Rangers’ Off-Day News: “Turning Point Turk” Blows Up Lines (A True “Expected” Stat!); Assesses Team, Dissecting the Roster, Interesting Interviews; 2022 Playoffs Brought Up Twice, Kreider Demotion, NYR v. Isles, Upcoming Schedule & More

I rarely post a new blog during an off-day in-between games, but I felt it was warranted tonight. Bonus: it lightens the load for my Rangers/Islanders game review blog on Tuesday night!

Greetings and salutations everyone and welcome to another blog here on BlueCollarBlueShirts.com. Nope, I’m still not over last night’s disappointing game. Neither is head coach Gerard Gallant.

On Tuesday, November 8th, Election Day, the Rangers and Islanders will do battle for the second time this season.

And yes, just like most of you – I can’t wait for Election Day to come-and-go. The non-stop political ads are almost as unbearable as all of the gambling commercials during any particular sporting event.

Seriously, it’s at the point that whenever you turn on a game – it feels like we’re watching a three-hour sports gambling infomercial – with a game squeezed in as background noise, filler content if you will.

If you missed last night’s blog (you can read it here: https://bluecollarblueshirts.com/11622/ ), I’d suggest checking it out, as tonight’s blog is pretty much a follow-up to Sunday night’s events.

I stay loyal through thick and thin!

The two biggest things that I predicted last night on this site (obvious “duh” observations at that), came true on Monday, when the Rangers held practice in Tarrytown, NY.

One – Adam Fox was off and had a maintenance day.

No joke, and I don’t want to go on another repetitive rant about the state of the Rangers’ beat reporters, but I saw two of them remark on social media, “we’ll try to find out more about this.”

All these people had to do was check out Fox’s TOI from Sunday’s game and they would’ve had their answer.

Two – Gallant broke up his top-six, and in turn, the rest of his line-up too.

Before continuing, I know that I always say on this site that I’m not a fan of the “PROPOZED LINEZ” stuff. However, that doesn’t apply today, because this isn’t the off-season and more important than that – both the Rangers and Gallant need to change something, as this team hasn’t looked right yet.

Here were Monday’s practice lines, a line-up that we’ll most likely see on Tuesday against the Islanders:

FIRST LINE: Panarin/Zibanejad/Kakko

SECOND LINE: Lafreniere/Trocheck/Vesey

THIRD LINE: Kreider/Chytil/Kravtsov

FOURTH LINE: Blais/Carpenter/Goodrow

Defensively, expect to see what you saw on Sunday, due to the fact that Lindgren is still out.

With no call-ups to be had (some fans would like to see Matthew Robertson get a shot – but again, the salary cap, the salary cap and the salary cap), there’s not much Gallant really can do – even if the head coach allows his assistant, Gord Murphy, to assign the defensive pairings.

But even then – Gallant has last word – or so you would think!

While Vitali Kravtsov returned to the line-up, Julien Gauthier joined the walking wounded. Photo Credit: Getty Images

When it comes to the team’s injuries; as mentioned, Lindgren remains out with an unspecified injury.

As noted on this site, even as recent as a few nights back – the Rangers have a “one step forward, two steps back” thing going on with player injuries – a thing that has prevented them from going down to a 22-man roster, in an attempt to accrue salary cap space in anticipation of the 2023 NHL Trade Deadline.

On Monday, and as you can tell, Kravtsov returned to the line-up. Gauthier was held out of practice with an upper-body injury that’s being described as, yep, you guessed it – “day-to-day.”

While of course, Gallant, nor the Rangers, would talk about what’s ailing Gauthier; obviously, it had something to do with the hit that he received from Ben Chiarot when streaking to the net. (Check out last night’s blog for more.)

It’s not 100% known if Gauthier is out for the game against the Islanders; but with Kravtsov back and Reaves just sitting out the game against Detroit (plus I think you’d want Reaves in the line-up against the Islander goons anyway) – I think #12 will have the night off regardless.

It’s funny how fast time can change things. Just a tad over six months ago, Kreider won the Steven McDonald Extra Effort Award, the Rod Gilbert “Mr. Ranger” Award and the Frank Boucher Trophy. He also scored 52 goals and was named to the 2022 All-Star Game. If that’s not enough – let’s also not forget that he was the player that most fans wanted to see named as team captain, prior to the “C” being affixed to Trouba’s sweater. Photo Credit: NYR

All over the streets of Rangerstown, USA (and as mentioned last night – Gallant opened these floodgates), the dams are breaking, as the flood of negativity pertaining to Chris Kreider has proverbially leveled these levees.

While I’ll get into Kreider in just a second, I want to reserve my initial comments to just the facts.

I know that others are having a field day with the “Casper Kreider” stuff and all that – and I get it – but not me.

There are a few reasons why I don’t have the “KH” sewn on my imaginary Rangers’ fan sweater, as in “Kreider Hater.”

While it’s not my intent to give you a full dissertation about Kreider’s career tonight; I also understand that he’s a streaky player.

As Kreider said today (and as I’ve been saying all season) – all of the “puck luck” and bounces that he received last season – well they haven’t been coming this season.

And as “CK20” also said – I do think it’s a matter of time. It will come.

In other words, and in my opinion, I feel that the fans who are currently wallowing in the waters of Kreider despair will soon be proven wrong.

I also feel that going on-and-on about Kreider’s early season struggles will soon become dated, and who knows, perhaps in just a week’s time. (Fingers-crossed!)

Then again, I could be wrong – it’s happened before!

That all said, we can’t ignore the obvious – the Rangers are having issues and Gallant is putting the brunt of the blame on Kreider.

After all, and as talked about last night – it’s Kreider who is being demoted – and not anyone else from the Rangers’ top six.

I wasn’t exactly Nostradamus when I predicted last night that Gallant would put Artemi Panarin and Mika Zibanejad together. It’s Turk’s go-to move whenever chasing a goal. The Rangers are chasing a much larger goal now – winning games. Photo Credit: NYR

I’ll have all of today’s interviews for you below, where I think you should watch all of them, just to hear the tone of the voices – where afterwards – then you can come up with your own conclusions. I’m just giving you mine.

It’s one thing to read things in black-and-white, it’s another thing to actually see things in living color for yourself. And I say that as a writer!

In a spoiler regarding what Gallant said on Monday; I do think if he was really looking to send a message, then he’d just put Lafreniere/Chytil/Kakko together – as a first-line trio.

Not only has that line had success in the past – what better way to get your “Fat Cats” back in shape and to take notice?

However, the three “youts” still remain separated – and on three different lines.

When it comes to what Gallant actually did, I’m not surprised to see the head coach unite his two best scorers, Zibanejad and Panarin.

However, with a bottom-six devoid of much scoring, it does make you wonder that instead of having two lines with scoring woes, that this move now creates an issue of possessing three lines having problems with putting pucks in net.

I also think this is a slight admission that Trocheck and Panarin have yet to find any sort of true chemistry; although I also believe this takes a backseat to the stuff going on with Kreider.

That said – you can understand Gallant’s reasoning.

Plus, the team can’t rely on just two players to score goals for them.

Secondary scoring is just as important – especially more so now than ever – since opposing teams can now focus on just one line.

Kakko, who remains on the top line, is a good choice.

Due to the salary cap and struggles with Kravtsov – the Rangers don’t really have any other top-six wingers besides Kakko.

By default (although he’s had a strong season thus far, even if his scoring numbers don’t suggest as much), Kakko is the team’s defacto #1 right-winger.

The second line will raise eyebrows.

While Vincent Trocheck is the team’s defacto number two center; Jimmy Vesey, the man who earned a contract following his PTO deal, is now the team’s second right-winger – for as temporary as that may be.

I really don’t have a problem with Vesey in this new role. As a defensive forward, he could have some success. (Think Jesper Fast.)

Lafreniere remains on the second line, and I don’t have a problem with that either.

Of the 23+ men that we’ve seen wear a Rangers’ sweater this season – and similar to Fox and Kakko – I’ve never questioned Lafreniere’s effort, hustle or drive to win, NOT ONCE, in the thirteen games we’ve seen.

Obviously, Chris Kreider on the third line is the biggest demotion and news from the day.

And for whose who thought the former “CK52” should remain on the fourth line (as he was during the third period of Sunday’s game) – that was never going to happen.

This is a big message being sent from Gallant to his star forward (and to the team too).

It will be interesting to see what happens on the power-play, where I am to assume that Kreider will retain his current role on the first power-play unit.

Taking Kreider off of the PP1 unit would be detrimental, at least in my opinion. After all – that’s where he has his most success. (More on Kreider once we get to this interview.)

As far as both Chytil and Kravtsov go, it’s whatever.

Unless you’re going to put back 13/72/24 – then Chytil is fine where he is.

Kravtsov, who I’m sick of talking about, is what he is. They are going to force-feed this experiment onto us until Kravtsov either breaks out or is traded. Seemingly, there’s no in-between.

Assuming that Gauthier can’t go on Tuesday, then the fourth line makes sense. However, if Gauthier can play, I’d shift Goodrow to the center position, make Gauthier my fourth-line right-winger and scratch Carpenter.

Here’s what was said on Monday.

Up first, Gallant:

I thought Gallant was firm but fair. I also liked how he somewhat called out one of the beat reporters for their fake news story regarding Kreider, where the “reporter” said that Gallant called out Kreider (which was true), but left out how Gallant, just four words later, said, “but he wasn’t alone.” (As covered last night on this site.)

You can see that Gallant didn’t want to fall into that same trap again, when he said:

“We’re not talking about Chris, we’re talking about the group. I just said that, Chris went to the fourth line and other guys went to different spots. It wasn’t about Chris, it was about the team. Did I not say that?”

It was also entertaining when the reporters then immediately switched their line of questioning (they started asking about Zac Jones after Gallant said this), as they didn’t want to be scolded by Daddy Turk again!

For a complete transcript of the interview (in case you don’t have the time to watch the video), check out Adam Rotter’s transcript here: https://nyrangersnews.com/2022/11/07/updates-from-the-rangers-on-monday-17/#more-195141

Before moving on, I want to mention that Gallant said something that I was thinking, when he talked about the Rangers’ first game of the season (against Tampa) and how they have to get back to that style of hockey:

“It was like the last game in the playoffs. We played great playoff hockey and we gotta get back to closer to that because we’re playing too loose. The first game of the regular season was identical to what we played last year in the playoffs against Tampa. We gotta get back to playing faster, harder and more competitive.”

Keep that 2022 Stanley Cup Playoff talk in your mind as you watch Mika’s interview:

While none of the beat reporters brought this up (you can’t expect them to go the extra mile); if you notice, Zibanejad is wearing a 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs shirt.

Coincidence? Maybe. A reminder of the team’s goals? A stronger maybe.

Maybe I am making a mountain out of a molehill right now, but I thought it was interesting that Gallant, who has previously said that “last season was last season, it’s about this season today,” brought up the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs on his own, while his #1 center wore last year’s shirt.

And while we all want to see the Rangers back in the Eastern Conference Final (and then win it) – I also know there’s been so much roster turnover, that it’s tough to compare the 2021-22 team to this 2022-23 club.

Plus, the competition around the league, especially in the Metro division, has significantly increased.

In either event, while I didn’t find anything that Mika said to be too telling, I thought his choice of apparel was.

Next up, the returning Vitali Kravtsov:

While you already know my feelings on Kravtsov, and let’s face it – no one will ever confuse him for the more likable, realistic and responsible Zac Jones – I did like that Kravtsov was all smiles during his interview.

Of course, I’d be all smiles too if my job was guaranteed.

No matter what you think of his past (and we all know that I’ve written way too much about his return trips to Russia), it can’t be easy for him.

Just thirteen games into the season, he’s been injured three times, and has only completed one NHL game thus far.

Obviously, and as both Gallant and Kravtsov know – #74 will have to play safer and smarter.

It’s a fine line too, because Kravtsov is now somewhat in a “damned if I do, damned if I don’t” type of a situation.

If he doesn’t engage in board battles and chase loose pucks (as Gallant wants all of his players to do), Kravtsov won’t shed the “soft” accusations.

If he does play aggressive, and then gets hurt again, the “soft” label will remain firmly affixed to him.

As everyone knows, he’ll have to find some middle ground.

Let’s hope that he does – because even if you want him traded – the Rangers won’t get much back if he’s not worth anything.

Last but not least, the top story of Rangerstown, USA, Chris Kreider:

I know I’m throwing a lot of media at you tonight, but if you watch only one of these videos – make it this Kreider interview.

If body language and tone speaks volumes – then Kreider pretty much used more words than appear during one of these daily manifestos!

Obviously, Kreider isn’t thrilled about his new-found status, where he said what I’ve been saying all season:

“It’s been the same looks [from last season] but they’re just not going in. They will go in if I keep on doing those things. I’m gonna score. I’m gonna score a lot. But for me, it’s details.”

In all of my years watching Kreider – I’ve never heard him proclaim, “I’m gonna score. I’m gonna score a lot.”

And not for nothing, the last time I heard “I’m gonna score, I’m gonna score a lot,” it was when watching the new “Beavis and Butthead” episodes on Paramount. “Huh-Huh-Huh, Heh-Heh-Heh, you said score!”

There’s a part of me that wonders if Gallant is trying to make an example out of Kreider. You don’t go from scoring 52 goals to being demoted this quick without reason.

Perhaps Gallant understands that a veteran like Kreider can appreciate “tough love.” Then again, I think about Kreider’s early years and his feud with John Tortorella.

However, if Gallant wants to hold every single player accountable, and as the head coach said during his interview – then it has to start at the top.

For example, and to be clear – because it’s not like Lafreniere and Kakko have given him any reason to call them out – but should Gallant want to call out some of his younger players – then he has to treat everyone the same.

By calling out and making an example of his alternate captain, the third-highest paid forward on the team (Panarin and Zibanejad earn more), Gallant can’t be accused of playing favorites.

I don’t think I have to state the obvious, but I will – while no one expects Kreider to hit 50+ goals again (35+ is reasonable); when puck-luck betrays him, then he has to make up for it defensively.

And again, to go back to what Gallant has said – it’s not just Kreider – after all, both Zibanejad and Kakko made that horrible change during Sunday night’s game too, the change that led to Detroit tying the game.

However, and at the same time, both Mika and Kakko scored last night, where in addition – both have been much better defensively than Kreider this season.

And this goes without saying too, but hell I’ll say this and then go home here – the Rangers need Kreider at his best to have any shot at winning the Stanley Cup this year.

I think we’ll see it.

After all, nothing comes easy – and as four Stanley Cups in nearly one hundred years of history would suggest!

Tuesday night. Photo Credit: NYR

I’m posting this blog before the Flames/Isles game at the IBS arena on Monday night.

However, and as mentioned last night – it doesn’t matter if the Isles win or lose and/or suffer injuries.

The Rangers have to handle their own business – where unfortunately – they have not been able to take advantage of any team on the second half of a back-to-back this season.

Let’s see that trend break tomorrow night.

And let’s face it – the Islanders always play the Rangers tough, no matter the circumstances.

A win on Tuesday could go a long way, but in the event that the Blueshirts rebound – they’ll have to keep pressing ahead.

In other words, while things have never been worse during “The Turk Era,” it just can’t be a win over the Islanders.

The Rangers will then have to go on and get their revenge on Detroit (Thursday), handle business against a bad Nashville team (Saturday) and then beat an even worse Arizona team (Sunday).

After that, it’s the annual three-game Californian road-trip, with a date against team #32, the Kraken, before moving on to the sunny cities.

And to look further ahead – once the Rangers finish their Seattle & California road-trip – boom, it’s Thanksgiving – an NHL tent-pole/line of demarcation.

So much for the “it’s still early” disclaimer.



The hardcover version of my first book, available now at Amazon.com

My first plug of tonight’s blog – the mandatory plug for my book, “The New York Rangers Rink of Honor and the Rafters of Madison Square Garden.”

As mentioned previously, the book is now available in hardcover, in paperback and in Kindle formats. To purchase a copy of the book, visit this link:


For those still looking for signed paperback versions of the book, I have re-ordered more copies. I now have a few signed copies for sale at $25 a pop (includes shipping price) through me directly. Here is all the information on that:

Order “The New York Rangers Rink of Honor and the Rafters of Madison Square Garden” Book Today

My four-volume set of books, “One Game at a Time – A Season to Remember,” is a game-by-game recount of the Rangers 2021-22 campaign.

My second title as an author, “One Game at a Time – A Season to Remember,” is now available in eBook, paperback and hardcover formats.

To obtain signed copies, visit: https://bluecollarblueshirts.com/onegamebook/

To purchase all four volumes on Amazon, visit: Amazon.com – “One Game at a Time.”

The greatest volume-set of books on Rangers’ history today!

“Tricks of the Trade – A Century-Long Journey Through Every Trade Made In New York Rangers’ History,” a four-volume set of books that meticulously covers every trade made in franchise history, is now on sale.

All four volumes of the title can be purchased on Amazon.com and are presented in three different formats – eBook, paperback and hardcover.

To purchase Volume I: Conn Smythe (1926) – Craig Patrick (1986), visit Amazon.com

To purchase Volume II: Phil Esposito (1986) – Neil Smith (2000), visit Amazon.com

To purchase Volume III: Glen Sather (2000-2015), visit Amazon.com

To purchase Volume IV: Jeff Gorton (2015) – Chris Drury (2022), visit Amazon.com

To purchase signed copies of all four volumes, visit https://bluecollarblueshirts.com/tricksofthetrade/

Here are my last few blogs, in case you missed them:

NYR/DET 11/6 Review: Rangers Piss Another Point Away But Move Up in the Standings; Another Dreadful Night at M$G, Gallant Demotes & Calls Out Kreider; Slams Officials Too, Kakko, Moping with Mika, Consistently Inconsistent, Poor Halak, Unbearable Sieve Vagistat & More

The Top Twelve Most Hated Villains of Rangers’ History; Ten “Dishonorable” Mentions Too, Rangers vs Red Wings Preview, One Step Forward, Two Steps Back Injury News, “Turk Talk” & More

NYR/BOS 11/3 Review: The Curse of the Liberty Jersey Strikes Again; B’s Best Blueshirts, Lindgren Joins Walking Wounded; “Day-to-Day,” Schneider Statement Game; Invisible Top Six; Pasta Beats Bread, Mika Calls Out Blogger, Trouba Troubles, Boston/Vegas Domination Irony & More

If you haven’t already, subscribe to this blog for the next update:

Now on sale!

Don’t forget to order my new four-volume set of books, “Tricks of the Trade!”

If you don’t order through me, all four volumes are now available on Amazon.com

For more details, check out: https://bluecollarblueshirts.com/tricksofthetrade/

Thanks for reading.


Sean McCaffrey


@NYCTHEMIC on the Tweeter machine

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