It's All About the D

Monday, March 28, 2011

Wednesday night the New York Rangers will be in Buffalo to take on the Sabres, in what really turns out to be the biggest game for both teams this year. The Rangers are currently tied with the Montreal Canadiens at 87 points. Buffalo has 85 points, followed by Carolina who has 80 points. Both of those teams have have one game in hand on the Rangers and Canadiens.

The question most Ranger diehards have is how did the Rangers get to this point? With a 8-1-1 run in their last ten games (Timing was perfect for this run) and 41-30-5 overall record it’s the one thing that may have gone unnoticed and that my friends is the overall team defense that the Rangers have played this year. Starting, obviously, in the nets with the “King” Henrik Lundqvist- who has quietly maneuvered himself up the ladder in the numbers department of the top goalies in the league. The King leads the league with 11 shutouts and with a goals against of 2.24 that’s good for 5th best in the NHL. Lundqvist should get some serious attention when it comes to the Vezina Trophy voting.

The other part of the overall defense of the Rangers are the defensemen themselves. Mark Staal, Dan Giradi, Ryan McDonagh, Michael Sauer, Steve Eminger, Brian McCabe, and Matt Gilroy have contributed greatly in the Rangers fortunes. These names on the D may not frighten many opponents when it comes down to the nasty, physical department (Someday?) but they have done the job blocking shots and playing smart hockey. I mean, really, check these numbers: the Rangers have scored 218 goals, 181 goals against (2nd in the East and 3rd overall in the NHL) with a goal differential of +37. The +37 ranks in the top 4 in the entire NHL! That folks is absolutely incredible! The numbers don’t lie in a league where scoring is almost extinct. You have to rely on solid team defense and the Rangers are getting that from goaltender on out. Impressive? I’d say so.

Okay now for some of Kotsy’s thoughts on a few topics that need to addressed… First off how about the comments coming out Detroit from Kris Draper and Nicklas Lidstrom concerning the cheap shots and hits the NHL has a problem with today. Both player’s have hinted that maybe the NHL should get rid of the instigator rule… Really? I’m all for that, but I also hold Redwings mostly responsible for why the game is what it is today. So to hear this from them, I’m not really sure it passes the laugh test.

“The Hammer”, Dave Schultz has surfaced and came out with some strong opinions about the state of the game when it comes to the respect- or lack there of. It’s a good read check it out at the link below.

Finally, I wonder if most hockey fans realize that the NHL might possibly be without a 50 goal scorer this season. Corey Perry currently leads with 44 goals and Steven Stamkos has been stuck on 43 for a while now. I thought the NHL improved it’s game with all the rules changes over the last few years to open up the game? At least, that’s what we were told… wasn’t it? Over and out!


Pauly D said...

Kotsy, not sure it was only the wings that helped change the game I think Mario had a lot to do with the crap we see today as well.Crying for years about the clutch and grab hockey and how the NHL was the "garbage League". As far as the scoring once again you nailed it, even with all the open lanes why not more scoring??? I think a partial answer for that would be more blocked shots???? and more players are forced to play both ends of the ice???? Otherwise i don't think even the Great Gary Bettman could answer that question and still the changes that were made don't have the RESULT the NHL were hoping for.

Kotsy's Korner said...

Pauly D, Still bleeding for the Red Wings I see LOL. You still can't tell me how the Red Wings went from the Probert's, Kocur's, Norwoods,and that type of hockey to the Datsyks, Holmstroms, Franzens where the glove are sewn on.

The rules changed to cater to the Red Wings more than any other team through out the the late 90's to now. You can Blame Mario all you want. Detroit is the big culprit.

GENO said...

Kotsy, defense and strong goaltending leads to success. Look at the Devils in past years. The Rangers are on this run using a smart team concept which includes patience. They stay in their lanes to block shots, which seems to come second nature. I belive that as of this writing they as a team are 3rd in total defense, all the while using 3 rookies on D. You are right when you say that they don't scare anyone pyshically, but they are still growing.
You wrote your comment to Pauly D stating that the Red Wings gloves are sewn on, I disagree, they are stapled on ! Bettman did change the rules to cater the Wings with all their Euro players. Lets face facts, they aint dropping their gloves regardless if there is an instigator rule or not. To me, if you or one of your teamates was a victim of a cheap shot, you still can take care of business even if it means taking a penalty. The coach might not like it at the time, but your teamates will appreciate it. Finally, no 50 goal scorers with all the rule changes? I wonder if it is from lack of scoring talent, which I seriously doubt, or just maybe the boys are that much bigger. For example, the Rangers just signed a 6'-8" 270lb goalie. Imagine with the enormous equipment used today, what room does the shooter have during the heat of the moment ??? We can thank the Mario's - Gretsky's - Hull's and all the other GREAT Players who bitched about all the clutching and grabbing, and Bettman listnened, now we are stuck watching no-touch NHL hockey and less scoring with all the rule changes.

Kotsy's Korner said...

Geno, The Rangers have been stingy most of the year. Most were worried about lack of scoring (I still am) and the Rangers have got away with it.

The Ranger "D" will be tested in the playoffs to see if they can stand up to the physical punishment you see in the playoffs. I think they will be up to the task, but we will have to wait and see.

Pauly D and I don't see eye to eye on a few things. Which makes for good debate. The Red Wings benefited the most with all these rules changes and if real hockey people don't see that then I can't help that.

Sorry, But I'm going to defend my era to the end. I believe the talent for pure scoring was better in my day plain and simple. You could use the size and lack of space as an argument. It's a valid point. I don't believe there are as many pure snipers in today's game. God to see you back on the blog...

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