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New York Rangers Fan Club

From The Blueline
by Jess Rubenstein

Wednesday, October 8 2003


The Not So Happy Crystal Ball

I started and stopped writing what is supposed to be my thoughts as to what I felt were the Ranger's chances for a playoff spot this season several times over the last couple of weeks. It seemed that no matter which way I tried to look at it that nothing was going to work except for what normally would be the bottom line at the end of the article.

The bottom line is simple no matter which way I looked, no matter which what evidence was offered by the Rangers that the results remained the same. The Rangers are simply not going to make the playoffs for the 7th straight season in my book. Now I realize that this isn't the kind of optimism that Ranger fans would like to see on the eve of a brand new season.

I wish I could have written an article that said the Rangers were not only going to make the playoffs but they also will contend for the Cup this season. However when I looked at what I felt wasn't said during the preseason and measured them against what has hurt the team over the last 6 seasons I realized that some very important areas have not been addressed at all.

For starters has anyone seen much said about the very important need for the Rangers to play a full 60 minutes of hockey every single night? I haven't and that to me goes a very long way towards the need for a strong work ethic. If the Rangers don't produce 60 strong minutes of effort whether they are playing the Debbies or the worst team in the NHL then how can people expect this year to be any different from previous years?

We have been spoon fed this "system" that the team will use for this upcoming season but I got a few questions about it. Does it have a name like the Debbie's trap or the left wing lock of the Red Wings? How can a team adjust to a system that has only been in place for about a month like the Rangers claim they have? I don't believe that you can as a good solid system takes lots of time and effort for a team to get used to using in actual game play. Sorry there is no way that I can believe that this system is ready to go after a mere 9 preseason games. Especially when in those 9 games the Rangers did not always use what is supposed to be the regular lineup.

I also don't believe there really is a system until the first time the Rangers run into trouble during a game and instead of abandoning it they stick with it no matter what. That to me will tell a lot as to whether they actually do have not only a system but a team that believes in it. It is easy to talk about installing a system but there is no way it works overnight like the Rangers want you to believe. When the Rangers show they are sticking to their "system" no matter what then you can start to have some hope but if they don't then abandon your hope.

Another area that hasn't been talked about much is the need for a smarter brand of hockey played by the Rangers. Relying on a system works just so far for a team but it is the need to play a smarter game that allows a team to make those critical in-game adjustments that are the difference between winning and losing. How many times were the Rangers simply out coached last season?

How many times did we see teams go into the locker rooms for the first intermission only to come out with changes in their gameplan? Both Slats and Trottier were outsmarted more times than not last season and that goes towards a team that is playing smart hockey. A smart hockey team will see those attempted changes and adapt to them to prevent them from working.

In addition smart hockey also means the need to help hide the team's weakest areas so the other teams don't take advantage of them. In the case of the Rangers the weakest area of the team is the penalty kill so what is the best way to cut down on the other guy scoring power play goals you ask? How is this one for a radical idea, simply cut down on the number of penalties you are taking in a game.

In fact cutting down on the number of penalties in all areas would do a lot to improve the Rangers but you have seen little said about it this preseason (not to mention seen the numbers go down in preseason games either). Whether the penalties are in the Ranger offensive zone which killed so many Ranger offensive chances over the last few years or the even worse "reaction" penalties where the other team suckers you into reacting to something they did doesn't matter they have to stop. "The Big Whistle" Bill Chadwick used to talk all the time about how smart players could get dumber ones to react to something mainly because the refs almost never see the first action but they always see the reaction to it. The Rangers quite simply would be a vastly improved hockey team if they somehow cut the number of penalties they take by 25%.

When you factor these 2 areas along with things like not playing down to the level of your opposition like the Ranger have done for years. How about going for the kill when you have the other team on the ropes instead of sitting on a lead? Even better try playing with a hunger because you actually want to accomplish something as a team.

Take it further and look at how fragile the Ranger confidence is since most of the same players from last season are back this season. What will happen if the team falls a goal or two behind in the first period? Will they fold up or will they fight back? How about what happens when the team hits a rough spot and loses a few games in a row? Will we see the return of the rumored cliques or will they remain together as a team?

I wish I could say I am sorry about this, that I feel bad that I don't see any of signs that things will be different this season for the Rangers. I can't be since all I am going on is what the Rangers present as evidence about their team and how I view it. So you can see why I simply don't believe that the Rangers are going to have the kind of season the fans want and deserve out of them.

I am looking at the Rangers to tease like they did last season, going up and down with their record hovering about 500 for most of the season. I think they will further tease Ranger fans by remaining in the playoff spot hunt until late in the season as well but when the smoke clears they will be playing golf in April once again.

.

 Additional stories from this Author:

YOUR COMMENTS

POST COMMENT >>
DATE AUTHOR COMMENT
10/8/2003 md they will make the playoffs
10/8/2003 Jess Sorry MD but reality will set in
10/8/2003 NYR35 sigh...
10/9/2003 Jess NYR35
10/9/2003 Leetch3 Talk is cheap
10/10/2003 Bubba Beck NYR 03
10/10/2003 timmy predictions
10/10/2003 haselator playoffs
10/10/2003 Jess Replies
10/11/2003 Serge TRUE
10/11/2003 NYR35 ugh
10/12/2003 Still Laughing Hahahahahahahahahaha
10/12/2003 Jess Serge and Still Laughing
10/12/2003 Jess NYR35
10/13/2003 NYR35 hahaha
10/13/2003 Jess What will be your next excuse
10/13/2003 NYR35 = D
10/13/2003 Gravey9 Sather, Sather, Sather...
10/14/2003 Jess Thanks for proving my point NYR35
10/14/2003 Jess Gravey
10/15/2003 Gravey9 Not quite on the same page
10/15/2003 Jess Gravey
10/16/2003 Gravey9 Good points
10/16/2003 Jess Gravey
10/21/2003 Still Laughing After 5 games...
10/21/2003 Still Laughing PS
2/5/2017 afsqdc izPNEeRurikRGfaezU
2/5/2017 afsqdc izPNEeRurikRGfaezU
2/16/2017 RoofusbOava ymqzylmgpj
2/16/2017 RoofusbOava ymqzylmgpj
6/18/2017 jam5k3 dv12mt
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POST COMMENT >>
April 6th, 2019
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September 29th, 2017

How many rostered players were on the ice for opening night 2016-17

Answer...
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LARRY KWONG
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