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Rangers Vs. Blue Jackets: Vigneault’s Extension Celebration

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Columbus Blue Jackets  v New York Rangers Photo by Elsa/Getty Images
  • I’m sure that’s exactly how Alain Vigneault wanted to celebrate his two-year extension, with his team playing the first 40 minutes as though they didn’t know there was a game Tuesday night. This has become something of a theme this year, no? The Rangers using the first 20 to 40 minutes on a game digging themselves into a nice, deep hole and then using their explosive offense to dig out. Sometimes it works. Often it’s a recipe for disaster. They made things interesting with four third period goals, but it was too little too late.
  • If a game like that happens every now and again it’s on the players. If a game like that happens quite a bit it’s on the coach. Games like that are happening a lot of late, only the Rangers’ offense is good enough to pull the points out of the fire so people ignore it.
  • When the Rangers actually do turn on the offense it is a joy to watch. And you can see why they’d be a dangerous team to run into come the spring. But the back end of this team is an enormous letdown that continues to be an unaddressed issued.
  • Marc Staal is healthy so Adam Clendening comes out of the lineup. It would be comical if it wasn’t so expected. Kevin Klein ended the game with three assists (for Columbus) and continues to sit in the Dan Girardi dogma of “I do not have to be held accountable for my bad play.” It’s remarkable, really, that this doesn’t get more play. But you know ...
  • By the way, we’re not allowed to criticize Vigneault any more until non-bloggers tell us it’s OK. Since those non-bloggers are often two or three years behind the times, we might be able to talk about him honestly somewhere around where his contract ends in 2020.
  • Silver lining: Jimmy Vesey needed that goal badly. As ugly as it was, sometimes that’s all you need to get going.
  • Silver lining 2: Brady Skjei was pretty good all night, and made an amazingly smart pass to Michael Grabner for the team’s second goal.
  • Silver lining 3: Mika Zibanejad looks like he’s getting back up to speed.
  • Pavel Buchnevich, by the way, played the second least amount of ice time of any Ranger. This is a problem, because the Rangers desperately needed goals and took away one of their most potent playmakers. Why did Buchnevich miss shifts? Because Vigneault moved Vesey up into the top line and refused to move Jesper Fast onto the fourth line. Fast is another player who resides firmly in Vigneault’s blind spot. He is not a top-nine or top-six player; no matter how much Vigneault forces him into that role.
  • I blame Henrik Lundqvist for one of the goals he gave up, and it was a really bad one at a really bad time. However, Antti Raanta came in and didn’t change anything. Want to know why? Because the defense was just as bad in front of him. Only Lundqvist took the blame after the game, as per usual.

Enough of that stinker. Thoughts?