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The Rangers' biggest problem is split personality disorder

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Old
03-31-2008, 12:08 PM
  #1
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The Rangers' biggest problem is split personality disorder

This is a subject I've long been considering - and we talk around it a fair amount on these boards, but I don't think there's ever been a thread devoted to the subject. IMO the biggest problem the Rangers have (and what I think will keep them from being a Stanley Cup team this year) is that our roster suffers from split personality disorder.

Team 1 was centered around Jagr and was supplemented with signings coming out of the lockout and the subsequent offseason. It is a puck possession, perimeter, east-west team that holds the puck and builds for the perfect shot. A lot of the defensive prowess comes from a) the fact that they hold the puck so long and b) relying on a quality goalie to pick up the slack on the inevitable turnover. Team 2 has been building in the draft since '04 and Sather started making moves at the NHL level to add to it basically beginning with the Avery trade, continuing into the big offseason FA signings. It is a defensively responsible team that generates offense off the counterattack or an aggressive forecheck and takes the play to the net for the shot.

Team 1 is built around Jagr's skill set and adds complementary players. The forwards are not particularly fast and don't hit much, but they're incredibly agile, excellent passers and can stickhandle through a crowded subway car. The defensemen basically play the same game as the forwards: running a five man weave of passing in the offensive zone with the goal of feeding the forwards for the perfect shot; on defense, focusing on filling the lanes and outletting to begin the en-masse approach up the ice.

Team 2 is built on speed, checking and north-south play. The goal is to cover in your own end and then break back the other way for the shot. If you don't score, forecheck your ass off and take it to the net for the shot again. The forwards are fast, hit and take the shot when it presents itself rather than building the play. On defense, there is less difference between team 1 and team 2 - the goal is still to be positionally sound and to make smart breakout passes, but more hitting is expected and on the breakout the goal is to feed the forward line for the fast break rather than moving up more slowly as a five man unit. When setting up in the zone, bomb, bomb, bomb away from the point rather than intricate passing.

Now, to be fair, I honestly believe that Jagr and his crew have done their best to buy into Renney's system, but I believe they are fundamentally unsuited to it due to their natural skill sets, the instincts they've developed over decades of playing the "team 1" game and, to be brutally honest, their ages. I think the combination of the two teams, when things are going well, works great. Unfortunately, when the team gets frustrated, team 1 shows a tendency to revert back to their preferred styles - and you get dysfunctional, disjointed play between the Team 1 contingent and the team 2 group. I think yesterday's game was a perfect example of this phenomenon, especially in the 3rd period as they were running out of time.

As a result, I think the Rangers can win a couple of rounds in the POs with the current team, but won't be ready for the Cup until we have a single team identity. (And hey, I hope I'm wrong about that!) That's not to say that all the "team 1" players have to go immediately, but so long as they play SUCH a prominent role on the team, I think they will be unable to go all the way against more cohesively-structured teams. Here's my analysis of the skaters and where they fit. Not surpirsingly, you'll note a huge divide between the players at or under 31 and the players over 31. You'll also note that by now most of the players fit into team 2 - however, in terms of important TOI, team 1 is disproportionally represented.

Blair Betts 28 - team 2 (but not as relevant as he is a 4th line player, which will generally play team 2's style in either system)
Chris Drury 31 - the perfect team 2 player
Brandon Dubinsky 21 - team 1/team 2 (ideally a team 2 guy, but can play team 1 because he's so strong on the puck)
Scott Gomez 28 - team 1/team 2 (has the skill to play team 1 style, but speed and years of training in the Devils system make him more suited for team 2)
Sean Avery 27 - team 2
Nigel Dawes 23 - team 2
Ryan Hollweg 24 - team 2 (but ineffectually)
Petr Prucha 25 - team 1/team 2 (would love with all his heart to play team 2's style, but is simply too small - and is therefore only effective when playing a team 1 style game with a guy like Jagr who draws multiple coverage)
Brendan Shanahan 39 - team 1 (at one time would have been even more of the poster boy for team 2 than Drury, but age and diminishing skills have made it such that he an only be effective in the other category - in a strange way he is now playing a game similar to Pruchs)
Martin Straka 35 - team 1
Ryan Callahan 23 - team 2
Jaromir Jagr 36 - team 1
Colton Orr 26 - team 1/team 2 (he's ineffective as a player in either system, but serves a somewhat useful regular season purpose as an enforcer - also in either system)
Fredrik Sjostrom 24 - team 2

Christian Backman 27 - team 1/team 2 (kind of like the Gomez of the D corps - has the skill for team 1, but appears to prefer team 2 style)
Daniel Girardi 23 - team 1/team 2 (plays the positionally sound D game that works in either system; on offense shows a penchant for the passing game - including the turnovers at the blue line it can create - as well as the bomb from the point game)
Marek Malik 32 - team 1
Paul Mara 28 - team 2
Michal Rozsival 29 - team 1
Marc Staal 21 - team 2
Jason Strudwick 32 - team 1 (like the Shanahan of the D corps - natural game more suited to team 2, but age - I was shocked to see he's only 32! - and lack of speed mean he has to play team 1 style.)
Fedor Tyutin 24 - team 2

Don't misunderstand me - I think the total talent is there to take the Cup. I just think that the fundamental split in styles will undermine the team at some point, especially the first time they run into serious difficulties. I sincerely hope I'm wrong!

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Old
03-31-2008, 12:18 PM
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I Am Chariot
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Interesting points.

But really the Rangers BIGGEST problem is taking bad penalties.

They play a clean game they win

They give up 6-8+ PP opportunities they lose

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03-31-2008, 12:26 PM
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I don't think anyone talks around it, we're all on the same pasge, you just went so far as to give it a diagnosis and break it down piece by piece (which I thought was good). And, yeah, it's what we've seen all season - a half-fast/half-slow, seemingly tentative, barely good enough team that we're able to make contrasts to 1998, but not quite good enough to do much else.

We never should've traded Dominic Moore

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03-31-2008, 12:48 PM
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Firstly, there is no such thing as split personality disorder. It's called Dissociative Identity Disorder. (I knew a BA in Psychology had to be good for something.)

Secondly, I agree with most of your analysis. There is this tension on the team between building for Jagr and building a Buffalo-style (last year's team, not this year's Sabres) team based on a balanced attack, speed, and a hard forecheck.

I don't think there is a set of "Jagr players," though. I think it's Jagr and a set of players that let Jagr affect how they play. Rozsival, Malik, and Prucha could play on a Buffalo-style team. Straka probably could as well, but he'd be more of a defensive forward at this point in his career. But when these players are on the ice with Jagr, they try to play a complimentary style to him. That was fine when Jagr was scoring 100 points. Now, it seems like a detriment.

What I'm trying to say, in my roundabout way, is that unless Jagr (this probably applies to Shanahan as well) has a monster playoff, it may be time to cut ties with the old guard and build the team on the Buffalo model. The problem is that I would like to add a top line forward if Jagr goes, and Hossa just does not do it for me. I believe Cammalleri is still on the trade block. I don't know who else is available.

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03-31-2008, 12:49 PM
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Another interesting point on this subject is that there are certain players squarely in the team 2 camp that can sometimes get sucked into the team 1 style when Jagr & co. revert back. The classic example is Avery.

When he is playing well, he is going dead-on to the net. There are times that I find myself screaming at the TV for Avery to pass on a 2-on-1 when he (seemingly selfishly) takes it directly to the net - but, you know what? The team generally wins those games.

When he plays poorly he's stopping at the blue line, making cross ice passes in the neutral zone, etc. He's given us a couple of game-losing examples recently.

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03-31-2008, 12:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrooklynRangersFan View Post
I think the total talent is there to take the Cup. I just think that the fundamental split in styles will undermine the team at some point, especially the first time they run into serious difficulties.
I disagree with conclusion. This is not soccer, not even the basketball. The personnel changes entirely every minute or so. When 4th line yields the ice to 1st line we see the different Rangers. If so, then entirely different style in various player sets is not impossible. It is simply hard to manage. But if you do manage such a thing you may be more successful then Devils where 1st and 4th look like second or 3rd more or less. I think part of Renney success comes from "split personality". When you play against the Rangers you don't know what you getting next minute. The problem with what you call team 1 is w/o Jarg we can't have any. Jagr was absent yesterday and Pittsburgh knew how to handle team 2 well.

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03-31-2008, 12:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kodiak View Post
Firstly, there is no such thing as split personality disorder. It's called Dissociative Identity Disorder. (I knew a BA in Psychology had to be good for something.)
Hey, at least I knew enough not to call it schizophrenia.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kodiak View Post
Secondly, I agree with most of your analysis. There is this tension on the team between building for Jagr and building a Buffalo-style (last year's team, not this year's Sabres) team based on a balanced attack, speed, and a hard forecheck.

I don't think there is a set of "Jagr players," though. I think it's Jagr and a set of players that let Jagr affect how they play. Rozsival, Malik, and Prucha could play on a Buffalo-style team. Straka probably could as well, but he'd be more of a defensive forward at this point in his career. But when these players are on the ice with Jagr, they try to play a complimentary style to him. That was fine when Jagr was scoring 100 points. Now, it seems like a detriment.

What I'm trying to say, in my roundabout way, is that unless Jagr (this probably applies to Shanahan as well) has a monster playoff, it may be time to cut ties with the old guard and build the team on the Buffalo model. The problem is that I would like to add a top line forward if Jagr goes, and Hossa just does not do it for me. I believe Cammalleri is still on the trade block. I don't know who else is available.
100% agreed. The one thing is - can you bring in Hossa and make him play that style? I would imagine that he's more moldable than Jags. Or is there someone else that we can get from another team in a trade? Or do we - like Buffalo - hand the responsibility off to the kids and see how they do? Vanek doesn't become Vanek unless he gets the opportunity...

By no means an easy problem.

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03-31-2008, 12:56 PM
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I think you are spot on with this Brooklyn.

Whether the majority of posters here have touched on it or not (i've seen a few, including myself who have touched on this but never started a unique thread) - you can't deny what you are offering here.

With the departure of Nylander and the signing of Gomez and Drury over the summer, it was discussed how the style of this team would change, but we are seeing the progression and tapering of both "teams" (1 and 2 as you put them).

In my mind your theory is magnified on the PP, when the skilled players from Team 1 and 2 try to achieve a common goal - SCORING.

I think a lot of teams in the NHL deal with the personality issue, but the Rangers might deal with it on a greater scale because they consist of probably one of the most unique star players in the league with Jagr.

With Jagrs departure, (and the players brought in to "support" him, ie Straka, Malik...) one hopes that this trend will end and things will even themselves out into team 2.

But i wholeheartedly agree with this and i think its one of the more insightful posts we've seen on here in while amidst all the usual threads that pop up.

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03-31-2008, 01:00 PM
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This is precisely why Renney is one of the best coaching candidates for this team also.

A guy like Sutter would either request a full on roster change from Jagr on down, or would have battled them to no end to get them to assimilate.

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03-31-2008, 01:04 PM
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Petr Prucha 25 - team 1/team 2 (would love with all his heart to play team 2's style, but is simply too small - and is therefore only effective when playing a team 1 style game with a guy like Jagr who draws multiple coverage)
poor prucha. he try's so hard

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03-31-2008, 01:05 PM
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this was brought up by me numerous times early in the season, if the team comes together it can still work.

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03-31-2008, 01:22 PM
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Originally Posted by 51tyutin51 View Post
this was brought up by me numerous times early in the season, if the team comes together it can still work.
i said this about 2 months ago lol.....so i absolutely agree...jagr and shanahan seem to be the real problems with the forward corps and they bring down the top two lines...yes, the score every now and then but why do you think they arent scoring like they used to...because the team isnt molded around them anymore....the team no longer runs through them.....i want with all my heart to switch to the team 2 style........

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03-31-2008, 01:26 PM
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I disagree with conclusion. This is not soccer, not even the basketball. The personnel changes entirely every minute or so. When 4th line yields the ice to 1st line we see the different Rangers. If so, then entirely different style in various player sets is not impossible. It is simply hard to manage. But if you do manage such a thing you may be more successful then Devils where 1st and 4th look like second or 3rd more or less. I think part of Renney success comes from "split personality". When you play against the Rangers you don't know what you getting next minute. The problem with what you call team 1 is w/o Jarg we can't have any. Jagr was absent yesterday and Pittsburgh knew how to handle team 2 well.
I might buy this if you were talking about distinct lines that payed distinct styles making one multifaceted whole - kind of the traditional hockey that one remembers from the 70s-80s. However, what we've got here is a team where 80% has one identity and the other 20% has a different, not very complementary identity. And because of who they are and the responsibility that they take on the team, the 20% can wrench the rest of the team off course - and when that happens, they lose.

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03-31-2008, 01:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrooklynRangersFan View Post
I might buy this if you were talking about distinct lines that payed distinct styles making one multifaceted whole - kind of the traditional hockey that one remembers from the 70s-80s. However, what we've got here is a team where 80% has one identity and the other 20% has a different, not very complementary identity. And because of who they are and the responsibility that they take on the team, the 20% can wrench the rest of the team off course - and when that happens, they lose.
exactly right

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03-31-2008, 01:40 PM
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This can be done/said about most teams in the league, not sure this adds anything new.

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03-31-2008, 02:28 PM
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This can be done/said about most teams in the league, not sure this adds anything new.
Well, just looking at our conference, I would say that Pittsburgh, Montreal, New Jersey, Ottawa and Buffalo all play a consistent game with at least their first 3 lines, if not all 4.

And, not coincidentally in my eyes, 4 of the 5 are ahead of us in the standing (and the one that isn't is only 5 points behind, despite getting completely stripped of their best players in the offseason).

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03-31-2008, 02:35 PM
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inconsistency.

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03-31-2008, 02:45 PM
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Well, just looking at our conference, I would say that Pittsburgh, Montreal, New Jersey, Ottawa and Buffalo all play a consistent game with at least their first 3 lines, if not all 4.

And, not coincidentally in my eyes, 4 of the 5 are ahead of us in the standing (and the one that isn't is only 5 points behind, despite getting completely stripped of their best players in the offseason).
How convienent.

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03-31-2008, 02:47 PM
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Originally Posted by BrooklynRangersFan View Post
I might buy this if you were talking about distinct lines that payed distinct styles making one multifaceted whole - kind of the traditional hockey that one remembers from the 70s-80s. However, what we've got here is a team where 80% has one identity and the other 20% has a different, not very complementary identity. And because of who they are and the responsibility that they take on the team, the 20% can wrench the rest of the team off course - and when that happens, they lose.
Team1 is your best players. The only reason you've got other 80% is that top level is in short supply. Unless you're Pittsbugh. Malkin, Crosby & Co are all team1 players we just put up with older folks in JJ, Straka and now Dubi looks like one. That is why, BTW, Dubinski is a Cadler candidate and Avery never was.

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03-31-2008, 02:53 PM
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How convienent.
Um, yeah - it is. It does a pretty good job of proving my point.

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03-31-2008, 02:59 PM
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Um, yeah - it is. It does a pretty good job of proving my point.
Its still opinion, what you are presenting is not fact.

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03-31-2008, 03:01 PM
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why is it a problem to have both teams within ONE team? could be dangerous

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03-31-2008, 03:07 PM
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Quote:
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why is it a problem to have both teams within ONE team? could be dangerous
your right, they can be dangerous, WHEN they play like they can.

like my post above, inconsistency.

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03-31-2008, 03:12 PM
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Its still opinion, what you are presenting is not fact.
Okay, I'm not understanding.

I say that the Rangers' problem is disjointed style of play, where different team members are pulling in opposite directions. As evidence of the fact that a cosistent style of play helps teams' results in competition, I cite the fact that many teams ahead of the Rangers (including the three best in the conference) all do not have this problem... and you don't see a connection?

Outside of somehow warping the universe and having the same collection of players play against each other using different styles, what better evidence could I offer?

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03-31-2008, 03:12 PM
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I disagree. I think it's a good thing that this team has players that can play different styles.
On paper it should allow us to be competitive against any style of team we may face in the playoffs.

We have proven this year that we can play with anyone and all styles of Hockey. Be it Jerseys style of making few mistakes and grinding it out.
Be it the fast and furious play of Montreal and Carolina.

IMO, the biggest problem with this team is that there is so much talent that it allows each player to coast.
No one player is absolutely critical to team success and because of that our players appear to have a '' oh well, if I dont do it, he'll do it'' mentality.

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