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It's Time to Talk About Mika Zibanejad


Phil

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37 minutes ago, RangersIn7 said:

Zib played a lot against Matthews last night.

 

Matthews did not have a goal. He was -1.

Zib was +1 

 

Zib and Kreider are always the +/- leaders on the team.  I attribute that to Zib's defense.

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2 hours ago, RangersIn7 said:

Zib played a lot against Matthews last night.

 

Matthews did not have a goal. He was -1.

Zib was +1 

 

Tavares line drew the Zib assignment.

 

leafs-toi.png

 

A goal wasn't given up, no, but thank Igor. Tavares line had 6 HDC to Zib line's 0. xGF disparity brutal.

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6 minutes ago, Scott said:

 


I think that’s fine tbh. They generally play at a good positive for the team. The key is getting more offense. It shouldn’t be shocking that the bottom 6 guys they’ve tried on the right wing aren’t boosting them higher. Want more results? Put a better player there.

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5 hours ago, Phil said:

 

The reason there's no desire is that there's no promising alternative without robbing from the teams' most successful line (Bread line).

 

You're basically just asking to put Kreider on the third line and Cuylle on the first. Fine, I guess, but if I'm being honest, I'd expect the same results — nothing.

 

They are a one-line team because their first-line center is playing like the league's most expensive third-line center. Bad as Kreider is at 5v5, this isn't a him issue. It's a Zib issue. It's always been a Zib issue. Every Cup-winning team on earth does so using the same formula: stellar starting goalie, rock-solid 1D, and high-performing 1C. Fine tune to preference, but no matter how you adjust your dials, if your first-line center is going 30 fucking games without a 5v5 goal, you aren't winning shit.

Ummm ok. But can they atleast try something different? You're going to get the same results if you keep putting the same guys together. 

 

I get not wanting to mess with the Bread line, but it's not like Lafrenière is a play driver all the time. I think they can plug anyone in his spot and they could get by. 

 

Rotating 3rd and 4th line RWS with 20/93 hasn't worked this year. Trying a different LW with 93 HAS gotten results. The few times Laviolette has put Panarin with Zibanejad to get a spark... It worked. 

 

We can't say nothing will change if they don't experiment with change. This combo is not working. I don't get the push back on the idea. Unless you have an idea on moving Zibanejad for a different 1C. There's not much more they can can do. 

 

Making the player uncomfortable and taking away his boy, could spark him. The only other way to send him a message is to scratch him or bench him. With Jonny Brodzinski being the 3C, I don't see a positive outcome in that scenario. They'd get destroyed. 

 

So are we just going to complain about Zibenejad the rest of the season? Or figure out a way to get more out of him? 

 

Step one is separating the best buds. Step 2 is figuring out how to best build another 2 lines with or without ruining the Panarin line. 

 

 

Cup winners are hardly ever one line teams. They typically get production from all over the lineup. Isn't that why we got Goodrow? Because of his contributions to those Tampa cups? Wasn't that why Sammy Blais was so valuable? Because he was slotted up the lineup for a handful of games when the Blues won?

 

Cup teams are deep and have atleast 3 lines contributing. Not 1. Not 1 center. Not 1 D. The Rangers aren't going to lose in the playoffs because Zibanejad isn't producing what he should be. They will lose if they have 1 line doing everything and 1 D man playing somewhat respectable hockey annnd probably weak goaltending.  

 

Let's build some new lines. Come along. Won't you?

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I maintain the right thing to do is remove zib from PP1 in favor of lafreniere to send the message. If you want to score, first play better at 5v5, then you can go back to maybe hitting one in twenty one timers from your spot. Laf has earned the time at even strength. 
 

im not sure there’s a better line combination to make. The answer is Mika needs to play better than he currently is and start using his shot. 

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20 minutes ago, The Dude said:

Ummm ok. But can get atleast try something different? You're going to get tge same results if you keep putting the same guys together. 

 

I get not wanting to mess with the bread line, but it's not like Lafrenière is a play driver all the time. I think they can plug anyone in his spot and they could get by. 

 

Rotating 3rd and 4th line RWS with 20/93 hasn't worked this year. Trying a different LW with 93 HAS gotten results. The few times Laviolette has put Panarin with Zibanejad to get a spark... It worked. 

 

We can't say nothing will change if they don't experiment with change. This combo is not working. I don't get the push back on the idea. Unless you have an idea on moving Zibanejad for a different 1C, there's not much more they can can do. 

 

Making the player uncomfortable and taking away his boy, could spark him. The only other way to send him a message is to scratch him or bench him. With Jonny Brodzinski being the 3C, I don't see a positive outcome in that scenario. They'd get destroyed. 

 

So are we just going to complain about Zibenejad the rest of the season? Or figure out a way to get more out of him? 

 

Step one is separating the best buds. Step 2 is figuring out how to best build another 2 lines with or without ruining the Panarin line. 

 

 

Cup winners are hardly ever one line teams. They typically get production from all over the lineup. Isn't that why we got Goodrow? Because of his contributions to those Tampa cups? Wasn't that why Sammy Blais was so valuable? Because he was slotted up the lineup for a handful of games when the Blues won?

 

Cup teams are deep and have atleast 3 lines contributing. Not 1. Not 1 center. Not 1 D. The Rangers aren't going to lose in the playoffs because Zibanejad isn't producing what he should be. They will lose if they have 1 line doing everything and 1 D man playing somewhat respectable hockey annnd probably weak goaltending.  

 

Let's build some new lines. Come along. Won't you?

Oh yeah, breaking up the P-T-L (Praise the Lord?) line is utter lunacy.

 

I don't think that the third quarter turn a week before the deadline is the time to be fucking around and "sending messages," particularly when NYR have the 2nd best record in the league. Let's see who comes in. Getting those guys acclimated will be the top priority. Maybe that will jumpstart Zib. We're still about 6 weeks before Playoffs. He still has plenty of time to click in for what really matters.

 

You pined for Lav's hiring, which is turning out to be your best take ever. I sense no underlying panic or jittery Gallant-ish urge to experiment on his part. So far, he's delivering the most successful regular season in 50 years. Trust the system and stay the course.

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5 minutes ago, RodrigueGabriel said:

Oh yeah, breaking up the P-T-L (Praise the Lord?) line is utter lunacy.

 

I don't think that the third quarter turn a week before the deadline is the time to be fucking around and "sending messages," particularly when NYR have the 2nd best record in the league. Let's see who comes in. Getting those guys acclimated will be the top priority. Maybe that will jumpstart Zib. We're still about 6 weeks before Playoffs. He still has plenty of time to click in for what really matters.

 

You pined for Lav's hiring, which is turning out to be your best take ever. I sense no underlying panic or jittery Gallant-ish urge to experiment on his part. So far, he's delivering the most successful regular season in 50 years. Trust the system and stay the course.

When is it time to send messages? It should have been sent 2 months ago.    

 

They can have the best record in the league.  It still doesn't change the fact that they need more production from Zibanejad  Look at Bostons regular season last year. Set the record for wins. They were ousted in round 1.  Let's not be over confident in this teams place in the standings. Especially when it hasn't ran on all cylinders and parts of it continuously revert to old bad habits. 

 

When we see holes all season long, we should fix them. No matter what the teams record is. 

 

I believe in Laviolette.  I have trouble believing in parts of this roster and Laviolettes possible limitations on how to handle those parts in question.

 

Laviolette started the season saying one thing, then has pretty much not done what he said he would.

 

He was to change the D pairings. He was to get this team to commit to the system.  He was to get the entire team to play a playoff style brand of hockey. They started off great. All were in. Then.. one line was in. It's still 1 line in.

 

Zibanejad continuously plays perimeter east west hockey with zero consequences.  On top of that, he has his best bud stapled to his side allll season.  This isn't a recipe for success. Can't have 1 line playing as instructed and a different set of rules for your other top players. 

 

This team hasn't hit its stride yet and I'm not sure that that's a good thing. Their defense is atrocious and 2 of their top 5 forwards continuously don't play the style of hockey the head coach is instructing them to play. Laviolette typically would not put up with that. Yet, here he is. Putting up with it, 60 games into a season. 

 

Now IS the time to be messing with lines. Not after the trade deadline. Time is running out to get the ship right. 

 

If the plan is to get a better RW to try yet another option for that duo. Great. They have to do that now. Getting that 3C can't wait either. Last seasons late grab of Kane should be a good example of why these moves need to be made and sorted out much earlier than the deadline. There's a huge possibility said acquisition doesn't fit. Then what? It's a scramble going into the playoffs. 

 

But, it's obviously a wait and see attitude by management. Laviolette is saying hesxnot separating the 2. So, let's hope they get the right players. 

 

 

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You were right in noting last night that I don't stay right on top of all of these conversations, although I generally focus in as the Playoffs get nearer. But at far as I can tell, you and I just look at the the team and the overall situation in very different ways. 

 

Do you really think that Zibanejad needs to be sent a message to know that he's behind his usual scoring pace and needs to pick it up? I'm sure he's quite aware. Do you think some coercion or taking his mate away is somehow going to get more production out of him? When has Mika performed better without CK? Do you think he's saying to himself, "I'm going to play the way I want (east-west) no matter what the coaches tell me?" As far as I can tell, the coaching staff is engaging with the players at unprecedented levels, both in team meetings video analysis. They're talking DIRECTLY TO HIM every goddamn day. They don't need to send him a message. 

 

At the end of January, you wanted to deal away about a third of the team because the Rangers were clearly a sinking ship. All I could see was that they were still in first place in the Metro division and that it would likely come back around - which it has. I realize that part of the currency of this site is high participation and hot takes, but you didn't need a 10-game heater to see that your take was a massive overreaction. You see flaws and you obsess over them and you think they must be fixed immediately. (To be fair, this is not an uncommon trait at this site and throughout the fanbase.) I look at the overall picture and see a hugely positive situation that stands to improve in the next 6 days. Why shake up the lines when we don't even know what the lines are going to be until after the trade deadline?

 

There is no desperate situation where Mika is concerned. It's not optimal and we all wish he was lighting it up, but I'm not gonna really care about it unless it persists beyond the last week of March. Because the only thing that matters now is how we enter the Playoffs and that wave won't even start to build until the second half of this month. I don't give a shit what Mika has done up to now because the team is winning and that is continuing to build confidence and identity. He's a vet with a track record and I believe he'll find it. Fucking around with the lines at this point is panicky busy work that won't actually accomplish anything.

 

This team is not last year's Bruins. The Rangers had their own first round debacle to help shape what will happen this year. There is little evidence that anybody cares about winning streaks or the President's Trophy or even necessarily who the first round match-up is. Laviolette appears to know what he is doing. The main focus seems (from all I read and hear) to be not who is hot or cold but shaping the Rangers team chemistry to have the strongest, most cohesive unit going into the first round. And I'm super happy about that. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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6 hours ago, RodrigueGabriel said:

You were right in noting last night that I don't stay right on top of all of these conversations, although I generally focus in as the Playoffs get nearer. But at far as I can tell, you and I just look at the the team and the overall situation in very different ways. 

 

Do you really think that Zibanejad needs to be sent a message to know that he's behind his usual scoring pace and needs to pick it up? I'm sure he's quite aware. Do you think some coercion or taking his mate away is somehow going to get more production out of him? When has Mika performed better without CK? Do you think he's saying to himself, "I'm going to play the way I want (east-west) no matter what the coaches tell me?" As far as I can tell, the coaching staff is engaging with the players at unprecedented levels, both in team meetings video analysis. They're talking DIRECTLY TO HIM every goddamn day. They don't need to send him a message. 

 

At the end of January, you wanted to deal away about a third of the team because the Rangers were clearly a sinking ship. All I could see was that they were still in first place in the Metro division and that it would likely come back around - which it has. I realize that part of the currency of this site is high participation and hot takes, but you didn't need a 10-game heater to see that your take was a massive overreaction. You see flaws and you obsess over them and you think they must be fixed immediately. (To be fair, this is not an uncommon trait at this site and throughout the fanbase.) I look at the overall picture and see a hugely positive situation that stands to improve in the next 6 days. Why shake up the lines when we don't even know what the lines are going to be until after the trade deadline?

 

There is no desperate situation where Mika is concerned. It's not optimal and we all wish he was lighting it up, but I'm not gonna really care about it unless it persists beyond the last week of March. Because the only thing that matters now is how we enter the Playoffs and that wave won't even start to build until the second half of this month. I don't give a shit what Mika has done up to now because the team is winning and that is continuing to build confidence and identity. He's a vet with a track record and I believe he'll find it. Fucking around with the lines at this point is panicky busy work that won't actually accomplish anything.

 

This team is not last year's Bruins. The Rangers had their own first round debacle to help shape what will happen this year. There is little evidence that anybody cares about winning streaks or the President's Trophy or even necessarily who the first round match-up is. Laviolette appears to know what he is doing. The main focus seems (from all I read and hear) to be not who is hot or cold but shaping the Rangers team chemistry to have the strongest, most cohesive unit going into the first round. And I'm super happy about that. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Good points. Odd that you say you don't follow much yet say I wanted to trade everyone in January. You follow enough to try to have a handle on my opinions.

 

While it's true I I said the sky had fallen.  I cited a few players that could be traded. I still think they can or should be (Miller, Kakko is really all I said). 

 

With Zibanejad... It's been a season long thing. And yes. I di believe he says to himself "I'm going to play whatever way I want ". .... because he is. He's dogshit on the forecheck. He creates no takeaways. He plays east west. He's NOT getting it and I'm not so certain he turns it around in the next 2 months. 

 

One line can only carry this weight for so long. You think Zibanejad is just going to flip a switch and play the right way. I think he's going to do what he's been doing for 2 years now. What ever he wants. 

 

Without 5 on 5 contributions from 20/93, this teams chances become slim. Maybe they can get by with the PP. I'd rather not depend on that again. 

 

Maybe I should lay off a little,  but it's not batshit crazy to think some top pieces aren't and won't carry their weight when all the chips are down. 

 

Let's get another RW and see what happens. Who do you feel can fit the bill and get these 2 playing right? 

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1 hour ago, The Dude said:

Good points. Odd that you say you don't follow much yet say I wanted to trade everyone in January. You follow enough to try to have a handle on my opinions.

 

While it's true I I said the sky had fallen.  I cited a few players that could be traded. I still think they can or should be (Miller, Kakko is really all I said). 

 

With Zibanejad... It's been a season long thing. And yes. I di believe he says to himself "I'm going to play whatever way I want ". .... because he is. He's dogshit on the forecheck. He creates no takeaways. He plays east west. He's NOT getting it and I'm not so certain he turns it around in the next 2 months. 

 

One line can only carry this weight for so long. You think Zibanejad is just going to flip a switch and play the right way. I think he's going to do what he's been doing for 2 years now. What ever he wants. 

 

Without 5 on 5 contributions from 20/93, this teams chances become slim. Maybe they can get by with the PP. I'd rather not depend on that again. 

 

Maybe I should lay off a little,  but it's not batshit crazy to think some top pieces aren't and won't carry their weight when all the chips are down. 

 

Let's get another RW and see what happens. Who do you feel can fit the bill and get these 2 playing right? 

With Kreider and Zib, the fix is to find a time machine to go back 5 years.  The organization has enabled their attitude.  They've handed out plenty of no move clauses.  The organization has gone through coaches, in order to try to find the right system, to get better post-season results. The organization has listened too much to exit interviews, without demanding accountability for on-ice results from players.  Clean scratches, decreased ice time, shaking up the lineup are all tools that could have been used over the years.  Instead, Kreider and Zib have been gifted the comfort of their place in the lineup, on the power play, and as leaders in the locker room - regardless of their performance/effort level and on-ice results.

 

In some organizations, the Devils series would have been a catalyst for heads to roll, roster changes, and remaining players to be put on notice.  Gallant to Laviollete was the only real change.

 

Zib and Kreider are going to give effort when they feel like it, and aren't going to elevate their game enough in the playoffs to be the key contributors that are needed for the Rangers to make a deep run.  And that's not a Laviolette failure, just like it wasn't a Gallant failure, just like it wasn't a Quinn failure... it's a Rangers organization failure.  The Rangers have setup the locker room culture where they have to beg the team to play hard for an entire 60 minutes, and the finger should be pointed at the core leadership of this team, as well as the management for roster construction.

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46 minutes ago, fletch said:

With Kreider and Zib, the fix is to find a time machine to go back 5 years.  The organization has enabled their attitude.  They've handed out plenty of no move clauses.  The organization has gone through coaches, in order to try to find the right system, to get better post-season results. The organization has listened too much to exit interviews, without demanding accountability for on-ice results from players.  Clean scratches, decreased ice time, shaking up the lineup are all tools that could have been used over the years.  Instead, Kreider and Zib have been gifted the comfort of their place in the lineup, on the power play, and as leaders in the locker room - regardless of their performance/effort level and on-ice results.

 

In some organizations, the Devils series would have been a catalyst for heads to roll, roster changes, and remaining players to be put on notice.  Gallant to Laviollete was the only real change.

 

Zib and Kreider are going to give effort when they feel like it, and aren't going to elevate their game enough in the playoffs to be the key contributors that are needed for the Rangers to make a deep run.  And that's not a Laviolette failure, just like it wasn't a Gallant failure, just like it wasn't a Quinn failure... it's a Rangers organization failure.  The Rangers have setup the locker room culture where they have to beg the team to play hard for an entire 60 minutes, and the finger should be pointed at the core leadership of this team, as well as the management for roster construction.

Not that I disagree. Because I was at a point of almost sending half of this team away in various trades to Switzerland in my own head immediately following the series against New Jersey.

 

That said, when you are able to take 2 steps back and breathe, you realize this: in what world are you dealing either of them right now and improving the roster right now? Because the fact of the matter is that this is a win-now operation. While losing that series was beyond painful, and beyond embarrassing, had we gone nuclear there and blown it up only 1 year after being 2 wins from a Stanley Cup Final appearance, the uproar would have been through the roof. 
 

Where are we dealing Mika or Kreider that improves the 2024 Rangers? The only time that moving Mika made any semblance of sense was when the Eichel rumors were percolating. And I do think there were some very strong internal debates inside of the brain trust here about who was a better option moving forward as a 1C, because the Rangers had to still make a decision about re-signing Zibanejad before he went UFA. It was him at money, or Eichel at money while relinquishing assets. As much as we likely would have wanted both, it would have been a tough and nearly impossible situation.

 

The thing with the two of them that can be pain staking is that when they want it, they can be as deadly of a duo in this sport. When those two are locked in, they can show up and show up in the biggest of spots. We have seen them produce, whether it be on ES/PP/PK, in spots where they are sorely needed. The thing is the consistency. And in Kreiders case, the coasting. 
 

They likely aren’t going to be split. They likely are going to have a stretch here where they go unconsciously hot, because history dictates that. You just hope the switch flips in the playoffs. Because as much as we whine and complain and over analyze things about this team when it comes to underlying stats and numbers, the fact of the matter is that this is a really good team with a really good coach and a really good goalie and really good players. But we go no where unless we have Zibanejad contributing when the lights are shining brightest in a few weeks in the playoffs.

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The level of compete for both Kreider and Mika seems to be way down and that has crept into the PP as well.  If they think this is something that can just be flipped like a light switch come playoff time I am hard pressed to find any reasons why that might be true.

 

I guess we just hope they start to play better because this is not a problem that can be addressed at the trade deadline.

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We're in the unusual position of being held hostage by our best players.

 

If we get an early exit this year Drury is going to have to take that bull by the horns and make some moves.

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18 minutes ago, Br4d said:

We're in the unusual position of being held hostage by our best players.

 

If we get an early exit this year Drury is going to have to take that bull by the horns and make some moves.

Yeah, it's a terrible position to be in when your best players are actually your best players and are paid appropriately and mostly living up to their contracts. 

 

Add in the other roadblock of being one of the best teams in the league all season long, and being in first place in the Metro all season long.

 

It's a real shitty situation to be in. Held hostage indeed. 

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Quote

Kreider and Zibanejad have contributed in other situations — on the power play, shorthanded, four-on-four, overtime, etc. — but their lack of consistent production during five-on-five play has been a hindrance.

 

The Rangers’ No. 1 center is ranked 11th on the team in five-on-five goals with five, behind the likes of K’Andre Miller (6), Adam Fox (6) and Blake Wheeler (6), who has been on long-term injured reserve since Feb. 16. This all while averaging 12:58 of five-on-five ice time per game.

 

There is no way to understate how invaluable Zibanejad’s 200-foot game is, but this is a results league.

 

https://nypost.com/2024/03/04/sports/rangers-search-endlessly-for-wing-next-to-mika-zibanejad-chris-kreider/

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1 hour ago, Pete said:

There's no problem with Mika's level of effort. He needs to shoot more. 

 

Kreider needs to skate and engage. 

 

Shooting is part of effort.

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I've figured it out, fellas.  They're both older now, and they're saving it for the playoffs!

 

Why waste extra energy on a regular season??  Use it when it counts!  LOL

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7 minutes ago, Ozzy said:

I've figured it out, fellas.  They're both older now, and they're saving it for the playoffs!

 

Why waste extra energy on a regular season??  Use it when it counts!  LOL

This has been my copium for most of the season. lol You are half right, though, Mika is getting older and I think that's part of it. That said, being older doesn't mean shooting less either.

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Well, sometimes it's being lazy because you're not doing the work to getting in shooting position to have an opportunity. That's not Mika, he's there, but he's passed up far, far too many opportunities in attempts to force passes to kreider. It's at least one per game at this point. 
 

 

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