Alain Vigneault spoke with the media on breakup day and said (NYR):
- Will this be the toughest offseason since you have been here, "yes, there is no doubt that anytime you don't meet expectations and don't meet the fan expectations that there will definitely be some changes. As an organization we have to go through all of the steps and personnel and evaluate and make sure that we come up with the right decisions. We do have a lot of work in front of us. I think that what we will do is take a week to ten days to relax a little, decompress, and then get to work analyzing and making the decisions that we have to make to see how he need to respond after a disappointing exit like we had this year."
- On the core of this team, "I think we are at the stage now where we need to look at some changes. Any NHL team today, status quo is not possible and is not what you need, you need to keep changing pieces and bringing in different players to add different dynamics to the group. This group, the core guys have been together for a while, it is certainly time now to look at what we can do to improve and I think that is what we will do moving forward."
- "We have to look at everything, there is no denying that inconsistency this year was a big part of our season. Especially from our back end, puck moving ability that we have shown in the past, for whatever reason was not as good and it impacted a lot of parts to our game. We will definitely look at all aspects of our game and analyze and come up with a solution. It's not going to be easy, it's a tough league, every team is trying to get better and get to the Cup."
- On the coaching staff coming back, "I can't say that at this time. I met with the guys yesterday and I told them that I would take a week to get myself back to where I need to be. Jeff and I agreed yesterday that we will take some time to analyze that and make the decisions that we need to make."
- Do you still believe that this group deserved that last chance, 'yes. Hindsight is easy and I will take a big part of that responsibility but I do believe that this group, with what they had proven in the past, that they deserved another opportunity and now there is going to be some changes. Which direction we are going to take, there are still are some very good pieces. We have to decide which direction we are going to take. I remember when I was in Vancouver and we went through the same situation where we had a new GM come in, decided to go with younger players, the twins were young, Kesler, Burrows, Hansen, we put a group of young guys together with a couple of good veterans. It took us three years and we were at the Stanley Cup. I'm not quite sure what direction we will take, we need to talk about this but there are some important decisions moving forward."
- On Keith Yandle, "I think that Yands had a good season. I understand what he can bring. He is a highly skilled player that takes risks sometimes, you need to live with the risks sometimes. Defensively he was good, he was better than what he had played in the past in Phoenix. Really well respected by his teammates, real good guy to have in the room. He is a tough decision moving forward here."
- Is Kevin Hayes part of the future, "yes, without a doubt. So much potential there but I have seen it, I'm sure you have seen it, there are tons of guys with potential. Not all of them figure it out. You gotta figure out how to be a pro, what it takes to be at your best every day not only in practice and games, but in how to behave as a pro on the ice. Kevin is one of those guys that is going through that process and trying to figure it out. He has been given the guidelines and direction and now it's up to him to do it."
- What did the Penguins expose, "You all saw the games, in the last two games. I'd rather not get into all of those details at this time. It's a time when I am giving you answers that, you guys have been through this before, we as an organization and it's the right thing to do, we need some time to make sure that we don't do anything drastic or quickly. We need to calm down here and analyze what needs to be done and do the right thing for the organization and the fans."
- On Pavel Buchnevich, "I would say that you are asking the wrong guy that question. That is more Jeff that can answer that."
- Is this further along than your Vancouver experience, "this team has some real good pieces. Depending on how we handle these next few months we probably are farther ahead but I remember that in Van, some of the decisions that we made, we decided to go younger, Markus Naslund left, Brendon Morrison left, Mattias Ohlund left. There are some decisions that have to be made and we need to take the time an analyze it properly."
- On Eric Staal, "I gotta say, Eric in my estimation but his best foot forward and tried real hard, was a good addition to our core group as far as experience and leadership. For whatever reason, and I can't put my finger on it today, for whatever reason it didn't work out for him as he wanted and for us. We brought him in to win and we got bumped out out in the first round. With him, like the rest of our group, we need some time to analyze the whole thing."
- Do you need to get faster on D, "faster, puck movement, both, it's an area that we have to look at. I really thought that one of the areas that we dropped this year was our ability to move the puck and I'm not quite sure why that happened but it's something that we need to look at and address."
- On Brady Skjei, "with the amount of experience that he had he definitely showed a real strong skill set as far as defending and moving the puck and those are important attributes for a defenseman and he certainly showed those."
- On Dan Girardi, "I can't answer that on him or any player right now, throughout the line, forwards, D, we will look at every player and analyze and figure out what we need to do here."
Antti Raanta was asked about Benoit Allaire earlier this week and said that the Rangers goalie coach is "always smiling and in a good mood."(NYR)
Raanta said that it doesn't matter if you had a bad game or good game, "it's always the same thing when you come to the rink."(NYR)
He said that he has learned a lot about his own game while working with Allaire and that working alongside Henrik Lundqvist "has been really good" as well. (NYR)
Earlier this season, Raanta said on MSG, "he is so positive and it doesn't matter if someone scores on you practice, he comes to you and your confidence goes higher and higher."
Tags: Antti Raanta
4/29/16 | 1:07PM: Larry Brooks writes that Vigneault never found the right spot for Eric Staal and Eric reiterated that he feels he can still be an impact player. (NY Post)
He said that he came to a team with 100 points and didn't come to ruffle feathers or demand certain spots or roles. Eric said " I came here to fit in and help us become a balanced team that could go on a run, Clearly that didn't happen." (NY Post)
4/28/16| 8:59AM: Eric Staal said on breakup day that he has some decisions to make about his future and that he doesn't think the Rangers aw the best that he can be. (MSG)
He said that he wasn't making excuses and needed to perform better but "for whatever reason it didn't work out how I envisioned.(MSG)
Eric said that he wants to be comfortable with his new team but also be in a place where he has a role where he can be counted on. (Yahoo)
He said that he wouldn't close the door on a possible return to Carolina and that he will see how things play out. (MSG)
Alain Vigneault said that Staal tried real hard but "for whatever reason it didn't work out for him as he wanted and for us. We brought him in to win and we got bumped out out in the first round. With him, like the rest of our group, we need some time to analyze the whole thing."
Adam Rotter: I thought that when Staal was acquired there was a decent to pretty good chance that the Rangers would find a way to keep him. That thought though came with the thinking that he was going to make a positive impact and help the Rangers make another deep run. Now, I feel that unless Eric wants to play on a very short-term deal and for very little money he will be somewhere else next season.
The expectation was that it would take Staal some time to get adjusted but that things would pick up near the end of the regular season and certainly in the playoffs. I kept waiting for him to have a playoffs moment but it never came. In the end the Rangers traded some pieces to try and make one last run but didn't work out for them or for Staal.
Tags: Eric Staal
4/29/16 | 12:54PM: In articles that were written by Brooks this week, he mentioned that
- "Jeff Gorton has a mandate to overhaul the Rangers in his first full offseason as the club's general manager." (NY Post)
- "While the groundwork for reconstruction will be laid at next month's organizational meetings." (NY Post)
- "We all recognize the quandary in front of Gorton as management attempts to renovate a roster replete with aging athletes carrying prohibitive cap hits." (NY Post)
- "If the mandate is to renovate and rejuvenate..." (NY Post)
- "Except that they all do know that change is coming to the Rangers and that it will be significant." (NY Post)
4/24/16 | 7:30PM: Larry Brooks writes that the Rangers won't have a "knee-jerk" reaction to losing in the first round to Pittsburgh. (NY Post)
Brooks writes that the feeling from management, including James Dolan, is that the Rangers are in need of an "overhaul in the form of a transfusion of new and younger blood pumped into the system." (NY Post)
The Rangers had the second oldest average age in the NHL at 28.034. (NHL Numbers)
Brooks twice mentions in his column, in regards to Alain Vigneault, "especially as he will have a younger group to coach" and "for helping motivate a 2016-17 Rangers team that should be considerably younger and carry far less weighty expectations than this group." (NY Post)
Adam Rotter: Some of these changes are easy, 24-year old Oscar Lindberg replaces 35-year old Dominic Moore. Brady Skjei, 22, and Dylan McIlrath, 24, come in for at least Dan Boyle, 39, and possibly Keith Yandle,29,, or if they keep Yandle, or someone else. Tanner Glass, for however much Alain Vigneault likes him, is likely gone or at least in Hartford next year, possibly being replaced by Marek Hrivik, Nicklas Jensen or someone else from Hartford.
In the top-six, at least at this very early stage, it really comes down to what happens with Rick Nash, if the Rangers keep Chris Kreider and if Pavel Buchnevich is ready to make an impact. These are some of the obvious and internal moves that the team can make. They are surely already starting the process of looking around the league at other options.
11:52AM: Lawless reports that players on no-move clauses need to be protected but that players with no-trade clauses can be exposed.
For the 2017-18 season, if the Rangers roster were to remain the same the players with no-move clauses that would be protected include: Marc Staal and Henrik Lundqvist. (Cap Friendly)
The players with no-trade clauses that can be either protected or exposed include: Rick Nash, Derek Stepan, Derick Brassard, Dan Girardi and Ryan McDonagh. (Cap Friendly)
Elliotte Friedman writes that No-move clauses are being protected and that those players won't be exposed. (Sportsnet)
It isn't yet known if players with no-move clauses will need to be protected or if they will be exempt.
The agreement stipulates that teams will have the ability to protect players in one of two ways (Dreger):
- 7 forwards, 3 defenseman and 1 goalie
- 8 skates and one goalie
If the NHL expands by one team then the Rangers will lose at least one player. (THN)
First and second-year players on entry-level contracts will be protected and teams will reportedly have to expost at least 25% of their salary cap. (THN)
Adam Rotter: An expansion draft is at least a year away and we aren't even totally sure which Rangers will be around this coming season so it's hard to project out too much who will be protected and who won't. It's an interesting subplot though to how moves will be made this summer and when certain guys sign Entry-Level deals so that they can remain protected.
Viktor Stalberg said that the Rangers have been a "great fit" for him and that he would definitely like to stay. (Ranger Rants)
He added, "I'd definitely like to. It's a great place to play, a great organization, and I was able to for the most part play some pretty good hockey for us. (NYR)
Stalberg is a UFA this season after finishing a one-year deal worth $1.1 million.
He continued, "I am satisfied and showed that I belong and can contribute at this level and it;s been satisfying for me. I feel that AV trusts me a lot and gave me great opportunities and I am very thankful for the Rangers and I think it worked out for both sides. (NYR)
Stalberg had 9 goals, 11 assists, 22 PIM, 144 hits and an average of 12:12 per game.
Adam Rotter: I liked Stalberg's game, especially in the second half of the season. but I am not sure he will be back, especially at a higher cap number than $1.1 million. He's definitely a bottom-six NHL forward who at times and in the right role could play in the top-six, but I expect the Rangers to field a cheap/young bottom six next season and I am not sure Stalberg will fit in. If it ends up though that he is available later in the summer or is willing to take a invite to training camp then I think he could be back.
Tags: Viktor Stalberg
Asked on breakup day if Kevin Hayes was part of the Rangers future, Alain Vigneault said "yes, without a doubt."
He pointed to the potential that Hayes has but cautioned it by saying that there are "tons of guys with potential and not all of them figure it out."
Vigneault said that Hayes is going through the process of learning to be a pro and bringing his best everyday.
He added that Hayes has "been given the guidelines and direction and now it's up to him to do it."
Larry Brooks wrote that Hayes had a "lost sophomore season" where he displayed some "troubling traits." (NY Post)
Adam Rotter: It was a very disappointing year for Hayes who never seemed comfortable at the wing and was only slightly better in the middle. It just didn't work and while it would have been nice to see him play well and help the Rangers, his struggles will probably help them in their negotiations for his next contract. Hayes has the talent to be a big player for the Rangers, he certainly was in the second half of 2015, and if he can find that game again the Rangers will instantly be better.
Tags: Kevin Hayes
Marc Staal said on breakup day that he isn't dealing with any injuries or issues and that it will be the first time in 5-6 years he will have a summer with no physical ailments. (NYR)
- In 2015 Staal had surgery to remove a bone chip when it was also discovered that he had a ligament tear in his ankle.
- In 2014 Staal dealt with a concussion during the season and then a short summer with the Rangers going to the Stanley Cup Final.
- In 2013 Staal was dealing with his eye issue.
- When the lockout shortened 2013 season, started, Staal said "I trained really hard all summer long going into camp, or what should have been camp. I'm miles ahead of where I was last year starting the season.
- Staal deal with his concussion in the summer of 2011 and into that season.
Staal said that he is looking forward to getting 3-4 months of training in before the season which has "been rare the last bunch of years." (NYR)
Staal just finished the first-year of his six-year contract extension that has a cap hit of $5.7 million.
Adam Rotter: It was only a few years ago, after his first concussion but before the eye injury, where Marc Staal was the Rangers top defender and looked to be the player that Ryan McDonagh has become. Injuries have hurt Staal the last few years and I think as result his play has dipped. At times he can still be the All-Star player that he was but it's not consistent. Hopefully the extra rest this summer and being healthy will get Staal back to playing at a high level.
Tags: Marc Staal
Following the Rangers loss to the Pens on Saturday, Alain Vigneault said "we all wanted more and expected more."
He added "the ultimate goal is to win the Cup so if you get kicked out in the first round it's very disappointing. I don't want to get into analyzing everything but I can tell right now that we have disappointment from management, coaches and players and the Rangers fans."
Dan Girardi said that being knocked out in the first round is "tough to swallow" and something that no one saw coming. (MSG)
Derick Brassard said "the way we lost is the most frustrating thing. We weren't expecting it. We were confident that we had a good team to goal all the way again." (MSG)
Derek Stepan said that this is something the Rangers will have to learn from.
Ryan McDonagh said "we didn't play up to our potential. No one should be happy with how they performed all the way through our lineup. You won't get through the playoffs if you don't have everyone playing the way that you need to play, it's the toughest thing. You don't get too many chances and you never know when your next opportunity to play for the Stanley Cup will be and it really stings." (NYR)
On breakup day, McDonagh added, "no one is happy or satisfied. Other years you might say that you deserved better but this year it's tough to think like that." (NYR)
Adam Rotter: My expectation for this team, as delusional or wrong as it was, was that the Rangers would tighten things up and play the way they were supposed to once the playoffs started. This was a team built with the spring in mind and I felt like when they struggled during the regular season it was because they were looking ahead.
It turned out that the Rangers were just an okay team that was carried by their goalie to greater heights than they deserved. They turned the puck over too much, didn't defend well, couldn't get their speed in the neutral zone but if their goalie was good they could win. It was kind of a throwback to some of the early post-lockout Ranger teams where Lundqvist was primarily the only reason why the Rangers made the playoffs. Henrik will always be the backbone of the Rangers and their most important players but the last couple of years they have had a good enough team around him to be a contender. That is what the Rangers have to build back up to.
Tanner Glass says that, in his opinion, the "bulk of Ranger fans, or the knowledgeable" ones appreciate his game. (NY Post)
Glass said that all of the negativity used to bother him in the past but added "I know what my teammates and my coaches think of me, and my peers, so that's the main thing." (NY Post)
Glass had 4 goals, 3 assists, a minus three rating, 66 PIM and 224 hits in 57 regular season games.
He played in the first four playoff games for the Rangers, had 0 points, 4 PIM, 2 shots on goal and 18 hits.
Glass is entering the final-year of his contract with a cap hit of $1.4 million and an actual salary of $1 million.
Buying out Glass would cost the Rangers $783,333 this year and $333,333 next year. (Cap Friendly)
Sending Glass down to Hartford would cost the Rangers $500,000 against the salary cap.
Adam Rotter: I think the most of the Rangers bottom six from this year is going to be wiped out and that will include Glass. Whether it's Hartford, a trade or a buyout, Jeff Gorton has to move on from Glass for many reasons but cap space is a prime one. Every dollar counts for the Rangers and even if it doesn't seem like a lot, any savings from Glass would help.
At a certain point I just came to terms with the fact that Glass was going to play almost every night. I do think that he played the role he was asked to play fairly well but it's more a question of whether that role was needed or if the Rangers would be better served using that forward spot for something else.
Tags: Tanner Glass
Keith Yandle said that any talks about his future this past year were about waiting until after the season and that he wants to be smart about free agency. (NY Post)
Yandle said that he needs to focus on himself but added that he can definitely see himself staying with the Rangers. (NY Post)
He added though that he has to weigh his options and make the right decision. (NY Post)
Yandle added that you don't get the opportunity to be a UFA very often and that you have to be "smart" with it. (Ranger Rants)
Alain Vigneault said on breakup day, "I think that Yands had a good season. I understand what he can bring. He is a highly skilled player that takes risks sometimes, you need to live with the risks sometimes. Defensively he was good, he was better than what he had played in the past in Phoenix. Really well respected by his teammates, real good guy to have in the room. He is a tough decision moving forward here."
For a lot more on Yandle's future, click HERE.
Adam Rotter: I think that Yandle would like to stay and that at a certain price the Rangers would like to keep him. That certain price though is probably going to be lower than Yandle will be able to get as likely the top defenseman on the market. Yandle is very likely going to be able to get 6-7 years and at least $6 million per season.
Tags: Keith Yandle Rumors
On breakup day Tuesday, many of the players spoke about possible changes coming to the roster this summer but how those decisions are out of their control.
Derek Stepan said, "I certainly don't think that our group feels that everyone is safe but that is part of our business and how it is. That is something that is way out of all of our controls. If the Rangers feel there is an option to make their team better they are going to do it. It's part of the business and our jobs as pro athletes. (NYR)
Ryan McDonagh said that everyone who was part of the team wanted more and that no one is happy with how they played.(NYR)
He added that the expectation is that the people who make the decisions will build a team that is better prepared. (NYR)
Dan Girardi said that "the guys that we have in here can win but that is not my decision to make, I am not the coach, GM or President. That is definitely not my division, I am a player and need to be ready to be myself."
Henrik Lundqvist said that win or lose changes are always going to be made and that it's up to management to decide what the best options are moving forward. (NYR)
Adam Rotter: It seems as if everyone is preparing for changes on some level but no one has a real idea of what those changes will be. That is pretty much how I feel about. Something is going to change and you have to expect, at least as of now, that besides the current UFAs that someone under contract or part of the core will be moved. The offseason just started and this is something that probably won't start to play out for another 6-7 weeks until after the Stanley Cup final.
Alain Vigneault said on Tuesday that the Rangers will take the next 7-10 days to relax and decompress before starting the evaluation process.
Vigneault said that the Rangers don't want to make any drastic or quick decisions and want to make sure that they "take the time" to analyze things properly.
He added, "we need to calm down here and analyze what needs to be done and do the right thing for the organization and the fans."
Vigneault said that all aspects and all players will be analyzed and evaluated and added that things won't be easy and that it will be a lot of work.
12:46PM: Cyrgalis followed up his tweet with another, saying "So maybe I shouldn't have responded to Boyle's immaturity w/ immaturity. But you know when something gets under you skin and you can't not?"
11:50AM: Boyle lashed out at Larry Brooks of the NY Post and said that no one likes him or respects him before telling him to get the (expletive) out. (Puck Daddy)
Boyle also mentioned NY Post reporter Brett Cyrgalis who was not at breakup day.(Puck Daddy)
10:40AM: Brett Cyrgalis, reportedly one of the writers who Boyle went after, tweeted "Response to Dan Boyle? I did my job. Not sure he ever did his."
10:19AM: Dan Boyle reportedly cursed out several Rangers beat reporters and refused to start his breakup day interview until they left. (Daily News)
Assume when Dan Boyle asked 2 #NYR beat writers he didn't like to leave the scrum, they stayed put just like all of Boyle's other opponents- Keith Olbermann (@KeithOlbermann) April 26, 2016
Larry Brooks of the NY Post wrote prior to Game 5, "The coach's loyalty to and belief in Boyle is equally maddening. The 39-year-old has had an illustrious NHL career, but he had all of it somewhere else. Boyle has been a below average player throughout his two years on Broadway. Hired to transport the puck and run the power play, he failed so miserably at those assignments that the Rangers felt the need to trade a first-rounder and their best forward prospect (Anthony Duclair) to get someone else (Keith Yandle) to do the jobs for which Boyle had been hired eight months earlier."
On this week's show, Brian Compton, Adam Rotter, and Nick Licalzi look back at a disappointing series lose to the Pittsburgh Penguins. The guys discuss the play of Henrik Lundqvist, Eric Staal, and Dylan McIlrath. Plus, Brett Cyrgalis of the New York Post calls in to discuss being singled out by defenseman, Dan Boyle.
Tags: Mats Zuccarello
1:36PM: Girardi said today (NYR):
- His knee is getting better and he will take the time off to rest and recuperate.
- He will use the offseason to come into training camp in the best shape he can be.
- "It definitely was a long year and not 100% but not many guys are."
- He had 4 1/2 months with a cracked knee cap and if he could go back in time he would probably take some more time to rest.
- "Missing 6 games was a lot for me this year, but looking back if something is wrong I need to take the time to relax and recuperate."
- He 100% believes that he can return to being the player that he was, "that is why they signed me to a long-term deal."
- "This year wasn't the best for me or the whole team but I think I can be the player I was in the past. I am using this summer to be ready and I think this is a turning point for me."
- He had a concussion, felt good going into game 1 but as the game went on he didn't feel great, talked to the docs after the game and the symptoms came back and they didn't let him play. He skated while he was still having headaches but he started feeling better around Game 4, played in Game 5 and he feels good now.
- "I don't know what happened to us this year" but he doesn't want to use all of the games the team has played as an excuse.
- "I think that with the group, it's a great group and a great team."
- "We know we can be a lot better and a lot more consistent."
- It's tough to swallow how the team lost in the playoffs with not much pushback
- Asked if management is still behind him, Girardi said "I think so, not much has been discussed. They have to do their thing, they have their meetings, but I am going to be ready and be my best and be here next year. The guys that we have in here can win but that is not my decision to make, I am not the coach, GM or President. That is definitely not my division, I am a player and need to be ready to be myself."
- "Our team has a lot more to give. We have the right guys in here to compete every game. Everyone in here will be ready to go next season. Whatever happens in the summer and along those lines, we are just going to deal with it Whoever is here is going to be playing."
Girardi missed the final two games of the regular season and then played in Game 1 against Pittsburgh before the symptoms returned.(Brooks)
Girardi then missed games 2, 3 and 4 before returning in Game 5.
For more on Girardi, click HERE.
Tags: Dan Girardi
1:15PM: Alain Vigneault said that there are going to be some changes made this offseason and that every player will be evaluated. (Gross)
Vigneault said that as of right now he can't say whether all of his assistants will be back next season. (Zipay)
Larry Brooks writes that the Rangers will have to decide if it's better to continue to wait and see if Chris Kreider develops consistency or if it's better to move him for an asset. (NY Post)
Brooks wonders if Kreider could be traded for a similarly young/talented player or a first round pick. (NY Post)
For more on Kreider's future, which was talked about at the trade deadline, click HERE.
Kreider, who turns 25 later this week, is an RFA with arbitration rights and coming off a two-year deal with a cap hit of $2.475 million.
He will have a qualifying offer of $2.6 million.
Kreider had 21 goals for the second straight season but had 9 in the first 46 games and then 12 in the final 33 games.
Adam Rotter: The Rangers have to ask and answer a lot of questions about Kreider. Is he still on track to become a first-line power forward or is he just Troy Brouwer, physical, always around 20 goals and 40 or so points and a good player, but not someone who is looked at to be the guy. I like Brouwer and his current cap hit of $3.6 million seems perfect for his role, he is a UFA, but Kreider is likely going to get more than that.
Kreider got better near the end of the season and had his moments in the playoffs. His value or potential return for the Rangers is probably at it's height since he can be a UFA in the next few years. The Rangers either commit to Kreider long-term, 5 years or so, to bring down the cap hit or they move him for a player in a similar situation, mid-20s with lots of potential, and hope that a change of scenery can ignite that player.
Tags: Chris Kreider
Larry Brooks writes that the "boldest"move that Jeff Gorton could take in retooling the Rangers would be to put Ryan McDonagh on the market. (NY Post)
Brooks writes that it's likely that McDonagh won't go anywhere but if the Rangers are "truly invested" in an overhaul they need to have an open mind about dealing him. (NY Post)
He notes that McDonagh has a limited no-trade clause that kicks in on 7/1 and wonders about the return the Rangers could get from certain teams (NY Post) :
- Edmonton: Their first round pick and one of their top young players (Like Leon Draisaitl, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Taylor Hall)
- LA: Tanner Pearson and/or Tyler Toffoli plus...
- Colorado: Matt Duchene as part of a package
- Toronto: Would they include #4 overall pick Mitch Marner
He notes that in the hypothetical situation where the Rangers do move McDonagh, they would re-sign Keith Yandle. (NY Post)
Adam Rotter: I don't think this is something that the Rangers would consider unless they were truly blown away by a deal and also able to recoup a young defenseman. The premise isn't to trade McDonagh but to show that if the Rangers had interest in moving him they would likely be able to get impact player(s) in return. No one else on the roster, based on McDonagh's talent and contract, could net the kind of pieces that the Ranger may need to rebuild, but that doesn't mean they should put him on the market or even explore it. McDonagh is part of the foundation of this team and moving him would set the Rangers back and into a search with half the league for a number one defenseman.
Tags: Ryan McDonagh
Joe Micheletti was on with Mike Francesa earlier today on WFAN and said:
- On the series, "it wasn't close. The Rangers won Game 2 and were a little better but even the first half of Game 2 there wasn't much going on but they were able to score 3 goals in a short period of time in the second period and find a way to win. Overall, when you look at the series, there wasn't one area that was really close. Defensively the Rangers struggled. The players and coaches were talking about will and competing harder and when you start hearing those things that throws up a lot of red flags in my estimation. There could be a number of different reasons for why, we won't know for a little bit about injuries and things. They have played 80 playoff games the last five seasons so add another season onto that."
- "Plain and simple it was one-sided. For a team that has looked so fast, they looked slow."
- Two stats that stick out to Joe are that two years ago the Rangers were third in goals against, this year they were 16th and this year they were also 26th on the PK. "The PK is more important than the PP which was 14th, middle of the pack and fine, but when you go the whole season and don't get to a point where you are defending well and know how to protect leads you need to strictly rely on your goaltender and that is a dangerous area to be in and it really showed up in the first round."
- On Henrik Lundqvist, "Just being around Henrik and how he trains and works and prepares and practices, which is something that really effects the other players in watching how he goes about his business. He just turned 34, there are a lot of goalies and we just saw Luongo play, he is 37, other goalies that have had excellent years in their late 30s. Me personally, I don't think it's an issue."
- You can expect him to be the same player, "I do. You look at this year, sometime we rely too much on stats which don't always tell the full story, statistically his numbers were down only slightly from last season. This is a player, I think he got overwhelmed all season, he finished with the most saves all season. When the Rangers started it was so misleading, they were 16-3-2 because of Lundqvist. They were slow getting out of the gates with how they played, some of their key defenders had offseason surgery and had a short summer."
- "Some real positive things happened over the course of the regular season, JT Miller had a breakout year, Mats Zuccarello, just the fact that he had that serious brain injury and comes back to lead the team in scoring was extremely positive. There is too much history with this group the last four seasons to say that it needs to be scrapped and started again. Too many positive things have happened but they didn't get to the level they have been at. Defensively as a group, with how they could win by just shutting teams down, I think for next season they will need to find a way and wonder if it's the players, system and what needs to be done to correct it. That and the PK are two areas that need to be corrected."
- On the core of the Rangers, "I think what they will do is this, this core has been together for quite a while now, some of the questions are about Dan Girardi. They will look at Girardi and say that this is a player who doesn't have great speed, but he was a really effective player and great leader without speed the last 7-8 seasons. Was this injury related or is he worn out and we need to move on. I think they will look at all of those issues that he had this year and make a determination about how losing in the playoffs gives him more time to rest up and heal and train. I think they will do that with a number of players. It wasn't just 1 or 2, it was 7 or 8 or 9 players who never got to that level that we had seen before. Some of the younger players that didn't take the next steps..."
- Did this team just stop playing or were they overwhelmed, "I think that if you say it was an effort thing, and I don't think it was, I think it was a combo of never getting to the level, never being able to defend. I don't think that their want was gone, I don't think that at all. I have a lot of respect for this group and what they have been through and what they are trying to achieve, then you say that and it has a reflection on the coaches and the staff...."
- On Alain Vigneault, "his whole staff, you look at the record since he has been here. SCF, ECF and in the playoffs this year. They were a threat to win the whole thing, again, I don't think, it's a bad taste in everyone's mouth to lose like this because of the high expectations but I think you need to analyze the whole season and how you played. They beat a lot of good teams during the season which gave everyone hope but they never achieved that level."
- On a conversation he had with Kings GM Dean Lombardi before the first game of the season about the Kings season last year, "we'd win three in a row and we thought we were on our way and then we would go back. Then we would win three in a row and say here we go and going to go on a roll and it was similar to what the Rangers did this year. No one makes excuses but you have to look at the facts and the facts are that the Kings played a lot of playoff games and they just didn't have it. I think that part of that is to be considered when you look at this Rangers team, part of it."
- "I thought that the series would be closer than it was and it just wasn't. Defense was an issue all season and penalty killing and hurt them in this series."
USA Hockey has announced that Brady Skjei will join Team USA at the World Championships in Russia starting in May. (USA Hockey)
Skjei was a product of the US Development program and played for Team USA at the World Juniors
Chris Drury, Rangers Director of Player Development, is part of the US National Team's management group.
Tags: Brady Skjei
3PM: Pierre LeBrun was on TSN1040 in Vancouver earlier today and said the following about the Rangers:
- "It would have been a blessing in disguise, for their long-term forecast, if they had struggled out of the gates this year and been a non-playoff team. Jeff Gorton, in his first year, this would have given him the opportunity to move Yandle at the trade deadline as a rental player and not a lot of defensemen were available. He could have done well there with Yandle and at least recouped something back after all they have spent the past five-years trying to win. They do have some good prospects and have dome fairly well at the draft but they are going to really be creative here to try and retool this thing because they have fallen down a notch and sort of need to re-think this for sure. I think Jeff Gorton is a pretty smart guy and will be aggressive in trying to do that." (TSN 1040)
- On Alain Vigneault coming back, "I think so, that is my sense, no one has told me that but it's my own gut feeling." (TSN 1040)
- On prospects and maybe moving an RFA, "They like some of their guys down below. I would move a couple of pieces if they can. I would try and move Rick Nash and I don't know how many teams are in a position to take that contract on, and I am not trying to put this all on Rick Nash, but that can be the type of move that helps you regenerate and get younger. (TSN 1040)
- "Lundqvist had a great year, I think he was exhausted at the end. Lundqvist at times during his career has had this reputation of this is not my fault it's the team around me, he ate it in this series and obviously the Penguins were the far better team and you could see Lundqvist's frustration on the ice and there were a couple of times where he shot daggers at his players but when he was asked the questions he never blamed anybody, he took as much blame as anybody else which was important to see. I thought he had a great year. I don't worry as much about Lundqvist but I this but I think they know they have some big questions in front of them."
- "Number one I am curious to see if the Rangers are going to make any organizational changes. Jeff Gorton just finished his first year and a lot of the guys around him were loyal to Sather but I wonder if he is going to get an opportunity to shape the front office with some people that he wants there too."
- Number two, I think they have some big decisions to make and one of them is Keith Yandle and the other is Dan Girardi and what they do there. They really love him but he had a really rough year, really rough finish to the year and his contract is going to be an issue. I think they realize that this group together that has had 5 really good years, it's the end and the Rangers will make some tough choices."
A season that is hard to rate right now came to an end with a crash. The pain of disappointment will be felt for a while no denying in that.- Henrik Lundqvist (@HLundqvist30) April 25, 2016
Thank u all for the support during the year & I promise u that it will be our mission to prove any doubters we can come back better next yr- Henrik Lundqvist (@HLundqvist30) April 25, 2016
NHL is so competitive that success can never be taken for granted. With a vision/hard work I believe we can get there, I hope u do 2! #NYR- Henrik Lundqvist (@HLundqvist30) April 25, 2016
Tags: Henrik Lundqvist
Kevin Allen of USA Today wonders if the Rangers will consider a buyout for Dan Girardi who has four-years left on his contract with a cap hit of $5.5 million. (USA Today)
A buyout of Girardi's contract would have the following cap hits (Cap Friendly):
- 16-17: $1.75 million
- 17-18: $2.75 million
- 18-19: $3.75 million
- 19-20: $3.75 million
- 20-21: $1.25 million
- 21-22: $1.25 million
- 22-23: $1.25 million
- 23-24: $1.25 million
Allen says that it would be difficult to trade Girardi who has a very high cap hit for someone who is probably now only a third-pairing defenseman. (USA Today)
He says that what the Rangers do with Girardi will be one of GM Jeff Gorton's most "trying decisions." (USA Today)
Girardi has a no-move clause through next season before it turns into a limited no-trade clause.
For a lot more on Girardi and his season, click HERE.
Adam Rotter: I'm normally against buyouts since it's just dead cap space but I think this is something the Rangers need to really consider. The cap hits aren't that bad, but every dollar is important to the Rangers and I don't know how they will feel having have part of their cap, even a small part, eaten up by someone who isn't on the roster.
I'd guess that the Rangers could trade Girardi but they wouldn't get much value back, may have to add a piece to move him and possibly eat some salary. That seems like a lot and the Rangers, in that situation, would probably be better buying him out. I wish this wasn't the case with Girardi as he has been a true Ranger, a leader and a core member of this group for the last number of years. With the slip in his game though and the likelihood of more injuries with his style of play it's probably best that the Rangers try and find some way to move on.
Tags: Dan Girardi
4/24/16 | 7:52PM: Larry Brooks reports that the Rangers have no plans to dismiss Alain Vigneault as head coach. (NY Post)
He writes that there is no indication from "anyone who counts" that the Rangers hold Vigneault responsible for the "disappointing finish or the difficult season that preceded it." (NY Post)
Brooks writes that Vigneault will need to change his approach next season and become more "emotionally engaged" and become more of a motivating factor as it's like he will "have a younger group to coach." (NY Post)
Vigneault will enter into the fourth-year of a reported five-year deal that he signed when the Rangers hired him.
Adam Rotter: I don't think it's time to move on from Alain Vigneault. He, along with Henrik Lundqvist and some timely goals, managed to get a wildly inconsistent Rangers team to 101 points. He bears some responsibility for that inconsistency, the Rangers early exit and inability to get past the same damning mistakes night after night, but ultimately he isn't the one on the ice turning the puck over or leaving the front of the net open. He is one of the top coaches in the league and deserves at least one, if not two, more years with this team.
On the first day of Training Camp this season Alain Vigneault spoke about how he had watched Apollo 13 last summer and some quotes stuck with him.
One of those quotes was "''failure is not an option' when the astronauts need to find a way to get back. That is sort of us going into last year, going into this year. We believe that we have a team that has the elements to win the Stanley Cup, we firmly believe that failure is not an option."
Other things Vigneault said on the first day of training camp included "I believe that with the motivation that this group has, the work ethic and competitive nature they have, again, our ultimate goal, and we aren't going to talk about it a lot, is to win the Cup. The first thing we have to do is take it one day at a time, win that day, focus on the process and work our progress together."
Alain Vigneault said that the Rangers first round series against the Penguins turned with one minute to go in the second period of Game 3.
The Rangers had a 1-0 lead when Marc Staal was called for hooking Carl Hagelin, a penalty that Henrik Lundqvist said that he did not agree with, that led to Phil Kessel firing a pass off of Sidney Crosby and in to tie the game at 1.
Vigneault said that at the time it was a pretty even game and but instead of going into the third period with a lead, they went in tied.
Then, 4:16 into the third period, on a play that Vigneault called at "flip out" Keith Yandle and Dan Boyle collided while trying to play the puck an Matt Cullen swooped in on a breakaway to beat Henrik Lundqvist.
He said that that play sort of "changed the dynamic of the series" and then the Rangers didn't play well in Game 4, came out with a good start in Game five but saw the Penguins bury everything in the second period.
In the Rangers round one series loss to the Penguins, Henrik Lundqvist allowed 15 goals on 113 shots in 205 minutes.
He had a save percentage of .867 and a GAA of 4.39 and was pulled twice in the series and left a third time with an eye injury.
Lundqvist said after the game that he didn't have it in him to make a difference and "that is painful."
He added "that is my job to try to make the difference and help the team but when you are not able to do it it's frustrating and disappointing."
Lundqvist said that he felt good the first couple of games in the series but in the last two games he was not making "good reads."
He said that with a lot of opportunities in front from the Penguins you need a "strong goalie" who can make "a lot of big and extra saves and I was not able to come up with that."
Lundqvist said that the second period was filled with embarrassment and a feeling of "hopelessness."
Alain Vigneault would not talk about Lundqvist other than to say that he and everyone else wanted this season to "way differently than it did, adding "I'm sure it's disappointing for him and our whole group."
Dan Girardi said after the game "this is probably really tough on him, we left him out to dry on a bunch of those goals where they had open looks from the slot. I know what he is feeling and it's what everyone is feeling and embarrassing that we got knocked out this early." (MSG)
Adam Rotter: It was just surprising to see Henrik play that poorly considering we have seen him do a lot more with less in front of him at other times. My belief in Henrik Lundqvist, right or wrong, is still unwavering and I think that if the Rangers put a better team and more consistent structure around him than they could make another run at the Stanley Cup. Easier said than done and Lundqvist would need to return to Superman stature to some degree to make it happen, but until his game falls off on a consistent basis I will always believe in Henrik Lundqvist.
Tags: Henrik Lundqvist
In the five game series between the Rangers and Penguins the Penguins outscored the Rangers 21 to 10, scored 38% of the time on the PK and killed off 90% of the Rangers power plays.
Marc Staal said that the Rangers "just got beat" by a team that was better throughout the series. (NY Times)
Derick Brassard said "the way they play the game, that's what we used to do to teams. And they did it to us now." (NY Times)
Brassard added that the Rangers struggled to make plays, were not patient with their game, opened up too much and were a "second late on everything." (MSG)
Dan Girardi said that the Penguins were the better team "night in and night out" and that while the Rangers had some good spurts "they were the better team." (NYR)
Girardi added that the Rangers were outworked and that the Penguins top guys were "dynamite. (NYR)
Rick Nash said that the Rangers made things too hard on themselves, didn't stick to their game plan and gave up a lot of chances off of mistakes. (MSG)
Marc Staal said that the Rangers were inconsistent, didn't defend well enough and were not on the same page.
He said that you can't win like that, especially with how the Rangers were defending. (NYR)
Ryan McDonagh said that the Rangers didn't play well enough, were not sharp and made too many mistakes. (NYR)
Henrik Lundqvist said after the game, "I think we played a team that was smarter, better and better goaltending.
Adam Rotter: The Penguins played a smart, structured game and that was the difference. The Rangers kept trying to do the same things and the Penguins seemed very happy to let the Rangers keep falling into the same trap. The Penguins were quicker to pucks and just executed in every facet of the game at a much higher level. There is no shame in losing to a better team, which the Penguins are, but there is some shame in losing with the effort and execution the Rangers tried to put forth to win.
Alain Vigneault met with the media following the Rangers loss to the Penguins that ended their season (MSG):
- "there is no doubt that it was a tough second period. We played hard in the first and had some good looks. In the second they were able to capitalize on theirs and we were able to finish on ours."
- On the lack of pushback, "At the end of the day you need to give credit where credit is due and Pitt was playing real well and continued to play real well. They are on top of their game right now, they have four lines that are rolling well and they are a real good team."
- On Henrik, "you know, this is a team game and I don't want to single out one performance or individual. We came in as a team trying to win the Stanley Cup and we lost in the first round. It's disappointing right now, we will take a couple of days to analyze and go from there."
- What changed things when the two teams play, "for me the turning point of this series was the penalty that we took at the end of the second period in the third game. We are up 1-0 and they find a way to capitalize on that, it was a pretty even game and instead of going in with a one-goal lead we are going in tied and they scored on a flipout where two of my defensemen ran into one another. It sort of changed the dynamic of the series. After that we obviously didn't play well in the fourth game. Today we came out with our best foot forward, we came out hard, in the second period they buried everything they could and we couldn't capitalize."
- What is the difference in being knocked out early, "the ultimate goal is to win the Cup so if you get kicked out in the first round it's very disappointing. I don't want to get into analyzing everything but I can tell right now that we have disappointment from management, coaches and players and the Rangers fans. We all wanted more and expected more."
- On the lineup decisions and Dan Boyle, "It was a very tough decision that took a lot of time to think through but I think that our special teams needed help and that Dan would come in and help the PK and I thought that Diaz would come in and I wanted a shooter up top. That is how I came to those conclusions and somebody had to come out and it was Dan. It wasn't easy to make. He has been there for the team the whole year but in the end you are in this to win and I had to go with what I thought was the best lineup."
- How did you tell him, "we made sure this morning that Dan was good to go, talked with our medical staff and then we let him know."
- Was this the first game Girardi was healthy to play, "yes."
- On this roster needing change, "you answered the question with how you phrased it. It is too early to get into that right now. I can tell you that without a doubt, like any organization we are going to go through all the steps from coaches to management to what we are thinking and player evaluation and what we think this team has to do to take the next step."
- Why are the Pens a difficult matchup, "they finished as the hottest team in the league, real sound defensively, when they get the opportunity with the firepower that they have they can finish. Right now they are probably the hottest team in the league and a tough matchup for anyone to play against."
- On Henrik, "there is no doubt that like him, the rest of the team, everyone wanted to end this way differently than it did. I'm sure it's disappointing for him and our whole group."
Tags: Henrik Lundqvist
Henrik Lundqvist spoke with reporters following today's season ending loss to Pittsburgh (MSG):
- Are you stunned, "it's going to be a couple of days where you analyze this but the last two I didn't have it in me to make the difference. The way the last two games were played with a lot of big opportunities right in front. You need strong goalies and a goalie who is going to make a lot of big and extra saves an I was not able to come up with that and for some reason....sometimes you take a step on a guy when he goes across, sometimes you stay deep and you need to be extremely confident to stop those kinds of shots and these last two games I wasn't strong enough to do that. The first few games I felt pretty good and trusted whatever I was doing out there and felt like it was paying off but just the looks they had, especially today and the last game, you need to make sure you are making good reads personally and I was not."
- Were you comfortable at any point, "Obviously, especially the last two I need to be better, but the way we play and the way we give up chances it's going to be hard to win games, that is my opinion. Like I already said, when you do give up chances you have to be on your toes and play a really strong game to come up with saves and when you don't it's just not a good feeling, especially today in the second period, not being able to come up with the saves and just the way that they created chances in the last second period."
- On the season ending with him on the bench, "I don't know, the end of the second period was a feeling of embarrassment to give up that many goals and a feeling of hopelessness and not being able to come up with saves and the score being the score. Then to sit in the third and think about what went wrong, it's going to be a couple of days to analyze this and the season as a whole, you need to look at what was good and what was not good and learn from it. I think we played a team that was smarter, better and better goaltending."
- Did you feel you had a shot, "when they do create chances, if you are on top of your game maybe you stop them, maybe not, I don't know if it would have been enough but the last two games I just didn't have it in me to make a difference and that is painful. That is my job to try to make the difference and help the team but when you are not able to do it it's frustrating and disappointing. You take it hard, it will be a few weeks here where you try to analyze it the right way and...that's that."