NEW YORK RANGERS: The Opposition Offering Glen Sather's Softies No Quarter, As Still Yet Another Member Of The Blueshirts Receives An Unanswered Elbow to The Head.
The hits just keep on coming, don't they?
There is still Rick Nash to account for, who has not played since the third game of the season. He remains out of action, recovering from a concussion caused by a first period elbow to the back of the head way back on October 8th, administered by San Jose Sharks defenseman Brad Stuart.
If Derek Stepan suffered what was then characterized as an inadvertent hit to the head by the Washington Capitals Troy Brouwer, then Anaheim Ducks Bryan Allen's high elbow to Stepan's head was certainly and blatantly more obvious. Both incidences happened well away from the puck and went unacknowledged by the men in stripes.
Most recently on November 7th, Taylor Pyatt took an elbow to the head from the Columbus Blue Jackets Fedor Tyutin. Pyatt soon left the game, did not return, and was scratched from Sunday's game against the Panthers with a concussion.
All these incidences continue to occur free of retaliation from the Rangers. For as long as they do, I will continue to note and remind everyone in protest, of each infraction committed against Rangers players that lack a proper response.
I've already repeated myself two or three times since first writing the following:
- Last February, within a seven game stretch, Boston's Milan Lucic boarded Rick Nash, Ottawa's Chris Neil viciously boarded Brad Richards, then Montreal's Max Pacioretty took yet another run, boarding Ryan McDonagh. At no time did any Rangers player stick up for their team mate - not one; no response. Shortly after those three incidents, the Canadiens crashed Marty Biron, which again, inspired no response from the Rangers.
- I'll also say this again and again and again. Two season ago, after the Rangers defeated the Sharks in San Jose early in the season, Joe Thornton called the Blue Shirts the softest team he ever played. The Rangers then went on to lead the entire NHL in fighting majors. They didn't stop there. They also led the league in fighting within the first five minutes of a game! That's what you call setting the tone(!) and sending a league wide message that the Rangers aren't putting up with any crap. It doesn't take rocket science to figure out physical teams want to exert their dominance somewhere between early in the game and right away. And so, that's eerily within the same first five-minute time frame San Jose's Brad Stuart took his run at Rick Nash this season.
Is it a coincidence Rick Nash received his concussion against the Sharks? Most likely, but still inexcusable.
This is a partial consequence of Glen Sather's dismantling, and retransformation of the team that went to the Eastern Conference finals two seasons ago. With no current toughness to speak of, cheap shots keep finding their marks and costing the Rangers dearly.
They've managed to outlast injuries to Carl Hagelin and Ryan Callahan, and despite their increased lack of physicality, the Rangers continue to turn their early season woes around. With Sunday's 4-3 victory over the Florida Panthers, the Rangers now own a 9-8 record, and have broken the .500 mark for the first time this season. They have gone 7-2 in their last nine games to recover from a 2-6 start.
The Rangers have also upped their offensive output, averaging 3.4 goals in their last 7 games, scoring 24 times. They've scored four or more goals in four of their last five games. With a goal against the Panther, Brad Richards now has six goals this season.
The goals and wins are coming, but something still does not compute.