Rangers Roundtable Christmas Eve Edition!
As the Rangers head into the Christmas break, It was my turn to ask the questions for our Rangers roundtable! Sorry this is a few days late, but I am actually in Calgary! I’ll be Volunteering for the World Juniors this year instead of being a spectator and as usual I will be posting about it on 5-hole. Get pumped. Here are the questions:
1. 3 of our projected top 6 defensemen are now out. Is it time to make a move for a veteran defensemen? Should we just hope that Erixon or Bickel can fill a temporary void? Can Wade Redden be called up (kidding, but not)? Does this team need tinkering?
Aaron: I don’t think Slats needs to make a huge trade for a defensemen. A nice solid back end guy will replace Eminger. Don’t trade away the pieces that are vital, if we can move someone like Fedotenko, Christensen, Avery, etc for a nice 5th defensemen and only lose like a 5th+ round pick, do it Slats.
Eric: Make that 4. Apparently Jeff Woywitka is injured now. Tim Erixon was just recalled after being sent back down. Does Scott Niedermayer feel like playing some games on the cheap? Luckily, Marc Staal is no longer wearing a no-contact jersey in practice. He’s close.
David: Now it’s four, but with Staal appearing to be on his way back, I think they can weather the storm for a week or so before they make any serious moves. Any trade they make will be a stopgap move though, so expect more of the Woywitka/Stralman types if moves are made.
Marc: The defense will be OK as long as Dan Girardi-Ripken is in the game. I’m really really excited about Staal coming back because the defense has already exceeded the (admittedly, low) expectations I had for them this year.
2. The Rangers got really, really lucky against Phoenix this past game. What noise did you make when you first see the puck go in?
Aaron: I screamed so loud I woke up my entire house.
Eric: I think I said “Holy shit!” like Bluto in Animal House after they give the horse a heart attack. I actually happened to be watching the game with a buddy of mine who had never watched hockey before. He thought that was pretty cool too. At first he had no idea what was going on though.
David: I couldn’t watch the game. Life happens sometimes.
Marc: Hate to say that I wasn’t watching live. But I echo Sam Rosen when he said, “And this one is going to overti–WHOA THE PUCK WENT IN”
3. Brad Richards: best offseason signing or best signing since the Lockout?
Aaron: Best offseason signing. Tied with Gaborik for best since the Lockout.
Eric: He’s pretty good, but the greatest offseason signing is “The People’s Champ,” Aaron Voros.
Personal note: Aaron Voros was a horrible, horrible hockey player, but will always hold a special place in my heart from being 2 goals away in his first season in NY from making a guy on Rangerland forums drink dog urine. Good times.
David: Best offseason signing. Best signing since the lockout is Biron.
Marc: I say Brad Richards is the best Rangers free agent signing that I can remember (off the top of my head, thinking for 18 seconds). He is a game-changer.
4. How is it that the Rangers are better at converting on 5 on 4s than 5 on 3s? We have a two man advantage!
Aaron: Stop sliding the puck across the crease and get the puck in the net! During the PPs we are shuffling the puck, and MDZ and Girardi seem to be confidently shooting the puck and generating chances. If guys like Dubinsky and Boyle got their heads out of their asses they could chip in a few goals along with Cally, Richards, Stepan, and Gaborik who are doing amazing. It would just be nice to get a gimme goal on a 5 on 3 is my point.
Eric: The Rangers have this problem with collapsing their D too close to the net on 5-on-3′s. That allows the defending team to not have to move so much. On a 5-on-4, the Rangers cycle much more and force the opposing four to move.
David: It looks like the Rangers are shooting themselves in the foot a bit in 5 on 3 situations. There’s significantly less movement when they are up two men, and they always try for the backdoor play. That’s worked, and it’s pretty when it does, but there has to be another weapon in the arsenal so teams can’t anticipate. The point men on the two man advantage, in my opinion, are playing too high, which gives more reaction and adjustment time for the opposing PKers. In the end, it’s about player/puck movement and getting shots on net.
Marc: One adjustment they can make is to get the D more involved. If you watch the 5-on-4, the D controls the play and makes the entry passes (think MDZ or Richards making plays from the point). On the 5-on-3, the Rangers seem to let the 3 forwards control down low but don’t stretch the defense by getting our own D-men involved. I have confidence they’ll figure it out.
5. Finally, 24/7: Awesome, or super duper oh my god this is amazing awesome?
Aaron: Holy fack, this fackin program is so fackin ahmazing. I love it!
Eric: I never want it to end!
David: All of the above?
Marc: 24/7 is so good that I don’t understand why there haven’t been a half dozen copycat shows by now. If you’ve ever played on a hockey team, even though the NHL is obviously a whole other level of hockey, you can identify with what you’re watching on the screen because IT IS 100% REAL. No bullshit producer feeding lame-ass made-for-TV “reality” lines. Just real hockey players/coaches/staff, etc playing hockey, shooting the shit at practice/in the locker room, and having fun on road trips. Also, I’m pretty sure Torts and my old Coach would be buddies because they both like to tell their players “don’t shit your pants.” Even if you’re a fan who’s never played, it’s so cool to see behind the curtain at what the players do and how the sausage is made. Just all-around A+++ television.
What do you think? Agree? Disagree? Think we’re all idiots especially me? Let us know. Anyway here’s a picture of your league leading goal scorer Marian Gaborik smiling to send us off:
About the author: Aaron is an international studies student from a small town in New Jersey that no one has heard of, although he's been relocated to Atlanta, Georgia. While he isn't studying or trying to prove Thrashers fans exists, Aaron is on a never ended quest to defend Wade Redden's name. His all time favorite Rangers is Brian Leetch, but other favorites include Henrik Lundqvist, Markus Naslund, and the rest of the Swedish National Team.