Brad Richards tells Larry Brooks that last season the potential that the Rangers could use an amnesty buyout on him was on his mind a lot, “consumed” him and “it took over my whole situation, to be honest about it.” (NY Post)
This season, Richards says that it’s been in the back of his mind but not weighing on him or impacting his game in any way. He adds that he has no idea if a decision has been made or which way the team may be leaning as he hasn’t spoken with anyone in management about it. (NY Post)
Richards says that he wants to play well in the playoffs not because of anything with his contract but because he is hungry to win another Stanley Cup. (NY Post)
Brooks describes the situation as “the possibility, if not the likelihood” that Richards will be bought out with no cap ramifications. (NY Post)
On the team going into the playoffs, Richards says that he likes the mix of veterans and young players and the ability of the team to win in different ways. (NY Post)
Alain Vigneault joins Bill Pidto on the latest episode of The AV Squad:
On the state of the team at the end of the regular season, “we are playing some good hockey to be on this push right now because we needed a push. It’s so competitive and tight and we were able to go on a run there and for a while in our last ten games we were 7 wins and 3 losses and we needed a push like that. We have a couple of more games to play and hopefully play well and be ready for the playoffs.”
On lineup juggling with injuries, “in losing Chris Kreider, he had been one of our better offensive players because of his size and speed has been challenging. Obviously losing Ryan McDonagh on D. That is part of a season. You will have to deal with injuries and make sure that your team has depth and deal with it. Our guys have done a good job. Some guys have been asked to play different minutes, more minutes and they have handled it pretty good.”
Since the Olympic Break, the Rangers are 9-70 (1 goal into an empty net) on the PP and averaging 3 power plays per game.
Larry Brooks writes that the Rangers power play is resembling the power play that struggled mightily in the playoffs last year that went 4 for 44 in the playoffs. (NY Post)
Derek Stepan added that there isn’t much panic and that the PP this year doesn’t feel like the PP last year. (NY Post)
Alain Vigneault was asked on the latest episode of the AV squad about the struggles of the PP and said that the Rangers stopped taking shots, “One thing that is consistent is that teams who shoot the puck the most on the PP have the better percentage. Lately, for whatever reason we have gotten away from that and maybe too cute and the PP, you get a lane to shoot and some net presence, put it on the net and get rebounds.”
In the playoffs last year the Rangers attempted 144 shots and 64 were on goal.
Since the Olympics, the Rangers have attempted 201 shots and 106 were on goal
In the first 20 games this season, the Rangers had 12 goals, 200 shot attempts and 104 on goal
In games 20-40, the Rangers had 15 goals, 192 shot attempts, 95 on goal
In games 40-60, the Rangers had 11 goals, 195 shot attempts, 105 on goal
In games 60-82, the Rangers had 8 goals, 196 shots, 105 on goal
On the season, the Rangers ranked 9th in the league in PP shot attempts with 783 and 10th on shots on goal on the PP. (ES)
The Rangers finished the regular season 15th in the NHL on the PP.
Brooks says that the PP struggled when Chris Kreider was first taken off in favor of Marty St. Louis but adds that going back farther, the PP has struggled since Michael Del Zotto was traded. Brooks says that 5 on 5 the Rangers are better without Del Zotto but, and maybe it’s a coincidence, the Rangers PP has struggled since Del Zotto was traded to Nashville.
Bob Duff of The Windsor Star, via 30 Thoughts, mentions that there is some speculation that Adam Graves could replace Brendan Shanahan in the NHL’s Department of Player Safety. (Bob Duff)
Graves currently works for the Rangers in Hockey and Business operations.
From the Rangers media guide this season:
Returned to the Rangers organization on July 19, 2005 in a dual role that uses his myriad of abilities in both the on- ice and off-ice areas of the organization. In this capacity, Graves works with the club’s hockey personnel to advance the development of key Rangers prospects, while also assisting in the development and execution of the organization’s many community outreach programs as well as marketing and sponsor- ship initiatives.
Graves plays an integral role in strengthening the bond between the team and its fans while developing future Blueshirt loyalists. He is involved in a variety of youth hockey and season subscription events, and is instrumental in supporting the efforts of the Garden of Dreams Foundation through appearances, media interviews and participation in the fulfillment of fund- raising auction experiences.
With a keen eye for talent, Graves has become an essential member of the hockey operations department. His ability to lend support and direction, both on and off the ice, has benefited many key prospects within the Rangers system. He is also involved in free agency signings and the NHL Draft with the Rangers as well as the development of players with the Hartford Wolf Pack
For more on what Graves does in the community and his work with the Garden of Dreams foundation, CLICK HERE.
Brian Leetch is currently the Manager of Player Safety.
Alain Vigneault met with the media today following the Rangers practice (via Rangers Report):
Is there an update on Brassard, “no.”
Do you expect him on Thursday, “I would say yes.”
On Mats Zuccarello, “he is a very important player to our group and one of our most consistent offensive players and in our push to get into the playoffs his line with Brassard and Pouliot has been good at 5 on 5 and on the PP and he is a big part of that. He is intense and smart and plays with an edge to his game and we need that from him.”
Henrik Lundqvist will be playing in his eighth playoff series in his nine seasons.
In his career, Lundqvist is 30-37 in the playoffs with a .920 save percentage and 2.28 GAA.
Lundqvist’s career playoff save percentage is identical to his regular season save percentage (.920) and nearly identical to his regular season GAA (2.26).
By season, Lundqvist’s playoff numbers are:
2005-06: 0-3, .835 save percentage, 4.41 GAA
2006-07: 6-4, .924 save percentage, 2.07 GAA 1 shutout
2007-08: 5-5, .909 save percentage, 2.57 GAA 1 shutout
2008-09: 3-4, .908 save percentage, 3.00 GAA 1 shutout
2010-11: 1-4, .917 save percentage, 2.25 GAA
2011-12: 10-10, .931 save percentage. 1.82 GAA. 3 shutouts
2012-13: 5-7, .934 save percentage, 2.14 GAA. 2 shutouts
Lundqvist told Larry Brooks that he doesn’t think he needs to prove himself in the playoffs, that he has played well and that hockey is a team game. Lundqvist said that he has won in plenty of pressure situations before including four championships in Sweden in seven years and the 2006 Olympics. (NY Post)
Ryan McDonagh was on NHL Live yesterday to talk about his status and the Rangers:
How superstitious are you, “I won’t go close to the cup so I was glad to see it exit the building when it did but hopefully I will see it soon down the road here…..I’ll compete for it and hopefully see it soon.”
On his shoulder, “I’m feeling really good. It’s tough, we had a good streak going there and I was feeling good about my game and then I get hurt, miss the last few games of the season and you want to help your team and stuff but they took care of business, locked up home ice and I was able to get a few days of rest and feeling rejuvenated and ready to start playing some games. These games are fun, playoff hockey at MSG is a lot of fun.”