We all know how bad the Rangers defense has
been...particularly over the last three games where they've let in an
astonishing 15 goals. Much of the problems have been attributed to
the Ranger defensemen and in recent days Brian Leetch, Vladimir Malakhov
and Peter Smrek have been attacked vigorously for contributing to another
weak start to the season.
But who really is to blame? We
decided to go inside the statistics for the Ranger blueliners and try to
separate the fact from the fiction and maybe get some insight as to why
the Rangers have been so bad defensively. Certainly some blame can
be put on the heads of the forwards and goaltending, but in most cases it
is ultimately the responsibility of the defenseman to keep the opposition
from getting the shot on net...
We went through and broke out the minutes
played and scoring against the defensemen into Even Strength (ES), Power Play (PP),
Short Handed (SH) and Total Goals (T). We
then looked at how long a player had to be on the ice before a Goal was
scored and how long before an Even Strength Goal was scored.
The final three columns are the Average
amount of ice time the player is on the ice and the percentage as it
relates to total amount of ice time available or on the ice when a goal
/ ES Goal
On Ice for Goal
Note: Leetch and Malakhov have 2 PPG that
came on 5 on 3
Looking through the statistics we
immediately see that the more offensively minded defensemen are having
trouble. This comes as no surprise of course, but it's particularly
troubling to see how many Berard and Malakhov have given up in specific
Berard who has been on the ice for nine
Even Strength goals is possible the victim of being overworked after such
a short training camp. It should also be noted that adjusting to his
eye injury and the fact that he is still learning his trade should also be
taken into account.
On the other hand Malakhov's ten Power Play
goals, including two when the team was down two men, is a cause for
concern. Particularly when you consider that he is paired with Brian
Leetch who has been on the ice for eight himself.
The younger defenseman Smrek and Kloucek
have struggled also, though Kloucek has the excuse of missing camp and
coming off a major knee injury.
One of the few bright spots perhaps, is the
play of Dave Karpa who has only been on the ice for a total of four goals
against. Van Impe is another that has played better than expected
and has been one of the steadier defenseman in this traumatic time.
Certainly these stats in and of themselves
do not represent the full story when it comes to defensively play.
We did not take into account the forwards that were on the ice, nor did we
look at other aspects such as Blocked Shots and Hits. But with these
stats I hope you have a little better insight into the problems
surrounding the Rangers defense.