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Jan 22, 2016; Raleigh, NC, USA; New York Rangers forward Kevin Hayes (13) looks on against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena. The New York Rangers defeated the Carolina Hurricanes 4-1. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports (James Guillory)
Jan 22, 2016; Raleigh, NC, USA; New York Rangers forward Kevin Hayes (13) looks on against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena. The New York Rangers defeated the Carolina Hurricanes 4-1. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports (James Guillory)

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

Feb 18, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; New York Rangers defenseman Marc Staal (18) during the pre game warm up against the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports (John E. Sokolowski)
Feb 18, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; New York Rangers defenseman Marc Staal (18) during the pre game warm up against the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports (John E. Sokolowski)

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

New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist shakes hands with Sydney Crosby. (Charles LeClaire)
New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist shakes hands with Sydney Crosby. (Charles LeClaire)

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.

 


Mar 27, 2016; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers center Eric Staal (12) shoots and scores a goal past Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury (29) during the second period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports ( Adam Hunger)
Mar 27, 2016; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers center Eric Staal (12) shoots and scores a goal past Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury (29) during the second period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports ( Adam Hunger)

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

 (Jerome Miron)
(Jerome Miron)

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

New York Rangers defenseman Keith Yandle skates with the puck against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the second period at the CONSOL Energy Center. (Charles LeClaire/USA Today Sports Images)
New York Rangers defenseman Keith Yandle skates with the puck against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the second period at the CONSOL Energy Center. (Charles LeClaire/USA Today Sports Images)

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.


Dan Boyle erupts at reporter 00:01:11
Rangers defenseman Dan Boyle goes on an expletive-laden rant at New York Post writer Larry Brooks at the team's practice facility.

4PM: Cyrgalis responded to Boyle on the Rangers Blue Line Podcast earlier today.

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)

10:53AM: Boyle reportedly said to Larry Brooks of the New York Post, "I have no respect for you. Zero. I want you to go out." (KVatNHL, via PHT)

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)

 

Click here to read more


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: Rangers Blue Line Podcast

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."

Apr 5, 2016; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi (5) lays on the ice after being hit by Tampa Bay Lightning center Brian Boyle (11) during the third period at Madison Square Garden. The Rangers defeated the Lightning 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports ( Adam Hunger)
Apr 5, 2016; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi (5) lays on the ice after being hit by Tampa Bay Lightning center Brian Boyle (11) during the third period at Madison Square Garden. The Rangers defeated the Lightning 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports ( Adam Hunger)

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."

9:59AM: Dan Girardi suffered a concussion as a result of a hit from Brian Boyle in the last week of the regular season. (Brooks)

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.

There are a lot of questions about Girardi's future with the organization.

For more on Girardi, click HERE.

Tags: Dan Girardi

1:19PM: Vigneault and his staff will take about a week before diving into player evaluations, saying that they need to calm down and not make any "drastic" decisions. (Gross, NYR)

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)


New York Rangers' Derick Brassard reacts after scoring the tying goal during the third period of the NHL hockey game against the New York Islanders, Sunday, March 6, 2016, in New York. The Islanders defeated the Rangers 6-4. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig (Seth Weni/AP)
New York Rangers' Derick Brassard reacts after scoring the tying goal during the third period of the NHL hockey game against the New York Islanders, Sunday, March 6, 2016, in New York. The Islanders defeated the Rangers 6-4. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig (Seth Weni/AP)

Derick Brassard will play for Team Canada at the World Championships in Russia this May. (NYR)

Brady Skjei is playing for Team USA.

Brassard played for Canada at the Under 18s in 2004-05.

Tags: Derick Brassard

Feb 18, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; New York Rangers forward Chris Kreider (20) during the pre game warm up against the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports (John E. Sokolowski)
Feb 18, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; New York Rangers forward Chris Kreider (20) during the pre game warm up against the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports (John E. Sokolowski)

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

Feb 27, 2016; Dallas, TX, USA; New York Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh (27) skates against the Dallas Stars at the American Airlines Center. The Rangers defeat the Stars 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports (Jerome Miron)
Feb 27, 2016; Dallas, TX, USA; New York Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh (27) skates against the Dallas Stars at the American Airlines Center. The Rangers defeat the Stars 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports (Jerome Miron)

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."

Dec 15, 2015; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers defenseman Brady Skjei (76) warms up before a game against the Edmonton Oilers at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Dec 15, 2015; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers defenseman Brady Skjei (76) warms up before a game against the Edmonton Oilers at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

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)

12:34PM: Elliotte Friedman was on Sportsnet 960 this morning and said the following about the Rangers: (Sportsnet via Nichols)

  • "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."

Tags: Henrik Lundqvist

Apr 4, 2016; Columbus, OH, USA; New York Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi (5) against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena. The Rangers won 4-2. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports (Aaron Doster)
Apr 4, 2016; Columbus, OH, USA; New York Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi (5) against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena. The Rangers won 4-2. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports (Aaron Doster)

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

 (Jerome Miron)
(Jerome Miron)

4/25/16: 9:09AM:

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.


New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist (30) watches from the bench alongside center Derick Brassard (16) during the second period after giving up four goals to the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 4 of an NHL hockey first-round Stanley Cup playoff series, Thursday, April 21, 2016, in New York. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson (Julie Jacobso/AP)
New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist (30) watches from the bench alongside center Derick Brassard (16) during the second period after giving up four goals to the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 4 of an NHL hockey first-round Stanley Cup playoff series, Thursday, April 21, 2016, in New York. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson (Julie Jacobso/AP)

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."


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.


Apr 19, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins center Matt Cullen (7) scores against New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist (30) during the third period of game three of the first round of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Apr 19, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins center Matt Cullen (7) scores against New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist (30) during the third period of game three of the first round of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

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.


Apr 23, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist (30) makes a save against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the first period in game five of the first round of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the CONSOL Energy Center. The Pens won 6-3. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)
Apr 23, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist (30) makes a save against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the first period in game five of the first round of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the CONSOL Energy Center. The Pens won 6-3. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)

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

Apr 23, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby (87) and New York Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh (27) shake hands after the Penguins defeated the Rangers 6-3 in game five of the first round of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the CONSOL Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)
Apr 23, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby (87) and New York Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh (27) shake hands after the Penguins defeated the Rangers 6-3 in game five of the first round of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the CONSOL Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)

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."

GEICO SportsNite: Rangers 00:01:12
Henrik Lundqvist and coach Alain Vigneault react to the Rangers 6-3 loss to the Penguins, eliminating them from the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Tags: Henrik Lundqvist

Apr 23, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist (30) sweeps the puck from in front of the net against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the first period in game five of the first round of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the CONSOL Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)
Apr 23, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist (30) sweeps the puck from in front of the net against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the first period in game five of the first round of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the CONSOL Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)

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."
Tags: Henrik Lundqvist

Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang (58) celebrates his empty-net goal with Pittsburgh Penguins center Matt Cullen (7) in front of New York Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh (27) during the third period of game three of the first round of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden. The Penguins defeated the Rangers 3-1 to take a two games to one lead in the best of seven series. (Brad Penner)
Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang (58) celebrates his empty-net goal with Pittsburgh Penguins center Matt Cullen (7) in front of New York Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh (27) during the third period of game three of the first round of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden. The Penguins defeated the Rangers 3-1 to take a two games to one lead in the best of seven series. (Brad Penner)

Box score

The Pittsburgh Penguins ended their postseason hex against the New York Rangers emphatically Saturday, lighting up Henrik Lundqvist in a remarkably easy 6-3 rout in Game 5 to win the series 4-1 and advance to the Eastern Conference semifinals.

Rookie Bryan Rust scored twice during a four-goal burst in the second period and Matt Murray made 38 saves for the Penguins. Pittsburgh which outscored the Rangers 14-4 over the final three games to gain a measure of revenge after New York ended the Penguins' seasons each of the last two years.

Tied at two, the Penguins simply skated by the older, slower and decidedly lethargic Rangers. Rust gave Pittsburgh the lead for good by tapping in a pretty feed from Trevor Daley at the top of the slot, the defenseman faking a shot before sliding a pass to Rust at the doorstep 5:21 into the second. The 39-year-old Cullen doubled the Penguins' advantage just over four minutes later when Rust's aggressive forechecking took two Rangers off the puck and left it sitting there for Cullen to whip over Lundqvist's glove.

Lundqvist, who stopped just 17 of 23 shots, failed to make it to the third period for the third time in the series.

Read more...

Adam's Thoughts

All season long the Rangers battled inconsistency and I kept thinking that this was a team that knew it would get to the playoffs and was trying to save whatever extra they could for a playoff run. When the playoffs started I expected them to draw on their experiences, play a crisper, structured brand of hockey that would show how much better the Rangers were than they showed in the regular season.

It turns out that I was delusional in my thinking/hoping/praying as the Rangers mostly brought their regular-season level of play into the postseason.

As the season went on they showed they were a flawed team that struggled to manage the puck, struggled to deal with pressure and often left players wide open in front of the net. There is still part of me that thinks they will tighten up, stop turning pucks over and find a way to persevere, but alas, the Rangers season is over.

The toughest part of this run was obviously how much Lundqvist struggled in the past two games. As was the case most of the time this season he didn't get a ton of help but there were a number of shots that hitting the net that he usually stops. Maybe it's his eye, you almost hope there is an injury limiting him, but it's been a very long time since Henrik looked that uncomfortable in net.

This team will be different next year. I don't know how different or in what way, but with many players being holdovers the past two season it's time to break it up in some way. I don't expect the Rangers to throw in the towel and rebuild but I do expect them to try and be creative, move out some guys who have been here and get some new blood in.

Tags: Pittsburgh Penguins , Adam Rotter

Apr 21, 2016; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist (30) after giving up his third goal during the first period in game four of the first round of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports ( Adam Hunger)
Apr 21, 2016; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist (30) after giving up his third goal during the first period in game four of the first round of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports ( Adam Hunger)

The Rangers have pulled Henrik Lundqvist and inserted Antti Raanta to start the third period.

Lundqvist allowed six-goals on 23 shots through the first two periods today.

He has allowed 10 goals on 41 shots in the past two games.

Adam Rotter: The talk today, the next few days and probably for parts of the summer will be about Henrik Lundqvist's struggles in this series, that he is likely past his prime and the Rangers are about to head into a massive tailspin.

I'm not ready to make any big proclamations about Lundqvist's future and ability to lead the Rangers. Lundqvist did not have a good series and the Rangers did not have a good series defending in front of him. Poor defense in front of Henrik Lundqvist isn't anything new, at least for this season, the difference is that he isn't making the extra saves that he used to make. He had the ability in the past, and maybe he still has it, to cover things up, make spectacular save after spectacular save and carry the Rangers on his back. That was the Henrik Lundqvist we have gotten used to seeing but it wasn't the Henrik Lundqvist that showed up in this series. He is sitll the Rangers franchise goalie and isn't going anywhere.

Tags: Antti Raanta , Henrik Lundqvist

3:13PM: Raphael Diaz is in and Tanner Glass is out as the Rangers dress 11 forwards and 7 D.

2:51PM: The lines during warmups are (Cyrgalis):

  • Nash, Brassard, Zuccarello
  • Kreider, Stepan, Fast
  • Lindberg, Eric Staal, JT Miller
  • Tanner Glass, Dominic Moore, Viktor Stalberg

2:47PM: The Rangers defense pairs today during warmups are (Gross):

  • Staal-McDonagh
  • Yandle-Klein
  • Skjei-Girardi

2:44PM: Dan Boyle is not on the ice for the Rangers during warmups for Game 5. (Best)

Both Dan Girardi and Raphael Diaz are on the ice and Larry Brooks writes that Girardi is in. (Brooks)

1:17PM: Alain Vigneault says that it's a game-time decision as to who will play on defense today. (NYR)

Vigneault is considering Raphael Diaz on defense. (Gross)

The Rangers are not expected to make any changes at forward, indicating that Kevin Hayes will remain a healthy scratch. (Cyrgalis)

 


Apr 13, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New York Rangers center Derek Stepan (21) celebrates his second goal of the game against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the third period in game one of the first round of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the CONSOL Energy Center. The Penguins won 5-2. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)
Apr 13, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New York Rangers center Derek Stepan (21) celebrates his second goal of the game against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the third period in game one of the first round of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the CONSOL Energy Center. The Penguins won 5-2. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)

Immediately following Game 4 on Thursday, Alain Vigneault said this about motivating his players, "to continue playing we are going to have to have a better performance and I believe that this group is highly motivated and wants to do well. We picked a bad night to have a bad game." (MSG)

Chris Kreider said that the Rangers had two options: to "mope" or move beyond Game 4 and focus on Game 5. (Newsday)

Henrik Lundqvist said that the Rangers have to have the mindset that they either win the game or the season is over. (Rangers Game Notes)

He added, "we just have to man up to the situation here and realize that this was not good enough." (Rangers Game Notes)

Lundqvist added, "we really have to come together. We don't have any other choice but to believe. It starts with just one game. We can't focus on winning three straight, we need to focus on the next one. We need everybody and everything just to win that one and take it from there. That is all you can do."

Vigneault said on Friday that the Rangers play that it's a "must game" if the Rangers want to continue their season. (NYR)

He added, "to a man in that room I know that they all know they can play better than they have so far. Our intentions are to play a good game and we need them to come up with solid effort and execution and go out and play hard." (NYR)

Adam Rotter: Just like the last two years it all comes down to today. The only focus the Rangers can have is winning today and allowing their season to continue on to Monday where they would face the exact same situation. 

The only way this happens though is if the Rangers manage the puck well, play with speed and get A+ goaltending. Anything less and the Rangers will start a long summer featuring questions about a window that may or may not be closed and a handful, if not more, of roster related questions.


Apr 16, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins right wing Phil Kessel (81) handles the puck against pressure from New York Rangers right wing Jesper Fast (19) during the third period in game two of the first round of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the CONSOL Energy Center. The Rangers won 4-2. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)
Apr 16, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins right wing Phil Kessel (81) handles the puck against pressure from New York Rangers right wing Jesper Fast (19) during the third period in game two of the first round of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the CONSOL Energy Center. The Rangers won 4-2. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)

Through the first four games of the Rangers/Pens series the Penguins are 7 for 19 on the PP. (NY Post)

The Rangers are 0-16 with a 5 on 4 advantage and 1 for 1 when it's 3 on 3. (NY Post)

The Rangers and Penguins have both scored one shorthanded goal. 

Alain Vigneault said on Friday that the Rangers PP and PK are not at their best right now and he is looking at all options for how to fix it.

Keith Yandle said on Friday, "just one of those things where we need to be more sure of ourselves to make plays at the right time and the biggest thing is working together as a unit."

 


GEICO SportsNite: Rangers 00:01:11
Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist and defenseman Keith Yandle discuss facing elimination against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Apr 13, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist (30) skates across the Stanley Cup logo in the ice before playing the Pittsburgh Penguins in game one of the first round of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the CONSOL Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)
Apr 13, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist (30) skates across the Stanley Cup logo in the ice before playing the Pittsburgh Penguins in game one of the first round of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the CONSOL Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)

For the third straight season, and second time against Pittsburgh, the Rangers head into Game 5 down 3-1 and on the verge of elimination.

Alain Vigneault said that each team is different so it's hard to compare but that the teams that did this in the past had a narrow focus and ability to stay in the moment.

He said that staying in the moment and focusing on one game at a team is what they are going to "preach" before the game. (NYR)

Henrik Lundqvist said that the Rangers will do what they can to get one win and then "take it from there." (NYR)

Ryan McDonagh said that the Rangers need to think in small increments and "our execution wasn't near where we need it to be tonight and we'll definitely be sharper in the next game." (Rangers Game Notes)

Keith Yandle said earlier today, "we talked after the game last game, there is a sense of pride to go out there and we know that in our group we can come back from something like this and be better, we know that if we play well as a team. Nothing will be handed to us and we need to go out and earn it but I think that in our locker room it's a look around and see everyone excited for tomorrow and it's a good feeling." (NYR)


Alain Vigneault spoke with reporters on Friday prior to the Rangers traveling to Pittsburgh for Game 5 (NYR):

  • On the short-term focus, "At this point it's important that we have our players have a short memory and turn the page on yesterday and focus on what is in front of us and what is in front us is a must game if we want to continue. To a man in that room I know that they all know they can play better than they have so far. Our intentions are to play a good game tomorrow and we need them to come up with solid effort and execution and go out and play hard."
  • On being down 3-1 before, "different teams, can't think that because you have done it in the past means that you are going to do it but you can believe a little bit. We have been there and been in those situations and what made it possible was that narrow focus and staying in the moment and that is what we are going to preach. We had a good work day today and will have some good meetings once we get to Pitt and then our usual game meetings tomorrow and get ready for the game."
  • Is there offensive firepower on your team, "there is. I have turned the page on the past but the first game at home it's a flip on their part and both of our guys run into one another and it's a 2-1 game. Last night got out of hand early and that's tough but turn the page on that, this team has defended well and has also scored goals. We know what it takes and we will go out tomorrow and put our best foot forward."
  • On Marc Staal/Kevin Klein pairing, "today the colors were more PP oriented, worked on some things there. We are still in the process of finalizing the lineup for tomorrow. It's an afternoon game and we will see what happens."
  • On the lines today, "just because I had seven forwards working on the PP. The lines today were just PP oriented, not 5 on 5."
  • On Matt Murray, "I don't want to take anything away from his game, he has played extremely well and his record prior to the playoffs was very very good. He is a young goalie who has been playing extremely well and there is no doubt that we need to do better there. It's like any goalie, you talk about pucks to the net and people to take his eyes away. Same principles apply and that is what we will try."
  • On Diaz, "that is a possibility that I am looking at. Raffi has played PP before. We all know right now that our PP and PK aren't at their best so I am looking for solutions there and all options right now."

Feb 10, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; NHL network reporter Pierre McGuire (L) interviews New York Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault (R) on the bench during a time-out against the Pittsburgh Penguins in the second period at the CONSOL Energy Center. The Rangers won 3-0. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)
Feb 10, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; NHL network reporter Pierre McGuire (L) interviews New York Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault (R) on the bench during a time-out against the Pittsburgh Penguins in the second period at the CONSOL Energy Center. The Rangers won 3-0. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)

During and following the Rangers loss to the Penguins in Game 4, Jeremy Roenick and Pierre McGuire spoke about the Rangers:

  • Roenick said that the Rangers were not in the game and that his son's "school team" could have beaten them last night. (Expressen)
  • Roenick also went after Chris Kreider "who has plenty of talent, but now looks to go around and sleep on the ice." (Expressen)
  • Pierre said that this wasn't an expected effort from the Rangers with the chance to tie up the series at 2. (Expressen)
  • Pierre said that it was a good idea for the Rangers to pull Henrik and allow him to start focusing on Saturday after being "completely abandoned by his teammates tonight."(Expressen)
  • Pittsburgh won the races to pucks, physical confrontations in front of each net and all of the battles. (TSN 1050)
  • "I didn't think it was anybodies night. I showed the video of it, you could see in the first period that it was all Pittsburgh all the time. They wanted the puck more, they wanted to win races more, they wanted to establish physicality, get to the net more. They were very comfortable with their game plan. There was no pushback from the Rangers at all, none, I'm not sure they handled things well as a group. If they don't handle things well in Pitt then they will be out. That was not the New York Ranger team that I am used to seeing." (Sirius XM)
  • "It's more than fair to say, hard to say but more than fair to see. In Game 3 Rick Nash was outstanding for the Rangers, he was really really good, didn't see the same Rick Nash last night. I think that the last two games in NY that I watched, Brady Skjei, first round pick out of Minnesota, he's been the most consistent and best Rangers player. It's not a knock on him, they need guys who are proven professionals to be a whole lot better than him." (Sirius XM)

12:52PM: The Rangers PP units today included (Zipay) :

  • Ryan McDonagh, Keith Yandle, Eric Staal, Chris Kreider and Derek Stepan
  • Raphael Diaz, Dan Boyle, Derick Brassard, Rick Nash, Mats Zuccarello

12:16PM: Dan Girardi is skating with Dylan McIlrath as an extra defense pair at practice today. (Gross)

The Rangers top-six forwards are rotating around.

The Rangers bottom six forwards are (Cyrgalis):

  • Viktor Stalberg, Dominic Moore, Jesper Fast
  • Oscar Lindberg, Kevin Hayes, Tanner Glass

Apr 21, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins right wing Patric Hornqvist (72) celebrating goal by Sidney Crosby on power play during the first period in game four of the first round of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports ( Adam Hunger)
Apr 21, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins right wing Patric Hornqvist (72) celebrating goal by Sidney Crosby on power play during the first period in game four of the first round of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports ( Adam Hunger)

Following last night's game, Alain Vigneault said that it was "it's definitely out of character for this group to come up with this type of performance. I don't think it was a matter of lack of will, we just picked a very bad night to have a very bad game."

Henrik Lundqvist said that the Rangers were not good enough, "it was a really bad game" and "I need to be better, simple as that.

Ryan McDonagh said that the Rangers were not themselves and did not play up to their potential or in a way necessary for them to win. (Rangers Game Notes)

Marc Staal said that the Rangers are disappointed and "frustrated with the way the night turned out." (Rangers Game Notes)

The Rangers allowed 4 goals on the Penguins first 18 shots and the Penguins out-shot the Rangers 27-17 in the first two periods.

The Rangers had 25 shots that missed the net, 17 giveaways and the Pens were credited with 8 takeaways.

Adam Rotter: It was just an absolutely horrendous game. It started off nicely with John Amirante, Kreider and Hornqvist were battling and then Kris Letang and another Penguin were dumped in the corner within seconds of each other. The Rangers seemed to have some momentum....and then the Penguins scored, scored again, and then scored again before the end of the first period.

The execution was awful trying to get up the ice and beat the Penguins neutral zone trap. They seemed to ice it on almost every play either because of a stretch pass that didn't connect or a poor decision. The Rangers said that they knew how to counter the Penguins defensive structure and then they went out and didn't do it. The Penguins deserve credit, they are stubborn, play hard and stick to their structure, but they aren't unbeatable. The Rangers, as they have been for most of the series, were second on pucks, second in desperation/urgency and most importantly, second on the scoreboard for the whole night. The Rangers bounced back from an eerily similar Game 4 in 2014 to beat the Penguins but that series had all the magic and emotion of coming together for Marty St. Louis. If the Rangers can find some way to bond together in the next 24 hours or so maybe they can stage a comeback. It's a whole team effort but it starts from the goalie out and the Rangers clearly need a better Henrik Lundqvist to win.


Alain Vigneault spoke with the media following the Rangers Game 4 loss to the Pens (MSG):

  • On wanting a compete level, "it's definitely out of character for this group to come up with this type of performance. I don't think it was a matter of lack of will, we just picked a very bad night to have a very bad game. All we can focus on now is getting back to work tomorrow and that is what we are going to do."
  • On Henrik Lundqvist, "We lost 5-0 tonight, this is a team loss. I won't single out one individual. As a whole group we had a hard time and the results went accordingly."
  • On the PK, "they are a good team and have some different looks and we haven't found our trigger points yet. We don't have a choice and we need to be better in the next game."
  • How do you motivate them to get going, "to continue playing we are going to have to have a better performance and I believe that this group is highly motivated and wants to do well. We picked a bad night to have a bad game. We will get back to work tomorrow and get ready for the next game."

Apr 21, 2016; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist (30) walks to the locker room after losing in game four of the first round of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs to the Pittsburgh Penguins at Madison Square Garden. The Penguins defeated the Rangers 5-0. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports ( Adam Hunger)
Apr 21, 2016; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist (30) walks to the locker room after losing in game four of the first round of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs to the Pittsburgh Penguins at Madison Square Garden. The Penguins defeated the Rangers 5-0. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports ( Adam Hunger)

Henrik Lundqvist spoke on MSG after the Rangers Game 4 loss and said:

  • "it just wasn't good enough. It was a really bad game, I need to be better, simple as that. I don't need to say more than that."
  • "It's disappointing, there is no question. All we can do is go to Pitt with the mindset that we have to win that game or the season is over. We just have to man up the situation and realize that this isn't good enough. We are playing a really good team and this is my job to be there when we have breakdowns and I'm not good enough today. I go to practice tomorrow and work hard and try to be on top of it in the next one, we are going to need it."
  • On responding after being pulled, "you just have to believe in yourself and believe that the things you have done well in the pat and in the last few games will work for you. Not overthink or analyze it, when you play a team with a lot of confidence and skilled players you need to be on top of things otherwise they will take advantage of mistakes. Their PP was a big part again in this game and we just have to come together and try to leave everything out there in the next game or it's over."
  • "We really have to come together. We don't have any other choice but to believe. It starts with just one game. We can't focus on winning three straight, we need to focus on the next one. We need everybody and everything just to win that one and take it from there. That is all you can do."
  • On being pulled, "if you give up four goals on 18 shots you have to expect that a chance might happen and also it's a series and you have another game coming up so there is some time to think about what I was doing wrong. Was it a couple of tough plays? Yes. But I didn't play it the way I need to play it. Simple as that."
Tags: Henrik Lundqvist

Pittsburgh's Patric Hornqvist celebrates Sidney Crosby's first-period power play goal. (Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports)
Pittsburgh's Patric Hornqvist celebrates Sidney Crosby's first-period power play goal. (Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports)

Box score

NEW YORK -- Flashing his old brilliance, Evgeni Malkin scored two goals and set up two others and the Pittsburgh Penguins pushed the Rangers to the brink of playoff elimination with a 5-0 victory Thursday night.

Malkin, whose four points tied his single-game high in the postseason, assisted on two of the Penguins' three first-period goals in helping Pittsburgh dominate the Rangers for the second consecutive game and take a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven, first-round series.

Sidney Crosby, who added two assists, and the red-hot Penguins can wrap up things in Game 5 in Pittsburgh on Saturday.

Rookie goaltender Matt Murray, who returned to the lineup for Game 3, made 31 saves in posting his first playoff shutout.

Eric Fehr, Patric Hornqvist and Conor Sheary also scored as the Penguins tallied four times on 18 shots against Henrik Lundqvist, who was lifted early in the second period.

Read more. . .

Adam's Thoughts:

  • This was just about the exact opposite, in every way shape and form, of how the Rangers wanted this game to go.
  • They may have spent time looking at video, talking about how to play and what to do but they went out and did the same stuff that didn't work in Game 3. Passes weren't connecting and leading to turnovers or icings. They had no answer for the Penguins in the neutral zone and seemed content walking into the same trap every time. They made things a little tougher on Matt Murray, and he responded with some good saves, but didn't get enough shots or traffic in front. When they did have quality chances they couldn't connect.
  • Then there was all of the talk about how the Rangers needed to stay out of the box and win the special teams battle. Not only did they parade themselves to the penalty box all night but when they had a couple of PP chances to get back into the game they were miserable.
  • In some ways the game is reminiscent of Game 4 against the Penguins in 2014. That night the Rangers played arguably their worst game of that season and went down 3-1 in the series. With the emotions around Marty St. Louis leading them the Rangers obviously came back to win that series.
  • This team though is not that team, or at least hasn't shown that they can play a smart, disciplined 60 minute game with speed, scoring and an ability to out-work the opponent. If the Rangers can play that kind of game on Saturday it would be a start but they would need two more just like it to stay alive.
  • The Rangers have the history and experience of coming back from down 3-1 the past two years but unless the Rangers get 18 skaters to step up and go up 2 levels it likely won't be happening for a third straight year. Oh, and the Rangers would certainly need their goalie to be the best player on either team by miles.

Video: GEICO SportsNite: Rangers on verge of elimination

Tags: Henrik Lundqvist
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