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Team Toughness II

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Old
12-05-2013, 01:07 PM
  #76
mandiblesofdoom
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Interesting thread. We got pushed around by Boston ... one hopes McIlrath can add something here.

But Boston - man, what a team. Chara plays half the game and he fills the enforcer role.

I'm not wild about getting guys that can fight but can't play. You need players who can do both, which are not easy to find, of course. Maybe letting Prust go was a mistake. That role has been unfilled since he's been gone. Asham maybe is the closest they've come.

The Bruins have several players like this.

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Old
12-05-2013, 01:19 PM
  #77
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Originally Posted by NGgator60 View Post
I've lurked long enough (I go back to the pre-9/11/01 days of HFboards when we had single line threads) while holding my tongue due to time constraints but after reading some of the patently false narratives as of late, coupled with the Rangers' pathetic performance on the ice I felt the need to speak up.


The "cheapshot deterrent" argument has some merit but to me is tertiary to the main tenet of fighting and toughness in hockey; promoting a culture of brotherhood within the team. Fighting and physical play promote this. Again, the overwhelming majority of NHL players support fighting in hockey. I'll defer to them and enjoy a more entertaining product as a fan but I digress...

I'm a fan who's hockey acumen developed right at the dawn of our most recent "glory years" which culminated in an ECF loss to the Flyers in 97. This of course ushered in the dark ages of Rangers hockey. As I saw the Kamensky’s, the Fleury’s, the Driver’s, and their ilk sully the ice on the 7th floor of MSG I learned quickly that there was much more to hockey than goals, assists, skating, and the scoreboard at the end of one game. Many of our dark aged teams were constructed to excel in those areas yet these rosters remained fatally flawed. The Rangers were being built to play in a vacuum devoid of human emotion, psychology, and without appreciating the “war” rather than the “battle.”

NHL hockey is a game in which the collective wills and talents of a locker room must build and culminate throughout a season to peak at just the right time. It comes down to establishing an identity that can win and being able to execute on that identity in the harshest of circumstances. The Ranger teams in years past never had an identity or never had the horses to win with the identity that they attempted to emulate (2011 being the closest we came). The mental aspect of this is just as important, and perhaps I’d argue even more important, than the physical skill necessary to score goals. This is why we often see hockey seasons morph into wars of attrition where the best teams will sacrifice games over the course of the season in order to further build the identity that will help lead them to their ultimate goal of a Cup. The Bruins would be glad to sacrifice a late-November game against the Rangers in order to instill a physical fear in the Rangers and a camaraderie in their locker room that will pay dividends going forward.

This is where fighting and physical play become integral in the successful development of a team; teammates that can look at one another down the line and know that they have the will and ability to defend each others' honor when called upon will likewise lay themselves on the line to further the interests of the team. Its human psychology at its most rudimentary level. We can discuss the impact of a physical team culture on camaraderie, intimidation over opponents, and so on but I must say it really is common sense when looked at logically.

Again, there is a reason why every little gnat on Boston seems to play a bit bigger and skate with a sense of entitlement each time they step on the ice. They know that when the Brian Boyle's of the world attempt to exert a bit of fortitude against them they have a legion of guys, including their captain, willing to demonstrate that the ice is theirs. And while our fans gleefully exclaim when Chara is off the ice for 5 minutes (a loser's mentality, I might add), the Bruins gladly accept the short-term Chara for Boyle tradeoff for the long-run benefit of furthering their identity while demonstrating physical superiority over their opponents.

There are those that do not have the capacity to grasp or the will to understand the concept of the mental idiosyncrasies of athletes, human beings, to affect the outcome of sport through a season long campaign. These folks do not understand hockey at its most fundamental level. These folks see every game in a vacuum and think that the team with the fastest skaters, most precise shooters, and highest score total at the end of the game will win the championship. Thankfully that is not the game that I have grown to love.

The beauty of hockey is that there are so many different ways to win and compete. The one constant of all championship teams that maintained success over multiple seasons was that they never went too extreme in one team-building direction, rather they had a bit of everything (toughness, skill, speed, offense-defense-goaltending) while still emphasizing their key identity.

'the night was sultry

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12-05-2013, 01:34 PM
  #78
Mikos87
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Originally Posted by broadwayblue View Post
5 - 7? Unless you're talking replacing the entire 4th line and 3rd pairing that's a lot of spots to fill. Personally I think 2 or 3 additions can make this team a legit contender.
Yes if those 3 additions address the teams biggest needs. For example:

Kane- Young top 6 scoring winger, power forward type, size, toughness
Byfuglien- Top 4 offensive defensman, crease clearer, size, toughness
Thorburn- Size, Toughness on the 4th line. Respected pugilist, knows when to step up and try and change momentum, not an only defend type of guy.


Brassard
Del Zotto
Dorsett

Plus a premium of

Hrivik
Skjei
1st
2nd

I think WPG would have to be in dire straights to agree to something like that. Especially since they might get more by trading Kane and Buff in separate packages.

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12-05-2013, 02:15 PM
  #79
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Boston would be the team that had the luxury of having Bergeron on the second line and Seguin often on the third line. Their 4th line may have been the best in the league last year.

I would point to that as the primary reason for their success. You would point to Scott Thornton as the reason.

Rangers also had no equivalent players to Krejci and Lucic on the first line.

Team toughness matters. Fighting doesn't. Some people say it does but I never see any proof of it. The last time it was like that was in Philly, 40 or so years ago.
My point would be that it's not just one of the other, it's a mix of the two. And it's not an accident. It is something that Boston and several other teams work on as a primary focus: drafting, signing or acquiring players that will give them the best mix of Skill and Toughness.

People here (not you necessarily) make it seem like this is some miracle that teams stumble into. It's about the focus and mentality of your organization.

With these discussions I find myself thinking about Rick Middleton. He was a classic Rangers forward, skilled but on the small side. And he was traded to Boston and became a much more effective player.

NOT exclusively because he was surrounded by a much tougher team. He worked at it. Rounded out his game and became a much more complete player. But if we ignore the reality that his team mates played a role in his success, we're continuing to kid ourselves.

Middleton was a great example of a solid skill player surrounded by team mates who not only had his back, but also had the ability to punish opponents simply for being on the ice.

When was the last time the Rangers had that kind of team?

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12-05-2013, 02:28 PM
  #80
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Originally Posted by chosen View Post
Boston would be the team that had the luxury of having Bergeron on the second line and Seguin often on the third line. Their 4th line may have been the best in the league last year.

I would point to that as the primary reason for their success. You would point to Scott Thornton as the reason.

Rangers also had no equivalent players to Krejci and Lucic on the first line.

Team toughness matters. Fighting doesn't. Some people say it does but I never see any proof of it. The last time it was like that was in Philly, 40 or so years ago.
I think that I agree for the most part. Boston is sort of a difficult example for us to discuss because they simply are one of the most solidly constructed teams that I can remember from their top lines, to their bottom lines, to their defense, to their goaltending. They really do offer something for fans of any style of hockey. Again, I think the real takeaway from the Bruins is that they clearly have an identity that began when they signed Chara and they've continued to supplement it.

I dont think that the Rangers need 5-7 players to immediately begin to change/develop a sustainable culture because I know that it isnt realistic to immediately find more than one or two players capable of adding toughness with enough offense to justify a role on anything other than the 4th. I value toughness, which I feel inherently involves the occassional fight, but even I'm not crazy enough to suggest adding more than one or two players that provide little more than hitting, fists, and a snarl. Over time it would be terrific to develop the Neil's, Lucic's, Simmonds', etc that we can reasonably expect to excel in a larger role but for the time being give me a guy like Bickel on the 4th and McIlrath on the blueline if he's ready and I think we're on the right path.

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12-05-2013, 02:29 PM
  #81
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Originally Posted by Pizza View Post
My point would be that it's not just one of the other, it's a mix of the two. And it's not an accident. It is something that Boston and several other teams work on as a primary focus: drafting, signing or acquiring players that will give them the best mix of Skill and Toughness.

People here (not you necessarily) make it seem like this is some miracle that teams stumble into. It's about the focus and mentality of your organization.

When was the last time the Rangers had that kind of team?
Terrific post

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12-05-2013, 03:05 PM
  #82
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Originally Posted by Pizza View Post
My point would be that it's not just one of the other, it's a mix of the two. And it's not an accident. It is something that Boston and several other teams work on as a primary focus: drafting, signing or acquiring players that will give them the best mix of Skill and Toughness.

People here (not you necessarily) make it seem like this is some miracle that teams stumble into. It's about the focus and mentality of your organization.

With these discussions I find myself thinking about Rick Middleton. He was a classic Rangers forward, skilled but on the small side. And he was traded to Boston and became a much more effective player.

NOT exclusively because he was surrounded by a much tougher team. He worked at it. Rounded out his game and became a much more complete player. But if we ignore the reality that his team mates played a role in his success, we're continuing to kid ourselves.

Middleton was a great example of a solid skill player surrounded by team mates who not only had his back, but also had the ability to punish opponents simply for being on the ice.

When was the last time the Rangers had that kind of team?
1994, and it put us back 20 years because we gave up great players to win the cup.

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12-05-2013, 08:32 PM
  #83
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This team is so boring to watch outside of 5 or 5 players.

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12-05-2013, 09:54 PM
  #84
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I definitely wish the games had more emotion. Tonight was pretty lifeless.

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12-05-2013, 10:15 PM
  #85
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We might be starting a new trend...We are so soft and gritless why would teams dress tough guys against us? We have nobody to drop the gloves sans little Dorsett...We are the new Red Wings of years past without the talent...

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12-05-2013, 10:39 PM
  #86
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Originally Posted by ponzu4u View Post
Great post NGgator60, well thought out and I couldn't agree more.

Truly not trying to be inflammatory or anything, but now that the conversation has progressed a little, I was wondering about a little clarification from some of those who may be in the "opposition" to this thread, whatever that may mean.

The thread isn't titled, "Don't add skill only add toughness", and what appear to be the most offensive ideas in the thread were pretty much centered around adding a pure fighter to the 4th line or 3rd pair, which really doesn't constitute much of a loss of skill for toughness.

On top of that, I can't recall anyone actually denying that there are other areas that the Rangers also need to improve on.

Now, as a consensus seems to be developing around the idea that rather than just add a goon, the Rangers need to improve on team-wide toughness, I just wanted to follow up and see if that's still something that some people in this thread think is misguided and unnecessary, or if that's something they think the Rangers should actually try and improve while concurrently improving the teams goal scoring ability?

Like, am I crazy to think if we're going to add a top-6 player, he really needs to have plus size? Is NGgator wrong when he says that he believes Boston's smaller players play bigger and find more room on the ice because of their confidence in the physical support of their teammates? If we acknowledge that there are other problems with the roster, are we still misguided in thinking that a perceived lack of toughness throughout the lineup may actually be negatively hindering the team AS WELL AS the lack of goal scoring? Do you guys think the lineup is fine as is, but for a St.Louis or Skinner type in the top 6?

Sorry for putting words in anyone's mouth, just kind of wondering if we might be able to all agree that the Ranger's would benefit the most from improving toughness alongside our goal-scoring. And if so, what are some realistic ways or players we could target that could potentially add some degree of both of those things not just at the bottom or top but throughout the line-up.
With the combination of NGgator and this post are we heading to a summation that we need to start over(partial rebuild)?

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12-05-2013, 10:45 PM
  #87
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As an example of this....Yesterday the Habs signed FA Jack Nevins who is captain of the PEI Islanders in the Q . He is 6ft 2 and about 210 now and going at a point a game clip and likes the rough stuff...he got a 3 year deal and was also wooed by Ottawa...now there s a guy we should have been all over . That type of guy is more to be found in the Canadian Junior Leagues than US college...am I right or wrong on that ??? I think we need an overhaul in our scouting . http://www.habsworld.net/article.php?id=3266
I bet Sather wasn't even interested.

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12-05-2013, 10:51 PM
  #88
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Originally Posted by Pizza View Post
This is the same old refrain repeated like a broken record around here.

Again, no one said it's easy. But it becomes impossible when you don't even try to focus on it. A miserable failure by this franchise going back decades and a question I am happy to discuss perhaps endlessly.

But we need to ask ourselves a question that I'll ask you:

Why has this team only won one Stanley Cup in the last 74 years?

You know what I think is one of the main reasons is but I'm curious what you think.
The Rangers and MSG should have separate owners.

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12-05-2013, 10:54 PM
  #89
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Originally Posted by surf View Post
...and all the pre season love for Pouliet ...I hate to say I told u so but I did...I said he would never make it past game 50 here this year...He needs to go for a young mean SOB 3rd liner who will punish
Nobody wants him. I'll settle for a funnelcake.

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12-05-2013, 10:58 PM
  #90
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Have the Rangers won a fight this year or do we always get pounded. I hate seeing us fight because I know that our guys are gonna get there butts kicked. Dorsett tries but he isn't gonna beat anyone. Boyle would lose to Martin St. Louis in a fight. Callahan can't even beat Maxim Talbot. It hated listening to the announcers say after Sesito hit Del Zotto show me someone who is gonna do anything about it. He knows the Rangers aren't gonna do anything except Dorsett who he could beat with one hand behind his back. We are to soft and will not go for with the Charmin team
When the rangers have a day off and are hanging out together and are playing NHL 13, what teams are they picking to play?

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12-05-2013, 11:05 PM
  #91
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Originally Posted by Pizza View Post
My point would be that it's not just one of the other, it's a mix of the two. And it's not an accident. It is something that Boston and several other teams work on as a primary focus: drafting, signing or acquiring players that will give them the best mix of Skill and Toughness.

People here (not you necessarily) make it seem like this is some miracle that teams stumble into. It's about the focus and mentality of your organization.

With these discussions I find myself thinking about Rick Middleton. He was a classic Rangers forward, skilled but on the small side. And he was traded to Boston and became a much more effective player.

NOT exclusively because he was surrounded by a much tougher team. He worked at it. Rounded out his game and became a much more complete player. But if we ignore the reality that his team mates played a role in his success, we're continuing to kid ourselves.

Middleton was a great example of a solid skill player surrounded by team mates who not only had his back, but also had the ability to punish opponents simply for being on the ice.

When was the last time the Rangers had that kind of team?
What was never Alex?

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12-05-2013, 11:18 PM
  #92
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Pyatt used to throw them back in Phoenix. What happened?

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12-05-2013, 11:45 PM
  #93
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What was never Alex?
One cup in 74 years. My work here is done.

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12-06-2013, 12:17 AM
  #94
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Pyatt used to throw them back in Phoenix. What happened?
he signed with the Rangers. whatever grit he had disappeared

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12-06-2013, 10:20 AM
  #95
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When was the last time the Rangers had that kind of team?
The closest was 2011-2012.

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12-06-2013, 10:22 AM
  #96
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We are the new Red Wings of years past without the talent...
Those 'Wings teams personified the concept of team toughness

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12-06-2013, 10:29 AM
  #97
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Lack of intensity has been pretty noticeable this year. Even against rivals they have looked kind of blah.

Kreider and Zucc's engagement level have improved but everyone else plays like they have taken a Valium. Cally used to set the tone by delivering a big hit and being effective on the forecheck, seems like ages since he has done this.

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12-06-2013, 10:29 AM
  #98
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The Wings of the past few years are widely considered the softest team in the league..



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Those 'Wings teams personified the concept of team toughness

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12-06-2013, 10:44 AM
  #99
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Lack of intensity has been pretty noticeable this year. Even against rivals they have looked kind of blah.

Kreider and Zucc's engagement level have improved but everyone else plays like they have taken a Valium. Cally used to set the tone by delivering a big hit and being effective on the forecheck, seems like ages since he has done this.
i cant remember when was the last time he has done this... he is either playing hurt or breaking down at a rapid pace either way id trade him at the deadline if not signed.. i can see him walking at the years end.

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12-06-2013, 11:33 AM
  #100
Orr Nightmare
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i cant remember when was the last time he has done this... he is either playing hurt or breaking down at a rapid pace either way id trade him at the deadline if not signed.. i can see him walking at the years end.
Cally always had protection...Bickel, Rupp, Prust, even Dubi...now he has Zucc.

I would say Zucc is our grittiest player

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