May 22, 2020

Not everyone pleased with 24 Team format and a look at Rangers vs Hurricanes

Zibanejad and Panarin (AP)

The NHLPA is rumored to have their voting done by tonight and they are expected to approve the 24 Team Playoff format. Then they will need to negotiate everything from PPE, what the protocols will be, and how to keep the player’s families close and safe. There has been some moans and groans in the media, but also some GM’s and players aren’t thrilled. One source told me that the Sabres from top to bottom are furious that they are being left out.

Unhappy GM’s

They still have a decent idea, like a lot of us do, of what that may look like. And I would say that many NHL GMs I’ve spoke to are pretty lukewarm about it, at best. But as I said, they know it’s coming. Their No. 1 reason or complaint that I’ve heard from general managers is this format distances itself too much from the NHL regular season. We’ll use the Montreal Canadiens as an example: At the pause, the Canadiens had about a one per cent chance of making the playoffs. Now, with a play-in round with a best-of-five against the Pittsburgh Penguins, is that a 30, 40, 50 per cent (chance)? It doesn’t matter but it’s a much bigger number than one per cent. There’s still some GMs who feel that this is really a made-for-TV event, which it is, because there’s no fans in the stands, but they’re chuckling a little bit that Chicago and the New York Rangers being a big part of this for obvious TV reasons. Some of the GMs don’t like the fact that they are continuing with bracketing. Now, we’ve had bracketing in the Stanley Cup playoffs for quite some time, but they thought this would be a year where re-seeding would make more sense. And to use an example, the Montreal Canadiens, if they did knock the Pittsburgh Penguins off in that play-in round, they wouldn’t get the top seed in the East, they’d get the No. 4 seed in the East. And some teams think that is unfair. 

Bob McKenzie

Panarin and Zibanejad Owned Carolina This Season

The Blueshirts went 4-0 against during the season and absolutely dominated the Canes with 17 Goals For to 9 Goals Against. Henrik Lundqvist backstopped the first three wins against Carolina with Igor Shesterkin getting the last win in February. When they return it is expected that Shesterkin who was dubbed the team’s starter would get game one with Henrik Lundqvist to back him up and lead in the locker room.

Zibanejad and Panarin (Mike Stobe/Getty Images

Artemi Panarin and Mika Zibanejad absolutely tormented Carolina’s defense and netminders this season. The Breadman notched 3 goals and 9 points in 4 games while Magic Mika scored 4 goals in 3 games and added 3 helpers. If I’m the Canes, I am starting today with devising a plan to stop them if that is at all possible.

As for Zibanejad’s usual linemates, Chris Kreider notched 1 goal and 1 assist meanwhile Pavel Buchnevich added two helpers. Panarin’s center, Ryan Strome was rock solid with 2 goals and 4 points in his 4 contests against Carolina. Jesper Fast who often finds himself opposite Panarin notched a goal and an assist.

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Offense from the Blue-Line

Looking at the Rangers blue-line, you can expect the Canes to have fits with Tony DeAngelo who put up 4 apples in his 4 games. He was tied with Jacob Trouba who notched the same exact numbers. When it comes to goals from the defense, Adam Fox led the way with 2 and finished with 3 points in his 4 contests against Carolina. So we should expect the Blueshirts to drive a lot of offense from the d-zone thanks to these 3 rearguards that can make that breakout pass or carry it out themselves.

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