Kevin Hayes bumbling leads to Isles surge and Rangers loss

Hayes costs the NYR

Hayes costs the NYR

Kevin Hayes cost the Rangers a point last night by over handling the puck early in the third period. His tendency to hold on to the puck longer than Gollum keeping “Precious” in Lord of the Rings cost his team dearly.

Hayes, who does an excellent job holding the puck in the offensive zone, especially on the boards needs to understand that it doesn’t work that way in all zones. In the replay below, you will see him coming out of the zone and even recognize Brock Nelson is on him. Right there he needs to move it.

Instead, he is stripped, recovers and then bumbles it again! Awww hell, see for yourself.

This gave the Islanders life when they really didn’t have any. This was followed up by Dylan McIlrath emotionally reacting to a spear on Henrik Lundqvist and taking a penalty. Now, I appreciate sticking up for your goalie, but realize that Lundqvist has enough equipment on to basically be the Michelin Tire Man. Furthermore, recognize that the Islanders have the momentum and an immediate PP could turn the game completely. He didn’t and the Isles scored on the man advantage.

The Rangers battled hard for 40 minutes and controlled play. In case some haven’t noticed, Jaro Halak steps up his game versus the Rangers. Only 1 shot out of 27 got by him through 2 periods, he was on fire. Plus the Islanders were collapsing down low and blocking many other chances as well. You knew once they grabbed the 2-1 lead in the third, they were going to fall back and counter.

Here’s the deal for Saturday against Philadelphia. Kevin Hayes needs to be benched for Oscar Lindberg, no ifs, ands, or buts. He needs to understand that he can’t hold on to the puck forever. Dylan McIlrath should also sit if Girardi is able to play. Why? Yes, he played well but he needs to understand that you can’t cost the team the way he did and not have to pay the consequences.

Now I’m sure many of you are going to jump down my throat, but understand this. Scratching a young player is a motivational and learning tool for a head coach. Doing it to a veteran teaches them nothing and only pisses them off and makes them regress more. If a coach starts to scratch a veteran (who is healthy), it’s likely because that player is on the way out.

So there you have it. The Rangers had a great chance to string two wins together for the first time since November 21st and 23rd. They were let down by a sophomore and a rookie. Both need to understand that isn’t acceptable going forward.

Oh and another thing…J.T. Miller used to be scratched and benched often last year under Alain Vigneault. How’s that working out now? Miller is on one of the top two lines and been a consistent force every night. Exactly my point.

Gollum Hayes (FTHN)

Gollum Hayes (FTHN)

Anthony Scultore has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL since 2014. His work also appears at... More about Anthony Scultore

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