The Stupidity of the Bye Week and Rangers situation on defense
The Ignorance of the 5 day Bye Week
Last season the NHL, in its infinite wisdom, decided to change the All-Star game format to a four team tournament of 3 on 3 hockey. As far as I am concerned, the game isn’t hockey anymore. But, more importantly, the NHLPA would only agree to this change if 5 day bye weeks for each team were built into the schedule. This, combined with the late start to the season due to the World Cup Tournament, led to a very compressed NHL schedule. Teams are regularly playing 4 games in 6 nights, 5 in 8, and 8 in 14. Always with some travel in between. What this leads to is dead tired teams and a horrible on ice product, frequently.
You can point to several times thus far that the Rangers (as I am sure all the other teams) have lost games because the schedule was so difficult. For example, on November 8, the Rangers played a home game against Vancouver. It was their 6th game in 9 nights, and 3rd in 4. The team had no energy and were beaten 5-3. The last 2 games they have played against Pittsburgh, both blowout Penguins victories, were during brutal times in their schedule.
This is not to say every loss can be blamed on the compressed schedule. The point is if you are going to your first ever hockey game in places like New Jersey, or Carolina or maybe Arizona, and you catch the home team in its’ 6th game in 9, and the team plays with no energy, will you ever go back? Is it worth spending $75 a ticket when the product on ice has been severely compromised by the NHL itself? The NHLPA was foolish to ask for this schedule, but shouldn’t the NHL have declined, knowing the on ice product would be awful in multiple cities nightly?
Please Pass On The NHL Going to the 2018 Olympics
The 2018 winter Olympics will be played in PyeonChang, South Korea. The time difference between the east coast (NY, Boston, Toronto, Montreal etc) and PyeonChang is 14 hours behind. A 7PM start in South Korea would be on at 5 am in NY. 4 am in Chicago; and 2 am in California. Not exactly the best times to “grow the sport”.
If a tree falls in the forest , and no one is there, does it make a sound? The owners want no part of shutting down the league, when there is no football or baseball to compete with, for live starts between 2 and 5 am in the USA. The players are practically demanding to go. I, personally, have never been a fan of shutting down the league and sending 1/3 or so, of the players to play in a tournament where they can get hurt, and compromise my teams season.
In Henrik Lundqvist’s rookie season, he went to the Olympics and won a gold. He also came back with a painful hip flexor he wasn’t able to shake for the rest of the season and the playoffs. John Taveras was hurt in the 2014 Olympics, and never returned that season. So, season ticket holders were left without their team’s best player due to injuries incurred outside of the NHL. Tough to take if you ask me. How about sending the under 20 Junior players to the Olympics? I just watched them have a heckuva a tournament in Canada.
Kevin Klein Dilemma
From the start of the season until the last game the Rangers played in Columbus, Kevin Klein has had a very poor season. Mindless giveaways, losing battles, and out of position, Klein has been failing at every aspect of being a defenseman in the NHL.
Last Saturday’s game against the Blue Jackets was a bit of a coming out party for Adam Clendening. He was solid defensively and moved the puck well. But the key was he spurred a third period comeback with a goal and an assist.
The time has come to give Adam Clendening a long look. He is right handed and moves the puck well. He is their most skilled PP point man. Can he hold his own defensively? Let’s find out before the trade deadline.
Larry Brooks also reported that Marc Staal suffered a concussion on January 3rd against Buffalo. So, even though he is reporting to be symptom free, he has not gone through the league’s concussion protocol. So Clendening appears to have a spot for at least a game or 2 for that reason starting Friday at home, against Toronto. But going forward, it would be in the Rangers best interest to see if he can add something to their team.
In the summer of 2015, Dallas traded Trevor Daly to Chicago in the Patrick Sharp trade. Daly was awful with the Blackhawks. He never fit in there. Pittsburgh traded for him and he was a perfect fit in their system. A player that was a flawed, average defenseman for the Stars; an awful frequent scratch for Chicago, became the Penguins second best defensemen when he adjusted to their system. Adam Clendening was a second round pick and has played for several teams in the league. Maybe this team is his perfect fit? Let’s find out.