Dec 22, 2013; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers right wing Mats Zuccarello (36) reacts after scoring a goal against the Minnesota Wild during the second period of a game at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Belvin’s Bandwagon – Week 4 Rangers

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!

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

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.

Tags: Alain Vigneault Belvin's Bandwagon Benoit Pouliot Carl Hagelin Mats Zuccarello

  • Tim

    You’re silly and don’t understand hockey if you thought Carl Hagelin was a top six player. He’s a third liner at best, and where he is fits his play perfectly.

    • PuckDani

      Actually, the only reason he fits our 3rd line is because of matching the speed of other players.

      We’ve seen that his speed isn’t really useful if his line-mates can’t keep up. Not to mention that AV’s system is designed to roll lines more constantly, ie a 4 line system like last night’s game.

      • Tim

        Right, I know what AV’s system is like for following him when he was coaching in Vancouver. But Hagelin never has had the offensive output, or the consistency to stay in the top 6.

        Currently the teams top 6 minus Zuccarello deserve to be in the spot they are, but that’s a whole other discussion.

        • PuckDani

          Again, I think much of Hagelin’s issues have been due to a lack of proper line-mates.

          Do you mean that you don’t think Zuccarello belongs in the top 6?

          • Tim

            No no, wrote that wrong. Zuccarello is the only one that currently is in the top 6 that is playing like he belongs there, no one else is.

            So Hagelin’s never had the right linemates?

          • PuckDani

            Oh, ok. I was about to laugh really hard.
            I don’t think Hagelin has had anyone who could match his speed until now. That’s a key for him, it’s how he is successful. You can’t have support if your line-mates are at the blue line while you are driving the net. Even if he misses there’s no one there to pick up a rebound.