This is the opening paragraph of Larry Brooks’ NY Post column on the 6-0 demolishing by Montreal: “The Rangers have 30 games to go in the season and there is a total disconnect within the team itself and between the players and the coaching staff.” Was this pulled from a column he wrote last season?
Sure seems like it. The lack of effort on the little things that define a hockey team (and make a hockey team good, forget about great) is beyond problematic. It is endemic. Clearly, the cause is not the coaching staff. Tom Renney and John Tortorella could not be more different. All that is constant between this year and last are certain players and Glen Sather’s administration. The Rangers are not going to win the Stanley Cup this year, next year, or even the following year. Not with the team saddled with bad contracts and washed up or under-performing players.
In the immortal words of Julius Campbell from Remember the Titans, attitude reflects leadership. The Rangers’ leadership, from the top, needs a change.
The team actually has a solid core of young (or youngish) players. Lundqvist, Gaborik, Callahan, Dubinsky, Staal, Del Zotto, and Gilroy. I’ll even toss Anisimov in here. But the rest of the Rangers are expendable. And this is the key part. They should be jettisoned. Either to the minors or to other teams. There are a lot of reasons justifying this, but by far the overriding reason is to consciously change the mentality of the team. Forget allowing 4 shutouts in 7 games. The worst thing that can happen to the Rangers is to have its young core infiltrated by bad habits and a bad mentality. Losing breeds more losing. We need to get cheap veterans that know how to win, even if they are on the way out of their careers (someone like Shanahan…but I digress…), and young talent (either via trade/picks/call-ups. The Rangers should follow the ole carpet bombing theory for hitting on women. If you ask enough women to sleep with you one is bound to say yes. Try every young player and at least one of them is bound to be a talented winner. Stop overpaying and overplaying middling vets.
If this is not done by the Olympic break, Jim Dolan needs to get off his couch and stop fighting for TWC’s scraps. Manage your team and fire Sather. He’s had his chances. Change the leadership in the locker room and in the administration. Let the young core’s leadership reflect a new attitude.