high-risk, high-profile passing plays. It's about winning 1v1 battles, and not giving up on letting up on plays below the dots.

 

You get your back up about it, but the wallflower/shrinking violets analogies were aimed at exactly this type of thing. This team is built too much like Toronto and not enough like Tampa. No one can honestly suggest Tampa is devoid of talent, or lacks it by comparison, but the product on the ice tells a very different story between the two franchises over the last few seasons. I'd argue that the reason for that is two-fold. First and foremost, Tampa has superior goaltending, but Tampa also has superior playoffs performers — guys who play with fuck you.

 

But I also agree with you completely that the lack of any discernible system was devastating for them. They're gonna get one now, so we can only hope the outcome will be better, but I still have my doubts based on the fundamental nature of too many of the top players. Systems will help all those guys you pointed to. I don't think they're gonna do much of anything to put more fight in Panarin, Zibanejad, Chytil, Fox, and others.

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57 minutes ago, Phil said:

 

None of this is about bulldozing the opposition. It's about not being soft on the puck. Not predictably giving it up because you only like high-risk, high-profile passing plays. It's about winning 1v1 battles, and not giving up on letting up on plays below the dots.

 

You get your back up about it, but the wallflower/shrinking violets analogies were aimed at exactly this type of thing. This team is built too much like Toronto and not enough like Tampa. No one can honestly suggest Tampa is devoid of talent, or lacks it by comparison, but the product on the ice tells a very different story between the two franchises over the last few seasons. I'd argue that the reason for that is two-fold. First and foremost, Tampa has superior goaltending, but Tampa also has superior playoffs performers — guys who play with fuck you.

 

But I also agree with you completely that the lack of any discernible system was devastating for them. They're gonna get one now, so we can only hope the outcome will be better, but I still have my doubts based on the fundamental nature of too many of the top players. Systems will help all those guys you pointed to. I don't think they're gonna do much of anything to put more fight in Panarin, Zibanejad, Chytil, Fox, and others.

I'm not really sure how these players can be judged on their playoff performances when you're sitting here agreeing that they were crippled by lack of system.

 

You say they only go for high risk plays, well devoid of a system, what else is there but relying on individual skill? You say they give up on plays below the dot, yet what else could they do besides be worried about getting caught deep because if "I don't get back, I don't know who will"?

 

Teams are a reflection of the coach, and the Rangers at times are stubborn, have tons of sizzle, but no steak... No real plan besides the highlight reel plays. Now they do. 

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2 hours ago, Phil said:

 

None of this is about bulldozing the opposition. It's about not being soft on the puck. Not predictably giving it up because you only like high-risk, high-profile passing plays. It's about winning 1v1 battles, and not giving up on letting up on plays below the dots.

 

You get your back up about it, but the wallflower/shrinking violets analogies were aimed at exactly this type of thing. This team is built too much like Toronto and not enough like Tampa. No one can honestly suggest Tampa is devoid of talent, or lacks it by comparison, but the product on the ice tells a very different story between the two franchises over the last few seasons. I'd argue that the reason for that is two-fold. First and foremost, Tampa has superior goaltending, but Tampa also has superior playoffs performers — guys who play with fuck you.

 

But I also agree with you completely that the lack of any discernible system was devastating for them. They're gonna get one now, so we can only hope the outcome will be better, but I still have my doubts based on the fundamental nature of too many of the top players. Systems will help all those guys you pointed to. I don't think they're gonna do much of anything to put more fight in Panarin, Zibanejad, Chytil, Fox, and others.

Team almost always goes for another pass rather than going to the net. And on breakout, when they faced almost any forecheck, went backward rather than trying  to get in or dump and chase(which much of the forwards weren't very good at anyway). Granted you don't want to turn the puck over, but in both cases you're giving the defense a chance to set up against you. 

 

The perimeter shit; you're making it very easy and teams saw it on tape. over 82 games, there are enough bottom feeders that many nights it can work. But in a 7 game series vs. a team with any semblance of a plan, it will never work. 

Edited by Bugg
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1 hour ago, Bugg said:

The perimeter shit; you're making it very easy and teams saw it on tape. over 82 games, there are enough bottom feeders that many nights it can work. But in a 7 game series vs. a team with any semblance of a plan, it will never work. 

 

I love Zibanejad but 4 even strength goals in 39 games against playoff teams and 14 even strength goals in 43 against non-playoff teams just doesn't work if you want to have success in the post-season.

 

I haven't done the splits for last year yet so it's quite possible that this was just a strange statistical anomaly but if not Laviolette has some real work to do at the top of the roster.

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6 minutes ago, Br4d said:

 

I love Zibanejad but 4 even strength goals in 39 games against playoff teams and 14 even strength goals in 43 against non-playoff teams just doesn't work if you want to have success in the post-season.

 

I haven't done the splits for last year yet so it's quite possible that this was just a strange statistical anomaly but if not Laviolette has some real work to do at the top of the roster.

 

Interesting. I looked up Chytil's numbers in this regard. He had 10 ES goals in 35 games against playoff teams. 9 in 39 against non. Pretty consistent. 19 total ES goals, 1 more than Zibanejad in almost 200 minutes less ES ice time. 19 ES goals would be Zibanejad's 2nd best ES goal season in his career. Chytil is only 23.

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14 hours ago, Pete said:

I'm not really sure how these players can be judged on their playoff performances when you're sitting here agreeing that they were crippled by lack of system.

 

You say they only go for high risk plays, well devoid of a system, what else is there but relying on individual skill? You say they give up on plays below the dot, yet what else could they do besides be worried about getting caught deep because if "I don't get back, I don't know who will"?

 

Teams are a reflection of the coach, and the Rangers at times are stubborn, have tons of sizzle, but no steak... No real plan besides the highlight reel plays. Now they do. 

 

Because it's based on more than the outcome of a single coach. Quinn demanded the same of them, and the same result occurred. That is why I talk about the nature of the players. I just don't think you can put fight into people who didn't develop it naturally. In the same way I don't think you can teach Jesper Fast to be a 100-point player. There are just natural limitations in place. That's completely fine if you have a well-balanced roster. The Rangers, in my estimation, don't. They're far too top-heavy with players in key positions who are explosive and awe-inspiring in the regular season when you can't really game plan around single games.

 

I hope I'm wrong, but I just don't see enough 'fuck you' in this team right now, today, to buy in again. Especially because it sure as hell looks like they're just running it back.

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13 hours ago, Bugg said:

Team almost always goes for another pass rather than going to the net. And on breakout, when they faced almost any forecheck, went backward rather than trying  to get in or dump and chase(which much of the forwards weren't very good at anyway). Granted you don't want to turn the puck over, but in both cases you're giving the defense a chance to set up against you. 

 

The perimeter shit; you're making it very easy and teams saw it on tape. over 82 games, there are enough bottom feeders that many nights it can work. But in a 7 game series vs. a team with any semblance of a plan, it will never work. 

 

Bingo. And I get it. It's what @Pete is pointing to. He's not wrong. I just don't have the same level of faith he does that coaching will make up enough of the difference. I think it'll make up some, but is that enough to win? Again, I have my doubts.

 

My hope is that they're able to tinker with the roster enough this off-season to better balance the lineup. Get Connor Brown on a cheap deal. Immediately play him with Panarin. I can take or leave Tyler Motte. He's fine, but he's more gnat than hornet. I'm kinda hoping that the tight cap will shake loose some unqualified RFAs who can help.

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37 minutes ago, Phil said:

Couple other options worth looking into this summer:

 

Garnet Hathaway, Conor Sheary, and Craig Smith — all played for Laviolette with Washington.

Not who I'd be going for. Too scrubby. Arvidsson played for Lavs in NSH. Hard forechecker, aggressive, and scoring touch.

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19 minutes ago, Pete said:

Not who I'd be going for. Too scrubby. Arvidsson played for Lavs in NSH. Hard forechecker, aggressive, and scoring touch.

 

Good with him, too. Kings reportedly want to dump him anyway. I really like him for Panarin's line. Reminds me of the way Gionta played without the puck most of the time. Just find him and he'll rip it.

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51 minutes ago, Phil said:

Couple other options worth looking into this summer:

 

Garnet Hathaway, Conor Sheary, and Craig Smith — all played for Laviolette with Washington.


Definite yes on Hathaway. Probably yes on a Vesey deal for Smith. Probably pass on Sheary.

 

 

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10 minutes ago, BrooksBurner said:

Definite yes on Hathaway. Probably yes on a Vesey deal for Smith. Probably pass on Sheary.

 

Hathaway and Kreider were close, so there's some there there. But he's not really all that cheap for a fourth-liner. Smith you can get on a Vesey-like deal, I agree. Sheary will be too expensive, I think. Kinda tiny, but plays a little bigger than he is.

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7 hours ago, Phil said:

 

Hathaway and Kreider were close, so there's some there there. But he's not really all that cheap for a fourth-liner. Smith you can get on a Vesey-like deal, I agree. Sheary will be too expensive, I think. Kinda tiny, but plays a little bigger than he is.

FWIW, my Bruins fan friends absolutely loved Craig Smith. Total pro, does all the right things on the ice, can chip in offensively. I don’t know much about him, but I know that although they were happy to get Orlov and Hathaway they didn’t love losing Smith.

 

I would imagine Hathaway might be out of our price range as far as bottom-6 go. He’s a total pain in the ass, and I’d love to have him. But I don’t think it’s all that likely. He’ll have himself more lucrative offers elsewhere.

 

Another key role that hasn’t been discussed much is what to do with our back up goalie. I advocated for Halak last summer, and overall, he played fine. Little bit of a rough start both with play and luck, but he rounded into form fine and was a very reliable backup. I don’t see him retiring being as close as he is to 300 wins, and I think at his age, he knows this is an ideal spot for him to achieve that, while also possibly having the chance to get a Cup before hanging them up. His deal last summer was fair, but we may need to see if he’d come down even further on his AAV. We’ll need all the discounts we can get this summer. I don’t know his mind set, if he’d take a few hundred thousand more to go elsewhere. I have no idea what his mindset is. But I thought he fit in pretty well here, and if all things work out, I’d be happy to have him back. If not, I wonder if someone like Quick would take a real cheap 1-year deal to finish up playing for his childhood team behind Igor. 
 

 

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I don't eve know what the other options would be for a backup goalie in free agency. We know the Rangers cap issues and if Halak doesn't retire, and wants to come back, he can be had for cheap. So, if they can go cheap where they can, they will. Assuming he doesn't retire, I'm expecting him back here for that reason.

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7 hours ago, RichieNextel305 said:

FWIW, my Bruins fan friends absolutely loved Craig Smith. Total pro, does all the right things on the ice, can chip in offensively. I don’t know much about him, but I know that although they were happy to get Orlov and Hathaway they didn’t love losing Smith.

 

I would imagine Hathaway might be out of our price range as far as bottom-6 go. He’s a total pain in the ass, and I’d love to have him. But I don’t think it’s all that likely. He’ll have himself more lucrative offers elsewhere.

 

Another key role that hasn’t been discussed much is what to do with our back up goalie. I advocated for Halak last summer, and overall, he played fine. Little bit of a rough start both with play and luck, but he rounded into form fine and was a very reliable backup. I don’t see him retiring being as close as he is to 300 wins, and I think at his age, he knows this is an ideal spot for him to achieve that, while also possibly having the chance to get a Cup before hanging them up. His deal last summer was fair, but we may need to see if he’d come down even further on his AAV. We’ll need all the discounts we can get this summer. I don’t know his mind set, if he’d take a few hundred thousand more to go elsewhere. I have no idea what his mindset is. But I thought he fit in pretty well here, and if all things work out, I’d be happy to have him back. If not, I wonder if someone like Quick would take a real cheap 1-year deal to finish up playing for his childhood team behind Igor. 
 

 

Does anyone know if Garland is anywhere near knocking on the door? Seems like he did well in most of Hartfords playoff run (2nd round elimination/ sweep-- but whoopie Knoblauch is awesome!!!) I didn't see why he wasn't starting in their elimination game. Was there an injury? Is there a future for this guy? 

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