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09-27-2013, 07:16 AM
Blue Blooded
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OK let me illustrate why I prefer Strålman over Girardi.

In a game where AV just rolled the lines and pairings giving the defence equal 5v5TOI (G: 14:03, S: 14:43) the difference in territorial play was humangous big. I'm assuming that they faced similarly difficult matchups, but considering the Canucks had last change it is actually more likely that Strålman got the more difficult matchups as Tortorella may have wanted his better players out against the "3rd pairing".

5v5 play:

In Strålman's 14:43 the Rangers outshot the Canucks 16-3, the Fenwick was 22-4, the Corsi was 27-7. No goals were scored.

In Girardi's 14:03 the Rangers outshot the Canucks 10-9, the Fenwick score was 13-14, and the Corsi was 15-16. The Canucks scored 3 goals to the Rangers 0.

While this is just a 1 game sample where the difference was quite extreme, the difference between them in Corsi per 20 minutes was 5.6 over the past season. Girardi did get tougher minutes, but not tough enough to explain a difference of that magnitude.

Strålman did cause two odd man rushes against in the 3rd, but those comes with the territory when you play the game the way he does and the benefits in offensive pressure greatly outweighs the drawbacks in a few scoring chances the other way. Both came off of failed keep-in attempts at the offensive blue-line.

I only checked the two of them because I have to hand-count that **** in the pre-season, but I'm guessing the Staal-Del Zotto pairing were somewhere in between. There is for example still a +9 shot differential remaining for the Rangers where neither Girardi nor Strålman was on the ice.

In 43 minutes of 5v5 play the Canucks had 12 SOG and 3 goals. 9 of those shots and all 3 of the goals came in the 14 minutes Girardi played 5v5.

So, to the poster who wondered whether I thought Strålman was great last night. Yes I thought he was, and I thought so before I counted up his differentials since it was pretty obvious from his on-ice play. It is not his fault that the forwards couldn't put the chances home. If he could play like this night-in night out (he won't, this game was an extreme example) he'd have an Erik Karlsson-type season.

He is calm with the puck and has the best break-out pass on the team. Del Zotto probably has the best "wow" passes, but he screws up too often for me to rank him #1. Girardi still goes for the Torts style "shoot it at the forward in the NZ so it bounces off of him into the OZ" break-out play most of the time, no wonder our possession play lacks with him on the ice.

Honestly, once I stopped believing that McD-G was a great pairing because everyone said so and started to actually watch them specifically in the games it became quite clear that they just aren't. Granted, they were not nearly as bad last year as they have been in the pre-season but I still think we need to put Girardi back with Staal or maybe with Moore.

Girardi is a fantastic PK:er and is the ideal defenceman for a 2010-11 Rangers-type team. A team that blocks shots, grinds it out, and scrapes into the playoffs only to go out in the first round. But they way the current Rangers are built, a talented team that wants to outplay the opposition on a nightly basis and actually contend for the cup, Girardi shouldn't get first pairing minutes 5v5.

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