The New York Rangers season is seven games old, and yet somehow they have eight points from those seven games; a solid start considering all of them were on the road. The problem in my mind? They maybe deserved about two of those points over that stretch. I went in search of numbers that would maybe change my mind, but unfortunately I found very few of those. The public skate session needs to end.
I'm not going to bore anyone that doesn't want to listen, so I'm going to give you a chart, two links, and the facts. First the chart, because its easy and simple to read and pretty much explains why I'm writing my first little do-da here in months:
This chart says two obvious things. One of them is very simple: Henrik Lundqvist has started the season in Vezina-esque form and Martin Biron did a fine job in Winnipeg Monday night. The second is obvious as well, but can't be explained in a single sentence.
Click through if you're not bored yet.
The link to go with the chart is here. The second thing the chart says about the Rangers is this: they're not shooting (let alone scoring) and they're giving up a decent amount of shots. That's not how you (in general) win hockey games. The worst part about this chart is the Rangers shooting percentage, ranking 9th best in the league with their paltry 8 goals in 7 games; oh how nice of lady luck to get the Blueshirts through the road trip from hell. No really, how nice of her, because that shooting percentage wont last if the amount of shots doesn't rise.
But not everyone can be playing this horrible, right? Here's the second link, with my favorite advanced metrics for individual players. I just want to say two things about this link. First off, PDO measures a combination of shooting and save percentage when a player is on the ice. Without over-explaining, the average is always 1000, and anything really low or really high probably means bad or good luck is involved. 10/22 NYR players are above a 1025 PDO currently; and that's high for 82 games (read: players have gotten lucky).
Secondly, on an individual level, here are some thoughts:
- Artem Anisimov has been this teams best skater thus far (even the non-numbers folk should agree with this for the most part).
- Wojtek Wolski isn't getting a fair shake from John Tortorella. (shocker)
- Michael Del Zotto has played relatively well.
- Brad Richards and Marian Gaborik have been a bit sheltered thus far.
- Derek Stepan, while holding his own on the first line, is nowhere near as effective (points-wise) as he could be with regular third-line minutes.
I've already written more than I've wanted; so if anyone wants me to explain myself just ask in the comments and I'll get to them when I have a moment. Otherwise I'll leave you with this: I really do look for the positives, I don't like being negative, but the picture this Ranger team has painted so far hasn't been a good one.
If they don't wake up Thursday night against the Toronto Maple Leafs, whose numbers are just a bit better (not being sarcastic) than the Rangers, I'll put a strong bet down that we will hear boo's in the third period (unless lady luck snuck onto the plane back from Winnipeg).
Plus, I'm getting sick to my stomach not hating the Buffalo Sabres every time I watch them (for my buddy "Hawk" - you degenerate).
[Note by Rob L, 10/26/11 9:55 AM EDT ]: Original article name was "Public Skate Needs to End" - rankings accurate as of ~ 7 PM EST 10/25