NHL’s broken playoff system still passing off mediocrity as parity

Once again, and by design rather than mere happenstance, one of the NHL’s top teams is guaranteed to be knocked out during the first round of the playoffs, while a lesser club is ensured of advancing. What kind of a league is it that perpetuates this manifest injustice?Well, it’s the

Rangers playing it straight, and it’s killing their draft prospects

Rangerstown is filled with folks attempting to conjure ways for the Blueshirts to move into the entry draft’s top three if luck isn’t with the club at the lottery drawing, and yes, I see you there among the riffraff, Mr. General Manager Jeff Gorton.Entering Wednesday night’s NBCSN showcase game against

Visions from the NHL’s future as a Vladimir Putin rival

ST. LOUIS, Mo. — Congratulations to the 2021-22 Blues on a terrific season. In the first year after Owners Lockout III canceled the 2020-21 campaign, and with Gary Bettman’s new “rules of equanimity” in place, the Blues amassed 174 points and finished third in the Central Division.They won 22 of

Help us, New Jersey Devils, you’re our only hope

For the first time in 52 years and the first time ever, that is the history the Devils can prevent from happening by locking down a place in the playoffs.Because if the team on the other side of the Hudson is unable to reverse the recent downward slides of 3-6

Rangers already facing crucial decision on potential star

This was always going to be a big season for Vladislav Namestnikov, monetarily speaking. But now that he is with the Rangers, it might be even more so.The 25-year-old winger who came over from the Lightning in the trade that sent Ryan McDonagh and J.T. Miller to Tampa Bay is

It’s audition time for Pavel Buchnevich

The twilight zone the Rangers operated in between management’s Feb. 8 rebuild decree and the Feb. 26 trade deadline has given way to another dimension, one in which projections for the future are at least partially on hold pending resolution of their coaching issue.For impressions created over the final month

Hockey star caught checking out fan during game

It appears Patrik Laine couldn’t get enough of Carolina’s southern hospitality.During Winnipeg’s Sunday showdown with the Hurricanes, the Jets winger was spotted checking out a female fan seated behind his team’s bench inside PNC Arena in Raleigh, N.C.Laine, 19 and an All-Star this year, was the star of Sunday’s game,

When Rangers fans will get look at future duo brewing in AHL

There is a lot of discovery to be done by the Rangers in the coming months and years, but some of the most interesting subjects will be seen sooner rather than later.Both of the Blueshirts’ first-round picks from this past draft, centers Lias Andersson (No. 7 overall) and Filip Chytil

Winning is exposing how much fire sale affected the Rangers

Misfits? Leftovers? Or, just the Rangers, in the wake of the wholly unanticipated and strange sweep of their three-game trek through western Canada?1. The mandate from ownership/management to deconstruct and reconstruct was righteous, but there is no doubt that it caused trauma within the room and the coaches’ office.You say

Rangers pull into playoff race after snagging Canadian sweep

EDMONTON, Alberta — Here is the type of confidence imbued within Bulgarian native Alex Georgiev, the neophyte netminder whose first NHL victory in his third career game, moved the Rangers to the marginal periphery of the playoff race.“It might sound unreal, but I always believed I could play in the

Rangers went all-in on risky rebuild that’s only ticket to glory

VANCOUVER, British Columbia — This was Jeff Gorton as Walter White absorbing Mike Ehrmantraut’s warning against taking half measures before the general manager took full measures of his own in the midst of a season that broke bad for the Rangers. The era that bridged Jaromir Jagr, Sean Avery,

‘Furious’ US hockey coach skips handshake with Russian coach

The Russians aren’t just meddling in our elections. Now they’re disrupting our Olympic hopes. US men’s hockey coach didn’t extend his hand to his Russian counterpart at the end of Saturday’s brutal 4-0 loss — because he probably wanted to give him the finger. The former New York Ranger blew

A guide to Olympic hockey, including some potential future Rangers

A fairy tale once came true and it happened to “U-S-A, U-S-A,” but this isn’t 1980 and Pyeongchang isn’t Lake Placid. So, pockets full of miracles a thing of hockey history, sit back and enjoy the lads with intriguing backstories who will represent the Red, White and Blue in

Where Rick Nash could end up before the NHL trade deadline

Rick Nash’s 12-team approved trade list cuts across the border and could be expanded upon further review, No. 61 told Slap Shots on Saturday. “I included the teams that I think have the best chance of winning the Stanley Cup and are also places I think would be good

Rangers refuse to lie down and quit in face of imminent sell-off

The Rangers have played 1,005 games since the NHL reopened for business in 2005-06 and not in a single one of them have they taken the ice eliminated from playoff contention, their only tournament miss over the past dozen years coming via that 2009-10 season finale shootout defeat

Islanders’ trade deadline plan is ultimate John Tavares gamble

Maybe the point is that the Islanders don’t want their fans to think things have changed. Maybe the point is to get people to think that they are close to the culmination of long-term plan — well, a very-long-term plan — and that patience remains the most important

Now comes the hard part for Rangers, who have a rival to emulate

The letter of intent from the president to his team’s season ticket-holders left no room for doubt. “There are no shortcuts for building a team the right way,” he wrote. “It will require patience and a long-term view, but it is important for you to know that the process

US hockey team builds chemistry through group chat

GANGNEUNG, South Korea — Thrown together from leagues all over the world, the players shook hands and introduced themselves to teammates they’d never met but know well thanks to a bit of technology. Long before their first practice together Friday, members of the US Olympic men’s hockey team connected

The pros and cons of moving forward without Alain Vigneault

In the history of the NHL modern era starting with the 1943-44 introduction of the red line, one coach and one coach only has won the Stanley Cup for the first time in later than his fifth full season behind his team’s bench. That would be Al Arbour, who

The Rangers’ mistakes that are hastening the end of an era

The Rangers are operating in past present tense, even if they are just three points out of a wild-card berth according to the standings that surely are an optical illusion. For in losing six of their last seven and going 3-9 in their last 12 for the Blueshirts’ least

Rangers are latest victims of NHL’s embarrassing officiating

DALLAS — Just how, exactly, were the Rangers supposed to react Saturday night in Nashville when two of their players were taken out with egregious headshots, neither resulting in a penalty? The emotional response would have been to retaliate, and that might have been easier to swallow the

Jaromir Jagr deserves an immediate Hall of Fame call

The reason is unclear why, in 1999, the Hockey Hall of Fame’s board of directors voted to abolish the selection committee’s ability to waive the three-year post-retirement waiting period for induction while contemporaneously awarding the honor to Wayne Gretzky. But then this is a body — the HHOF, not

Rangers rebuild or not, Henrik Lundqvist’s intent is clear: “I’m in’

Henrik Lundqvist recognizes the landscape as well as anyone. The 35-year-old franchise goaltender understands the implications of the dramatic reboot/rebuild that looms with the Feb. 26 trade deadline approaching and the Rangers drifting on the fringes of the playoff picture. And yet, in his first comments regarding a potential

Rangers’ newest addition shows exactly why they have to sell

Just as Cody McLeod steps into his role as designated enforcer — um, energy guy — for the Rangers, Matt Martin apparently has stepped off his for Toronto, a healthy scratch for the fourth straight game Thursday night on Broadway. The Maple Leafs, you see, get their energy from

Rangers down to their last chance to halt looming sell-off

If the Rangers can force management to rethink its course approaching the Feb. 26 trade deadline, they’ve got 13 games in which to do it. Thirteen games to convince management that this indeed is a group worth keeping intact, or even bolstering, rather than applying a facelift. “It’s clear

Rangers have playoff number to hit — and it’s not impossible

Regarding the Rangers, who hit the top of the stretch a nose out of a playoff spot with 32 games to go beginning with Thursday’s match at the Garden against the Maple Leafs: 1. Based on point-per-game numbers, the Penguins project as the conference’s second wild-card spot with 92