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09-08-2013, 07:40 PM
  #101
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Originally Posted by eco's bones View Post
Toughness might not be the main problem with this year's coming team but it still may be a significant problem. People say what about Chicago? but Chicago makes other teams pay for taking liberties with a top notch pwp--which is what the Red Wings--post Probert, Kocur days did as well. To me you have to have at least one or the other and preferably something of both. Other teams don't fear the Rangers toughness and they don't fear the pwp--so yeah they can knock us around if they're capable--and some teams are--without worrying much about the consequences.

In any case the 90's teams arguably the best Rangers teams since I've been following them going back to 71-72 were very tough and very good as well and the most fun to watch. They took care of business. The 11-12 team kind of approached that. Last year's not so much. The argument here really isn't about going out and getting Orr's, Brashears, Booggard's and Scott's. The argument is going out and getting guys who can actually play whether they score a lot or not--some guys still can skate and play their position responsibly. Finding them is not always easy as there is not a lot of them but we should aim at getting and/or developing more players like that.

BTW Chris Neil can be a very good player and he was a force in the Rangers-Senators series in 11-12. He does not put up a lot of offense but he can cause a lot of havoc. One reason is he's a good skater (size, speed and agility)--and he's a very heavy bodychecker and is capable of going toe to toe with at least most of the best fighters in the league. He's a guy that softens up opponents. He is a bit overpaid--even so. Hendricks has never impressed me all that much.
top notch powerplay? you sure about that? Chicago's PP blew this year.

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09-08-2013, 07:58 PM
  #102
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top notch powerplay? you sure about that? Chicago's PP blew this year.
Chicago's pwp has a real pointman in Keith and numerous scoring options--Kane, Hossa, Toews, Sharp. It's better than ours.

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09-08-2013, 08:14 PM
  #103
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Chicago's pwp has a real pointman in Keith and numerous scoring options--Kane, Hossa, Toews, Sharp. It's better than ours.
That's not the point, a pp with that kind of talent should be easily top 10, but it's not. Chicago is good at even strength, prob the best in the league there. Bottom line it's not like the only ways to be a good team are be big and scary, or have a good powerplay. There's lots of ways to win in this league.

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09-08-2013, 08:23 PM
  #104
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Originally Posted by Raspewtin View Post
That's not the point, a pp with that kind of talent should be easily top 10, but it's not. Chicago is good at even strength, prob the best in the league there. Bottom line it's not like the only ways to be a good team are be big and scary, or have a good powerplay. There's lots of ways to win in this league.
Teams win without good PP's all the time in recent history; But, could the Rangers rise to such lofty heights where they can win a Cup essentially without PP contribution?

The Rangers strengths: Defense, goaltending, supposed Center depth, two-way forwards. Is our PP and GF going to be good enough that toughness won't be an issue? It's hard for me to predict what this team's priorities should be, before they've played for AV.


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09-08-2013, 09:13 PM
  #105
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That's not the point, a pp with that kind of talent should be easily top 10, but it's not. Chicago is good at even strength, prob the best in the league there. Bottom line it's not like the only ways to be a good team are be big and scary, or have a good powerplay. There's lots of ways to win in this league.
Well one point is Chicago can get by without the toughness and go all the way. They have more talent and can fit it into their salary structure. The Rangers in 11-12 were at their toughest and several years and had their best season since 93-94. They took a step back on the toughness in 12-13 and had a much more difficult season. Part of that was loss of depth--part of that depth loss though came with the loss of Prust and Dubinsky both of whom were gritty players--one who fought often and well and the other less frequently and not so well. Rangers salary structure is not capable of adding much more in terms of talent. We'll be at our limit with Stepan signed. We don't have enough to overcome the deficit of talent that the more talented teams have--Chicago, Pittsburgh for example. Rangers need to find an edge another way like Boston for another example--a team that for the past few years anyway resembles the Rangers maybe more than any other team.

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09-08-2013, 09:34 PM
  #106
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Originally Posted by eco's bones View Post
Well one point is Chicago can get by without the toughness and go all the way. They have more talent and can fit it into their salary structure. The Rangers in 11-12 were at their toughest and several years and had their best season since 93-94. They took a step back on the toughness in 12-13 and had a much more difficult season. Part of that was loss of depth--part of that depth loss though came with the loss of Prust and Dubinsky both of whom were gritty players--one who fought often and well and the other less frequently and not so well. Rangers salary structure is not capable of adding much more in terms of talent. We'll be at our limit with Stepan signed. We don't have enough to overcome the deficit of talent that the more talented teams have--Chicago, Pittsburgh for example. Rangers need to find an edge another way like Boston for another example--a team that for the past few years anyway resembles the Rangers maybe more than any other team.
See, I'm not sold on the idea that losing one middle six and one bottom six player is why the Rangers fell back down to Earth this year. They fell down because the system didn't fit the personnel, in my opinion. Now every system has players that don't fit, but going into the 2013 season I had no idea what the Rangers would actually be. Every line had it's own identity it seemed. I'd like for this team to rack up more fights and PIMs because it creates a team bond, and makes for more spirited hockey. But that isn't the case with this team, it just isn't. We have a pretty damn good team, in terms of two way play, some good creativity, Boyle and Cally are top 10 hit leaders every year, got Brassard as our PP specialist (I think so at least). The Rangers are a much more balanced team than they get credit for, granted this could all fall apart when the season begins, but I feel pretty good. There's no reason the Rangers can't win a cup playing great team defense, with a good offense.

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Originally Posted by aufheben View Post
Teams win without good PP's all the time in recent history; But, could the Rangers rise to such lofty heights where they can win a Cup essentially without PP contribution?

The Rangers strengths: Defense, goaltending, supposed Center depth, two-way forwards. Is our PP and GF going to be good enough that toughness won't be an issue? It's hard for me to predict what this team's priorities should be, before they've played for AV.
It would be lovely to have a great PP, but the Rangers have done fine without one. Frankly, all I ask is that it isn't a god damn momentum killer, like it is SO often. There's no shame in having your best skill on the backend, and IMO the Rangers have a great crop of forwards considering the level their defense and goaltending are at. I'm not predicting what this team should be, but the PP and toughness are blown very out of proportion by some people.

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09-08-2013, 10:10 PM
  #107
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This is all true, but if we're fine with an awful PP, how good (or, how far could we go) if it was at least average?

I think when building a championship team, finding: a) Goalie good enough to win cup; b) Great defense, are two of the most difficult pieces/cores to acquire. After that, there's a legit #1 C. Can Stepan be that player?

The Rangers last two playoff exits were not because of toughness, or lack of.

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09-08-2013, 11:01 PM
  #108
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Originally Posted by aufheben View Post
This is all true, but if we're fine with an awful PP, how good (or, how far could we go) if it was at least average?

I think when building a championship team, finding: a) Goalie good enough to win cup; b) Great defense, are two of the most difficult pieces/cores to acquire. After that, there's a legit #1 C. Can Stepan be that player?

The Rangers last two playoff exits were not because of toughness, or lack of.
the bolded is the truth. If Stepan proves he's our #1 center this year, the sky's the limit for this team.

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09-08-2013, 11:37 PM
  #109
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Yes, with Stepan as a legit #1C, and the defense, goaltending set, they'd have the core positions filled. The next part is timing; In the Salary Cap NHL, a lot needs to go right for a team to win a Cup. In addition to having the top positions legitimately filled, you need your youth/prospects to not only fill in a lot of the gaps, but be able to meaningfully contribute, while they're still on ELC's. And of course with your entree nearly complete, it's needs to be seasoned by a few veterans. AV has shown that he can coach teams deep in the playoffs, too, so that's not a concern.

Can guys like Lindberg, Kreider, Miller, Fast, McIlrath, etc., be those contributors over the next few years? I hope so.

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09-08-2013, 11:59 PM
  #110
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Originally Posted by aufheben View Post
This is all true, but if we're fine with an awful PP, how good (or, how far could we go) if it was at least average?

I think when building a championship team, finding: a) Goalie good enough to win cup; b) Great defense, are two of the most difficult pieces/cores to acquire. After that, there's a legit #1 C. Can Stepan be that player?

The Rangers last two playoff exits were not because of toughness, or lack of.
I think finding a goalie good enough to win the cup would be second to last on my list of priorities.

IMO, the way the game is played today, these are the most important components to a championship team:

1. Strength down the middle. Championship teams generally have great depth at C. Hawks were missing a true 2C last year, but they have Toews, Kruger, and Shaw to offset that. Boston was deep with Krejci, Bergeron, Kelly, and Campbell (Seguin played a lot of wing last season). Pittsburgh is deep. Crosby, Malkin, Sutter. LA is deep. Kopitar, Richards, Stoll.

If Stepan performs well as the a 1C, the Rangers will be quite deep and talented down the middle this upcoming year. Stepan, Brassard, Richards, Moore, and Boyle. If Richards/Brassard can play to their talent level, it'll be up there as one of the best in the league. It needs to happen before it's true, but the possibility is there.

2. Quick, excellent skating D. A little added offense pushes it over the top. Chicago/Boston/Pittsburgh/LA all had this, too, although LA's D was half and half. Rangers have McDonagh, Stralman, Moore, and Staal for this. Not worried about the blueline in the slightest, I think it's unquestionably a top-3 defense.

3. Positive and effective veterans. Richards, Callahan, Girardi, and Lundqvist can fill this role, but I still feel the team lacks raw experience, like a Fedotenko. Would like to grab someone like that who's won multiple cups on great teams. Not Fedotenko himself, he's in the KHL anyway, but someone like him who knows what it takes to win in the playoffs. All of the top-4 teams, once again, have this.

4. High end special teams. At least one or the other. If a team has both, they'll likely be in the conference final. A great PP and good PK can be the difference between losing a game 2-1 and winning it 3-2. Or vice versa. Both the PK and PP stunk in the playoffs last year. The tools to have both a solid PK and solid PP are there. This issue has to be solved, plain and simple.

5. A competent goaltender. All but Pittsburgh had this down last year. I don't think it's the most important piece to a contending team, but it can make the difference. Hank with a team like Chicago or Pittsburgh in front of him would lift them to dynasty status, IMHO. Could you imagine Hank on the Penguins? They'd win 60 games every year. The Rangers need to emulate the Kings. They have some very good pieces up front, but I wouldn't call them an elite offensive team. They are an excellent defensive team with top notch goaltending, one that can provide goals when needed, mainly because their PP is competent.

6. Effective role players. The x-factor. Teams like Chicago and Boston had elite bottom-6s (although Boston's 3rd line struggled to score mightily). Chicago's bottom-6 is something to behold, really. Every player knows their role and executes that role to a tee. I like the way the Rangers' bottom-6 is shaping up, especially the fourth line, although the middle six is a bit of a mosh right now, so I don't really have an idea of what the second/third lines will look like for the season. Pouliot and Moore are really quality additions, IMO, adds some skill to the bottom-6, and every bottom-6 needs a little offensive flair.

TL;DR, I don't think good goaltending is a very important piece in terms of winning/contending. It's great to have, but I think a team with questionable goaltending is more likely to win than a team with questionable center depth or defensive depth.

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09-09-2013, 12:13 AM
  #111
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Let me rephrase that; You need a goalie to play very well to win a cup. That doesn't necessarily mean you need an elite goalie. But, having an elite goalies increases your chances of having a solid goaltending performance year after year.

Anyway, we have that position filled. I especially agree with #2. If Del Zotto can take his offensive game up a notch, we're golden. Not only is the defense great, but all of the sudden we have excellent depth at the position.


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09-09-2013, 12:31 AM
  #112
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Originally Posted by aufheben View Post
This is all true, but if we're fine with an awful PP, how good (or, how far could we go) if it was at least average?

I think when building a championship team, finding: a) Goalie good enough to win cup; b) Great defense, are two of the most difficult pieces/cores to acquire. After that, there's a legit #1 C. Can Stepan be that player?

The Rangers last two playoff exits were not because of toughness, or lack of.
Problem is, for most PP setups, you need fluid movement and a quick transition. That requires both a good PP unit, and good ice. As long as MSG is the busiest building out there, you're never going to have the nice, smooth ice.

Unless, of course, you can find a guru coach who can figure out a way to setup a good powerplay on slower/choppier ice. Only way I can see is to have an absolute cannon on the point.

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09-09-2013, 12:34 AM
  #113
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But our PP was gut-wrenching no matter where they played.

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09-09-2013, 12:43 AM
  #114
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But our PP was gut-wrenching no matter where they played.
True. But if you have to employ 2 different strategies for home and away, it just overcomplicates things when you have to make split-second decisions on the ice.

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09-09-2013, 07:13 AM
  #115
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See, I'm not sold on the idea that losing one middle six and one bottom six player is why the Rangers fell back down to Earth this year. They fell down because the system didn't fit the personnel, in my opinion. Now every system has players that don't fit, but going into the 2013 season I had no idea what the Rangers would actually be. Every line had it's own identity it seemed. I'd like for this team to rack up more fights and PIMs because it creates a team bond, and makes for more spirited hockey. But that isn't the case with this team, it just isn't. We have a pretty damn good team, in terms of two way play, some good creativity, Boyle and Cally are top 10 hit leaders every year, got Brassard as our PP specialist (I think so at least). The Rangers are a much more balanced team than they get credit for, granted this could all fall apart when the season begins, but I feel pretty good. There's no reason the Rangers can't win a cup playing great team defense, with a good offense.



It would be lovely to have a great PP, but the Rangers have done fine without one. Frankly, all I ask is that it isn't a god damn momentum killer, like it is SO often. There's no shame in having your best skill on the backend, and IMO the Rangers have a great crop of forwards considering the level their defense and goaltending are at. I'm not predicting what this team should be, but the PP and toughness are blown very out of proportion by some people.
But we lost more depth than just Dubinsky and Prust. Anisimov and Fedetenko didn't come back either. All contributed offense--maybe not a ton but they were not to be taken for granted either. What's more they were all regulars on the penalty kill. Does Pyatt kill penalties or Asham? Were Kreider or Miller ready to kill them? They were replaced essentially by two guys--Powe and Halpern both of whom contributed almost no offense and as a result Boyle's offense disappeared as well without Prust and Fedetenko two guys who contribute something on his line. At the same time Richards game started falling apart.

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09-09-2013, 09:03 AM
  #116
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Eh, the "recipe" for a cup changes every year depending on what the champion from the previous season looked like. In reality, it's pretty simple: You can't be a one-trick pony, and that's what the Rangers have been. What this team really needs is to preserve that solid foundation of hard-work and defensive responsibility, and have a few of it's key players get healthy and/or pull their head out of their *****.

Toughness isn't as big of an issue as many would have you believe. Every summer people complain about what we're going to do against Lucic and the Bruins, and we still manage to play pretty well against them overall. We didn't get out muscled in the B's series, we got out worked and out scored.

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09-09-2013, 10:40 AM
  #117
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team toughness becomes less of an issue if we are scoring goals on a regular basis.

when we score 2 goals per and lose close games, some how being or not being tough seems more relevant and perhaps an easy scapegoat.

having a lethal power play to punish other teams general misuse of overall toughness would seem to be a good answer.

ill take goal scoring over toughness thank you very much.

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09-09-2013, 10:43 AM
  #118
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team toughness becomes less of an issue if we are scoring goals on a regular basis.

when we score 2 goals per and lose close games, some how being or not being tough seems more relevant and perhaps an easy scapegoat.

having a lethal power play to punish other teams general misuse of overall toughness would seem to be a good answer.

ill take goal scoring over toughness thank you very much.
Why does it need to be one or the other?

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09-09-2013, 10:46 AM
  #119
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Why does it need to be one or the other?
doesnt really.

just to me "team toughness" is where so-so teams spend too much time. its kind of a catch all phrase for "were not quite good enough to contend so we need to be tougher".

i prefer to dwell in the land of "goal scoring"...

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09-09-2013, 11:13 AM
  #120
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Why does it need to be one or the other?
Players that do both are rare and expensive.

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09-09-2013, 11:18 AM
  #121
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Players that do both are rare and expensive.
All you need is one, apparently.

I mean, people drool over Boston's toughness when, in reality, Lucic is the only forward they have that can play the game at a high level and be a mean SOB.

But, as you said, these guys are rare.

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09-09-2013, 11:45 AM
  #122
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Kreider adds some physicality when he's on his game. I mean, we're lucky to have a guy like Callahan, who scores goals and hits everything. This team will be looking to improve in areas under AV (i.e. transition game) and I don't see toughness being high on his list of priorities.


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09-09-2013, 11:53 AM
  #123
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Players that do both are rare and expensive.
very true. clowe was that type of player

a guy like ovechkin comes to mind in his prime. he was brutal to play against and could score all different ways.

potentially, ck seems like that kinda player but im not so sure he really is.

ryan callahan continues to be the one guy we have had recently that consistently brings his a game every night. hes both physical and can score.

although hes really not a "tough guy goal scorer" type player

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09-09-2013, 12:25 PM
  #124
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All you need is one, apparently.

I mean, people drool over Boston's toughness when, in reality, Lucic is the only forward they have that can play the game at a high level and be a mean SOB.

But, as you said, these guys are rare.
Boychuck, Chara, Campbell, Thornton, McQuaid

Obviously Lucic has practically no equal in the league today but the team is built with toughness in mind.

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09-09-2013, 12:34 PM
  #125
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Boychuck, Chara, Campbell, Thornton, McQuaid

Obviously Lucic has practically no equal in the league today but the team is built with toughness in mind.
Theres no reason why the Rangers shouldn't be able to develop players like Boychuck, Campbell, Thornton, and McQuaid. Those guys are tough, but I don't find them to be particularly special hockey players.

And for such a big guy, I don't find Chara particularly tough.

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