BCBS For 2/18: The New York Rangers “Progress/Regress” Report – Ranking & Profiling Every Ranger From First to Worst; Interesting NYR Stats, Trouba Injury Update, Ranger Line Changes; Breadman/Praying Mantis Back, Comments from David Quinn, NYR Podcasts & More

Tonight’s main event will look at every Ranger on this roster, as we have now hit the 25% mark of the season. And in a spoiler that shouldn’t shock anyone, I have Adam Fox as the best player on the team.

“No, they’ve run out of that veteran status ticket that they’ve had. So, I have liked part, obviously we all talked about Mika’s game after the first Bruins game. There certainly was a lot more of what the Mika Zibanejad we know we’re going to need. I thought Chris was more physical last night. Listen, we’ve talked about it an awful lot here in the first part of the season. We need a little bit more out of everybody, not just certain guys. Those two guys are certainly a part of that and they know that and no one’s working harder to get out of it than those two guys. So it’s not for the lack of caring or effort. Sometimes you can get in your own way and sometimes it happens at this level.” – David Quinn, on 2/17/21, while talking about the production, or lack thereof, of his two veterans in Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider.

During the 14 games that the Rangers have played this season, Mika Zibanejad has looked like a person who was told that their pet had died. Photo Credit: Getty Images

Greetings and salutations everyone and welcome to another blog here on BlueCollarBlueShirts.com. After writing last night’s blog, I have calmed down a bit, although my concern level still remains sky-high. As mentioned last night, while I was never in the “FIRE DQ” camp, I think two more consecutive bad losses, similar to the one from last night, coupled in with the fact that the Rangers will then have three days off after these next two games, could lead to the end of the DQ era. We’ll see.

And yes – I know this is a rebuild, but when you have major problems in your construction, sometimes the foreman gets fired.

In an effort to stay current and to decrease the word output for Thursday night’s blog, which will be the Rangers vs Flyers game recap/review; I’m checking in here to give you all the latest news updates in Rangerstown, USA. After that, with the Rangers now having 14 games under their belt in this 56 game season, I wanted to quickly do a mini-progress report on the roster, where I’ll look at every player on the team and rank them from first to worst.

There’s a lot of news to get into tonight, with Jacob Trouba now becoming the latest Ranger to join the walking wounded black and blue blueshirts. However, before getting into all of the news and everything else, as usual, the PLUGS segment!

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

NYR/NJD 2/16 Review: RAGE! The “Find-A-New-Way-To-Lose” Rangers Do It Again; Get Completely Embarrassed By The Devils with a Pathetic, Inexcusable & Unacceptable Effort and In The Worst Loss of This Season, DQ & His Fat Cats = Broken Records/Okay With Losing; Ruff Night at M$G, “Mental Mika” Continues His “No Score Tour”, Terrible MSG Broadcast, Bottom Six > Top Six; Face-Off Woes, Trouba Hurt; NYR Fans Hurting More, Time to Make a Big Change, Bring Back DeAngelo, “FIRE DQ” Crowd & More

BCBS For 2/15: Tony DeAngelo Breaks His Silence; Correctly Chooses Larry Brooks For His Exclusive Interview, An In-Depth Look At This Entire Interview & Article Including “The Game Within The Game”, DeAngelo Haters & Headline Reading, Brooks Debunks TDA BS, Staal Helps Ex-Partner, “Puff Piece” vs Real News, TDA = Ratings, DeAngelo’s Potential NHL and Perhaps NYR Return & More From The Never-Ending TDA Roller-Coaster

NYR/BOS 2/12 Review: Rock, Paper, Scissors & Shut-Out: Brad Marchand’s Mind-Games & The Bruins Defeat Mental Mika’s Rangers; Casper Kreider, Jake “The Mistake” Trouba & NYR Fat Cats Out-Played By The Young Gun Baby Blueshirts, Bring Back Tony DeAngelo Already & Save This Abysmal Power-Play, Brendan “F’N” Lemieux; Buchnevich Fights Too, DQ’s Embarrassing Comments, Duguay v Vally Analysis, Make $ w/NYR, NYR Schedule & More From Another One-Goal Loss at M$G

BCBS For 2/12: Ron Duguay’s “Up in the Blue Seats” Podcast Review; Chris Kostopoulos Tells a Hilarious Duguay/Kotsy Fight Story, Lemieux as a Top Six Forward, CK20 Needs To Step Up, “The Broadway Hat” Podcast Recap Featuring “The Buffalo Killer” Mackenzie Skapski, NYR/MSG/COVID-19 Updates, Rangers May Be Heading To Lake Tahoe & More

Based on what David Quinn said on Wednesday afternoon, Jacob Trouba will now miss at least 25% of the season. Photo Credit: Getty Images

In an update regarding Jacob Trouba, the Rangers announced the following on Wednesday:

Photo Credit: NYR

Reader/buddy of mine Danny M. re-watched last night’s loss (the agony!) and he uploaded a clip of the play where Trouba injured himself. Here’s the video:

As you can see here, Trouba blocked a shot with his hand. In turn, he wound up breaking his thumb. As the Rangers said on social media and as David Quinn told the media, Trouba will now be out for 4-6 weeks, meaning he’ll at least miss 25% of the season, if not more.

Here’s what DQ said about Trouba to the media on Wednesday:

“It’s an upper body injury, he’s going to be out 4-6 weeks. He broke his thumb, he’s out 4-6 weeks and we will miss everything that he brings, from a physicality standpoint, a compete standpoint, from what he brings from a leadership standpoint. He’ll be missed, but the good news is that it’s not as serious as we thought and he’ll be back sooner than later.”

No matter how you feel about Jacob Trouba and his contract, what can’t be denied is that he’s the team’s second best right-handed defenseman. Furthermore, if you’re like me, and have the opinion that Adam Fox and Ryan Lindgren are the two top defensemen on the team, Trouba is either the third or fourth best overall defenseman on the team. (I would slot K’Andre Miller above Trouba, although I know some people may flip-flop Trouba and Miller. Everyone’s entitled to their own opinion.)

Without question, this is a huge blow for the Rangers.

Let me do my fan-fiction bit here first, and then talk about reality.

I know you probably don’t want to read this and wish you could throw tomatoes at me right now, as if I were a bad stand-up comic; but as long as Tony DeAngelo is being paid by the Rangers, I’m going to bring his name up. Who doesn’t love a comeback story? Bring back Super T to save the day!

With Trouba now out, the Rangers are down to only one right-handed defenseman on the roster, in Adam Fox. At practice on Wednesday, Brendan Smith, who filled in for Trouba’s partner K’Andre Miller on Tuesday night, was slotted with Miller. In other words, for Thursday night’s game with the Flyers, the Rangers defense looks like this:




It was also reported that Jack Johnson, who is not 100% ready to return just yet, also practiced on Wednesday, where he and Smith alternated with Miller.

If there was ever a time for the Rangers and Tony DeAngelo to sit down, it would be now. This is all stuff I’ve talked about before, so I won’t bore you again by doing my “Greatest Hits” here. All I’ll say is that the Rangers need a right-handed defenseman, a power-play quarterback, a player who hates to lose, a spark plug type and it would help if that person was familiar with this roster. Would the team, who is still paying Tony DeAngelo, rather lose without him than try to win with him?

This much is a fact – Tony DeAngelo, especially RIGHT NOW, would make this team better. I’ve said my piece and I’ll now move on!

If I were Jeff Gorton, I’d want to make moves that makes my team the most competitive. In the Rangers current state, it looks like Conor McDonald will be lending his father’s old badge to Jeff Gorton for the third straight NHL Draft Lottery in a row. That’s called regression and not progression. Photo Credit: NYR

While losing Trouba is certainly a big blow to this roster, the Rangers and David Quinn got some good news on Wednesday, as both K’Andre Miller and Artemi Panarin took practice and where both will now play on Thursday night against Philly. It’s going to be interesting to see how Miller does with one of the bottom-tiered defensemen of this roster as his partner.

I included DQ’s quote about Zibanejad and Kreider at the top of this blog, as DQ, while pressured a bit by the media, pretty much said that Zibanejad and Kreider don’t have a free pass. As I said last night, actions speak louder than words. In something that I found perplexing, was with Panarin now back and ready to go, were DQ’s lines at practice:

FIRST LINE: Kreider/Zibanejad/Buchnevich

SECOND LINE: Panarin/Strome/Kakko

THIRD LINE: Lafreniere/Rooney/Blackwell

FOURTH LINE: Lemieux/Howden/PDG

For whatever reason, Julien Gauthier, who has had some solid games since returning to the line-up, is now the odd-man out again, as he rotated in with the fourth line. While nothing is set in stone yet, the above line-up is what we’ll most likely see against Philly.

If Quinn wasn’t talking out of both sides of his mouth, as he has been lately; Kreider and/or Zibanejad should get a time-out for this game. However, I do understand, that despite how bad Kreider and Zibanejad have been this season, theoretically, they give the Rangers the best chance to win. If anything, I think DQ’s quote was a piece of lip service and perhaps a motivational tactic for his two stars. That said, and as you may know, DQ’s motivational tactics aren’t the same as John Tortorella’s!

While I know it’s a numbers game, when trying to explain this potential Gauthier scratch, Gauthier has been playing well. For Gauthier to be “punished” with a night in the press box; well that doesn’t really send a good message, at least not to me. DQ just said he wants to hold his veterans accountable, but here we are. Maybe DQ needs to see his fat cats stink out the joint one more time before making a real move.

When it comes to other things David Quinn said on Wednesday – who cares? He changes his course and direction with each passing day. Nothing he says these days is with any sort of conviction. DQ will say one thing one day and then say the complete opposite the next day. The only thing DQ ever says consistently is the word “swagger”. As far as the Rangers go, as they head to Philly, the information above is the only stuff that matters.

Progress/Regress Report time!

For all of the bad stuff that we’ve seen this season, “The Praying Mantis” K’Andre Miller is one of the rare few positive surprises.

During this site’s history, I’ve done “Report Card” blogs, where I go through the entire roster and coaching staff and assign them a letter grade. However, with only 14 games played so far, I think it’s tough to really start handing out letter grades or anything like that. I think I’ll do a report card once we hit the half-way mark of the season.

For the purpose of this “Progress/Regress” report, I wanted to look at everyone on the roster, chime in some comments on each player and rank each player on the team. I’m also interested to hear your feedback and assessment of this roster and you can sound off in the COMMENTS section of this blog, which is located at the end of this write-up.

As far as the parameters and variables I used when making this “Progress/Regress” report, I took the following into account:

  • Offensive stats
  • Defensive play
  • Special teams play
  • Salary cap hit (Meaning that I look at what players are being paid and what they are supposed to contribute to the team. In other words, I expect more out of Chris Kreider, Jacob Trouba and Mika Zibanejad than I do from guys like Kevin Rooney, K’Andre Miller and Colin Blackwell.)
  • Value to the team

Of note, I’m only looking at players who played five or more games, which means I don’t have anything to say about Johnny Brodzinski!

Unlike my report card blogs, where I break down the entire roster by position, I’m ranking every player on this roster from the very top to the very bottom, no matter what position they play. (For example, I have Adam Fox as the best Ranger on this team. He will be the first player I talk about. I have Mika Zibanejad ranked as the worst Ranger on this team. He will be the last player I talk about. Sandwiched in-between is everyone else, including the goaltenders.)

The purpose of this “Progress/Regress” report, is to look at where every player is at right now. Then, whether it’s during the Mid-Season Report Card blog or during the Final Report Card blog, we can then compare how these players did in the first 25% of the season, when looking back at this period of time in the future.

Simple enough, right?

While I do think all of you guys and gals know this, I feel I have to say the following anyway – all of this stuff is 100% my opinion. While I include facts and stats into what you’re about to read, at the end of the day, all of this are just my opinions. These aren’t the end all, be all rankings. However, all of this just gives you a feel of where these players currently are at, at least from my point of view.

Without further ado, may I present to you the “Progress/Regress” report, as we start to pass by the quarter pole of this 2021 season.

While there are many things to like about Adam Fox, one of the best things about him is that he worked his way out of two different organizations, just so he could sign with his hometown club, which is the New York Rangers! Photo Credit: Aaron Davis

ADAM FOX – Without question, Adam Fox has been the best Ranger this season. In fact, should he continue his play and should everything go as is, I really see him as the next captain of the New York Rangers. Not only does Fox have the second most assists on this team (6), Fox is the team’s third highest scorer too, with 7 points overall. In addition, not only does Fox lead the team in blocks (33), Fox also leads the team in minutes, with an average of 24:56 played a game. For comparison, Trouba has the second highest average, when it comes to time on the ice, with a TOI average of 21:40. In other words, Fox is averaging three more minutes played a game than the second best Ranger in this important statistical category.

Obviously, with the Tony DeAngelo news, Fox’s minutes have gone up this season, as Fox has taken over DeAngelo’s role as the quarterback of the power-play. Regardless, while Fox isn’t as explosive as DeAngelo was on the power-play, (at least not yet) Fox still remains the best all-around defenseman on this team. In fact, his pairing with Ryan Lindgren is one of the best pairings in all of the NHL, as they were one of the last pairs in the league to give up an even strength goal this season.

Unless you want to nit-pick for the sake of nit-picking, there are really no flaws in Fox’s game. He sounds like a leader, he plays like a leader and it shouldn’t shock anyone to see Fox’s name at the top of nearly every important statistical category, whether it be from the offensive or defensive end of the puck.

If you think there’s been a better Ranger than Adam Fox this season, I’d love to hear it and why you think that way.

RYAN LINDGREN – It shouldn’t shock you to see Lindgren ranked second here, as he and Fox have taken over the Rangers blue line, ever since Lindgren came here from Hartford last season. Lindgren, who is one of those “heart and soul” type of players, is also the quintessential prototype of a “Hockey’s Player Hockey Player”.

Similar to a Dan Girardi or a Marc Staal in their prime, Lindgren is not here for his offense – he is here for his defense. Unfortunately, when it comes to the Norris Trophy, defensive defensemen are often overlooked. Lindgren is one of the team leaders in TOI, as he’s currently averaging 20:06 a game. What makes Lindgren so special, is his ability to shut down the top players on the opposing team, especially during odd-man rushes and on the PK.

ARTEMI PANARIN – While Panarin came out the gate slow and while Panarin isn’t matching his production level from last season either, Panarin still leads the team in goals (5), assists (10) and points (15). He is the only fat cat on this team that is producing at an acceptable level. Of course, it can also be argued that it’s tough to expect the same career years that all of the fat cats had last season. That said, Panarin is doing his job, unlike his fat cat peers.

If there’s anything scary about this Rangers team right now, it’s the fact that Panarin is the only Ranger to hit double-digits in both the assists and points categories. That fact alone explains the Rangers poor record of 4-7-3. Even scarier, of the fat cats, and with DeAngelo excluded, Panarin is the only one to have not played in every game this season, as Panarin has played in 12 of the 14 games so far this season. With 120 less minutes than his fellow fat cats, Panarin is head and shoulders above all of them.

K’ANDRE MILLER – “The Praying Mantis” is fourth on this list. Not bad for a guy who wasn’t even supposed to be on this roster this season! At least not to start the season!

When Miller first got here, there was word that he was more of an offensive-oriented defenseman. However, it’s been Miller’s defense that’s been extremely impressive. In his rookie season, and as player that was kind of just thrown into the fire a bit, Miller has routinely shut down players like Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin, Boston’s Perfection Line and other top stars. Sure, while there have been minimal hiccups along the way, it’s K’Andre Miller, and not Alexis Lafreniere or Igor Shestyorkin, that’s the Rangers Calder Trophy candidate. It feels like the best is only yet to come for a guy who’s already having an outstanding rookie campaign.

FILIP CHYTIL – There is the old adage of “you don’t know what you got ’til it’s gone.” When Filip Chytil went down with his injury after five games played, the Rangers lost a major offensive presence. Even worse, for a team whose biggest weakness is center-depth, Chytil’s injury has somewhat exposed that fact. You have to wonder, had Chytil remained healthy, if he would’ve been given a chance on the first line due to the fact that Mika Zibanejad is having the worst slump of his career.

Put it this way – Chytil has only played in five games this year, yet his two goals are more than the amount of goals that Zibanejad, Lafreniere, Trouba and many others have right now.

KEVIN ROONEY – The name of Kevin Rooney may shock you here in the sixth spot, but for what he’s getting paid and for what the expectations were for Rooney, Rooney has over-delivered. In fact, Rooney’s three goals has him third overall on the team in this department. Making Rooney even more valuable, is his ability to win face-offs, which is something that the team’s top two centers, in Ryan Strome and Mika Zibanejad, have had issues with all season. In fact, Rooney is so good at face-offs, that Quinn is using Rooney to take face-offs in the latter stages of games, as his top two centers are unreliable at the dot.

For a “fourth line mucker”, Rooney has been better than previous players in this role during the DQ era. And while this isn’t a knock at Rooney, the fact that Rooney is ranked so high here tells you all you need to know about these current Rangers.

Fun fact: Rooney, along with Miller, lead the team in the +/- stat, as both players are +5.

Similar to Panarin a bit, Igor started off slow but is now coming on. Photo Credit: Aaron Davis

IGOR SHESTYORKIN – The successor to Henrik Lundqvist, CZAR IGOR had a rough start to this season, but is drastically improving as the season continues. Unfortunately, due to the the scoring woes of the Rangers, Igor currently has a 3-5-1 record. A PPG here and not being shut out in three games, would’ve perhaps improved Igor’s win-loss record. In his last few games, Igor has been able to boost up his save percentage to .918 and now has a GAA of 2.36. That said, Igor is still looking for his first shut-out of his NHL career.

KAAPO KAKKO – Kakko has been one of the better Ranger forwards this season, especially during these last few games. While some fans rave about his takeaway and forced turnover stats, the bottom line is that nobody drafts a forward second overall, for these type of stats. At the end of the day, Kakko has to finish and score goals. Kakko currently has two goals this season, but easily could’ve had 5-6 more. While Kakko is still young and this is only his second season, had Kakko been able to finish goalies off, perhaps the Rangers record wouldn’t be as bad as it is.

What’s encouraging about Kakko this season, is that he’s becoming more of a presence during his shifts. You just hope to see that continue and for Kakko to start putting more pucks into the net.

BRENDAN LEMIEUX – With Ryan Lindgren, Lemieux is one of the “old-time” hockey players on this team. What I like about Lemieux is that you can see that losing bothers him, which is something I can’t say about some of these fat cats.

A natural agitator, Lemieux has drawn more penalties this season than any other Ranger. In comparison, Chris Kreider hasn’t drawn one penalty this season.

For a bottom six forward that’s expected to shake things up, Lemieux has one goal and three assists this season.

PAVEL BUCHNEVICH – As has been the case throughout his NHL career, (all with the Rangers) Buchnevich is very streaky. With four goals and five assists this season, Buchnevich ranks in the top three in goals, assists and points categories for the Rangers. For Buchnevich, it feels like a lot of his points come in bunches, which is why David Quinn bounces him throughout the line-up whenever the points aren’t coming.

Buchnevich, who has spent most of this season on the first line, needs to become more of a presence and in every game. When he’s hot, he’s hot, but when he’s cold he is basically a turnover machine. Like many of these guys, Buchnevich has to trust his abilities and shoot the puck more often, rather than making these cross-ice passes to nowhere.

COLIN BLACKWELL – I have Blackwell ranked 11th here, and you could argue that he belongs in the Top Ten. In six games played this season, Blackwell has an impressive two goals and two assists – not shabby for a bottom six forward. Blackwell has even impressed David Quinn too, as Blackwell has had some shifts with the Rangers first line. (It lasted all of ten minutes, but he was put there!)

I would’ve ranked Blackwell higher if played in more games, something which was out of his own control, due to his injury. As has been the case all season, the Rangers bottom six has been carrying this team in many games and Blackwell is a big part of that.

PHILLIP DI GIUSEPPE – Another bottom six forward, PDG has really looked good in my eyes, as there are games where he’s led the Rangers in SOG, as he adopts a “shoot first, ask questions later” mentality. And really, with the Rangers troubles at putting pucks past goalies, you want to see a player like PDG treat these games as if he were at a shooting gallery.

While PDG is looking for his first goal this season, PDG ranks third on the team in assists with 5. One of the reasons to explain PDG being a team leader in apples is because of his willingness to shoot, as he’s picked up a few assists with pucks off pads and deflection goals.

And if I haven’t hammered this point home enough, PDG has just as many points as Kreider does this season and two more than Zibanejad.

RYAN STROME – It’s been an up-and-down season for Ryan Strome. There are games where he shows off his offensive skills, hence his four goals, which is second best on this team right now. However, Strome has been massacared at the circle this season, as he’s gone 78-108 at the dot.

Without question, Strome could be leading this team in goals scored right now, as there have been about 6-7 times where he’s missed the net, a net which was left vacated a bit by the opposing goaltender.

While Panarin is here to make his teammates better, most of Strome’s offense this season has been Panarin related. Without Panarin around, Strome hasn’t done much.

I have made a lot of snide remarks about Trouba’s contract and I still stand by all of it. That said, I don’t deny what Trouba has done defensively this season either.

JACOB TROUBA – I have Trouba ranked 14th overall on this team and yes, part of this middle-of-the-pack ranking is contract related.

Food for thought. Since the trade of Neal Pionk for Jacob Trouba, I present to you these stats:

Neal Pionk: 86 games, 7 goals, 50 assists, $3 million annual salary. 12 points this season.

Jacob Trouba: 83 games, 7 goals, 22 assists, $8 million annual salary. 3 points this season. (Thanks to reader Bugg for bringing these stats to my attention.)

And really, that’s where my frustration is rooted from with Trouba. While there are many nights where Trouba leads the team in both blocked shots and hits, 0 goals and 3 assists aren’t going to cut it. Not for $8M. Making matters worse, is that Adam Fox is paid 1/8th of what Trouba makes and you get more than 8 times the production out of Fox than you do with Trouba. And if you’re looking for a cherry on top, it feels like Trouba has shot 76767896896798678967896 pucks high and wide this season too.

For all of my commentary on Trouba this season, I 100% believe the Rangers will miss him in these next 4-6 weeks.

ANTHONY BITETTO & LIBOR HAJEK – I’m ranking both Bitetto and Hajek at 15 here, as ever since this new pairing came around, they’ve been solid. It’s hard for me to choose one over the other, although it’s Bitetto who has that highlight reel goal. That said, as a third d-pair on this team, these two, who have never played together before, have gelled well and are never a liability on the ice. (Yes, I know other teams have scored against them, but no NHL defense is 100% perfect and the opposition is also paid to play hockey too. If every NHL defense were perfect, every game in the league would have a final result of 1-0, after a shoot-out.)

Bitetto, who is 30 years old and looking to extend his NHL career, while Hajek looks to jump-start his at the age of 22; have really done a bang-up job together in the five games that they have been paired together in. They really entered this line-up without missing a beat.

ALEXANDAR GEORGIEV – As one of the biggest Georgiev fans in the world, I have him in the bottom half of these rankings. While he’s the only Ranger goalie with a shut-out this year and it’s hard to blame a goalie for giving up PPG’s and breakaway goals, Georgiev isn’t making the extra save like he routinely made last season. In fact, in breakaway situations, where are pretty much a 50-50 thing, Georgiev is 0-6 during these plays.

With a .891 save percentage and a GAA of 3.21, while some of these goals aren’t all on Georgiev, he simply has to get back into the groove that he was in last season.

BRETT HOWDEN – Fun fact: of all Ranger centermen, Howden leads the team in face-off percentage, with a 48.8% success rate. Howden, who rotates between the third and fourth lines, has been serviceable in his role, where he also kills penalties. However, whenever you talk Howden, you will always have to bring up the Ryan McDonagh & JT Miller trade, because as of right now, that trade has looked like a win for Tampa and a loss for the Rangers. Then again, you can’t win them all. Just look at the Trouba and Pionk trade!

JULIEN GAUTHIER – To me, Gauthier has really come on as this season has progressed, as he’s becoming more noticeable, due to his power moves to the net, his speed and the one goal he had a few games back. That one goal matches the amount of goals that Zibanejad has this season.

Gauthier, who has been called a “poor man’s Kreider”, could be more effective than Kreider by the time this season ends, if everything remains the same. Of course, Gauthier will need more playing time for that to happen.

While you can never take away Lafreniere’s first goal away from him, an OT GWG for that matter; 14 games into this season, Lafreniere is still looking for his first regulation time goal. Photo Credit: NYR

ALEXIS LAFRENIERE – Yep, I have the crown jewel of the 2020 NHL Draft ranked 19th overall.

I’m not one of these people calling Lafreniere a bust or anything like that, as I understand the conditions, this pandemic and how Lafreniere didn’t have a traditional start to his NHL career. However, with that said, other rookies are tearing it up around the league. All NHL rookies are playing under these same conditions. You can only make excuses for so long.

Similar to my comments on Kakko, the bottom line is that Lafreniere is here to score goals. Yes, it’s early and I’m aware of everything. However, you would have to be lying to yourself if you thought Lafreniere would be without one regulation goal at the 25% mark of the season.

Before people start emailing me and cursing me out for this low ranking, I 100% believe that Lafreniere will drastically improve as the season continues.

BRENDAN SMITH – Brendan Smith, who continues to be a jack-of-all-trades for the Rangers, as he’s played both at the LD and RD positions, has been solid defensively this season. That’s all you can ask for at this point. It still baffles me, after the rebound season that he had last year, where he was DQ’s problem solver, as Smith played at both the wing and as a defenseman; that it was Jack Johnson who ultimately got the playing time at the start of this season. With Trouba now out, expect Smith to be a regular fixture in the line-up moving forward.

CHRIS KREIDER – I’ve said a lot about Kreider this season and I’ve used his name when talking about other Rangers in this “Progress/Regress” report. Simply put, he’s not earning his money. Since he’s earning more than Zibanejad and since Trouba has been more effective, Kreider is easily the most offensive Rangers fat cat on this roster.

Kreider has four goals and one assist this season and has been a nightmare on the power-play. While he’s been good in his new role on the PK, as he now does what Rick Nash once did; Kreider has been a penalty machine. In fact Kreider leads the team in PIM, with 17! Even worse, Kreider hasn’t drawn a penalty once this season either.

While I know the +/- stat doesn’t have the same value or level of significance as it once did, only Alexis Lafreniere (-7) has a worse +/- than Kreider, whose +/- is -6.

As someone who championed for the Rangers to re-sign Kreider last season, Kreider is making me look like a fool right now. We’ve seen more of Casper Kreider this season than the player that we know he can be.

TONY DEANGELO – We all know the deal by now, as I’ve written about 7867896896789678967896789667867896 words on DeAngelo in the last few weeks. I still feel he was singled out by DQ and should be brought back.

JACK JOHNSON – Yuck, the less said the better. If there’s anything that truly boggles me, it is that the Rangers had him slotted as one of the top six defensemen in the organization. What did the Rangers see that nobody else saw? I’ve said it, you’ve said it and I’ve seen other people say it – no one expected Johnson to get the ice time he got, prior to his injury. That said, due to his cheap contract, he still isn’t as bad as our last and final Ranger on this list.

What happened to our poor Mika? Nobody knows. Photo Credit: Getty Images

MIKA ZIBANEJAD – I’ve written so much about Mika this season, that I really don’t have much else to add here. You guys all know the deal. I’ve never seen a non-injured player fall off so bad from one year to the next. And you can’t blame the coronavirus either, because other players in the league have had it and they are doing fine.

If the Rangers could win a game one of these days, you’re at the point where you just hope Mika gets fed for an empty net goal, as you just want to see anything to get him going and get this evil curse that’s been bestowed upon him become eradicated.

As Ranger fans, I feel that I can speak for everyone here when I say nobody enjoys this. Nobody wants this. We all want Mika to be the #1 center that he can be. However, if this continues, this is a results and production business. You can’t just keep giving a guy 20+ minutes a night to be a liability.

Once Chytil is able to return and should Mika still be struggling, it will be time to lessen Mika’s minutes. For Mika’s sake, for the Rangers sake and for all of our sake’s, let’s hope Mika can turn all of this around before this becomes a lost season/season from hell for him.

I’m hoping the Rangers can save this season, but it’s not looking good. Photo Credit: Aaron Davis

Couple of plugs for other Ranger endeavors before I go home here.

Up first, here’s Boomer Esiason, (I’m sure you’re familiar with who he is) talking about the Rangers loss to the Devils. He pretty much said what I said last blog, but was more concise! Here’s the clip:

New friend of the blog, in Kyle Hall of “The Broadway Hat” podcast, is back. Here are the details on his new episode:

One of my “real-life” friends for over 20 years now, in Ricky O., is bringing back his “Ricky O. Show”. What a clever name! To see his rant concerning the Rangers loss to the Devils, click the link below:


The returning and defending NYR podcast champions, in “The Blueshirt Underground Show”, released a “Red Alert” podcast on Wednesday night, talking about the crap that was that Rangers vs Devils game. You can watch the one hour show here:

In addition, and it may be up by the time you read this, Ron Duguay’s “Up in the Blue Seats” returns on Thursday, with Rangers prospect Zac Jones as the featured guest. Time permitting, I’ll try to recap that interview in tomorrow night’s manifesto.

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

The Rangers will see old friend Alain Vigneault in Philly on Thursday night. Similar to all the gum he chews, a Flyers win could burst the bubble of DQ’s tenure here. Photo Credit: Philadelphia Flyers

I’ll be back at it tomorrow night, with a Rangers vs Flyers review.

Until then, and as always here, thanks for reading and…


Sean McCaffrey


@NYCTHEMIC on Tweeter

Follow the BlueCollarBlueShirts.com Facebook Group by clicking this link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1564026407193056/



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13 thoughts on “BCBS For 2/18: The New York Rangers “Progress/Regress” Report – Ranking & Profiling Every Ranger From First to Worst; Interesting NYR Stats, Trouba Injury Update, Ranger Line Changes; Breadman/Praying Mantis Back, Comments from David Quinn, NYR Podcasts & More

  1. Sean I agree with most of your review. I posted a month ago Fox or Lindgren should be the new Captain. Probably Fox more because the way Lindgren plays he will be injured a lot, not just his face. I disagree about Gauthier and PDG. They both hustle and are important but I see Gene Carr syndrome, especially Gauthier. Howden’s a fourth line center. Everyone is acting like Chytil is the second coming of a a great center. In my opinion he is missed but has a lot still to prove especially consistency. Strome will be fine if he can win a face off. Kakko and the French kid are killing me. I know their young but so far I can only see Kakko as a third winger, and the other kid, I know he’s only 18-19 but give me a break, comparing him to Crosby? I hope I’m wrong. Busch is inconsistent but always comes on later in the season when we are out of it. Kreider will start getting hot and invisible again, as the frog said I think “it’s in his nature”. I never would have made him Captain. Maybe the Russian goalies are just not that good. Just good enough but will not steal you games. Mika has too much talent for this to last. Quinn? Not crazy about him, but look who he has to work with. He’s improved young defense but horrible with young offense. I’m sure you can see I’m a negative person, especially this season. I hope I’m wrong about a lot I’ve said

    1. I agree on Fox v Lindgren, as I can see Lindgren being hurt too. That said, it looks like DQ is wearing out Fox a bit!

      Great reference to Gene Carr. Chadwick got him traded!

      Chytil just presents more offense. Good night at the dot for Strome tonight. (new blog up about it.)

      Yea, Lafreniere isn’t Crosby at all. I agree. I just hope he doesn’t wind up being Manny Maholtra!

      I think the goalies will be fine, but I admit that maybe I’m a “fan-boy” of them.

      It’s tough to be optimistic this season, I get it.

    1. Hell no. I have all of your comments pre-approved. I don’t know what it is, whether you post from a different IP address or not (phone vs computer) but sometimes I have to manually approve your comments. I don’t check the comments until I finish a blog most days, so I just got to it and approved it now.

  2. I don’t know if Pionk’s bulked up since the trade but I remember how Ovechkin used to toss him around like a rag doll. As a Ranger fan it was really hard to watch. Pionk’s a nice player, well suited for that division where things are a little more wide open. Not really suited for the toughest division in hockey.
    On Lafreniere: This is from an article on nhl.com :
    “ It’s essential to understand what he’s been asked to do. Normally, a top pick, or a high pick who is talented enough to make an NHL roster, will have the benefit of a developmental camp, possibly a prospects tournament, and then a full NHL training camp with multiple preseason games to allow that player the chance to adjust to the speed of the game and get to know his new teammates. Lafreniere had none of that, except for a shortened version of training camp, and has been thrown into a compressed 56-game schedule of intense, high-stakes hockey.”
    Not trying to change anyone’s mind; just wanted to add some perspective.
    Maybe some time in Hartford, playing big minutes, in all situations wouldn’t be the worst thing for him.

    1. I’m not Sam and Joe, so I don’t weigh these guys, but from what I’ve seen, he does look a little bigger. Ovechkin is also in a league of his own, for what it’s worth.

      Oh yeah, that quote is spot on. However, it’s not like we don’t know this. And until today’s game with the Caps, even with the weird schedule, no one said “A.L. will have 0 regulation goals after 15 games.”

      I think Hartford would be a HUGE mistake, and this would’ve been my opinion before today’s win over the Caps. Hartford is playing the same two teams all season, so how much can you learn when you’re just playing the same two teams all season?

      1. I didn’t know that about Hartford. Playing the same few teams is gonna keep his production down. He was billed as a complete player and he’s been good defensively and away from the puck. He hasn’t looked out of place; hopefully the points will come.

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