NYR/WSH Review: The King Abandons His Kingdom, Rangers Hit Rock-Bottom, Playing GM, How To Fix This Team, Congrats Jagr, Top 10 Contracts, & More From the Dumpster Fire at MSG

The King abandoned his Kingdom on Sunday night.

Let that picture sink in. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. You could write a saga longer than “Harry Potter”, “Lord of The Rings” and “The Hunger Games” off of this picture. Fortunately, I will spare you a manifesto and give you the bullet points. This picture was taken before the third period started at MSG on Sunday night. The Rangers, once leading 3-1 after one period, found themselves down 5-3 after two periods. The King did not fight for his soldiers. He promptly took his throne on the bench. On the other end, down 3-1, and looking shook up, Holtby battled back valiantly, played shutout hockey for forty minutes and was able to win the game. That is someone who I would want on this team.

For all of the talk of Henrik Lundqvist being dapper and chic, you can see this slide is getting to him. After all, when is the last time you saw Lundqvist sporting gray hair on his beard?

I’m sparing you the normal intro. I’m even going to spare you my quick take on Wild & Jet games. The Rangers have many problems right now and that is what we’re going to deal with here.

I will preface this by telling you, if you don’t know this already about me, I’m not the biggest Lundqvist fan. In fact, I urge you to read this blog http://doinow.com/the-decade-long-saga-of-henrik-lundqvist-my-final-words-on-king-contract-why-lundqvist-is-overpaid-when-lundqvist-soured-me-will-the-rangers-ever-win-with-hank-and-his-cap-hit-examining-the-nhl/ first, if you haven’t already.

To sum it up quick – is Hank a great NHL goalie. YES. Can the Rangers win a Cup with him? In my opinion, NO! Quite frankly, not one top 5 paid goalie in the salary cap era has ever won a Stanley Cup. Look at the moves the Caps made during the off-season. They picked up Justin Williams & TJ Oshie, who have been great additions. Due to Hank’s contract, the Rangers picked up Jarrett Stoll, who was waived last week and swapped Carl Hagelin for a homeless man’s Carl Hagelin, in Emerson Etem.

Before you write me to tell me about Girardi, Staal and Nash’s contract, let me make this point. For those guys, those were their first big, life-changing, I-don’t-ever-have-to-work-again contracts they ever signed. For Lundqvist, he already got one of those. Plus, he has endorsements, his own TV show, his own clothing line and plenty of other income coming in, that those players don’t have. Additionally, Lundqvist is older and is the one who said, “I want a Cup at all costs.” Teasing to leave the Rangers during free agency until he became the highest paid goalie in hockey, at 13% of the cap, makes him a hypocrite in my eyes. Great goalie, YES! I never said otherwise. Worth it? Hell no.

There is no doubt in my mind that Lundqvist will be sporting this face again during the playoffs in Spring 2016-2021.

I do want to make it clear that I do not hate Lundqvist. I hate his contract. It is not good for this team or any team for that matter. Just look at the Top 10 salaries in the NHL:

  1. Patrick Kane & Jonathan Toews at $10.5M each. Both are worth it. They’ve won 3 Cups together and are both 27 years old, whereas Lundqvist will be 34 by the time the playoffs start for this season.
  2. Alex Ovechkin at $9.538M. Ovi has multiple Hart trophies and is the best player in hockey today. He is double-shifted a lot and twice this week led his team back from 2+ goal deficits. This might be the year he gets a Cup. And for the record, I did predict a Caps/Hawks finals.
  3.  Evgeni Malkin at $9.5M. Falling off a bit, as the Penguins are sliding too, but he’s won a Cup.
  4. PK Subban at $9M. One of the best defensemen in all of the NHL. Perhaps a bit overpaid, but high scoring defensemen are a luxury.
  5.  Sidney Crosby at $8.7M. One of the best NHL players of the last ten years and a Cup champion. He’s still a crybaby bitch though!
  6. Corey Perry at $8.6M. A prolific goal scorer. Won a Stanley Cup & a Hart trophy.
  7. Henrik Lundqvist $8.5M. No Cups, just heartbreak.
  8. Claude Giroux at $8.3M. One of the greatest young players in hockey. Looking to bring Philly back to the playoffs.
  9. Ryan Getzlaf & Eric Staal at $8.25M each. Getzlaf, with Perry, won a Cup in 2007. Staal won a Cup in 2006.
  10. Shea Weber at $7.85M a year. Arguably, the best defensemen in all of the NHL.

What do 8 of those guys on that list have that Henrik Lundqvist doesn’t? A Stanley Cup. Furthermore, NOT ONE OF THOSE GUYS ARE A GOALIE!!!! YOU DO NOT PAY A GOALIE 13% OF THE SALARY CAP. Lundqvist is not Patrick Roy. He’s not Brodeur. He will never even be Mike Richter, unless he brings a Cup to MSG. In today’s NHL, money needs to be spread out amongst four lines. The Blackhawks have shown us you can win with an inferior goalie. The Kings won 2 Cups with a goalie making half of what Lundqvist makes. Do the math. Lundqvist is OVERPAID and OVERRATED.

The Great 68.

Remember this blog I wrote last season on Jaromir Jagr?

If you don’t, click that link. On Sunday night, Jagr moved into fourth place all-time on the goal scorers list with 732 career goals. A big congratulations to him. If the NHL doesn’t do something special for him at the All Star Game, they are really out of touch.

As I said a year ago, if Jagr didn’t miss five years due to lock-outs and being frustrated with the NHL (Thanks Glen Sather), he would’ve surpassed Gretzky in every record. We might be talking a 1000 goal scorer. Jagr has 10 goals and 14 assists this season. Only Zuccarello and Brassard have more goals & points than Jagr this year. The FORTY MOTHERFUCKING THREE YEAR OLD Jagr has more goals & points than only two players on the Rangers right now! Oh boy, am I happy Sather told Jagr he wasn’t worth the money. I guess Redden, Gomez and Drury were! BULLSHIT!

I know my regular followers know my points and views, but since we’ve been getting a lot of new followers to this blog, let me reiterate a few things before moving on. All you have to do is check the archives on the right hand of the site to see what I wrote at the time. I’ll do it here for you, and you can check for yourself if you don’t believe me.

  • I hated the Callahan/MSL deal, only because I thought NYR didn’t have to deal two number 1 picks in the swap. Could’ve  done it straight up.
  • Hated the Dan Boyle move. They could’ve kept Stralman, who I wanted, for the same money. ($4.5M per/year)
  • Hated the Yandle for Duclair, Moore & pick trade. I like Yandle as a Ranger. Don’t think you had to deal Duke. If that was a deal-breaker, then I wouldn’t have made the trade. Duclair has 10 goals, 9 assists, which means besides Zucc & Brassard, Duke is outscoring every Ranger.
  • DESPISED the Hagelin for Etem trade, although I understand that $ was why it went down. Still, you may have kept Hags if you didn’t sign Stoll and Stalberg.

Listen, I’m not saying I’m Sam Pollock, Ken Holland, Lou Lamoriello or even Frank Boucher, but I do know a thing or two. After all, I’m up a decent size of money just betting the NHL this year! As a 19 year old kid, as a manager, I took a Genovese drug store, and brought up profits 30% from the 2000 fiscal year to the 2001 fiscal year. I ran my own successful wrestling company for 6 years. I was a pro wrestling “booker” for many companies, and turned profits & success. Put me at the helm!

Granted, I know I will not be the GM of the New York Rangers, but I will tell you, when I thought Sather made good moves (McDonagh, Klein, etc) I said it. When I thought he made bad moves, I said it. For the most part I’ve always been right. With GM Jeff Gorton at the helm, he needs to make some splashes with this team. Unfortunately for him, he has his hands tied a bit because of the awful moves Sather made.

With Sather screwing this team on the way out, it is no secret the Rangers need to make some moves. Here is what I would attempt to do, if I was Jeff Gorton.

Stamkos would be a welcome addition to NYR.

There’s been a lot of talk that Stamkos wants out of Tampa, until yesterday, where Stamkos says he wants a long-term and big money deal with Tampa. Will Tampa pay it? They didn’t do it for former captain Martin St. Louis. Could Tampa be willing to trade one of their captains again? It would be worth taking a look at. The biggest problem with the Rangers is that they have heavy contracts throughout the team, such as Nash, Girardi and Staal. Would Tampa be willing to take one of those guys, with the thinking that Stamkos might leave them at the end of the season for nothing? Don’t forget, Stamkos considers MSL his mentor, and MSL loved his time in NY.

As far as what I would try to do, I would try to give up Staal or Girardi, an AHLer and a pick. Once traded, I don’t think Stamkos would leave.

I would love to get Jaromir Jagr back. However, he didn’t have a fond time in NY. Sather is still team president, but no longer the GM. The coaching staff has changed too. Players throughout the league love Vigneault. Jagr is also in a contract year and is still producing. The Rangers could use veteran leadership from a productive player, similar to MSL in his last two seasons (his playoff performance last year the exception.) With the Panthers being a middle of the pack team, maybe Jagr would return for a crack at the Cup. Stalberg, Etem and a pick would work for me.

The Sedin brothers are unhappy with the rebuilding situation in Vancouver. They are very familiar with and love Alain Vigneault. At 35, they aren’t getting any younger and want a chance at the Cup. What better place to do it than MSG? I wouldn’t mind trading Rick Nash & either Girardi or Staal to make that move.

Patrick Marleau has been the subject of trade rumors. At 37 years old, the Rangers already have an old ex-Shark in Dan Boyle. Unless the Sharks would dump him and eat half the salary, I would avoid making the move.

Cam FUCKING Talbot. You knew I had to go there. With Talbot not having a great season in Edmonton, due to horrible defense and their best player being hurt for the majority of the season, the Rangers could use a back-up goalie who can spell Lundqvist. With Raanta out indefinitely and with Hellberg not being the guy, maybe the Rangers can deal the picks back to Edmonton to get Cam back!

Carl Hagelin is another ex-Ranger that thrived here but struggling in his new jersey in Anaheim. The Ducks wouldn’t mind taking his $4.5M off the books.  Again, based on what’s going on, I would make Staal or Girardi available or a package of Etem/Stalberg for him.

Eric Staal of Carolina wouldn’t mind coming to NY. I wouldn’t mind giving up Dominic Moore, Kevin Hayes, Tanner Glass, an AHLer and a pick to make it happen.

Dustin Byfuglein of the Jets may be sick of being on a team on the rebuild. If I could give up Dan Boyle, in a contract year, for a guy who may be leaving anyway, maybe the Jets would explore further talks.

Another longshot darkhorse player to look at would be Patrick Kane. Chicago is in cap hell too and Kane has been a headache for them off the ice. Would Chicago even dare trade Kane? I would trade Lundqvist for Kane heads up if Chicago would be insane enough to bite. However, successful teams know you don’t pay a goalie 13% of the cap.

Bottom line is this. The Rangers have to make trades. What they don’t need to do is give up their youth. Lindberg should not be discussed unless you’re getting Ovechkin in the deal. Pavel Buchnevich should also be excluded from all talks. Still, you will have to give up picks, which is ok for a win-now, Cup or Bust team that this Rangers franchise is right now. As far as the Wolfpack, anyone there, RIGHT NOW, besides Brady Skjei should be considered expendable too.

For me, the only Rangers on this team that I wouldn’t trade, unless you’re getting Ovi, Kane, Toews, Crosby or McDavid back are McDonagh, Zucc, Stepan, Brass and Lindberg. Everyone else is worth exploring trading, for different reasons. Granted, I know some guys have the NTC clause, but that can be lifted too.

I can’t tell if Kevin Hayes is giving a thumbs down on his season thus far.

The Rangers, who were the best team in the NHL for a three week stretch are now the worst team in the league during a 15 day stretch. What happened? If there is a bright side, at least the Montreal Canadiens, who started as the hottest team in the NHL, going 9-0, are asking the same thing. To be fair though, their best player, the reigning Hart & Vezina winner, Carey Price, has been out with an injury. The Rangers can’t say the same thing, since Daddy Warbucks Lundqvist has been playing.

Many reporters, media people and fans thought the Rangers overcame a ton of mistakes to win games during their hot streak. What really happened is that Lundqvist played up to his contract. Now that Lundqvist has come down to earth a bit, like all goalies do, he’s given up 4+ goals in his last four out of five games. Again, he takes the heat for this team, because he is the highest paid player.

When you look around the league, the stars are shining. Ovechkin. Perry. Tavares. Kane. They don’t have bad nights. Lundqvist does. Routinely. If you remember last season, his first half absolutely sucked. When he went down with an injury, Cam Talbot & the boys went on to win the President’s Trophy.

For the Rangers, one thing you always have to keep in mind is that it’s all about the playoffs. Even as I write this now, I know the Rangers will make the playoffs. They are too veteran of a team not to, and they have one of the best coaches in the NHL. What they will be judged on is how they do in the playoffs. That is why MSL was forced into retirement. That is why Hagelin was considered expendable too. It’s also a reason why Rick Nash is called A-Rod, but even A-Rod had a good playoff series and won a championship.

I always go back to Lundqvist, because he’s the guy making the most money, the Rangers best player of the playoffs, and the guy who said he wants the Cup at all costs, then held up the team. Rick Nash was dealt here years ago. I get the frustration with him. However, Hank was our homegrown guy, but I feel got way too greedy at contract negotiations. At this point, I feel Lundqvist is the Don Mattingly of the NY Rangers.

Of course, the reference isn’t 100% accurate, but you get the idea. The Rangers weren’t the most successful team, championship-wise, like the Yankees were when Mattingly arrived. However, I feel this team won’t win a Cup during Lundqvist’s tenure, unless the Cap changes significantly. I do see the Rangers winning a Cup when Hank is gone and are able to restructure their team financially.

I don’t care if you’re a diehard Ranger fan like me, one that goes to 45+ games a year, travels to weird places like Alberta to see them on the road & spend over $10K a season on this team. If you don’t like watching Ovi, you’re not a fan of hockey.

As you know, I’m working crazy ass hours and my vacation from work is over. I’ve gone on long enough, so no Jets & Wild recap, because quite frankly, it’s not worth our time and outside of a first period that wound up being false hope, the same problems arose in this game too.

Quick look at the scoring, from NHL.com:

1st Period
12:03
WSH
Justin Williams (9) ASST: Taylor Chorney (4), John Carlson (20)
1 – 0 WSH
13:42
NYR
J.T. Miller (7) ASST: Rick Nash (14), Keith Yandle (18)
1 – 1 Tie
15:44
NYR
Chris Kreider (6) ASST: Marc Staal (10), Jesper Fast (6)
2 – 1 NYR
18:03
NYR
PPG – Dan Boyle (4) ASST: Ryan McDonagh (12), Mats Zuccarello (14)
3 – 1 NYR
2nd Period
05:25
WSH
Evgeny Kuznetsov (10) ASST: Dmitry Orlov (8), Justin Williams (13)
3 – 2 NYR
07:01
WSH
T.J. Oshie (13) ASST: Nicklas Backstrom (19), Dmitry Orlov (9)
3 – 3 Tie
11:03
WSH
PPG – Alex Ovechkin (17) ASST: Marcus Johansson (11), Nicklas Backstrom (20)
4 – 3 WSH
19:00
WSH
PPG – Justin Williams (10) ASST: Marcus Johansson (12), Nicklas Backstrom (21)
5 – 3 WSH
3rd Period
02:26
WSH
SHG – Jason Chimera (8) ASST: Tom Wilson (6)
6 – 3 WSH
04:36
WSH
Marcus Johansson (7) ASST: Evgeny Kuznetsov (20)
7 – 3 WSH

As you may have heard by now, the Rangers lead 3-1 at the end of the first period. Henrik Lunqvist, who has blown more two goal leads than any other goalie in the last three seasons, quickly coughed up another one. It’s amazing for as good as Lundqvist can be (2012, the first two rounds last season), he can be dreadful just as quick. (Giving up 6 goals in back-to-back games against TBL in the ECF, blowing multiple 2 goal leads in 2014 SCF, tonight, etc.)

What drove me nuts is that Lundqvist didn’t even come to play in the third period. I don’t want to hear how he is tired, or the team is tired. Yes, I know they played many games over the last four seasons, but do you know who else did to? The LA Kings. The Chicago Blackhawks. Those motherfuckers won 2 & 3 cups respectively and will be in the playoffs again this year. So save me that shit.

Holtby, abused in the first period, didn’t run to the bench or ask for the back-up goalie. He stayed in there and fought. Lundqvist gave up. With Kings like that, who needs a monarchy? I thought this was a team game anyway. Santino Vazquez wouldn’t have given up!

The Rangers went up 3-1 and the second period was a nightmare from hell, as the Rangers gave up 4 goals. Is it all Lundqvist’s fault? Of course not. However, when you’re being paid superstar money, you got to make some of these saves. If you can’t, then why are you being paid so much?

The Rangers looked lifeless after the first period, outside of the efforts given by Dylan McIlrath (what a pleasant surprise he’s turning out to be, after having that goon label on him for so long. The work with Beukeboom really helped) and Tanner Glass. Yes, Tanner Glass. The Rangers needed the fight that Odell Beckham Jr. showed on the field during the Giants game.

You have to wonder, are there any leaders on this team? Who gets mad? Who has had enough? Glass sure looked pissed and played his heart out. It’s funny the story of Tanner Glass. Every Ranger fan and media person wanted him gone, myself included. In his second stint with the big club, he’s made the most of his minutes. Gotta give him credit where credit is due.

The Rangers even shot the puck better. Even Kevin Hayes, who I’ve ripped and even the media is now ripping, tried shooting. However, he looked like he was forcing shots, rather than it coming natural to him. Sophomore slump? Maybe. The fact remains the same, Hayes needs to be aggressive out there and stop being so passive and pass-first minded on the ice.

Coach AV even shook up the lines for this game. It looked like a great call when the Rangers went up 3-1, but alas, the result was the same. Another ugly loss.

On the bright side, as a hockey fan, Ovi was simply amazing last night. It’s hilarious how no team can stop him on a PP, despite Ovi doing the same thing, from the same spot, every single time.

“Want to score a goal? Here’s Lundqvist!”

What more can I say about this team that hasn’t been said all over social media, the print media and in this very blog? The team has hit rock-bottom and is an absolute disgrace. The Garden of Dreams should refund the money to any fan who paid to attend this game. We expect more as Ranger fans. We know this team is better than what we are seeing.

Again, I’ve said it a million times, so I’ll repeat my mantra here again – playoffs, playoffs, playoffs.  The team is still in second place in the division. They played very well at the beginning of the season to have this slide now. You don’t want to be hot in December. You want to be on fire in April through June.

Coach Vigneault is trying. He’s called out players in the media. He’s changed the lines. He’s trying to fix the wrongs. However, I think this team needs a roster shake-up. One major move or 2-3 minor ones will put this team on blast and show the club that this style of play is unacceptable.

I’ve been writing for 90 minutes now, have to be at work at 5 am and just completely disgusted.

We all are pissed off. We all know this team will be and will have to get better to make a deep playoff run. The Rangers are all saying the right things in the media, about “having to be better.” Talk is cheap. Jeff Gorton, you’re up.

Rangers/Ducks Tuesday. I’m sure Carl Hagelin will get a hat trick against his fellow Swede. After that, it’s a Christmas break, as the Rangers return on Monday 12/28 in Washington. The break can’t come soon enough for a team that’s so sorely beat up and drab to watch.

Still, yet I remain loyal, and leave you with…

“LET’S GO RANGERS”

Sean McCaffrey

BULLSMC@aol.com

@NYCTHEMIC on the twitter machine.

Comments

  1. I agree that the Lundqvist contract is now out downfall. Love the guy but hate the contract. A lesson the Islanders learned a while ago. Just hoping that they finally hit rock bottom and things will turn around. Hard to believe it could be worse than this.

  2. I love reading your articles. They are very spot on. It has definitely been very frustrating watching this team in the past month. I’m a HUGE fan of Dyan McIlrath. I love the way he’s playing. Unfortunately Tanner and Dylan try to “spark” this team and it’s not working. We need Brass, Zucc, Nash, Stephan, Kreider, Fast and Hayes to be so much better than they have been during this slump. I’m not a fan of Etem and I HATED the trade for Carl Hagelin. I have to say recently Boyle has been playing better. Ryan and Marc are slumping and we need them now more than ever. When you have JT and Dan Boyle scoring every game and the rest of the team not helping, it’s a problem. Also, why so many days without practices? This team needs to be practicing because the only way to work on your errors is to practice. They are getting too many days off and not working on the structure. Stephan said last night that he hasn’t had many days of solid practice. If the league didn’t have complete lock-down I would have this team practicing on Christmas Eve and Christmas to get it through to them that this is serious and they need to get better. I want to say that I really appreciate the time you take to right your honest and constructive opinions. I hope you and your family have a Very Merry Christmas.

  3. You’ve raised Very valid points about Hank being overpaid and performing so poorly the past month or so. Like you, I hate that we let Hagelin go. If we could get Talbot back and snag Stamkos (and Hags) we’d be Amazing again.

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