Talking about the Rangers, unless I decide to talk about something else

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Dan Girardi: Not doing so hot IMO

“Ask not for whom the blog tolls; the blog, it tolls for thee.” – John Donne

I have touched on this before, but our old friend Dan Girardi has been off to a bad start this season. To compare his on ice performance to a dumpster fire is an insult to dumpster fires everywhere. His raw Corsi (total percentage of shots on goal for/against; a 50% rating means you’re even) stats, per this tweet from Travis Yost, are 6th worst IN THE NHL. If you look at that list you’ll also notice that he has the highest total time on ice by quite a bit (he’s also typically amongst the minutes leaders for the Rangers every game), which concerns me because it means that not only is even strength possession number horrifying but he’s still being leaned on heavily by the coaching staff when the numbers strongly suggest that his usage needs to be pulled back significantly.

My thoughts on Girardi have been a little complicated. Possession numbers have never been kind to him, but as with all numbers they needed to be reviewed in the appropriate context. Girardi is constantly deployed against the other team’s best forwards, who, until this year, have seen their scoring rates drop when facing off against Girardi (For example, Ovechkin’s goals/game rate is about half as low as his career rate when facing the Rangers, and Girardi eats most of those minutes. I could look this up but I’m lazy and I will not. They mentioned it in the telecast during the last Rangers-Caps game and that’s good enough for me.). He also sees a lot of penalty kill minutes.

ACCORDING TO MY RESEARCH (don’t tell me I don’t work for you), from the beginning of the 2009-2010 season through the end of last year, he has averaged 23:48 of ice time per game. Considering he basically never misses time, he basically plays 30-something games in total ice time per year. And his minutes are HEAVY, man. All the shot blocking and hitting will wear a player down, especially considering Girardi isn’t an especially large guy (6’1″, 208 pounds listed, so assume both are lower).

It is hard for guys to play that many minutes season in and season out. Basically, it’s a skill that isn’t thought of that way, similar to durability and consistency. The problem is that Girardi isn’t outstanding athletically or skill-wise or skating-wise, if he declines at all it’s going to be hard for him to keep up with NHL-play. If he can’t keep up with NHL play, then who gives a shit if he has the endurance to play lots of minutes for almost every game in a season?

Which brings me to the problem: Girardi is having problems with basic NHL defenseman things, which would render one of his more valuable attributes essentially useless. One of the little things I keep noticing, every single game, is that he is having problems controlling the puck. Whether it’s along the boards or, worse, a clean open ice pass, Girardi is consistently mishandling passes. The reason this hurts is because, especially under pressure in your own zone, you get next to no time to play the puck in the NHL. Guys are on you immediately. When you flub a pass or mishandle a puck behind your own net, the other team gets on you and you either rush a pass (which usually is a bad one) or don’t move the puck at all (which allows a forecheck to continue). A lot of poor decisions Girardi has made with the puck have happened specifically because he’s not controlling the puck like a player in the NHL should.

Worse problem: he is making really brutal reads defensively. If you go to the Rangers’ team site and watch highlights and videos of some saves and goals allowed by Hank this year, you’ll notice Girardi pretty frequently ending up in spots that range from useless to outright dangerously bad. One that comes to mind is when Henrik Lundqvist made a save on a WIDE open Loui Eriksson in the first period against the Bruins on Friday afternoon. The Bruins win the faceoff, and then to his credit, Girardi blocks a shot. Next, the puck falls a few feet away from him and McDonagh flies up from Girardi’s left towards the player with the puck. As a defenseman, it’s Girardi’s responsibility to see his partner skating out to the high slot and immediately get back to the net front to make sure no one is open in the most dangerous area on the ice. Instead, he literally just stands still. Eriksson is wide open, his teammate makes an easy pass, and the only reason he doesn’t score is because our goalie is Henrik Lundqvist, praise be His name.

That is a single example chosen from many. Girardi’s play is a legitimate problem. The team has played over 20 games and this has been how he’s performed basically every single night. I realize I’m basically listing symptoms without giving a diagnosis, which I hate doing, but the way he’s playing makes me worry that Girardi may have lost a step and is now the dreaded “player at a different stage of his career,” which is a polite way of saying it’s about time to think about taking him out behind the woodshed. Hopefully he turns it around.

Let’s go Rangers.

One More Thing; Game Preview

Ballin

“We fly high/No lie/You know this/BLOGGIN!” – Jim Jones

One important item from Wednesday night: great job by the NHL and the broadcast team during the season opener to address Pat Kane’s sexual assault case. First of all, Blackhawks and Blackhawks fans, gross. You introduced an accused rapist by cheering him wildly and parading him down a red carpet. I understand innocent until proven guilty, but Jesus. Fuck you.

Doc Emrick gave an understated summary of the situation during the game but did explain that since no charges had been pressed Kane would continue in the lineup. Bob McKenzie (who, if you’re a real hockey nerd, is an absolute must Twitter follow) made an appearance during intermission to dig into the particulars of the sexual assault case and made absolutely no bones about the details. Whatever happened that night between Kane and the alleged victim is unclear, we may never know, and sadly the lack of transparent truth may cast a pall over the remainder of Kane’s career despite the fact that the truth might never be known except between Kane and the accuser.

I bring this up because if this was the NFL, the announcers would have mentioned Kane have an offseason where he “faced adversity.” Adrian Peterson beat his kid’s testicles bloody with a fucking stick and is being treated like a redeemed hero who learned a valuable lesson, despite publicly stating he thinks he never did anything wrong and doesn’t plan to change. The NHL is wildly flawed business, marketing, presentation, and really everything-wise. But at least this once, they handled something important correctly.

Anyway, I’m anti-rape so I’m a hero. Worship at my altar.

FRIDAY NIGHT GAME PREVIEW

The Rangers face the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday night. Columbus spent about a year being the “talented young team on their way up” heading into the 2014-2015 season. They had several former Rangers and won the franchise’s first playoff game. They also fleeced the Flyers in a trade which saw the Jackets send RJ Umberger (always hurt and bad) to Philly straight up for Scott Hartnell (good and never hurt and for less money).

This offseason, however, Columbus became the Ma$e of hockey. They went from the no-question next big thing and hanging out with P-Diddy to spending most of their net worth on something dumb like David Clarkson and now they’ll be bankrupt and spend years in prison but will eventually be a preacher I guess I lost track of my analogy please help me I need to stop.

ANYWAY. Columbus kind of screwed their team up (CLARKSON) but they have good pieces. Ryan Johansen is a stud. Ryan Murray might be good but keeps getting hurt. Brandon Dubinsky is a pest extraordinaire. Scott Hartnell is a player Rangers fans would’ve killed to have but will instead be forced to hate to play. Newly added Brandon Saad, from Chicago, is a straight up beast who will be an interesting addition to watch now that he won’t be playing with guys the same quality as the Blackhawks’ top forwards anymore.

Columbus also has a former Vezina Trophy (league’s best goalie as voted by the league’s general managers) winner, kinda, who had an incredible season during the lockout year but has never been particularly impressive during a full league season.

They are the typical team that has intriguing and fun forwards that seem like a sexy pre-season pick until you get to mid-year and realize that your buddy Steve who was like pretty decent at hockey at age 13 might be their 3rd best defensemen and they won’t actually do any damage this year. Also, CLARKSOOOOOOOOOOON.

Fun fact: Columbus is in Ohio, which is a fine state to reside in if you hate yourself and your family. Ohio is like if Florida was cold and insane as opposed to warm and seaside year-round and insane. Exhibit one. The defense (prosecution?) rests.

PREDICTION: no

Predictions are dumb. Hockey, like life, is an encounter between 2 entities and the result will be decided almost entirely by chance. To predict would be a fool’s errand. I will not partake in such shenanigans.

RANGERS 42, CBJ 3

Let’s go Rangers!

Game 5

I am a weird combination of unbelievably nervous while simultaneously feeling quietly confident. In all likelihood, it’s because I just watched the final sequence from “24/7” to pump myself up:

Pretty sure I could run through a brick wall after watching that. Hopefully tonight, the Rangers can get a lead big enough for me to not have to drink my stress away and consequently feel horrible at work tomorrow. But judging by the playoffs so far, I doubt this.

Let’s go Rangers.

MAGIC NUMBER: 10 wins to go

The Players’ On-Ice Reactions Last Night

Watch: Carl Hagelin and the Team’s On-Ice Reaction To Marian Gaborik Scoring This Morning.

This video is too fucking awesome. Also, my reaction was basically identical.

What a win. So many great things from that game: Hank was incredible, Richards played big, Gabby came up when he needed to, Staal was a monster, and McDonagh played 54 MINUTES OF HOCKEY. That is an absurd amount of ice time, and he probably feels like dog shit today. I know I did, and I was just drunk on my couch watching TV.

Thank God game 4 is on Saturday. These guys are going to need the rest.

Reactions to NYR vs. OTT Game 2

This pretty much says it all:

Mark Messier, also not amused:

Playoffs Baby, Playoffs

Every Ranger fan should watch this video immediately. It is not optional.

16 wins to be a champion. I am unreasonably excited.

The playoffs are here, you guys. I’m going to drink celebratory beers and scream until I lose my voice even though I have a job that requires me to speak clearly on the phone all day. WINNING THE CUP IS ABOUT SACRIFICE, I’M GONNA DO MY PART.

PUMP UP VIDEO FOR THE PLAYOFFS

 

If they start playing “This is How We Do It” at the Garden before playoff games, I am going to be the happiest man alive.

Tag Cloud