I'm more than a little surprised some of the New York Rangers local newspapers, and pundits, haven't been more critical of Coach Vigneaults body of work this season. Since the Rangers 2014 Stanley Cup finals appearance the Rangers have been on a decline. Culminating in this springs embarrassing toasting by the Pittsburgh Penguins in a five game blowout. 113 regular season points last season 101 this season, another 12 point drop off next season and the Rangers won't make the playoffs. This off season is not geared around adding players to compete for the Stanley Cup, its about adding players to make next seasons playoffs. You take away Henrik Lunqvists scintillating start to the season and the Rangers would NOT have made this seasons playoffs. Let that sink in, this season was a disaster only masked by Lundqvists early season dominance.
Compound that by delving into the overall poor team play and poor special teams play and there is certainly subject matter for debate. Five on five play was a inconsistent adventure usually preceded by seemingly nightly forward line shuffles. The top lines appeared to be more of a who you are placement, than what have you done lately reward. The compete level and battle intensity level just wasn't there most nights, as it appeared the plan was to win with as little effort as possible.
I'm not sure anyone following the Rangers realistically expected a much different first round playoff result, than the whupping the Penguins put on the disorganized Rangers. It was ugly. The last two games in particular showed just how unprepared and unmotivated the Rangers were. For whatever reason the Rangers mailed it in against the Penquins. But as mentioned it should not have been a surprise based on the regular season performance of the Rangers.
How could such a promising start to the season end in such a free falling thud in the playoffs? The great start was on the back of Henrik Lundqvist who's play had the Vezina Trophy talk going. In front of him, it was apparent all season the rest of the team was struggling. Lundqvist was left exposed to a nightly barrage of high quality shots the team seemed incapable of stopping. For a team with visions of a Broadway spring parade, the Pittsburg series was a stinging notice its retool time more
Why do I envision A.V. going down with the boat, standing next to the drain hole with the plug in his hands when this series is over. I guess because he's done it all year. He's talking about making changes for the second game in Pittsburg Saturday, and thats exactly what it will be is talk. Who will he sit? Hayes? Giradi? Moore? No chance! The only one with a degree of possibility is Hayes, because AV's done it before. Even though he's a good candidate, based on his no hit, no battle style of play, he likely won't sit. Why on earth would coach put in Oscar Lindberg and his energetic, competitive, physical style of play?
Moore? Please, he's had a pass all year, except for the earlier game or two he sat, so the Rangers could evaluate and then ultimately make the wrong decision, on keeping Jarret Stoll or Moore. If the Rangers move on that mistake will be more and more apparent. Moore has a reputation of stepping it up in the playoffs, that stepup was not seen in game one. In fact he was standing holding a anchor for AV's sinking boat, most of wednesday night, while Tanner Glass and Viktor Stalberg did their best without him. Pretty much a continuation of his season long effort. I've never liked players with that reputation, your supposed to bring it every night, not when you feel like it more
Posted by Michael M. Ramos ≡ 8:52:56 AM - April 12, 2016
Well Rangers fans, it's that magical time of the year where visions of Stanley Cup raising is all in our heads. Being a Rangers fan, it also brings in memeories of very good teams that have fallen short of the ultimate prize. The BIG question is where does this team fit in the drive for 5? Is this the year for the 5th Cup in Rangers history? Was Eric Staal the missing piece? Can Keith Yandle recapture his All-Star staus he had with the Coyotes with more ice time replacing Ryan McDonagh? Did the Rangers make themselves stronger for a long playoff run by not going all out during the regular season like last season that wore them all down deep into the playoffs? Can the Rangers make it 3 times in a row knocking the Penguins out of the playoffs? SO many questions and we will see an answer soon. The Rangers start the 1st round on the road for the 1st time in years and it could be the best thing that happens for them more
Any combination of Stepan, Brassard, Miller, Nash, Kreider, and Zuccarello, in the top six is fine by me and probably most Ranger fans. I've never understood Jesper Fast being in the top six mix, when all hands are on deck, and even when Rick Nash was down, and then while he was being eased back into the lineup. But if Nash's game against Montreal was any indication, it appears he has his legs. If the Rangers can keep the afore mentioned in the top six, and healthy, then some potential for some playoff success exists.
With the fourth line of Moore, Glass and Stalberg kicking in a consistent, gritty effort since their inaugural debut, a little more playoff optimism exists. Left to make up a neccessary third line is Eric Staal, Kevin Hayes, Jesper Fast and the forgotten Oscar Lindberg. Fast could be a key cog on that line, bringing his defensive awareness to the mix. Eric Staal and Kevin Hayes both showed a bit of chemistry, against the Canadians just missing on a couple of neat passing plays. Staal has to take charge on that line and make it work. If he does, and Hayes and Fast follow along, then some real playoff optimism exists more
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting a different result. In the memorable flick Groundhog Day, Bill Murray faced the same things over and over, day after day, with nothing changing. Sound familiar? In the world of the New York Rangers, the Coaching staff keeps playing the same players expecting a different result. See the opening sentence. It is insanity as seen by any fan, with a rudimentary knowledge of the game.
Dan Girardi has never been the same player in my humble opinion since the Los Angeles Kings exposed him mercilessly in the finals a couple of seasons back. And this season his play has been screaming, I'm done. Today against San Jose was another cold hard reminder. On the second San Jose goal Girardi was beat like a piece of round steak. It was a all to common, stick out like a sore thumb, game changing blunder. NHL defensemen can not allow opposing forwards to go around them in a one on one situation. What happened after? Zero, zip, nada, nothing, that's what happened. Girardi was right back out there next shift. When the same player continues to negatively change the momentum in hockey games and keeps jumping over the boards. Well see sentence one, pertaining to the definition of insanity more