Hello everyone and a Happy Sunday and a early Merry Christmas to you all! Well, we all know it’s Sunday night, which makes it time for this weeks feature of Belvin’s Bandwagon here on Blue Line Station. So let’s get right down to it!
Like: There are 3 likes for this week and they are Carl Hagelin, Benoit Pouliot, and Mats Zuccarello. When it was first announced that Hagelin would be moved to the bottom six I was very surprised and somewhat upset but now I see that this is where Hagelin belongs and he is playing extremely well there. Hagelin has scored three goals in four games including his goal in tonight’s game against the Minnesota Wild. Hagelin has finally begun to use his speed and with it has opened up the ice for other players on the team. Second is Benoit Pouliot, when he came to New York I had very high hopes for him and was excited about his potential to be a key part of the New York Rangers lineup. For the majority of the season my hopes have been disappointed with only small sparks here and there of what he can really do. The good news is that for the last few games he’s really come into his own and showed a taste of his skill-set, Pouilot has five points in six including his goal tonight but not including his fantastic shoot-out winner against the Calgary Flames. My last like for this week is Mats Zuccarello, he has 11 points averaged out over the last 11 games and is possibly the hottest player on the Rangers team right now. Zuccarello is all over the ice, he’s hitting, he’s fore-checking, and one thing that really stands out is that he’s got himself parked right in front of the net even though he is the smallest player on the team. There has been a lot of energy night in and night out from Zucc even despite the shaky play of the Rangers in this home-stand.
Dislike: This week I’m picking on the coaching staff, specifically head coach Alain Vigneault. In the first seven games of the home-stand the Rangers went 1-4-2 and let up four or more goals in every game except one. I understand that Vigneault is not out there himself playing the game but he has to be able to grab control of his team and attempt to fix the defensive and offensive issues that went on the first seven games. When you get outscored 28-16 during a home-stand like the one the Rangers are having now it has got to fall on the coaching staff and something must be done about it. I know AV plays a system that is difficult for some of these players to keep up with but he has to adjust to make his system fit them just like former coach John Tortorella did with his new team the Vancouver Canucks.