A New York Minute Part I: New York Rangers Preview


Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

I always try and do my best to pay close attention to other teams. Although the Red Wings are exclusively my #1 favorite team forever, I like hockey too much to only follow one team. But when I started trying to put together a preview for an original six team, I started to realize I may not be the best source of information for the New York Rangers. Readers of Octopus Thrower deserve the very best, so I did the only thing a truly professional writer that takes pride in his work would do- convince someone else to do it for me! I contacted a Long Island radio personality at the Champions Radio Network and good friend of mine, Nick Pearl. He’s a New York Rangers die hard and he took the time to tell us everything there is to know about the Ranger’s season thus far.

Lundqvist has really been struggling this year. What’s to blame? Starting the season on the road? New pad regulations? New coach who’s system isn’t built on blocking shots suddenly exposing him as average?

"Lundqvist has had struggles for a couple reasons. I believe the pad regulations are a small issue which is why we have seen some soft goals by him (but we have seen a lot of other good goalies give up softies this year) but not the main reason.The bigger issue is the lack of shot blocking under the new system. It’s not that he is average, we have seen him still be the king but it’s that he is facing over 40 shots a game. Doesn’t matter who you are, no one can stop that many shots night in and night out. Also he has faced a lot of tough chances, while softy goals have accrued he has faced a lot of one on one and wide open in the slot.The Rangers defensively have struggled with man to man coverage and picking up the open men in front of the net. The Rangers top two defensmen Girardi (-7) & McDonagh (-4) are combined -11 on the season. Well off the marks of previous seasons specially McDonagh who was +16,+25,+13 his first three seasons."

Speaking of coaches, Alain Vigneault had high expectations going into this season. Has he met them?

"AV had high expectations following John Tortorella’s firing, and he has not lived up to any expectations at this time. Its easy to look at the injuries as to why the team has been underperforming, but at the same time it looks like a lack of effort and motivation and the head coach needs to find a way to spark the team. This team tuned out Tortorella last year and so far it looks like they’ve yet to tune someone in."

Two Rangers stars have big injuries right now, who is going to be missed most? Callahan or Nash?

"Yeah, honestly it’s going to be Cally. The guy wears the C for a reason and is clearly the heart and soul. He is the grinder, goal scorer, Power Play scorer, Penalty Killer, he does it all. He is the captain and he is the soul of this team. Casper the Friendly Rick Nash has been nothing but a disappointment and talk in NY is starting to turn to Eric Lindros 2.0 with the head injuries. The longer his underperformance goes on the less likely it is that he’ll turn it around and suddenly start living up to the hype. The homegrown hero beats out the player past his prime that (General Manager Glen) Sather paid way too much for every day of the week."

Martin Biron sure disappeared quick, did the Tomas Hrtle goal embarrass him that much?

"Biron disappeared and subsequently retired because AV was not a fan from the start. In fact, it was known that there was an open competition for the back up goalie spot since training camp. It kind of showed that Biron was always in jeopardy of losing the spot. I don’t know why AV was so anti-Biron but it was something many people around the team noticed and pointed out since they got to training camp."

How do you think the Metropolitan Division has stacked up compared to the Rangers thus far this season?

The Metropolitan Division for the Rangers so far has been weak. Outside of the Penguins everyone has been struggling out the gate. The Rangers have played the least amount of games in the division and are only 5 points back of third place so it’s way too early to call the season a disaster. It’s definitely a struggle though, and at this rate the wild card spots are going to Atlantic Division teams rather than Metro, so getting into one of those top three positions will be important.

Does Aaron Asham’s elimination from the NYR roster signify a move away from face punching and a move towards goal scoring?

"Asham was eliminated because he is a journey man that doesn’t matter to the team. They want more offense missing Nash, Hags and Cally. Similar to not having any designated fighters in Vancouver, AV got rid of Asham’s position in favor of more scoring depth and personally I couldn’t be happier with the move."

Whatever happened to Chris Kreider?

"CK is fine, he is back up and getting the chance to play again. There’s been talk in NY about him turning into a bust but time will tell. I’m worried that they’ve been bouncing him back and forth between the AHL and NHL so much that he’ll turn into the Ranger’s version of Nino Niederreiter."

If Detroit is going to win Saturday’s game, how are they going to do it?

"For Detroit to win this game its simple. Put pressure on the Rangers and attack the net. They play a puck-possession game and if they stay true to that, I don’t like the Ranger’s chances. This might be more of a game than many might think at this time but the Red Wings will win it I’m calling 3-1."

You and I once had a bet where the loser had to wear the winning team’s jersey and put a picture on the internet for all to shame. Care to do it again this year?

"I do not."

Nick Pearl will be dropping in periodically to update us on New York based teams. You can check out his show on this ancient device called a radio, or listen live on the internet. You can also check Nick out on twitter, maybe even tell him how right he was or how much you enjoyed his input. Or how awful he is for making me take that picture.