Hey everybody! Welcome to our live Rangers Playoff Chat. Good to see so many questions already in my Inbox. I'll start working on those but feel free to send your own as we move along. This is happening in real time...so let's have some fun!
Hey Nick. For starters, absolutely YES we should be nervous! How can we not be?? That's not to say the team will start the playoffs with an 8th straight loss but a 7-game skid should be enough to make anyone nervous. I still think the team needs just that one win to find their groove again. As for the biggest reason behind the slide, as much as I hate to say it....but I don't know! Injuries played a part to be sure. Murphy's absence hurt a ton but the offense has gone ice cold of late. That's a concern. Also, don't underestimate the value of Julian Melchiori. I think his absence hurts more than most realize. He should be good to go this weekend, though.
Hey Matt. I think I speak for all Rangers fans when I say I sure hope Brandon can duplicate his performance from a year ago. And I'm glad you brought that point up. Why should we expect anything less? Brandon's regular season numbers this year were actually slightly better than last year. He knows what's at stake and so does the team. I think he'll step up and shine.
I don't know, Al. Three rounds won't come cheap. ;)
As for Al #2, the team feels really good. They don't like the losing streak but they're not dwelling on it. They're a tightknit group and they've been pretty loose all week. I think last year's experience will really come to bear in this postseason. You can't put a price on experience.
Wow, Andrew, great questions. Looking ahead, I see Catenacci as pretty much a lock as an OA. Sol and Jasper will both be options for sure and it's possible that Sol stays in the AHL. That would make Jasper an anchor on the blueline. I think Melchiori will turn pro. That, to me, leaves Randell. Great mid-season but he's tailed off. I think another full year, playing at an almost elite level, will be something the Bruins would love. So my guesses at OA's are Catenacci, Randell and Jasper. Some big decisions loom, though.
Hahahahahaha....in a word, YES! Dear Mayor Carl Zehr...
Well Jere, there's definitely something to be said for the dangers of an overconfident team. That said, I'll go back to my earlier post saying this team needs that "one win" to get moving in the right direction. And I think I speak for everybody when I say I wish that had come in the final weekend of the regular season. One word of caution re: the Whalers. The Rangers may have beat them 3 out of 4 games this year but the two games in Plymouth were very close. And Mike Velluci's teams always come to play. Rangers in 6. ;)
Jeff, flattery will get you everywhere. Can Michael Catenacci be the next Jason Akeson? There are plenty of similarities and if Catenacci devotes himself to some hard off-season training, the sky may be the limit. But that's looking exclusively at the OA comparison, since that's what Akeson was. Randell may be a real factor but for those "pleasant" offensive surprises, watch Marcantuoni and Rieder next year.
Oh, James, you're killing me. I consider myself a "glass half full" kind of guy so, as an optimist, I'll say yes. Of course the officiating in the OHL *can* match the calibre of play. But there is A LOT of work to be done in that department and the crews are light years behind right now, in my opinion. Every year we hear about new intitiatives that are supposed to make improvements. We've got (former NHL ref) Dan Marouelli as a supervisor now and Conrad Hache has been monitoring the league's officials for years. I haven't seen an improvement. But I continue to hold out hope.
Not a chance, Andrew. Every scouting report I read has Murphy as a Top 10 pick. Scouts don't always agree but on this one it's pretty much unanimous and I don't see anything that changes that. Murphy is a blue chipper.
Matt, I think Matt (Tipoff)'s playoff experience will be huge for the Rangers this year. The big difference is that he'll be asked to do a little more offensively this year than he has in year's past. But his work ethic and two-way play should show some of the younger guys how it's done. And I'm not sure I've talked to a "hungrier" player this year. Matt is playing out the string on his junior career and he has no pro contract. He wants an extended run very badly. I like what he brings to the team. A lot.
As for your other question about this chat remaining online, yes, it will stay linked to our website for you to review at any time.
It leaves a glut at forward. Zach Lorentz will be returning, too, so suddenly you've got to choose between Lopes, MacLean, Hasson, and Ming (based on healthy scratches earlier in the year). I think Lopes and MacLean are the odd bodies out.
Sorry, Gus...I buried it at the end of another post. My prediction is Rangers in 6.
A combination of all kinds of things, Al. But, in fairness, it all sounds like excuses if you trot out all the factors that led to the 7-game dump. You're right that the Rangers have the skill to play with any team in this league. Again I will say...just watch what happens when they get back into the win column.
Trevor, you sound like a semi-professional sh*t disturber. :) But I truly appreciate the milk crate reference...
You'll have to be in the building to see the games...no outdoor tents, etc. But you can always follow the live stream called by the legendary Don Cameron at www.570news.com. Each and every game.
Head shots are a problem at all levels of hockey, in my opinion, Sarah. I do think the OHL/CHL has done a decent job in deterring them by being very strict in its discipline. Sometimes they get it wrong -- like giving Tim Billingsley 10 games for hitting Shane Prince with a textbook, legal check. But I'd rather the league err on the side of caution than allow things to get out of control, as they have in the NHL.
I don't think any player, at any level, consciously thinks about safety when they're on the ice. They just play the game. If they thought too much about safety, they may be more likely to get hurt. They understand the risks and they play the game anyway.
Not next year, Buddy. Let's see how he develops in the AHL next year and beyond. Look how long Boyd Devereaux toiled in the A. D'Amigo may get his shot but he's not quite ready to make that giant leap next year.
Andrew, by all accounts, Jerry has been a pro from Day One. He's handled himself with class and he always says the right thing. He also seems to play the game the right way. We've seen him used in all situations (PP, PK, etc.) and he works hard.
I can tell you from having seen him away from the rink that he gets along very well with his teammates and seems to fit right in. It's pretty obvious that he and Landeskog are close. But if you're wondering if D'Amigo's presence has created controversy or cause for concern...not in the least.
Goaltending and the power play.
To be honest, Jenn, I'm a little weary of all of the "traditions." I guess the old-fashioned guy in me would take the playoff beard over anything else but, really, let's just play hockey. The teams have bonded over the 68-game regular season. No need to prove that you're a "team" come playoff time.
Interesting question, Jeff. I guess the truth is that this would be the second year in a row the Rangers have opened at home...since they didn't make the playoffs in 2008-09. But I think I know what you're getting at.
The last time the Rangers opened on the road was 2001-02, when they finished 5th. They played at Guelph that year (their first under Pete DeBoer). So if we count consecutive playoffs in which the Rangers have appeared, this will be the 8th consecutive time they've opened at home.
OK, all...here's your 5-minute warning! We actually got cut off for a few minutes because The Boss wants me to get back to work! This is more fun, though. ;)
Anyway, I've begged for an extension so let's get those final questions in. We'll continue until 2 PM!
In a word, no. You've obviously never seen Spotter angry. There are no free rides on this team.
Again, it drives me nuts that I can't figure out the losing streak either. It's very perplexing. But I really think there was a mental letdown in the chase for first and then falling short. There was big game after big game after big game for this team so the letdown, looking back, was almost inevitable. The second half schedule was also a killer. They will have to find another gear, though. There's no hiding from that.
Gus, we'll have postgame shows after EVERY GAME in the playoffs, home and away. When the team is on the road, we'll have another host from 570 taking your calls.
Careful, Andrew, this is a sensitive topic around The Aud. ;) In a nutshell, there's bad ice all over this league....and many others. Hockey arenas aren't just hockey arenas anymore. They're multi-purpose facilities that are in demand constantly. Worst ice I saw this year was a game in Erie early in the season.
Wow, terrific question. Under-rated? I might put Matt Tipoff into that category. Defensively, I think Jonathan Jasper brings quietly consistent play to the rink most every night. Those would be my picks on either end of the ice.
TWO MINUTE WARNING!!!! :)
Tim, there's no hiding from the fact that Akeson had a slow run to the finish line. He talked a good game but the pro contract, assist record and scoring title had to be on his mind. If anything, I'd like to see all the trophies motivate him to show they were deserved! The fun starts tomorrow night.
Thanks for joining us on our first ever live chat, everyone! This was fun....and got me out of "working" for an extra half hour today. :)
Remember, Don and I are on the air with our pregame starting tomorrow night at 7 PM from The Aud. And our usual postgame show will follow. Talk to you then!