Welcome back to the Mailbag, a thing many people call, “better than spending these 10 minutes working” and “something I clicked on accidentally so I may as well read it.” Are the Rangers good? Yeah, they’re good, but are they good? Why do people think Marc-Andre Fleury has trade value? And what do rewatchable movies have in common? It’s mailbag time, people.
1. Ranger Things
@davelozo is new york rangers good or probably?
— Robert Silverman (@BobSaietta) February 13, 2017
Here’s the thing about the Rangers — they’re not good. I know, I know. They’re 37-18-1. They’re tied for the fourth-most points in the league. They score a shit-ton of goals. Their forwards are fast as hell. They’re one of the few fun teams to watch on a regular basis. But they’re just not very good.
They’re 21st in score-adjusted Fenwick (49.1 percent), a strong indicator that they are not very good. They’re getting by on the third-best 5-on-5 shooting percentage (9.7) in the league and just enough goaltending. Usually Henrik Lundqvist is lugging the Rangers to 2-1 wins while the team gets peppered with shots by superior teams, but the lugging has been more evenly distributed this season.
The Rangers’ record against any team ahead of them in the standings — which isn’t many — is 4-6-0. They’ve been worked over pretty good by almost every elite team they’ve faced since late November, and that has everything to do with a blue line you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy and it’s probably not getting better before the trade deadline. They’re basically stuck as a team that requires magical offensive performances and Lundqvist to deny every glorious scoring chance that results from a Nick Holden/Dan Girardi/Adam Clendening/Kevin Klein turnover.
It’s not much different from years past, but the back end is as bad as it has ever been. It’s basically Ryan McDonagh and five guys you’d be hesitant to use in your beer league.
The Rangers are going to get rolled in the first round if they finish second or third in the Metro, because they’re probably going to face Pittsburgh. Unless someone removes Kris Letang’s head before the playoffs, that’s going to be a savage beating. The Rangers don’t want that. They could without question beat Columbus in a seven-game series, but that requires Pittsburgh to fall out of the top three — which seems unlikely.
But here’s the catch: If the Rangers get the wild-card spot that moves them to the Atlantic for the first two rounds, they can be a conference final team.
Montreal? Ottawa? Boston? Who scares you over there? No one. This goober playoff system the NHL invented could benefit the Rangers, who can take their chances against the weaker teams in the other division and avoid Pittsburgh and Washington until the conference finals. Once you get that far, it’s a roll of the dice. Maybe Brayden Holtby craps his pants in the conference finals. Maybe Sidney Crosby had his season ended by a Brandon Dubinsky cross check to the throat in the previous round. Sky’s the limit.
So the Rangers aren’t very good but they could get to the Stanley Cup Final. Such is the NHL.
2. No Fleury of Offers
@davelozo what's the bare-minimum marc andre fleury trade that you think would appease both sides' fan bases?
— gav (@avolosk) February 13, 2017
Marc-Andre Fleury is getting bought out after the season. How could anybody want him? I sound like Mike Dexter talking down to Amanda at the end of Can’t Hardly Wait, except really, why would anyone want Fleury? He’s got $5.75 million left on his contract through 2019. He’s bad. Teams can get that level of goaltending for like one-tenth the cost.
There’s ain’t no Preston Meyers coming through the door to tell Fleury he loves him.
3. Ocean’s Eleven Channels
@davelozo what cable movies will you always watch if they are on?
— Christopher Devon (@ONN8) February 13, 2017
Ocean’s Eleven. Ocean’s Thirteen. Ocean’s Twelve, if I’m desperate. Any caper. The Italian Job. The Bank Job. Inside Man. The Nice Guys is getting there. The Big Lebowski has been on non-stop the past two months. How didn’t John Goodman win an Oscar or get nominated for Best Supporting Actor that year. Most Avengers movies. Not Age of Ultron. The Martian still holds up.
The most rewatchable movies aren’t comedies, but movies that have funny stuff in them. I love Anchorman, haven’t seen it in years. I love No Country For Old Men, will never watch that again. Won’t leave either on for more than five minutes. There must be some rewatchability formula that can be applied to a movie and I bet most of them are action with enough comedy to make you enjoy it on the 20th viewing.
4. Stalling on Hakstol
@davelozo How long should Flyers fans pretend we don't know how this Ghost/Hakstol thing ends?
— Ernie Kulhanek (@TheBigErnasty) February 13, 2017
If you’re a Flyers fan, you should be rooting for the team to miss the playoffs. It’s the only way Dave Hakstol goes. You’ve identified that you have a coach whose only play for turning around a team is scratching the good young players. That’s a bad coach. That’s a move that may work in college. This is the NHL. And not for nothing, Shayne Gostisbehere, by all indications except points, is playing as well or better than he did last year. There’s a real danger to beating into a young, talented player’s head the idea that he’s not playing well.
There are coaching upgrades out there now. Pray the Flyers don’t do enough to make them think Hakstol is the right guy. One more year of him playing mind games with the best defenseman the team has had in years could be catastrophic.
5. Shake Your Trump
@davelozo If you had to shake Trump's hand, what would your strategy be?
— Peter WiiM (@jimmywellington) February 13, 2017
I’d go limp. I’d let him Alpha me with that dippy handshake that he thinks establishes dominance. But as he pulls me into him, I drive my right fist directly into his dick. We need to be standing for this to work. When the Secret Service swarms, I just play it cool. “Fellas, fellas. You’ve seen how he shakes hands. He’s so powerful, I was overwhelmed. By the power. Sorry, Mr. President.”
Trump will be so thankful that I called him powerful that he won’t mind that I just socked him as hard as I could in his tiny dick and balls. I become hero. “There goes Dave Lozo, the guy who punched Donald Trump in the dick and balls and didn’t spend a second in jail for it.
Then I run for president on the “I punched Trump in the dick and balls” platform. I win all 50 states. I overturn all his stupid executive orders and jail all his children. And his cabinet. I’m given the first Nobel Peace Prize for a dick punch. And as he lay there in his bed, dying from old age, his dick and balls still throbbing decades later, Trump says proudly, “That’s the guy that slugged me in the nuts. Good friend. Strong punch. Great guy.”
Then he dies.