What’s Old Is New Again: Gallant Shuffles Lines Again; Reunites a 2016-17 Line (And Lafreniere/Chytil/Kakko Too), Trouba Injuries Confirmed; Shattenkirk Comparison, NYR Dads, Have Your Voice Heard in New Book & More

Another Rangers’ off-day and another shuffling of the lines by head coach, Gerard Gallant.

Greetings and salutations everyone and welcome to another blog here on BlueCollarBlueShirts.com. I’m still not over Tuesday night’s loss to the Islanders, but there’s nothing I can do about it now. All we can do is move on.

Off puck drop, tonight’s blog will be a short one (at least for this site), where at the end of it, I will be asking for your help and feedback for my next book project.

However, before getting to that, let’s first recap the Rangers’ off-day, which was Wednesday, November 9th.

While not as explosive as Monday, the Rangers’ previous off-day following a loss; once again, Gerard Gallant went to the proverbial “line blender,” and came up with these lines, lines which we’ll most likely see on Thursday night in Detroit:

FIRST LINE: Kreider/Zibanejad/Vesey

SECOND LINE: Panarin/Trocheck/Kravtsov

THIRD LINE: Lafreniere/Chytil/Kakko

FOURTH LINE: Blais/Goodrow/Carpenter

Let’s discuss these lines first, and then talk about the defense.

I’ve recently talked a lot about Jimmy Vesey on this site (including posting a sample/free chapter on him from my new four-volume book set, “Tricks of the Trade,” which you can find here: https://bluecollarblueshirts.com/tricksofthetrade/ ); but who would’ve thought that he’d become the Rangers’ first line right-winger this season – even for as temporary as it may be? Photo Credit: Getty Images

As repeatedly mentioned on this site – I have no issues with Jimmy Vesey.

The former Hobey Baker winner, who was once thought to be an offensive powerhouse, has changed course, and has now become a successful NHLer as a forward with a defensively-oriented game.

You can read the free sample chapter of “Tricks of the Trade” (or buy the whole four-volume set – that will help the good old beer fund) for more on Vesey, but I can’t be the only person who finds it ironic, that here in 2022 – Jimmy Vesey is now the Rangers’ first line right-winger – Pavel Buchnevich’s old spot with the BFF’s, Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider.

Without rehashing the whole story again, but just to give you the quick facts; the Summer of 2016 was an interesting one for the Rangers. Not only did the club win the Jimmy Vesey sweepstakes (nearly half of the league was competing for his services), but a new young player, who was also thought to have a lot of promise, Pavel Buchnevich, was joining the team too.

By now, you already know all about the career paths of both Vesey and Buchnevich. The salary cap forced Buchnevich to St. Louis, where the former Blueshirt in the #89 jersey is now wearing a new shade of blue with the appropriately named Blues.

Vesey, who had struggled since leaving the Rangers, accepted the fact that he was never going to be 30+ goal scorer in the league – and as he had originally aspired to be.

After a successful stint with the Devils last season, the Harvard graduate aced his Rangers’ PTO exam during this preseason.

Similar to Buchnevich, who mainly played with Kreider and Zibanejad during the “DQ Era;” the other “prize” of that Summer of 2016, #26 himself, now finds himself as part of a trio with #20 and #93 – and forever as long as it may last.

Once the versatile Vesey takes the ice tomorrow night, he’ll be the first Rangers’ forward this season to play on all four lines.

As previously mentioned, and for newer fans, I think you can compare Vesey to a former Ranger, Jesper Fast – as both players can provide some offensive pop in spurts, while mostly complementing scorers as a defensive component.

In other words – I’m fine with this experiment.

After all, something needs to change – and really, this isn’t even the top story amongst Gallant’s recent line-changes – including Kreider being returned to the first line, following his demotion to the bottom six for all of four periods.

What’s really the story is something I (and many of you too) suggested on Monday – the reuniting of Lafreniere/Chytil/Kakko.

It didn’t take a rocket scientist, or the second coming of Scotty Bowman either, to realize that reuniting 13/72/24 is the right move. Photo Credit: Getty Images

The line that many refer to as “The Kids Line” (I hate this name, only because it isn’t original and because there have been many incarnations of the “The Kids Line” throughout NHL history), will play together for the first time this season on Thursday, and for the first time since Game Five of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

At the start of the preseason, it seemed like Gallant’s original plan was to go with this line, but for whatever reason (mainly because Chytil wasn’t going to bump Zibanejad and/or Trocheck, while both Kakko and Lafreniere were suitable top six options) – it just never came to be. Now it will be in Detroit.

If there’s anything to keep an eye on, besides the line itself, it’s how much ice time they receive.

While it’s nearly impossible to ensure that your top three lines play an equal amount of time (nor should they); you don’t want to see this reunited line receive only ten minutes or so either.

If there’s anything negative about going back to these three, it’s that Kakko, who without a doubt, is playing the best hockey of his career (he’s also the team’s best right-winger), will most likely have his ice time slashed. However, if these new combinations start producing wins – then who cares about ice time?

(For what it’s worth: my original idea was to see this line reunite – as the Rangers’ first line. At this point, why not?)

And don’t get it twisted – the Rangers need wins.

Heck, they don’t just need wins – they need to go on a major winning streak.

For a team that’s now 3-4-3 (or three wins and seven losses) in their last ten games played – it would be nice (especially for my sanity!) for the team to win seven of their next ten games.

With the odd-numbered lines now addressed, the new second line, where Kravtsov, placed on the second line by default (one could argue that Julien Gauthier would be a better alternative), is another trio to keep track of.

I’m not going to write another spiel on Kravtsov again, except to say that playing with Panarin, a fellow comrade, and a #10 who has somewhat taken #74 under his wing (now literally), should be the best thing for him.

If Kravtsov can’t get going with Panarin, then it’s time to admit the inevitable.

Also helping both wingers, is that Vincent Trocheck, the center of the line, is the team’s most successful player at the dots. With Vinny in the middle (he just won 19 of 22 faceoffs on Tuesday), it should allow both Panarin and Kravtsov to generate more scoring chances.

I think it’s easy to understand Gallant’s thinking here. I’m fine with this latest top nine.

The fourth line is the only trio that raises an eyebrow for me.

Outside of Barclay Goodrow – I haven’t seen much out of Sammy Blais and Ryan Carpenter.

Again, I know that Blais records a lot of hits and is still trying to regain his game after his injury; but Carpenter?

I never thought I’d be missing THE ROON DOG this much.

Should Gallant go with these lines (as expected), then it means that Ryan Reaves will sit for the third consecutive game. I’m not really a fan of that, as I think Reaves presents more pop and presence than both Blais and Carpenter.

If it were up to me (and duh – it’s not), I’d flip Gauthier to his off-wing, throw Goodrow in the middle and have #21’s right-hand man, #75, Reaves, on the right-wing.

Of course, I wouldn’t have Kravtsov on the second line – but again, that’s why I’m writing about Gallant and he’s not writing about me! He’s the boss!

On Tuesday, Gallant confirmed my original suspicions from three weeks ago (and what Joe Micheletti also brought up on Tuesday – and let’s face it – he knew or else he wouldn’t have said it) – Trouba is playing through injuries.

For the first time since waiving Dryden Hunt several weeks back – the Rangers are now a 100% healthy 23-man roster – nagging injuries aside.

During Wednesday’s practice, both Julien Gauthier and Ryan Lindgren returned.

While it looks like Gauthier will be wearing a suit instead of a jersey on Thursday; it’s expected that double nickel will return to the line-up, a line-up that’s been 0-3 since Lindgren’s injury against Boston.

I don’t think I have to explain this any further except to state it – but yep – Lindgren’s return only benefits the Rangers. He’s been sorely missed.

We all know about that “a-word,” as in “accrue,” and how it applies to the salary cap (and the 2023 NHL Trade Deadline too); so it will be interesting to see how long the Rangers carry 23-players.

However, with the dads on this upcoming two-game road-trip (more on this below) – I don’t think that we’ll see any roster movement between now and Sunday, when the Rangers return home to host the Coyotes.

Yes, hockey can be cruel business (and don’t forget – the NHL, above all else, is a business), but I think it would in poor form for general manager, Chris Drury, to either waive a player or send someone to Hartford, while the dads are on the trip.

Aside from the most successful line of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs reuniting; the other big news from Wednesday was when Gallant confirmed that the team’s captain, Jacob Trouba, is battling through “nagging injuries.”

I first brought up what I thought was a “conspiracy theory” three weeks ago, when Trouba first started to miss practices, in lieu of “maintenance days.” Now we know for sure – Trouba isn’t at 100%.

Of course, since the Rangers (and every other team in the league) guard injury information as if they were Fort Knox – we don’t know what’s specifically ailing Trouba.

Again, without knowing what’s bothering the captain, I don’t think I’m far off when making the following comparison:

Trouba reminds me of Kevin Shattenkirk during his first season.

If you recall, Shattenkirk, the top prize of the 2017 class of NHL free agents, had a pure Murphy’s Law tenure while with the Rangers.

Once taking a massive pay-cut to join his boyhood team, the club he grew up rooting for (he signed a four-year deal worth $26,650,000 overall with then Rangers’ g.m., Jeff Gorton – but at the time, he had offers of seven-years worth $45,000,000+ on the table), Shattenkirk entered the 2017-18 campaign with knee issues.

Shattenkirk, eager to play for the Rangers and earn the money that he was being paid, entered the season with a bum left knee (he sustained the injury during the preseason), a knee that later required meniscus surgery.

In turn, Shattenkirk tried to gut it out, but after 46 games played, and with “The Letter” soon to be written – he was shelved for good and then had his surgery.

Who knows how Shattenkirk’s time in New York would have played out had he addressed his knee issues when they first arose? However, there was a lot of pressure on him to succeed, and don’t forget this either – the Rangers fell two games shy of the Eastern Conference Final prior to signing Shattenkirk.

In other words, while it didn’t play out this way, at the time, the Rangers were in “WIN NOW” mode, and Shattenkirk wanted to be part of it.

I think Trouba now finds himself in a similar situation.

Now as the team’s captain, Trouba doesn’t want to miss time. Whatever is bothering him should be addressed, and without knowing what the injuries are, I can only speculate the following – it’s probably better for him to sit out, miss some games, heal, get back to 100%, and then return.

Trouba’s first two seasons in New York weren’t that hot. He really only came on last season, and following a strong 2021-22 campaign, was then named the team’s captain over the summer of 2022.

In his new role, and now as the defacto face and voice of the team – Trouba doesn’t want to let anyone down. It’s human nature – and something that won’t appear in any analytical spreadsheet or chart.

Trouba, who Gallant described as a “warrior” on Wednesday, is putting the team before his own health.

Furthermore, Trouba isn’t a dummy – he knows his numbers are taking a beating and that he’s been on the wrong end of many plays this season. However, to him, he wants to do anything he can for the team, even at his own expense.

While that’s commendable, I just look at the tale of Kevin Shattenkirk. It may be best for Trouba to rest, especially if his injuries worsen.

He’s not helping the team in the way that he should right now.

Plus, the Rangers will need him at 100% as the season goes along.

It’s better to take time off now, rather than lose him for a significant amount of time during a playoff push – or worse than that – not have him available at all for the playoffs.

Then again – I’m not a doctor. I’m just pretending to be one, without any medical charts in front of me either!

I’m not making this up. After last night’s game, I saw many people suggest that the Rangers fire Gerard Gallant and replace him with Barry Trotz. Short memories! I’m not even going to waste my time debunking these opinions. Yes, things suck now, but firing “The Turk” is just a ludicrous idea. Photo Credit: Ross D. Franklin

Here’s Wednesday’s edition of “TURK TALK”:

I’ve pretty much already covered what Gallant said and did on Wednesday.

As far as anything else, I’ll give him credit – he’s a calming influence during a stormy time – the most difficulty he’s faced during his short tenure as the head coach of the team.

And yep – “The Turk” doesn’t care about stats or analytics either.

As he said – he just wants wins right now, no matter how they come.

On Lindgren (and as Gallant always does), the head coach said he’s just waiting for official clearance from the medical staff.

In turn, expect to see the following on Thursday:

FIRST PAIR: Lindgren/Fox

SECOND PAIR: Miller/Trouba

THIRD PAIR: Jones/Schneider

I’d also expect to see CZAR IGOR in net. The Rangers have to go with their best, because as you all know – they need a win badly.

Plus, with a back-to-back over the weekend coming up (at Nashville on Saturday, at home against Arizona on Sunday), I’d expect Halak to get one of those games. You can’t have Halak taking two of the next three starts – not now, not ever.

In other news from Wednesday – the annual dad’s trip!

Well we can see where Jacob Trouba gets his height from! The captain, who is listed at 6’3″, is an inch or two shorter than his pop! Photo Credit: NYR

As mentioned, the fathers of the Rangers will be joining the club for their next two games on the road – Detroit on Thursday and Nashville on Saturday.

As someone who’s been to both cities – while I wouldn’t want to be hanging out in the streets of Detroit at night – I’m sure the fathers will really enjoy “NashVegas” on Saturday!

No joke, outside of Vegas, and as the nickname would suggest – Nashville is one of the best party towns in the league, perhaps only third to maybe Montreal. However, there are more bars and restaurants per capita (especially outside of where the Predators play) when compared to Montreal.

Who knows, maybe with the eyes of their fathers upon them – the Rangers will give a sixty minute performance. No one wants to disappoint their dad!

And should the Rangers play like shit – then I wouldn’t be opposed to some old-school punishment!

I hope every Rangers’ dad is wearing a thick leather belt on Thursday and if the Rangers don’t play up to snuff – maybe a whipping on the backside will wake them up!

(And please – don’t email me regarding parents hitting their children is wrong. I am joking here – lighten up!)

Then again, based on Mr. Trouba’s appearance, where he looks like he could’ve been an extra in “The Sopranos” – maybe a belt lashing wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world! Again, I kid, I kid – or am I?

The Rangers will try to right the ship tomorrow night in MoTown.

Before going home tonight, a request from yours truly to you guys & gals.

If you missed it, check out my “Top Twelve Most Hated NYR Villains” blog, which you can find here: https://bluecollarblueshirts.com/11522/

In some personal news (and yep – I’m still waiting to start work at my new job site – and it looks like I’m delayed again until at least Monday); as you know by now, “Tricks of the Trade” is finally done.

The only thing I have left to do, outside of collecting money from Amazon sales, is to mail out the signed hard-cover versions of the book.

For those of you who have pre-ordered the hard copy version, I expect to receive those books next week (November 14th, according to UPS).

I already have your boxes and shipping labels made out. All I have to do is sign the books, pack them and then mail them out – where I’m getting a lot of nasty looks at the post office during these past two weeks – but hey – it’s not my fault that my town only has one clerk working the desk!

I tell you this, because outside of doing this site – I’m now ready for my next book project.

As I was putting the finishing touches on “Tricks of the Trade,” I had several ideas in my mind (I even bring this up in “Tricks of the Trade” too).

Three projects I want to complete one day are:

— A book covering every Rangers’ draft – who they drafted, why they were drafted, what happened afterwards, who they missed out on, and so forth.

— A “FIGHT CLUB” inspired book, covering every fight of franchise history. I also wanted to present a new idea, where there would be QR codes in the physical copies of the book, so as you’re reading about each fight, you could then scan the QR codes and go to a YouTube page, or maybe a HockeyFights.com link, of each fight.

— A screenplay on the life of Tex Rickard, where admittedly, I’m going to have to rely on a buddy of mine in the television business for major help when trying to write in that format. As mentioned many times before, if you don’t know the life story of the first owner of the Rangers, think “Deadwood meets Boardwalk Empire meets Yellowstone.”

However, after recently posting my “Top Twelve Most Hated Ranger Villains” blog the other night, many of you reached out and said this would be a perfect book idea.

Stan Fischler read that blog, and he pretty much said I’d be an idiot if I DIDN’T write that book, where I’d extend the number to 100 villains and provide more details on all of them. (If you read my other books, then you know how meticulously researched and detailed they are.)

As I weighed all the feedback (including all of the emails I received from you guys, with suggestions and omissions, where Derek Sanderson was the overwhelming “favorite”), this is the path that I’m going to go down.

Plus, as I was thinking about what book project to tackle next, while “One Game at a Time” was basically a compilation book, my other two titles, “The New York Rangers Rink of Honor and the Rafters of Madison Square Garden” and “Tricks of the Trade,” were both very deep and written in a serious manner. (In other words – a complete 180 from these blogs!)

Prior to last week, I was leaning towards the draft book idea, which like the two titles listed above, would be another serious book with a lot of hard work and research involved. It would also be important for historical purposes.

While it’s my plan to one day write that book, I think I need a break from writing another serious title (it took me a year each, from start-to-finish, when putting those two historical books together).

In turn, “The Rangers’ 100 Most Hated Villains” (working title) will be my next project, a book that I can write in a more comedic tone – even if the subject is largely negative!

This is where you guys and gals come in.

Take a look at https://bluecollarblueshirts.com/11522/ – and once done – email me at BULLSMC@aol.com with who you thought was omitted.

I gave you 22 names to work with. I’ll need 78 more, and while I have most of it in my head already – I want your feedback, as all of my stuff is “for-the-fans-by-the-fans.”

I’m also interested in unique ideas too.

For example, I’m not just limiting the list to players, general managers, owners and coaches.

Part of the 100 villains will be the circus at M$G, the Barclays Center, the Bell Centre, the Liberty jersey, and stuff of that ilk. (This is where I hope the comedy comes in!)

Presently, I’m trying to compile my 100 villains, and while I know I’ll come up with more than 100 things to write about – I want the top 100 – and who better than Ranger fans to contribute to this idea?

And heck, if you have a bone to pick with even my Top 5 villains – feel free to sound off about that too.

However, I do think that Denis Potvin will be hard to bump from the number one spot!

Thanks for your help in advance!

Back at it Thursday night with a Rangers/Wings review.


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/NYI 11/8 Review: Rangers Lose Worst Game of the Season (That’s Getting Redundant); Choke Against Isles, Gallant’s Panic Creates Deeper Despair, Regression Across The Board, 2021-22 Comparisons No Longer Valid, Sliding in the Standings, Burn The Liberty Jerseys, Refs & More

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

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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1 thought on “What’s Old Is New Again: Gallant Shuffles Lines Again; Reunites a 2016-17 Line (And Lafreniere/Chytil/Kakko Too), Trouba Injuries Confirmed; Shattenkirk Comparison, NYR Dads, Have Your Voice Heard in New Book & More

  1. During my 80 yrs of frustration with the NYR one memory that never escapes is that Emile finally got the enforcer that was sorely needed in one Orland Kurtenback. The Flithy Flyers issued untold beatings on the NYR, especially DAVE “THE HAMMER” SCHULTZ, he knew the weakest Rangers and constantly intimidated and fought only them. Enter Orland, and THE HAMMER disappeared. I do not remember anyone that would challenge Orland, and if they did it was over before they clutched just to remain upright. Too bad Orland succumbed to back surgery, he was the best fighter I ever saw and a helluva hockey player. I still have images in my mind of Schultz yapping at Orland while hiding behind several of his teammates, chicken shit that he was! I know this was way before your time but your ability to research should bring him back to life, and of course just check with Stan, I know he will concur.

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