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Old
05-03-2014, 09:43 AM
  #1
True Blue
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A defensive concern

For as incredible as Staal has been and for as much as Stralman has stepped up his game, I have a concern for the way that the defense plays overall.

The Pens were able to blow right past the blue line without any issue. The Rangers first line of defense seems to be the vaunted poke check. THey do nothing to slow the rush or to separate the puck from the puck carrier. That was evident on the goals last night. There were the Pens skating and there was Girardi swinging the poke check. Great if it works, but the Rangers cannot allow such easy access through their blue line.

This continues in the way that they defend Henke. It seems to me that more often than not, the D line up in front of the opposing players. Players are mostly allowed to get rebounds and 2nd and 3rd whacks at the puck. Case and point was Wayne Simmonds. I cannot believe that Ulfie would coach them this way, when he would always be behind the opposing forward knocking their helmet across their eyes.

This is not a cry for the Rangers defensemen to start to play like a Bryan Marchment or Moose Dupont. Or even a reincarnation of Ulfie. But the sheer passivity is not something that bodes well, IMO.

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05-03-2014, 09:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by True Blue View Post
For as incredible as Staal has been and for as much as Stralman has stepped up his game, I have a concern for the way that the defense plays overall.

The Pens were able to blow right past the blue line without any issue. The Rangers first line of defense seems to be the vaunted poke check. THey do nothing to slow the rush or to separate the puck from the puck carrier. That was evident on the goals last night. There were the Pens skating and there was Girardi swinging the poke check. Great if it works, but the Rangers cannot allow such easy access through their blue line.

This continues in the way that they defend Henke. It seems to me that more often than not, the D line up in front of the opposing players. Players are mostly allowed to get rebounds and 2nd and 3rd whacks at the puck. Case and point was Wayne Simmonds. I cannot believe that Ulfie would coach them this way, when he would always be behind the opposing forward knocking their helmet across their eyes.

This is not a cry for the Rangers defensemen to start to play like a Bryan Marchment or Moose Dupont. Or even a reincarnation of Ulfie. But the sheer passivity is not something that bodes well, IMO.
The Rangers are 2nd of all teams in the playoffs in GAA (http://www.nhl.com/ice/teamstats.htm...ewName=summary). I don't think defense is the concern. The PP is.

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05-03-2014, 09:50 AM
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I agree, and I think we gave them a lot of opportunities, but it's the penguins. They will always get chances. There is too much creativity on that team to get bogged down by any tactic. We just have to outscore them.

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05-03-2014, 09:52 AM
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Agreed, TB. I think a lot of it has to do with McD's injury. I haven't noticed the bottom pairing getting torched much, but I would like to see Moore replaced with Diaz.

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Old
05-03-2014, 09:52 AM
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Outside of the 2nd period, the defense controlled the game. Their gap control, for the most part, was great and - perhaps most importantly, the forwards showed a commitment of contributing on the defensive end too.

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05-03-2014, 09:57 AM
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I've always wanted the Rangers to find a good solid defenceman with more of a mean streak (way too early to say if McIlrath will be that guy, still developing). It really helps to keep the other team honest, and thinking twice when they are out against that player.
Before an avalanche of arguments arrive about avoiding your coverage responsibilities to go make a hit, I am referring to nothing of the sort.
Standing a puck carrier up in full flight is a great way to take him off the puck, and let them know that there is a price to pay.
Stralman has done a few of those, and they are really nice to see. Seasons ago, we saw some of that from Girardi. Maybe someone will complement their already responsible game with a good open ice knockdown of a Penguin. Start with Kunitz.

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05-03-2014, 09:58 AM
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Originally Posted by haohmaru View Post
The Rangers are 2nd of all teams in the playoffs in GAA (http://www.nhl.com/ice/teamstats.htm...ewName=summary). I don't think defense is the concern. The PP is.
The goals against are at least as much due to the play of Henke as it is the team defense.

I agree that the PP is a concern and that the forwards backchecking has contributed to a team defense. I just think that the D allows too much skating room in the defensive zone and too much free access to Henke.

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05-03-2014, 10:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by True Blue View Post
The goals against are at least as much due to the play of Henke as it is the team defense.

I agree that the PP is a concern and that the forwards backchecking has contributed to a team defense. I just think that the D allows too much skating room in the defensive zone and too much free access to Henke.
Hank hasn't been godly this year. He's been good as always, but it's not like he carried our defense on his back this year. Whenever there was a defensive breakdown, the other team scored nine times out of ten.

Hank was a part of our GAA of course, but our defense had much more to do with it.

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05-03-2014, 10:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by True Blue View Post
For as incredible as Staal has been and for as much as Stralman has stepped up his game, I have a concern for the way that the defense plays overall.

The Pens were able to blow right past the blue line without any issue. The Rangers first line of defense seems to be the vaunted poke check. THey do nothing to slow the rush or to separate the puck from the puck carrier. That was evident on the goals last night. There were the Pens skating and there was Girardi swinging the poke check. Great if it works, but the Rangers cannot allow such easy access through their blue line.

This continues in the way that they defend Henke. It seems to me that more often than not, the D line up in front of the opposing players. Players are mostly allowed to get rebounds and 2nd and 3rd whacks at the puck. Case and point was Wayne Simmonds. I cannot believe that Ulfie would coach them this way, when he would always be behind the opposing forward knocking their helmet across their eyes.

This is not a cry for the Rangers defensemen to start to play like a Bryan Marchment or Moose Dupont. Or even a reincarnation of Ulfie. But the sheer passivity is not something that bodes well, IMO.
I dont even think its a matter of being physical. They need to stop conceding so much space. They back up into their zone way too quickly. Sometimes they are so far back they can't even use their sticks to disrupt the play.

Pitt gives the Rangers no room at the blue line.

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05-03-2014, 10:12 AM
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The way the Pens gained the zone on both of their goals should just not happen. Someone has to take the body there. The poke check won't work on some of these high skilled guys.

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05-03-2014, 10:13 AM
  #11
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Originally Posted by trilobyte View Post
I've always wanted the Rangers to find a good solid defenceman with more of a mean streak (way too early to say if McIlrath will be that guy, still developing). It really helps to keep the other team honest, and thinking twice when they are out against that player.
Before an avalanche of arguments arrive about avoiding your coverage responsibilities to go make a hit, I am referring to nothing of the sort.
Standing a puck carrier up in full flight is a great way to take him off the puck, and let them know that there is a price to pay.
Stralman has done a few of those, and they are really nice to see. Seasons ago, we saw some of that from Girardi. Maybe someone will complement their already responsible game with a good open ice knockdown of a Penguin. Start with Kunitz.
That only works if the guy can also play beyond delivering open ice hits.
Brooks Orpik like to hit. Would you take him over Staal, McDonagh or Girardi? Hell, I might rate Stralman above him as well.
There just are not as many stay at home, heavy hitting defenseman, ala Scott Stevens, nowadays.

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05-03-2014, 10:16 AM
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Originally Posted by tbonenc View Post
That only works if the guy can also play beyond delivering open ice hits.
Brooks Orpik like to hit. Would you take him over Staal, McDonagh or Girardi? Hell, I might rate Stralman above him as well.
There just are not as many stay at home, heavy hitting defenseman, ala Scott Stevens, nowadays.
Yep, I covered that off in my post.
Orpik is not what I am talking about, but a hit is a hit. Poke checks at the right time are good, simply squeezing a player out so he runs out of road is good, and catching a player skating the puck in and dropping him is also good.
It's just a case of having more of that edge. As the OP points out, it would be useful against the Penguins, against any team. It's just another part of hockey.


Last edited by trilobyte: 05-03-2014 at 10:22 AM.
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05-03-2014, 10:39 AM
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For the majority of the game the Rangers defended very well. Third game in 4 nights and against a team with maybe the two best offensive talents in the league and I wouldn't say that Henrik had to stand on his head to win this one. He had to be very good. He didn't have to be great.

On the Stempniak goal--McDonagh got caught up ice and for some reason never really got back in the play like he usually does. That left the rest of our players scrambling for position. As the D backed in Stempniak got to the inside of Brassard with more speed on his backhand his body shielding Brassard's back check off and scored a goal. It wasn't really a weak goal on Henrik's part but 7 times out of 10 he stops that shot.

The other Pens goal was a little more controversial.

Really though if we're going to compare the Rangers D and goaltending and defense last night to the Pens D and goaltending--the Rangers were a lot better. A lot less giveaways. We did no running around in our own end--the Pens did a fair amount and Fleury did not play well at all. He often looked rattled.

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05-03-2014, 10:45 AM
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Girardi missed his man on the first goal, but McD pinched into the corner by the Pens' goal line and missed the puck and got caught. But the Rangers probably feel that they can't contest the neutral zone as much against these players that can just skate around them and probably break into the zone.

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05-03-2014, 10:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by True Blue View Post
The goals against are at least as much due to the play of Henke as it is the team defense.

I agree that the PP is a concern and that the forwards backchecking has contributed to a team defense. I just think that the D allows too much skating room in the defensive zone and too much free access to Henke.
Oh yes the tactic of everyone that wants to talk about how much the team sucks, blame Hank. He's barely been tested these playoffs outside of period 2 last night and game 6.

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05-03-2014, 11:43 AM
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Originally Posted by haohmaru View Post
The Rangers are 2nd of all teams in the playoffs in GAA (http://www.nhl.com/ice/teamstats.htm...ewName=summary). I don't think defense is the concern. The PP is.
Although the Rangers 2.25 GA/Game average is quite an accomplishment. The team may need to shave that figure slightly south of 2.00 to compensate for a a little issue that is not being addressed, the Ranger's awesome "Power" Play as of late. The D better step it up, and Lundys gotta earn that contract.

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05-03-2014, 11:54 AM
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Honestly Lundqvist hasnt been tested that much these playoffs. The D has been very good even with McD playing like garbage.

You really can't defend everything to perfection. Slot coverage hasn't totally killed us, it has thrown more grade A chances Henriks way though. But he can at least see them.

I thought this team has done a good job keeping the crease clear all year. You're not always going to keep it clean, and things like Wayne Simmonds hat trick will happen. Just can't defend everything all the time.

It's definitely weird to complain about this when the Rangers have the 2nd beat GAA of any team in the playoffs, though.

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05-03-2014, 12:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Raspewtin View Post
Honestly Lundqvist hasnt been tested that much these playoffs. The D has been very good even with McD playing like garbage.

You really can't defend everything to perfection. Slot coverage hasn't totally killed us, it has thrown more grade A chances Henriks way though. But he can at least see them.

I thought this team has done a good job keeping the crease clear all year. You're not always going to keep it clean, and things like Wayne Simmonds hat trick will happen. Just can't defend everything all the time.

It's definitely weird to complain about this when the Rangers have the 2nd beat GAA of any team in the playoffs, though.
Duh!

This series is already a lock. We have to worry about the next round, where we will face the Bruins.

The Bruins have the 1st best GA/Game average, so team defense and nothing else will stand in our trip to the finals. AV has to stop pulling red-eyes about this power play, so he can work on tightening up the D.

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05-03-2014, 12:35 PM
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Originally Posted by ReggieDunlop68 View Post
Although the Rangers 2.25 GA/Game average is quite an accomplishment. The team may need to shave that figure slightly south of 2.00 to compensate for a a little issue that is not being addressed, the Ranger's awesome "Power" Play as of late. The D better step it up, and Lundys gotta earn that contract.
What do you think "PP" stood for in my sentence, exactly?

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05-03-2014, 12:58 PM
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The Penguins gained easy entry when the Rangers made bad pinches or turned the puck over in the middle of the ice. Mac Truck needs to make some better reads this series, because the over speed of the Pens is much better than the Flyers.

J.Moore needs to make sure pucks get in deep and along the boards, instead of making a Matt Gilroy type of play. Other than that, the Rangers were solid last night on D.

Basically, the Rangers defense can't allow the Pens to counter transition because they are much faster than the Flyers and will burn you off the rush like they did on both their goals.

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05-03-2014, 01:26 PM
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I'm more troubled that they let a man just stand in front of the net wide open until the pass gets there.

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05-03-2014, 04:03 PM
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I dont even think its a matter of being physical. They need to stop conceding so much space. They back up into their zone way too quickly. Sometimes they are so far back they can't even use their sticks to disrupt the play.
That is also right. I think that to only defend via the pokecheck goes hand in hand with conceding space.
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Pitt gives the Rangers no room at the blue line.
Nor did Philly. That the Rangers can only generate offense via the rush is another concern, but a topic for a different thread.

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05-03-2014, 04:07 PM
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Oh yes the tactic of everyone that wants to talk about how much the team sucks, blame Hank.
Not sure I am getting this. The tactic of everyone who wants to describe the Rangers as sucking is to blame Henke? Where do you see that?
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He's barely been tested these playoffs outside of period 2 last night and game 6.
You are right. He has not had to make a tough save in 8 games. Right.

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05-03-2014, 04:09 PM
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It's definitely weird to complain about this when the Rangers have the 2nd beat GAA of any team in the playoffs, though.
Is this where this board had gotten to? That any discussion about a weakness or deficiency is viewed as strict complaining?

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05-03-2014, 05:27 PM
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Is this where this board had gotten to? That any discussion about a weakness or deficiency is viewed as strict complaining?
Good thing I didnt say that, like at all.

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