2012 POP CULTURE INFOGRAPHIC

On December 12, 2012, Madison Square was at the center of the world as musicians and celebrities of all ages showed up for the 12/12/12 concert for Hurricane Sandy relief. A monumental event for sure, but there were also numerous other memorable highlights from 2012.

Check out what else was going on and get an in-depth look at the 12/12/12 concert on the next episode of Defining Moments Friday, Jan. 1 at 11:30 PM on MSG.

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How Possession Statistics Impact Rangers

The Rangers‘ performance in Edmonton Tuesday may have set off some panic alarms as it completed a difficult 10-game stretch in which they managed to secure just six of a possible 20 points. It came on the heels of a 10-game stretch where the Rangers managed to collect 18-of-20 and a spot among the elite teams of the NHL.

The problem is these peaks and valleys are typical of a team that rides percentages like the Rangers do. Even an amateur data analyst can pick the team with the high PDO and predict a regression. While the Rangers aren’t likely to crash as low as their possession numbers suggest, this team will likely continue to take their fans on a roller coaster ride of highs and lows.

The whole impetus behind controlling possession is to avoid wild inconsistencies. Possessing the puck for over 50 percent of the game means you have the puck more than the other team. When you have it, your opponent does not. The higher that number moves over the break-even point, your chances to win increase.

This doesn’t mean that you cannot have success while being a poor possession team. The 2014-15 Rangers were a 49.5 percent possession team and finished with 113 points. They were within a game of qualifying for the Stanley Cup Finals. The Kings had the best mark in the NHL and did not even make the playoffs.

Talent can overcome poor possession and the Rangers have been relying on this to overcome their tactical shortcomings. In 23 of their 32 games, the Rangers have been outpossessed. When I looked at their expected goal totals, this number drops to 19.

I mapped out the Rangers’ differentials. The green bars indicate their positive expected differential — essentially games where they outchanced their opposition — with high-quality opportunities. The grey bars indicate games in which the differential was within half a goal and the game was essentially a toss up, and the red bars indicate games where they were outplayed significantly. To put how well the Rangers had outperformed their scoring opportunities, I created dotted lines for actual scoring results.

The red-flag game was the Dec. 11 tilt against Oilers, but in reality the Rangers have played plenty of games like that this season in which they secured two points. The defensive struggles were masked because of the work of their goaltending or finishing ability. Because hockey is a result-oriented business, we tend to ignore the process when the results are positive, but the problems the Rangers faced during their struggles weren’t new. The only thing that changed during their Western Canada trip was that the probabilities didn’t work in the Rangers’ favor like they usually do with Henrik Lundqvist.

With that, the defensive play was immediately thrust into the spotlight. The Rangers’ D became the focal point for the struggles, but when I looked at opportunities surrendered, the Oilers and Flames game registered the seventh and 10th-worst defensive games by the Rangers this season. The reason the other eight didn’t register on fan radar was because the Blueshirts won seven of them.

The Oilers game featured a team riding percentages like the Rangers have on many nights. They were provided with nine high-quality opportunities and buried six of them. When the Rangers faced Columbus early in the season, they had 11 and buried two for goals.

When we contrast the two games, the Rangers actually played better defensively in the Oilers game, but didn’t receive unbelievable goaltending. Generally when a goaltender puts up a big save percentage in a single game, we will see a ton of straight lines. When they struggle, we see a ton of dotted green lines indicating forced movement and less than one second of clear sight. With single game samples being so small, every once in a while goaltenders drop in outlier games, and Lundqvist doing what he did against the Blue Jackets is an outlier.

If we watch the video evidence, we can see the main difference in the game is four incredible saves by Lundqvist that he didn’t deliver against the Oilers. Instead of a 6-5 loss, the Rangers cruised to an easy 5-2 victory.

Looking at the opportunities in the above video, it is tough to differentiate the defensive play outside of the end result. Subpar gap control and neutral zone play creating high-quality rush opportunities, subpar defensive zone coverage allowing players in front of the net or to drift open on the weakside for backdoor opportunities, battles along the boards that were lost resulting in odd man situations. In both games the Rangers scored five goals, but one game went relatively unnoticed because of Lundqvist’s play in net

It all comes down to probabilities. A game like the Blue Jackets game needs the Oilers game to even out. When viewed in these terms, it becomes easier to assess actual play. The Edmonton game happens to every goaltender. Sometimes the opposition can’t miss.

If the Rangers go on another unsustainable shooting/goaltending streak, we need to dig below the surface level results and understand the cause of these types of uneven performances. Life is no different for a Ranger fan this week then it was three weeks ago, outside of wildly fluctuating perceptions and expectations.

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PATRICK EWING INFOGRAPHIC

In Game 7 of the 1994 Eastern Conference Finals, Patrick Ewing stuck it to the Pacers with a game-winning putback. Exciting for Knicks fans, sure, but there were also numerous other memorable highlights from 1994.

Check out what else was going on and get an in-depth look at Ewing’s performance with the season premiere of Defining Moments Wednesday, Dec. 23 at 10:30 PM on MSG.

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Why Numbers Don’t Tell the Full Story on Rangers’ Kreider

There are two ways to form our perception of players on-ice performance. One is through data. The other is through our eyes.

The eye test is important to any analysis, but is also vulnerable to influence by player personality or placing importance on aspects of a players game that don’t actually help win hockey games. Big hits, high energy, shot blocking are all things that when used properly alter the outcome of games in a positive manner, but they also aren’t exclusive to strong play.

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Data is also vulnerable to the same type of misinterpretation. Point production is reliant on usage, power-play minutes and deployment. Good analysis doesn’t rely on one to drive the other. Unexpected production tends to lead to trying to find an on-ice reason for the success, when in reality most times it is the player doing the same things and getting a percentage driven boost in a small sample. Same goes for lack of production.

Keith Yandle is a guy whose perception drives his reputation when the data doesn’t truly back this up. Instead of challenging our eye test or the data to create a better understanding, we tend to settle into our biases and exploit where we want the narrative to go. It is how we derive our scapegoats.

When the Rangers were winning, Chris Kreider’s scoring struggles were recognized, but they weren’t a focal point because winning feels good. As the Rangers stumbled to two wins in their last eight games, the perception scan looks for those responsible for the struggles and always finds a target.

Kreider is struggling to score. This isn’t a debate. What is up for debate is the how and why. When we have no answer for these struggles, we generate irrational reasons like “Kreider’s play is sloppy. He needs to play more physical. He isn’t hustling.” All things I have read over the last two-to-three days. The problem is perception.

This season, Kreider has four goals and eight assists through 29 games. Last season through 29 games, Kreider had five goals and 10 assists. Hockey is a game of streaks and it is why I prefer to look at weighted shots to look at expected goal totals. It allows me to identify the elite shooters who consistently out-perform their opportunities as well as the shooters who can’t.

Over two seasons, Kreider has produced an actual goal total of 36 goals versus an expected total of 36.89 (empty-net goals excluded). You don’t need to be an elite shooter to be an elite goal scorer, but to compensate you need to be elite at generating these opportunities. Looking at Kreider’s 2015-16 season, he is producing opportunities, but his shooting percentage on these chances is low. His expected goal total is 6.86 vs. his actual production of 4.

If Kreider had matched his average shooting from the previous two seasons, he would be on pace for 20 goals, essentially his pace from his first two NHL seasons. When I looked at his shooting percentages on low percentage straight-line opportunities, Kreider over three seasons is a 4% shooter. On high-leverage opportunities with pre-shot deception caused by slot-line passes, deflections and rebounds, Kreider is a 24% shooter, scoring once every four shots. During his early-season struggles, he is only scoring on 10% of these opportunities.

He is getting opportunities, but he just isn’t finishing. If we look at the above gif, we see two very similar opportunities: Kreider drives the net and is the recipient of a feed that crosses the slot line. Neither the Maple Leafs’ Jonathan Bernier or the Coyotes’ Mike Smith have time to set depth or angle and Kreider re-directs the pass from the exact same position on the ice. One goal goes in and is a success; one does not. They are both high-quality opportunities generated. If we view the process, we understand that 3.5 out of 10 of these will go in and seven straight misses or three straight goals don’t mean the process wasn’t sound.

It is why large samples are preferred. The early-season sample might consist of the seven that he is going to miss while he may hit three in a row over a 10-game span. This is how hot and cold streaks work, but we spend too much time trying to associate individual traits to the struggle. The term “luck” is used for simplicity, but in reality it is probability. If Kreider continues to create these types of opportunities, he will score goals.

Even though he is creating slightly less high-quality chances this season (33% versus his career mark of 36%), his game isn’t really much different than it has been over his first 145 games. During his first two NHL seasons, he was producing between 20-25 rebound shots per season. He is on pace for only six in 2015-16, but that has been offset by his ability to utilize his speed for breakaways. He averaged about five per season in 2014 and 2015, but he already has four this season and is on pace for 12. If he had breakaway success, Kreider isn’t a discussion point.

Kreider has been a good player this season. At even strength, his line has out-scored the opposition, 14-8. His expected goal differential (weighted shots) is 51%, up slightly from his possession numbers which are around 48%. If he continues to follow the process, he will ride a hot streak which should carry him to numbers similar to the ones he has already established.

Kreider likely doesn’t need to change anything to match his career production, but matching his career production shouldn’t be his goal. He has elite speed. He gives defensemen all types of trouble with their gap control. When they get too aggressive he has been able to exploit it with breakaways, he needs to compliment this with the net drive he displayed in season one and two for hard working rebound opportunities. If he can combine these two, the Rangers will have a 25-30 goal scorer.

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Glen Sather’s Career Highlights & Facts

 

Before their game on Friday, Dec. 11, the Edmonton Oilers paid tribute to Rangers President Glen Sather by raising a banner in his honor.

The Edmonton Oilers pay tribute to former coach and general manager Glen Sather by raising a banner in his honor to the rafters of Rexall Place.

A premier General Manager for 35 years and a Stanley Cup-winning head coach with 497 regular season NHL victories, Sather has been one of the most influential names in the history of hockey. He’s coached, drafted, traded for and traded away some of the best players in NHL history, and his name is etched on the Stanley Cup five times.

Take a look back at the highlights and the interesting facts about his legendary career in “The Game.”

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SATHER, THE PLAYER

  • From 1966-1976, Sather skated in 658 NHL games with the Bruins, Penguins, Rangers, Blues, Canadiens and North Stars. He also played 81 games for the Oilers of the WHA in 1976-77.
  • Sather, a winger, tallied 193 points (80 goals, 113 assists), and compiled 724 PIMs in his NHL career. In 186 games with the Rangers, he scored 18 goals and 24 assists.
  • He was named player-coach late in the 1976-77 season for the Edmonton Oilers of the WHA. He scored a goal in his first game serving as the coach, and the team went 9-7-2 to finish the season.

SATHER, THE OILERS COACH

  • Following one year as a player in Edmonton and the 18-game stint as player-coach, Sather became the full-time head coach for the Oilers (still in the WHA) for the 1977-78 season. He coached the club through the 1988-89 season though he did not coach the first 18 games of the 1980-81 season because he became the team’s GM. After relieving coach Bryan Watson of his duties that season, he re-took over the head coaching realm. Sather returned to the bench again for 60 games in the 1993-94 season after firing coach Ted Green.
  • Sather won his first Stanley Cup as a head coach when the Oilers broke the Islanders’ four-year dynasty in 1984, one year after losing to the Isles in the Final. He went on to win three more Cups as Edmonton’s coach in ’85, ’87 and ’88.

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SATHER, THE PLAYER

  • From 1966-1976, Sather skated in 658 NHL games with the Bruins, Penguins, Rangers, Blues, Canadiens and North Stars. He also played 81 games for the Oilers of the WHA in 1976-77.
  • Sather, a winger, tallied 193 points (80 goals, 113 assists), and compiled 724 PIMs in his NHL career. In 186 games with the Rangers, he scored 18 goals and 24 assists.
  • He was named player-coach late in the 1976-77 season for the Edmonton Oilers of the WHA. He scored a goal in his first game serving as the coach, and the team went 9-7-2 to finish the season.

SATHER, THE OILERS COACH

  • Following one year as a player in Edmonton and the 18-game stint as player-coach, Sather became the full-time head coach for the Oilers (still in the WHA) for the 1977-78 season. He coached the club through the 1988-89 season though he did not coach the first 18 games of the 1980-81 season because he became the team’s GM. After relieving coach Bryan Watson of his duties that season, he re-took over the head coaching realm. Sather returned to the bench again for 60 games in the 1993-94 season after firing coach Ted Green.
  • Sather won his first Stanley Cup as a head coach when the Oilers broke the Islanders’ four-year dynasty in 1984, one year after losing to the Isles in the Final. He went on to win three more Cups as Edmonton’s coach in ’85, ’87 and ’88.

  • Despite losing The Great One, Sather did a great job in bringing in pieces to keep the Oilers a strong team. Slats got back Martin Gelinas in the Gretzky trade, then in November 1989 traded for Adam Graves, Petr Klima and Joe Murphy, and all four players were key to the Oilers and Sather’s final Cup win in 1990.
  • In an ironic glimpse of things to come, Sather made four big trades with great benefit to the Rangers as GM of the Oilers. It all started in October of 1991 when Sather sent Mark Messier (and eventually Beukeboom as a player to be named later) to the Blueshirts. Sather then made deals with the Rangers for Kevin Lowe in December 1992, Esa Tikkanen in March 1993 and Craig MacTavish in March 1994. Of course, the Rangers won the Stanley Cup in 1994 and all five of those former Oilers’ names were etched on The Cup. Sather’s was not.
  • He was inducted into the Hockey Hall Of Fame in 1997 in the Builders category.

SATHER WITH THE RANGERS

  • Sather was named President and General Manager of the New York Rangers on May 31, 2000, just 12 days after leaving the Oilers organization. He stepped down as General Manager on July 1, 2015, but remains the team president.

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  • One of the first things Sather did on the job to make things right again with the Rangers was to bring back The Captain, as Slats signed the free-agent Messier in July of 2000.
  • In his first Draft as GM of the Blueshirts in 2000, Sather selected Dominic Moore in the 3rd round and Henrik Lundqvist in the 7th round.
  • Other notable players Sather drafted that played for the Rangers include Brandon Dubinsky (2nd round, ’04), Ryan Callahan (4th round, ’04), Marc Staal (1st round, ’05), Artem Anisimov (2nd round, ’06), Carl Hagelin (6th round, ’07), Derek Stepan(2nd round, ’08), Chris Kreider (1st round, ’09) and J.T. Miller (1st round, ’11).
  • Sather has made numerous monster trades for the Rangers. The first came in August 2001 when he acquired Eric Lindros from the Flyers. In 2002, he made his first big deadline day deal when he brought in Pavel Bure from the Panthers.
  • One of the best players of all-time made his way to Broadway in January 2004 when Sather traded for Jaromir Jagr in exchange for Anson Carter.
  • Other solid acquisitions via trades on Sather’s Rangers resume include Sean Avery, Ryan McDonagh, Rick Nash, Derick Brassard, Martin St. Louis and Keith Yandle.
  • Sather also made his mark on the Rangers by signing big-time free agents, including Michael Nylander (2004), Martin Straka (2005), Dan Girardi (2006), Brendan Shanahan (2006), Scott Gomez (2007), Chris Drury (2007), Marian Gaborik (2009),Mats Zuccarello (2010) and Brad Richards (2011).
  • On December 4, 2013, Sather locked up Lundqvist long term by signing the franchise goalie to a seven-year contract extension.
  • Sather has hired five head coaches in his tenure with the Rangers; Ron Low (2000-02, 164 games), Bryan Trottier (2002-03, 54 games), Tom Renney (2004-09, 327 games), John Tortorella (2009-13, 315 games) and Alain Vigneault (2013-present).

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  • Slats has also stepped behind the bench for 90 games with the Blueshirts; the final 28 games of the 2002-03 season after letting go of Trottier and the first 62 games of the 2003-03 season before hiring Renney. The Rangers posted a record of 33 wins, 39 losses, 11 ties and seven OT losses with Sather as head coach.
  • Under Sather’s leadership, the Rangers reached the Stanley Cup Final in 2014, played in the Eastern Conference Finals three of the last four years and won the Presidents’ Trophy in 2015.
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Triangle Offense Tutorial

On Friday, Oct 24, acclaimed filmmaker and lifelong Knicks fan Spike Lee will provide a unique look inside the triangle offense with Knicks coaches and players at 10:30 PM on MSG Network with “What is the Triangle Offense? A Spike Lee Orange and Blue Skies Joint.” In anticipation of the hour-long special, here’s a glimpse at what makes the triangle offense tick:

WHERE DOES THE NAME COME FROM?

It’s called the triangle offense because there should be a triangle formed between a player in the post, the corner and the wing at all times (as illustrated below). The other two players should be located at the top of the key and extended behind the free throw line.

(Image courtesy of sportamerika.com)

HOW DOES IT WORK?

The offense begins after the ball is passed to the wing. The player who passed the ball then cuts to the corner, while one of the post players cuts to the strong-side block, forming the triangle. Meanwhile, the other two players form a “two-man game” on the weakside.

From there, there are a number of different sets/options for the offense which can be determined by how the defense reacts.

CAN I SEE SOME EXAMPLES?

There are a ton of great videos out there, but these two are particularly useful.

This video features a breakdown of the Lakers, under Jackson, executing the triangle juxtaposed to the Clippers offense:

And here is how the Knicks used the triangle in Summer League play:

EDITOR’S NOTE:
Catch “What is the Triangle Offense? A Spike Lee Orange and Blue Skies Joint” Friday, Oct 24 at 10:30 PM on MSG.

ARE THERE NO “SET” POSITIONS WITHIN THIS FORMATION?

That is partially true. The offense calls for two post players and three perimeter players. While that is similar to most starting lineups, no one is pigeonholed in one particular spot.

WHAT MAKES IT DIFFERENT THAN OTHER OFFENSES?

As opposed to most offenses that run set plays and put the pressure on defenses, the triangle philosophy is different. In the triangle offense, a team creates constant ball movement to see how the opposing defense reacts and then operates based off the defensive formation. There are counters for just about everything the defense could show.

WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT PRINCIPLE TO THE TRIANGLE?

Spacing is probably the most important principle of the triangle. There should always be three players that form a triangle. Players should be about 15-20 feet away from each other. Proper spacing makes it hard for the defense to defend the whole court, which in turn should create easy looks when the defense tries to help or trap. Spacing is also beneficial for when the shot clock is running down, giving the player with the ball plenty of space to create for themselves/teammates.

DOES THE TRIANGLE FEATURE PICK-AND-ROLLS?

Yes it can, but the main goal of the pick-and-roll in the triangle is to create mismatches and draw double-teams.

WHAT TYPES OF TRAITS ARE IDEAL FOR PLAYERS IN THE TRIANGLE?

Players that are versatile, have a high basketball IQ, unselfish and can score in isolation should all theoretically thrive in this offense.

HOW DID IT ORIGINATE?

The key ideas of the system were created by Sam Barry, then the coach at the University of Southern California, in the first half of the 20th century. One of Barry’s players, Tex Winter, went on to further develop the concept at Kansas State University before bringing it to the NBA in the 70’s as the coach of the Houston Rockets. When Phil Jackson became coach of the Bulls in 1989, Winter was an assistant coach and helped Jackson implement it.

HOW SUCCESSFUL HAS IT BEEN?

Phil Jackson has won 11 championships running the triangle, with Knicks head coach Derek Fisher point-guarding five of those championship teams.

DO ANY OTHER TEAMS CURRENTLY RUN THE TRIANGLE OFFENSE?

The Golden State Warriors, under new coach Steve Kerr, who played for Phil Jackson with the Bulls, are expected to run parts of the triangle offense.

For more about the triangle offense, we recommend reading this breakdown of specific triangle sets or watching this in-depth video. But mainly, Spike Lee will have it all covered Friday, Oct 24 at 10:30 PM on MSG Network.

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1994 POP CULTURE INFOGRAPHIC

In Game 7 of the 1994 Eastern Conference Finals, Patrick Ewing stuck it to the Pacers with a game-winning putback. Exciting for Knicks fans, sure, but there were also numerous other memorable highlights from 1994.

Check out what else was going on and get an in-depth look at Ewing’s performance with the season premiere of Defining Moments Wednesday, Dec. 23 at 10:30 PM on MSG.

infographic_ewing-putback_1994_hub-page-update_20151217.jpg

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Don’t Overlook Yandle’s Defensive Play For Rangers

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Terms like “defensive defenseman” or “shutdown defenseman” tend to evoke images of a staunch defender, tough, big, blocks shots, clears the net and is willing to sacrifice for the team. These players tend to be defined as specialists on one side of the puck. Their forte is to defend and they are elite at this skill.

At issue with this type of thought process is the separation of offense and defense in a free-flowing game. It is understandable where these differentiations emerge when we take into account other major sports in North America. In baseball, offense and defense are two separate entities. You can be an elite defender and have zero offensive capabilities because they both exist in a vacuum. One does not blend into the other. Football is the same with very little crossover outside of defensive turnovers that lead to touchdowns. Even basketball has defined offensive/defensive possessions with a 24-second shot clock.

Hockey doesn’t work in the same manner. Outside of special teams, the game operates in a continuous flow. In order to be an effective player, you must excel on both sides of the ice. If you are poor at one aspect, you must overcompensate by being dominant in the other one. Dominant goal-scorers only need to adequately defend in order to maintain a positive differential. At issue is what a dominant defender must be good at in order to make up for a lack of offense. The shutdown defenseman must be so good on the defensive end to offset their lack of offensive production.

It brings me back to the general perception of a shutdown defender. Their elite skill sets consists of blocking shots, clearing the crease and physicality that usually manifests itself in hard hitting. The problem is that these skills are refined when you don’t possess the puck. Players struggle to possess the puck when they can’t carry it or make simple outlet passes that start transition. If you win board battles, but can’t transition to offense under pressure, then you are back to defending.

Defense has been miscast as grunt work, but it is more about taking away time and space. Elite skating is required to allow you to manage tight gaps which prevent easy zone entries and allows defenders to angle skaters to spots they can’t generate offense. These skills are the same type of skills that translate to strong offensive performances that can get a player labeled as “soft” or “poor” defender.

Coaches and fans tend to punish those who take offensive risks because we remember the failed attempts, not the majority of successful ones. It is how P.K. Subban ended up on the bench for Team Canada at the 2014 Olympics even though he was the reigning Norris Trophy winner.

A player like Keith Yandle is flayed for these mistakes even though when we look at the big picture, his offensive contributions leave him at a positive differential. Those who aren’t in the defensive zone aren’t required to defend to the same extent as those who are.

While Yandle may be viewed as a defensive liability due to his offensive instincts, he is the only Rangers defenseman who has a positive expected goal differential through the first 20 games. The Rangers limit his exposure to the type of minutes that Ryan McDonagh plays, but he has consistently abused lower pairings while with the Rangers and has maintained a positive possession rating for the majority of the last 5-to-6 seasons even when used in more difficult scenarios when he was with the Coyotes.

Yandle consistently pushes the play in the right direction and doesn’t need to be an elite defender because of his offensive skillset.

A paradigm shift is required to push us away from defining how a player defends to how much he needs to defend and from defining a player without offensive skills as a stay-at-home shutdown defenseman to just a poor defenseman.

Keith Yandle is not a poor defenseman. He is a very good one.

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Giants Kick Off December Football with Rival Jets

Tom Coughlin talks about how the Jets use their tight ends, the need for Eli Manning to step up and how the Giants will manage their offensive line with the injuries they've suffered.

The calendar flipped to “December” Tuesday and Tom Coughlin took notice. With only five games left in the regular season, Coughlin acknowledged in his weekly press conference Wednesday that the time must be now for the Giants to make their run.

It all begins Sunday as they renew their rivalry with the Jets.

Perhaps the biggest challenge for Coughlin and the Giants is the state of their offensive line. Facing a Jets defensive front led by All-Pros Muhammad Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson — along with emerging rookie Leonard Williams — Big Blue would have their hands full even if they were at full strength … which they’re not.

The team placed starting guard Geoff Schwartz on injured reserve earlier this week. In addition, both Weston Richburg (ankle) and Justin Pugh (concussion), who didn’t play last week, were limited in practice Wednesday and starting tackle Marshall Newhouse (back) missed practice.

Coughlin was cautiously optimistic when discussing the status of Richburg and Pugh. The fact that Pugh was at practice indicates he may no longer be in the league’s concussion protocol, which bodes well for his chances of playing Sunday.

With the offensive line in flux, the Giants will be leaning heavily on one man to help put the Giants back into the win column: Eli Manning.

“He has to (rise to the occasion),” Coughlin said. “He’s our guy and he’s done it so many times before.”

Coughlin has supreme confidence in Manning, but admitted that he needs help.

His message to the players was simple.

“Do everything in your power” he concluded. “We’re in December now.”

For more on the Big Blue-Gang Green showdown watch Giants 1st & 10 on MSG Friday at 10:30 PM or Sunday at 10:30 AM.


 

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Top-20 Combined Scorers With Rangers and Islanders

 

The Rangers-Islanders rivalry is not only one of the fiercest in the NHL, but also in professional sports.

On Oct. 4, 1972, defenseman Arnie Brown became the first former Blueshirt to play for the Isles, and over the past 42 years, almost 70 players have worn both sweaters in their careers.

Let’s take a look at the list of the Top-20 scorers who accumulated the most combined points while playing for the Rangers and Islanders.


 

20. ARRON ASHAM – Forward – 107 Combined Points

WITH ISLANDERS (2002-07): 47 goals, 58 assists, 105 points in 300 games.

WITH RANGERS (2012-14): 2 goals, 0 assists, 2 points in 33 games.

Known mostly for his physical play, Asham recorded more than half of his 208 career points with the Islanders. The best year of his career was with the Isles in 2002-03 when he scored a career-high in goals (15) and points (34). On July 1, 2012, Asham signed a two-year deal with the Rangers and became the only player in NHL history to play for the Rangers, Islanders, Devils, Flyers and Penguins in his career.


 

19. MATHIEU SCHNEIDER – Defenseman – 120 Combined Points

WITH ISLANDERS (1995-96): 14 goals, 42 assists, 56 points in 78 games.

WITH RANGERS (1998-2000): 20 goals, 44 assists, 64 points in 155 games.

Schneider played for 10 teams over his 1,289 NHL career and showed off his offensive talents from the blueline for 233 total games between the Islanders and Rangers. He came to the Islanders in a blockbuster deadline deal, when he, Kirk Muller and Craig Darby were acquired from Montreal for Pierre Turgeon and Vladimir Malakhov in 1995. Schneider’s best season in New York was with the Islanders in 1995-96 when he registered 11 goals and 36 assists in 65 games. However, at the trade deadline of that season, he was dealt to Toronto in a six-player trade. The Rangers brought Schneider, who was born in Manhattan, back to his hometown via a trade with the Leafs.


 

18. P.A. PARENTEAU – Forward – 128 Combined Points

WITH RANGERS (2009-10): 3 goals, 5 assists, 8 points in 22 games.

WITH ISLANDERS (2010-12): 38 goals, 82 assists, 120 points in 161 games.

The only active player in the NHL on this list, Parenteau scored a career-high 20 goals in his first year with the Islanders, and the following season recorded a career high in assists (49) and points (67). Ironically, P.A. scored his first career goal with the Rangers against the Isles on Oct. 28, 2009.


 

17. DOUG WEIGHT – Center – 134 Combined Points

WITH RANGERS (1991-93): 23 goals, 47 assists, 70 points in 118 games.

WITH ISLANDERS (2008-11): 13 goals, 51 assists, 64 points in 107 games.

Weight has the most career points (1,033) of any player who played for both the Rangers and Isles, though he registered only 13% of those points while playing for the New York clubs. He started his career in New York after being drafted by the Blueshirts in the second round in 1990 and ended his career after a three-year stint with the Isles, two of which he served as team captain. Weight is currently serving as an assistant coach with the Islanders.


 

16. BRAD ISBISTER – Forward – 140 Combined Points

WITH ISLANDERS (1999-2003): 67 goals, 68 assists, 135 points in 247 games.

WITH RANGERS (2006-07): 1 goal, 4 assists, 5 points in 19 games.

After coming over in a trade from Phoenix, Isbister had the best year of his career in his first season with the Isles, establishing career-highs in goals (22) and points (42) in 64 games. He recorded 135 of his 222 career points with the Islanders. He was traded from Carolina to the Rangers on Nov. 21, 2006.


 

15. ARNIE BROWN – Defenseman – 143 Combined Points

WITH RANGERS (1964-71): 33 goals, 98 assists, 131 points in 460 games.

WITH ISLANDERS (1972-73): 4 goals, 8 assists, 12 points in 48 games.

Brown has the distinction of being the first Islander to have also played for the Rangers when he was traded from Detroit just three days before the Isles’ first-ever game in their inaugural 1972-73 season. Brown was a solid defenseman for the Blueshirts and was ranked No. 93 in the 2009 book 100 Ranger Greats.


 

14. TOM POTI – Defenseman – 147 Combined Points

WITH RANGERS (2002-06): 25 goals, 78 assists, 103 points in 231 games.

WITH ISLANDERS (2006-07): 6 goals, 38 assists, 44 points in 78 games.

Poti was acquired by the Rangers in a deadline day trade with the Oilers for Blueshirts fan-favorite and 2002 Team USA teammate Mike York. In his first full year with the Rangers during the 2002-03 season, Poti recorded a career-high 48 points and made his only All-Star Game appearance. After his stint on Broadway, he signed a one-year deal with the Isles.


 

13. ROMAN HAMRLIK – Defenseman – 153 Combined Points

WITH ISLANDERS (2000-04): 43 goals, 110 assists, 153 points in 300 games.

WITH RANGERS (2013): 0 goals, 0 assists, 0 points in 12 games.

Hamrlik makes this list by the skin of his teeth, as he was acquired off waivers by the Rangers very late in the 2013 season, and did not register a regular season point (although he did record an assist in two playoff games). With the Isles, Hamrlik was their defensive leader for four years, helping the club make the playoffs three straight seasons from 2002-04. Hamrlik also represented the Islanders in the 2003 All-Star Game.


 

12. BRYAN BERARD – Defenseman – 154 Combined Points

WITH ISLANDERS (1996-99, 2007-08): 31 goals, 100 assists, 131 points in 242 games.

WITH RANGERS (2001-02): 2 goals, 21 assists, 23 points in 82 games.

The No. 1 overall pick by Ottawa in the 1995 NHL Draft, Berard was acquired by the Isles in a trade before ever playing a game for the Senators. In the 1996-97 season, he won the Calder Trophy as the top rookie after posting 48 points. In his sophomore season, Berard continued to impress, scoring a career-high 14 goals. However, 31 games into his third season with the Islanders, he was traded to Toronto. After a serious eye injury in 2000 forced him to miss the entire 2000-01 season and threatened his career, Berard made a comeback with the Rangers. Fittingly, he came back to the Islanders to play the final year of his career.


 

11. VLADIMIR MALAKHOV – Defenseman – 190 Combined Points

WITH ISLANDERS (1992-95): 27 goals, 98 assists, 125 points in 166 games.

WITH RANGERS (2000-04): 12 goals, 53 assists, 65 points in 211 games.

Malakhov had a pretty similar start to his career to that of Berard. Selected in the 10th round by the Isles in the 1989 draft, Malakhov busted onto the scene in 1992 and collected 14 goals (a career high) and 52 points in 64 games during his rookie season. He built off this hot start the following season, ringing up a career-high 57 points. And like Berard, midway through his third season on the Island he was involved in a blockbuster trade, which sent him, along with Pierre Turgeon to Montreal for Kirk Muller, Mathieu Schneider and Craig Darby. He was signed as a free agent by the Rangers in 2000 and spent four years on Broadway before being traded to Philadelphia.


 

10. MARTIN STRAKA – Forward – 199 Combined Points

WITH ISLANDERS (1996): 2 goals, 10 assists, 12 points in 22 games.

WITH RANGERS (2005-08): 65 goals, 122 assists, 187 points in 224 games.

Straka came to the Islanders in Jan. ’96 as part of the mega deal that also brought in Bryan Berard, but he was waived less than two months later. After the canceled 2004-05 season, Straka signed as a free agent with the Rangers where he spent the final three years of his career. He was very productive with the Blueshirts, posting back-to-back 70-point seasons in his first two years on Broadway.


 

9. MIKE McEWEN – Defenseman – 201 Combined Points

WITH RANGERS (1976-79, 1985-86): 42 goals, 92 assists, 134 points in 242 games.

WITH ISLANDERS (1981-84): 12 goals, 55 assists, 67 points in 143 games.

Drafted in the third round in 1976 by the Rangers, McEwen was a skilled offensive defenseman. In the 1978-79 season, he scored a career-high 20 goals and helped the Blueshirts reach the Stanley Cup Final. However, nine games into his fourth year with the Blueshirts, he was traded to the Colorado Rockies as part of the deal for Barry Beck. Late in the 1980-81 season, he was traded to the Islanders, along with Jari Kaarela, for fan-favorites Glenn “Chico” Resch and Steve Tambellini, and he immediately paid dividends, helping the club win their second straight Stanley Cup. He went on to win the next two Cups with the Isles in ’82 and ’83 before being traded to the Kings early the next season.


 

8. MIKE YORK – Center – 203 Combined Points

WITH RANGERS (1999-02): 58 goals, 80 assists, 138 points in 230 games.

WITH ISLANDERS (2005-06): 19 goals, 46 assists, 65 points in 107 games.

A sixth-round draft pick of the Rangers in ’97, York was a finalist for the Calder Trophy in the 1999-2000 season when he notched 50 points and a career-high 26 goals. While having a career year during the 2001-02 season, he represented the Rangers and Team USA at the Olympics in Salt Lake City. But less than a month after the Games, he was traded to Edmonton for Tom Poti and Rem Murray. After the cancelled 2004-05 season, he was sent to the Isles for Michael Peca, and then left the Islanders 16 months later in a trade with the Flyers.


 

7. GREG GILBERT – Forward – 246 Combined Points

WITH ISLANDERS (1981-89): 93 goals, 138 assists, 231 points in 425 games.

WITH RANGERS (1993-94): 4 goals, 11 assists, 15 points in 76 games.

Gilbert has the distinction of being the only player in NHL history to have his name on the Stanley Cup for both the Islanders (1982 & 1983) and the Rangers (1994). On Dec. 15, 1981, Gilbert scored his first career goal in his NHL debut, but he did not play another game that season for the Isles until the playoffs. The best year of his career was with the Islanders in 1983-84 when he posted 31 goals, 35 points and 66 points, all career highs. He was traded from the Isles to Chicago in 1989 and landed on Broadway in the summer of ’93 when he signed a one-year deal with the Blueshirts.


 

6. SERGEI NEMCHINOV – Forward – 270 Combined Points

WITH RANGERS (1991-97): 105 goals, 120 assists, 225 points in 418 games.

WITH ISLANDERS (1997-99): 18 goals, 27 assists, 45 points in 141 games.

Taken with the Rangers’ final pick of the 1990 draft in the 12th round, Nemchinov was a solid, steady center and winger for the Blueshirts, and was one of the first Russians ever (along with teammates Alexei Kovalev and Alexander Karpovtsev) to get his name etched on to the Stanley Cup in 1994. At the ’97 trade deadline, he was traded to Vancouver, along with Brian Noonan, for Esa Tikkanen and Russ Courtnall, and in that offseason signed as a free agent with the Islanders. Like Gilbert, Nemchinov owns an interesting Cup distinction of his own as being the only player in NHL history to win the Stanley Cup for both the Rangers and Devils (2000).


 

5. Brian Mullen – Forward – 280 Combined Points

WITH RANGERS (1987-91): 100 goals, 148 assists, 248 points in 307 games.

WITH ISLANDERS (1992-93): 18 goals, 14 assists, 32 points in 81 games.

A product of NYC’s Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood, Mullen made it to the hometown Rangers in a 1987 trade with the Winnipeg Jets. He had four solid seasons on Broadway, posting 54, 64, 68 and 62 points respectively, and represented the Rangers in the 1989 All-Star Game. After the ’91 season he was sent to the Sharks for Tim Kerr. In the summer of ’92, Mullen was traded to the Islanders from San Jose, and sadly after one year with the Isles, suffered a career-ending stroke in August of ’93 at the age of 30.


 

4. RAY FERRARO – Center – 292 Combined Points

WITH ISLANDERS (1990-95): 116 goals, 122 assists, 238 points in 316 games.

WITH RANGERS (1995-96): 25 goals, 29 assists, 54 points in 65 games.

Ferraro was a smart and skilled center who without a doubt had one of the best mustaches of any player who played for both the Isles and Rangers. After landing with the Islanders in a 1990 trade with Hartford, he rang up a career-high 80 points (40 goals, 40 assists) in 80 games in the 1991-92 season, making his only career All-Star Game appearance. Ferraro signed as a free agent with the Rangers in 1995 but did not even play one full season with the Blueshirts as he was part of a monster seven-player trade with the LA Kings which brought Hall-of-Famer Jari Kurri to Broadway.


 

3. PAT FLATLEY – Forward – 510 Combined Points

WITH ISLANDERS (1983-96): 160 goals, 328 assists, 488 points in 712 games.

WITH RANGERS (1996-97): 10 goals, 12 assists, 22 points in 68 games.

Though he skated in the final 68 games of his career with the rival Rangers, Flatley is an Islander through and through. He was the defending-champion Isles’ first choice in the 1982 draft and ranks seventh on the franchise’s all-time games played list, sixth on the assists list and 11th on the points list. Nicknamed “The Chairman of the Boards,” Flatley was named the fifth captain in Islanders history early in the 1991-92 season and wore the “C” for the next five years. In January 2012, he became the 12th player to be inducted into the Islanders Hall of Fame.


 

2. DON MALONEY – Forward – 550 Combined Points

WITH RANGERS (1978-88): 195 goals, 307 assists, 502 points in 653 games.

WITH ISLANDERS (1989-91): 16 goals, 32 assists, 48 points in 91 games.

The Rangers’ second-round selection in the 1978 draft, Don Maloney was a key cog for the Rangers throughout the ’80s, a decade in which the Blueshirts only missed the playoffs once. He ranks 11th on the franchise’s all-time points list and represented the Rangers in the ’83 and ’84 All-Star Games. Maloney parted ways with the Rangers in a Dec. 26, 1988 trade with the Whalers. After half a season in Hartford, he signed as a free agent with the Islanders, where he spent the last two years of his career. Following his playing days, he served as the Islanders’ GM from 1992-95 and then the Rangers’ VP of Player Personnel and Assistant GM from 1996-2007.


 

1. PAT LaFONTAINE – Center – 628 Combined Points

WITH ISLANDERS (1983-91): 287 goals, 279 assists, 566 points in 530 games.

WITH RANGERS (1997-98): 23 goals, 39 assists, 62 points in 67 games.

LaFontaine is one of the greatest American-born players in the history of the NHL and the lone Hall-of-Famer on this list. He was selected by the Isles’ as the third overall pick in the 1983 draft and ranks fifth on the franchise’s all-time goals list and sixth on the points list. LaFontaine was named to the All-Star team in four consecutive years from 1988-91. His most memorable moment as an Islander (and he’s said it was the most memorable moment of his hockey life) came in the ’87 playoffs when he scored the series-winning goal in the fourth overtime of the first-round series against Washington. On Oct. 25, 1991 in one of the biggest trades in Isles history, LaFontaine was traded to Buffalo with Randy Hillier, Randy Wood and a pick for Pierre Turgeon, Uwe Krupp, Benoit Hogue and Dave McLlwain. After six years with the Sabres, he was traded to the Rangers in September 1997, but sadly played less than one season there as concussion problems ended his great career prematurely.

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