From the desk of: RAISE GRESCH WITH THE GREATS
NEW YORK RANGERS - Can't Stop The Dominoes Once They Start Falling.
Hit the music and let's sing an old song... Welcome to the continuing domino effect born of mindless reactive general managing. The team's present situation could have been avoided if Glen Sather would have just signed Colton Orr. There was, and still is no defending the decision not to re-sign Orr - not with the ill-advised deals Sather gave Donald Brashear and Derek Boogaard, etc.. Brandon Prust finally stepped into Colton Orr's old role, and did so admirably.
Many fans still can't grasp the duality of the Rangers fighting ways of last year, with overall physical toughness. Brandon Prust didn't just fight. He helped maintain the offensive zone. He did so with hard work, and a strong physical effort. Brandon helped possess the puck, while it was the more skilled players responsibility to crash the net, get a shot on goal, and score. But yeah, fighting helps. Fists embed doubt in opponents minds. It sets a tone. Fighting is an effective way to impose your will on the ice. Not once, but twice, Glen Sather hardly found those type of unheralded contributions worth the monetary price, and twice he paid for it. He is continually having to correct mistakes. Sather's latest gross miscalculation demanded he replace some of the toughness he let get away.
Last season, this team lurched forward with the power and grace of a big blue glacier, that grinded down all opponents in their path - up until they met the New Jersey resistance. As recently as this past Tuesday morning, they've been a shell of last year's team. Even with Rick Nash, the Rangers have somehow managed to score less than last year's team. Fighting is down, scoring is down, and Marc Staal is down. Something had to give. Now that the NHL trade deadline has passed, this team looks even less like the one that went to last year's Eastern Conference finals.
But I've been through all this before. I just don't want to sound like a skipping record.
January 19 - Four Points of Concern
January 20 - Bruins Expose A Fistful of Problems
January 22 - Not Re-Signing Colton Orr Still A Mistake
January 24 - Getting Pushed Off The Puck, And Getting Pushed Around
January 28 - THE SMURFS ARE BACK!
I knew from the very beginning, that after the Rick Nash trade, this roster needed major reworking. I've said it many times. The Marian Gaborik trade was a curious one to say the least. I just hope it works out. There were actually more reasons to pull off such a deal, than not. Big money and paltry results were very troublesome. Salary cap wise, the Rangers needed the cap space in order to retain some of their current young talent - cap space they would not otherwise have had. On the ice, Gaborik was increasingly falling more and more out of favor with Coach Torts. Marian's style, and the Rangers style under Torts became incompatible. Gaborik was also increasingly being excluded from third period play. If that is what his situation degenerated to, then why keep him?
Don't ask me to get caught up in what Ryane Clowe, Derik Brassard, and John Moore contributed Wednesday evening against the Penguins during a 6-1 Blueshirt victory. I was there. Yeah, it was fun. At the moment however, being sandwiched in between the Islanders and Devils in the Eastern Conference standings with twelve games left is a bit distressing. These guys need to learn how to play together quickly.