Thursday, November 10, 2011

Cooking with GAS

Okay, going with this GAS theme is too easy. But hey, this is a blog, and you get what you pay for here. So Gaborik-Anisimov-Stepan, or the GAS line, has ignited and is cooking up goals like gnocchi at an Italian dinner. Sounds like a great meal, doesn't it?

Anyway, they scored all of the goals in the Rangers 3-2 win over the Ottawa Senators. They also have all of the team's six goals in the last two games. That's the good news, the bad news is that the other three lines are giving us diddly squat. And what exactly does Marian Gaborik (2 goals, +3, 19:23 TOI) have to do to earn the Broadway Hat? Crank out a hat trick?

Brad Richards has gone into gridlock since getting teamed up in various combinations with Dubinsky and Callahan. Dubinsky's total of only six assists this season is puzzling. He's been teamed up with Callahan, his compadre from last year, but mucho de-zero. The nickname "Stone Cold" Brandon Dubinsky is going to get hung on Dubi until he breaks out of his funk.

The defense has settled back into its shot blocking wet blanket. The Rangers had 23 blocked shots led by Michael Del Zotto and Ruslan Fedotenko. They each tied for the game-high with four blocks. Henrik was in typical lock-down Lundqvist mode. He recorded 29 saves on 31 shots and earned his fifth win.

Scotty Hockey lands a clean hit with his take on Sean Avery's play:

You can dislike Sean Avery all you like but you really should respect the lengths he is going to prove he belongs in the NHL. Avery took on Zenon Konopka in the first period, answering the bell for the Wolski/Alfredsson collision (I still think it wasn't an elbow). Was it a good fight? No. Did Avery win? No. But he stepped up for his teammates against the most prolific fighter in the NHL. Because Torts is Torts Avery ended up with nearly as many minutes in the penalty box as he did on the ice but it doesn't matter. Avery answered the bell...
You have to figure that other teams will come up with schemes to slow down our GAS. The question is can we cook with anything else, like butane or propane? Even a little sterno would be nice. Or will it be a long cold winter if the gas gets turned off? We'll have to wait and see what answer coach disagreeable comes up with. In the meantime we'll let him spin the line combo wheel, just please don't touch the GAS meter for a few games.

Blueshirts United:
Artem Anisimov displayed a broad smile in the locker-room following Wednesday's 3-2 victory in Ottawa. And why not? The talented young Russian had just contributed mightily to the win with a pair of assists and numerous other scoring chances, while upping his point total to six in the last three games alone. He also was the recipient of the Broadway Hat following the game. "It looks a little weird on me, but it feels good," said Anisimov...
Game highlights:

Here's something I did not know.

Bruce Berlet / SportsPage Mag:
Boyhood Buddies Together Again with Rangers --
Two decades ago, Dan Girardi and Andre Deveaux lived five minutes apart in Welland, Ontario, Canada, and spent many a day shooting at targets in a net that Girardi’s father had set up at the end of the driveway.

“We played games for candy or chocolate bars,” a smiling Girardi said after the New York Rangers’ 3-0 victory over the Winnipeg Jets on Sunday night. “When my parents sold their house, the shed about 50 yards behind it was covered in holes, absolutely mangled, from us missing the net after keeping the fence open where we placed the net. They didn’t fix the shed, just sold it as is. There were a lot of good memories there for sure.” ...

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  • Jen9400 said...

    Agree the GAS line looks great and i thought Gaborik deserved to wear the broadway hat this time but Artie is playing really good there and I guess his teammates would like to send a message to coach that he deserves to play because you know the SECOND the line is cold for one or two game it will be Artie who is first off that line.
    The Rangers are getting wins and points in games where they are being out played and I know the wins are a positive result but I can see them lulling back into their old routine. As you pointed out the shot blocking machine has returned and although i think we can all see the value in the bravery it takes and the usefulness of this method as PART of your game I think it is stupid to use it as a first line of defense. It is a safe way to ensure that Henrik won't have to make 40-50 saves a night but it's less than ideal when it comes to wear and tear of the players and of course injuries. Which brings me to my next point which is when you add the 23 blocked shots to the Sens shot total of 31 you get 54 shots from the Sens which means the Rangers never have the puck. Rangers took 19 shots and the last I heard- not sure what the total was- the Sens blocked something like 7 shots which gives us a grand total of 26 or so. When you consider Gaborik had 5 shots by himself Step had 2 and AA 1 = 8 shots for the GAS line which leaves the rest of the team with 11 Shots among them with no other player having more than 2. Not good.
    Another point i want to bring up is that i have been saying the past couple of weeks that Prust is not playing well. Obviously he is hurting. He is not himself out there. He doesn't hit the same and has not been effective in his role. But last night he was moved UP to the second line because he is one of the coaches favorite players. Personally I think Prust should take some time- even if it's just a game or two- to heal his body NOW so he can play at 100% but he won't take a night off and the coach is too stupid to recognize this as anything but a testosterone badge of honor- so hurt he will play all season and ice time he will get regardless of his ability to play. I would like to see Avery get a chance to play in Prust's spot along side Boyle who is struggling to find the game he had last year. Boyle has outgrown his buddy and needs to have a guy who is a better skater, who makes things happen and who will allow him to go to the net and Avery is perfect for that role. I am sick of this crap with this idiot who refuses to use Avery in places the team needs him. I have no respect for a guy- ESPECIALLY the coach- who puts personal feelings above all else. Who clearly has favorite players and constantly puts down guys who he deems are not worthy of ice time. It's not limited to Sean and it's childish and unprofessional at the very least.

  • jb said...

    Great points. The offense minus GAS, is awful, 11 total shots, as you point out.

    The team is getting wins and points that they probably don't deserve, primarily due to GAS, Lundqvist, and the Girardi led defense.

    Yes, something is wrong with Prust. Could he have an injury? Hard to say, but your suggestion about giving him time off sounds good. Bring up Zucc for example, it certainly couldn't hurt this woeful offense.

    Andre Deveaux looks like he could step into Prust's tough guy roll. At 6'3" and 240 lbs he can take care of business and he did okay versus Jared Cowen last night.

    Avery does need better linemates to have any impact. Pairing him with Boyle sounds good to me. Keeping Avery with Deveaux is a waste.

    Tortorella is certainly happy to be the father of these tainted victories, but he's not doing a crap job of putting together a diversified offense and power play.

    I get the feeling this team could suffer a 5-game losing streak just as easy as the got the winning streak. They leave Lundqvist very little room for error.

    This Torts-Avery dynamic certainly keeps things interesting, doesn't it?

  • Slashman said...

    I think Dubi has put himself on the trading block. If Sather can get any value for him I say pull the trigger.

  • Jen9400 said...

    Trading Dubi would be just the kind of HUGE mistake a team that needs a coaching change would make. That's why I want Torts gone before Sather starts trading away players for underachieving. When one player underachieves out of nowhere then I say you look at the player but when its chronic throughout the line up throughout the tenure of the same coach then its coaching. Every single one of our offensive players has suffered from the system we play over torts time. He does not get the best out of every player as he boasts. Not even close.

  • Wes said...

    I agree get rid of Torts before you give up on Dubi. I think he can still get his 20 goals a year if he's given the right opportunities. I do not think he is 'maxed out' as some are saying. Players have slumps and I think you just have to have some patience with him.

  • blow-me-down said...

    The defense needs to be strengthened. I don't know much about Stralman, but the bottom defensive players need to be better. Saying they are okay, nah, don't buy it. Too soft.

  • jb said...

    Scotty has labeled Stralman: Christian Backman II.

    I pray not, but he's probably right.

    He also likes calling Del Zotto, Del Zaster. I'm not there yet, but your point is well taken.

    I'm starting to enter the Dubi has topped out camp. Perhaps he'll always be just a grinder who is lucky to get near 20G again.

    I'm close to endorsing your position.

  • Jen9400 said...

    Dubi can score 20 with ease. Personally I think he should be pushing for 30 which is exactly what i mean when i say Torts doesn't get the best out of the team. He should be moving to the the next level not held back for checking. The entire team as a collective whole should be moving to the next level. Not making the playoffs or just making the playoffs and getting eliminated in the first round with the coach claiming he doesn't have enough to work with is getting old. Especially if it happens this year after Sather went out and landed his boy Richards. Coach has already been laying the ground work by indicating this team is not offensively gifted and calling us a .500 team who is not playing up to their potential.
    Also agree with blow me down on the defense. It's still a work in progress but we could use a trade for a real D man not some borderline AHL/NHL guy who is minus 40.

  • jb said...


    Regarding the defense, I don't know if it's a pipe dream, but I'm hoping Staal comes back and regains his form. I don't know if the Rangers dare make a move on a d-man until they know his status. Also, I'm going to post a note about the come-back of d-man, Sheldon Souray for the Dallas Stars. They picked him up for a 1 year deal at $1.65M on July 1st. He has been putting up great numbers for the Stars. 4G, 9A, +11. Why can't we get players like that off the scrap heap?

    Regarding Dubi, I haven't kicked him to the curb just yet, but I'm having my doubts. That would be a killer if he was traded and blossomed as the offensive machine you suggest under a better coach. Would the Rangers dare risk sending him down to the Whale to find his scoring touch under Gernander (That's the guy Mike wants coaching the Rangers). I also don't know if Dubi is getting enough powerplay time to perhaps pot one there and get going?

    I guess all we can do as fans is let things play out.

  • Ranger Pundit said...

    I don't wish to crash the party but everyone should remember that last year I believe that Dubi had ten empty net goals. I believe that a 30 goal season for Dubi is unrealistic.