Here is a small sample of the wacky world of NYR Twitter. A place that knows no bounds. Where anything can be Tweeted and get likes, RT’s while drawing crazy attention pro or con.
This was said yesterday at some point during the tough 3-1 Rangers loss to the annoyingly stingy Blues at The Garden.
I’m not going to pretend to be an expert here. I only consider myself a passionate Rangers fan blogger who gives unbiased opinions on the hockey team. Some are proven right while others aren’t. From time to time, I’ll give my two cents and make suggestions. Sometimes, David Quinn listens. Other times, he doesn’t.
Unlike other popular NYR blogs that only focus on our team, I try to keep perspective. I’m a bit older than some of the younger crowd known as millenials. I don’t pretend to know it all. I don’t make up rumors for clicks. I stay grounded. I think whether it’s me or Hasan contributing posts on our respective Hudson rival teams, we try to do it the right way. Professionalism counts. Even if we’re not making a penny.
I’ve seen the above person on social media give some good and bad takes on what the Rangers should do. In this case, I think they’re way off base. Vitali Kravtsov isn’t getting recalled from Hartford anytime soon. At 20 in what’s been a rollercoaster of a season, the fact is the former 2018 first round pick has five goals in 35 games for the Wolf Pack. Fourteen points (5-9-14) isn’t enough even if reports indicate Kravtsov is improving. You probably won’t see him until the bitter end. Why burn a year off his ELC?
The key to development is being patient. The Rangers have with Kravtsov and 2019 second overall pick Kaapo Kakko. Though the 19-year old Finnish right wing hasn’t spent a single minute in Hartford when at one point it could’ve benefited him, they’ve stuck with the kid. By continuing to play him mostly on the third line with the chance to learn at five-on-five, he’s been more noticeable lately. I know it’s frustrating that he only has eight goals with 12 assists over his first 62 NHL games. But that was once Leon Draisaitl.
Not everyone comes into the league and takes it by storm like Crosby, Ovechkin, Malkin, Kane and McDavid. There are your high lottery picks who don’t establish themselves in Year One. Draisaitl had nine points his rookie year for Edmonton. He needed six games in the AHL before figuring it out his second year. Now, he’s part of the Oilers Twins. The dynamic duo of Draisaitl and McDavid are leading the Oilers back to the postseason. That four goal, five point game Draisaitl had should have clinched his first Hart. Sorry to Artemi Panarin, who will hit 100 points, but probably won’t get the Rangers to the big dance.
Kakko will be fine. Even if some manic panic Rangers fans are overreacting to the lack of finish. I’ve noticed more positives in his play since February. He’s even showing improvement defensively despite a team worst minus-23 rating. If he continues to create chances with his line, that’s a good sign. He’s shown more of a willingness to absorb hits and go to the net. Eventually, they’ll start going in.
In regards to the suggestion to break up Panarin, Ryan Strome and Jesper Fast, not at this moment. Filip Chytil has still not proven enough to center the second line. Neither has Kakko even though I’d hoped he would play with the Bread Man. Patience remains the key to good development. Had the organization applied that philosophy with Ryan Graves, maybe they’d be stronger on the left side of the blueline after dumping Brady Skjei to free up necessary space this summer.
As it is, Brendan Smith hasn’t played badly despite being teamed with disappointment Jacob Trouba. Ryan Lindgren and Adam Fox remain the best tandem. Lately, Tony DeAngelo has seen a dip in play and Marc Staal has been up and down. The latter was steadier on Tuesday while DeAngelo had an unforced giveaway that led to a Blues power play they connected on. A tacky slash on Strome. The only penalty any Blueshirt took.
I don’t get the suggestion to send down Brett Howden. He’s finally playing good hockey. The secondary depth center has been contributing offense. Whether it be a big goal in a win at the Islanders or a nice assist recently despite the three-game losing streak, the second-year player is finally upping his level. He’s been more noticeable on the forecheck while continuing to do a sound defensive job on the penalty kill. A sore spot lately with the team having a dip that’s coincided with the departure of Skjei to Carolina.
With the team in a playoff race and 16 games still remaining including a huge one against the Caps, who were 5-2 losers to the red hot Flyers, the Rangers only have two recalls left. They aren’t going to be making any changes unless forced to.
GM Jeff Gorton updated the timetable for Chris Kreider, who suffered a fractured foot on a blocked shot against the Flyers. It’s four to six weeks for the key power forward, who they really could’ve used versus the stingy Blues. That rare combination of size, strength and speed along with the net front presence would’ve come in handy the other night. Instead, they’ll continue to try to figure it out without the 24 goalscorer.
With Igor Shesterkin still a couple of weeks away, it’s Alex Georgiev who must deliver in net. He will once again get the nod on Thursday against the Caps. Though he stopped 19 of 21 shots on Tuesday, he would love to have the Brayden Schenn wraparound goal back that banked in off his skate. A bad break at an inopportune time. It’s up to the 24-year old sophomore to keep the team afloat.
Tomorrow night is as much as a must win as possible. Even with teams around them losing, it’s up to the Rangers to start winning games again. Otherwise, it doesn’t matter what the Blue Jackets and Islanders do. The Hurricanes have two games at hand with 18 left. They remain without starting goalie Petr Mrazek, who’s expected to be out another week. That means they are still without an NHL goalie.
The race to the finish will continue to be unpredictable. It’s still in the Rangers’ hands to determine their playoff fate. That will mean stepping up in competition and beating good teams such as the Caps, Pens and Flyers down the stretch.
It isn’t time to panic. The postseason was never supposed to be an option. That they’re in the race is exciting for fans and the players, who are getting valuable experience that’ll help them in the long run. Enjoy it for what it’s worth.