I'm No Longer Running This Site.

I am now contributing over at Blue Seat Blogs. Come follow!

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Decision - My Final Post

In case you haven't been following me on twitter this weekend or if you didn't read this Saturday's post,  I will be shutting down this website due to a new policy at my company that prohibits employees from owning/running blogs.

Of course any good suit worth his Hickey Freeman knows how to work around tax loopholes, as well as anti-blogging agendas. 

That's right readers, The Suit may no longer be blogging here, but I will be blogging at arguably the best Rangers blog out there.  But rather than just flat out tell you which blog that is (how anti-climatic?), I decided to do what all egotistical a-holes do, and that's bring in Jim Gray to interview myself.  

Jim: The answer to the question everybody wants to know: Suit, what's your decision? 

Suit: As of Monday 4/18, this is very tough, I'm going to take my talents to Blue Seat Blogs and join the best Rangers blog ever. 

Jim: Blue Seat Blogs? That was the conclusion you woke up with this morning?

Suit: That was the conclusion I woke up with this morning...well I woke up, had a nice hangover dump, and then I made my decision.

Jim: Why?

Suit: Like I said before, I feel like it's going to give me the best opportunity to win and we all know how important #winning is in this day and age. I want to be able to win championships.  And I feel like I can compete down there.

Jim: Win what, you're a blogger? 

Suit: Shut up!

Jim: I'm confused.

Suit: Your shirt/tie combo is terrible.

Jim: Okay, was it always in your plans to go and blog with Dave Shapiro, Jurgenno, Michael Gleich, and Jeremy?

Suit: Well, I mean, I'm looking forward to it.  To say it was always in my plans, I can't say it was always in my plans because I never thought it was possible.

But the things that the BSB franchise has done to be able to free up cap space and to be able to put themselves in a position this summer to have all of us, it was hard to turn down. Those are great writers, the greatest writers we have in this game today.

And, you know, you add me, we're going to be a really good team. 

Jim: Well, I don't see what cap space has anything to do with joining a blog that won't pay you...but okay, what do you think will be the fans' reaction back there, and will you still live in Akron? 

Suit: I'm not sure. You know, they can have mixed emotions, of course, but it's going to be a lot of emotions not understanding why.  And then you're going to have the real friends who love me for who I am. 

As for living in Akron, I have no idea what the f**k you are talking about. Akron is ghetto and I'm a suit. The only place I'll ever consider living is New York City.  More specifically, neighborhoods in New York City where there aren't housing projects.  I like brownstones and lofts. What do you live in a cardboard box? Akron? This interview is over.  Jim Gray, you suck. 

Saturday, April 16, 2011

The End Of The Beginning

Unfortunately, this is not a game recap. If you were expecting one, my apologies...please click on one of those links to your right.

No, this post is to inform you that I will be shutting down this site soon.  Unfortunately, I have new management at my company and they have a new policy forbidding their employees from running/operating blogs.  Part of it is because we are not allowed to make any additional income outside of our paychecks (ha! like I was making any money off of this anyway) and part of it is because they don't want us bashing other sports teams/players/personnel since many of these public figures are considered our peers.

With that said, my shallowest  deepest apologies to Alexander Burrows, P.K. Subban, Matt Carkner, Daniel Carcillo, Danny Briere, Ilya Kovalchuk, The New York Islanders, Gary Bettman, anyone who works in NHL Marketing, Versus, Darryl Sutter, any GM who has traded with Glen Sather and made him look good, etc, etc.

Oh, Mike Milbury and Ken Campbell...go ___ yourself :)

The good news is that I literally read this new policy about 100 times and nowhere does it state that I am barred from using twitter. It also doesn't mention anything about not being able to contribute to other blogs. So if anyone is looking to add an over opinionated suit to their roster, let me know.

If I do end up contributing to another blog, I will let everyone know before I shut this site down. Till then, thank you for reading.

Let's Go Rangers!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Rangers Return To The Scene Of The Crime

The first round of the post-season in 2008-09 against the Capitals was quite a roller coaster ride.  It was a series few expected to win.  It was a game 7 few expected to lose.  The Rangers went up in that series 3-1 only to drop 3 games in a row. 

The meltdown began with Sean Avery taking two atrocious penalties late in Game 4, Tortorella squirting a water bottle at idiotic (and probably homophobic) Capitals fans in Game 5, and finished with Wade Redden screening Lundqvist on the final goal in Game 7.

Sure, it's easy to sit here and cherry pick those specific incidences as reasons for the Rangers demise, but the reality was the Rangers had no business winning that series.  

The Blueshirts, defensively, rolled out a red carpet for the Caps right on Lundqvist's doorstep.  They allowed 35+ shots (most of them within homeplate) in 4 out of the 7 games in that series.  Their power play went 4 for 32, and they were about as disciplined as a 5 year old in a candy store...which of course overshadowed the fact that refs Kelly Sutherland and Dan O'Halloran also did their best to ensure a Penguins/Capitals match-up in the ensuing round.

But that's all history right?

Well in order to make sure that history doesn't repeat itself, the Rangers who played (and yes coached) in that eventful series must remember how they beat themselves.  

Sure there are new players on both sides and new tactics (which I'll get into later this week), but if the Rangers want to steal this series, it must start with determination on defense and end with discipline.

My first roster casualty to ensure these principles...bench Sean Avery. 

Friday, April 8, 2011

Golden Moments

Yet another Friday morning arises where a depressed Rangers fan base is looking for something to cheer them up.  Well folks, that's what Casual Fridays are for.  It's a time when we leave angry rants, over analysis, and heated topics alone for one day and focus on why we are all fans in the first place.

For the Blueshirts United, it's moments like these why we keep coming back no matter what.  So minimize that Excel chart or that PowerPoint presentation for a few minutes, put those on headphones and enjoy.  For tomorrow may bring yet another golden moment.

Keep the Faith!  

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Mailbag: Blocking Shots A Failing Strategy?


Have you read Brooks' latest article trashing the Rangers philosophy of blocking shots? What are your thoughts on this from an X's and O's perspective? I know you pulled some stats a few months ago showing blocking shots generally isn't a characteristic of winning teams, but for some reason I feel like it is a reason why this team's having success despite all the injuries. What's your take?

- Jason


First things first, while I'd love to claim that I wrote an article about blocking shots not being a characteristic of successful teams, unfortunately I did not.  The only thing on blocking shots that was posted here was a terrific article from Cap

Cap talked about the art of blocking shots, the proper technique, and how players are trained to block shots differently in Russia than how they are trained in North America.  If you haven't read it, I suggest you do so.

The article you are probably referring to was written by Dave over at Blue Seat Blogs.  Dave talked more about the correlation between blocked shots and wins, essentially the same thing Brooks brought up, only Dave thought of it first ;)  

Anyway, this too was an excellent article and should be added to your "to read" list.  

As far as blocking shots go from a strategic perspective, it’s pretty obvious that it has been the cause of many of our injuries.  When you dive in front of the puck the way the Rangers do and the amount that they do it, you are bound to lose players to broken bones and bruised body parts.  However, I do agree with you Jason that despite these injuries, blocked shots is one of the many reasons why our team has had success defensively this season, especially on the penalty kill.

Down the road though, I would like to see the Rangers possess the puck more.  Blocking a lot of shots, along with missed shots, and shots against on goal, are good indicators that your team’s puck possession isn’t as good as the opposition.  If the Rangers ever want to become the Blackhawks, the Redwings, etc, they are going to have to acquire faster skaters that want the puck and are patient with it.

This isn’t a knock against Tortorella’s tactics.  He has designed a system that is indicative of his player’s strengths and weaknesses.  However, if the Rangers can acquire prospects and players with more speed and skill, hopefully we can move away from having to block shots in order to be successful.

I want to see the Rangers eventually abandon having to play dump and chase on the power play.  I want to see Rangers forwards attacking the blueline on the penalty kill, not collapsing in front of the net and blocking shots.  I want our top players in the lineup, not out of it because they took one off the foot, hand, face, etc.  I think we will get there, but we will need to add certain types of players.  But that is talk for the summer, for now let’s enjoy where we are and hopefully we’ll get these next two wins.        

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Cally Out With Broken Ankle, Drury One Last Chance At Glory

So the rumors are true, Ryan Callahan broke his ankle last night blocking a howitzer from Zdeno  Chara.  Obviously losing Callahan (again) is a huge loss.  There is no one on this team who brings skill and will the way he does. 

How long Callahan will remain out has yet to be determined, but if I were a betting man, I would  prognosticate that we don't see him again until September.  In talking to a few friends who've played at a high level, broken ankles from pucks generally require surgery followed by anywhere from 6 weeks to 3 months on crutches pending on the break.

In his absence, Gaborik will probably be moved up to play alongside Dubinsky and Anisimov.  After that line though, nothing is set in stone.  Obviously someone has to step up, but the question is...who? 

There have been talks of Gilroy playing right wing or Sean Avery getting more playing time, but lets face it, he who doesn't have the coach's trust, won't be a playoff hero.  There's Kris Newbury down in Hartford, but the way he plays, a World of Warcraft fan probably has a better chance getting on top of a pornstar than that guy does getting top minutes on Broadway.

Yes folks, that leaves Captain America himself.  

According to the internet, Drury is practicing, with an eye on returning for the playoffs.  Now I know Drury haters will be quick to point out that he hasn't scored a goal since last April, but that is irrelevant.  

The Aaron Boone moments of sports happen because of a coach's trust.  And in sports, as in the real world, people can succeed when they are put in a position to do so.  When you have a coach's trust, that moment is there for the taking.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Future Still Bright For Mats Zuccarello, But Perhaps Elsewhere...

Quite a few fans of Mats Zuccarello have emailed me over the past week wondering if Zukes still has what it takes to be an NHLer and most importantly a New York Ranger.  Some have asked about his size, others about his speed and even one curious fan wondered if The Hobbit would be better off on a different team with a different system (i.e. trap, lock, etc).  I figured I would turn these emails into a post since many Zuccarello fans follow his career from across the pond and are unable to watch the youngster on a nightly basis.

Where to begin…

Zuccarello isn’t in Hartford because he doesn’t fit our system, or because of his size and/or skill.  Zuccarello is in Hartford for two reasons…the first is because of the Rangers depth on RW, the second reason is because of his contract.  

Wolski, Christensen, and Avery did not outplay Zuccarello in the weeks leading up to his demotion.  However, if you are Glen Sather and you are keeping an eye on finances, are you going to demote Wolski, Christensen, or Avery and pay them $3.8M, $925K, or $1.9M to play in Hartford? Or is it easier to just send down Zuccarello, who is on a 2-way contract, and pay him a pedestrian $67,000?

Zuccarello is a right winger, currently 4th on the depth chart behind Gaborik, Callahan, and Prust.  It doesn’t make much sense to play Zuccarello on the 4th line.  Fourth lines on Tortorella teams get virtually zero minutes.  The fourth line is used so everyone else can get a breather.  It’s not a place for a young forward who you are trying to mold into a top 6 player.

Now I know what you are thinking; his contract and his spot on the depth chart aren't likely to change come next season, so what does this mean for his future with the Rangers and the NHL?

While it's too early to predict his path with the Blueshirts, I do think that he definitely has what it takes to succeed in the NHL.  The media and the fans who buy their bullsh*t will tell you that he's too small, but that's a lazy analysis. 

Zuccarello isn't too small for the Show, not for a forward anyway.  There are currently around 15-20 players in the NHL that play at or below 5'8 and Zuccarello has better skills than most of them.  He may not or ever be as quick as Gionta, Cammalleri, St. Louis, Briere, or Ennis, but he's not a step behind Gerbe, Connor, Shannon, or Recchi either.

Zukes doesn't need to hit the gym or find the Zoltar machine at Rye Playland.  


No, but he may have to switch to the other side of the ice.  

To me, Zuccarello's struggles generally occur along the boards.  This is mostly due to the fact that he is a left handed shot playing right wing.  While playing the "off wing" is good for scoring goals (remember the whole Kovy fiasco in NJ this season), it does make board play more difficult.  

Zukes is already at a disadvantage coming over from the larger rinks of the Swedish Elite League, where you have a week and a half to decide what to do with the puck.  Here on North America rinks, no such luxury exists.  So, not only is Zukes getting used to the pacing and physicality of NHL forechecking, but he also has to get used to receiving pucks along the board on his backhand, which is obviously more difficult than receiving puck on your forehand.  Add a 220-lb defensemen pressed up against you, and you're talking a whole new skill set to learn.

Passing and cycling along the boards is where he needs to improve.  If he wants to speed up the learning process, I say he take a shot at leftwing.  Besides, other than Dubinsky, none of our other LW's are locks for next season.