A lot of thoughts have entered my mind since the loss on Saturday. It has not been a fun first three games for the Rangers. Though they have done some good things, they simply have not put together a full 60 minute effort yet. Nothing to be happy about, of course. But I want to quote the first paragraph that Blue Line Station published for the 2011-2012 regular season.
It’s that time of year again. You know, the time when we fool ourselves into believing that the Rangers won’t torture us for the next five and a half months. That time of year when we tell ourselves to be patient and then freak out when a few players inevitably have a slow start. That time of year when we can’t decide whether to give John Tortorella the Jack Adams Award or whether to fire him.
Now I’m not trying to brag, but it’s only three games in and yet look how accurate that paragraph was. Three games in and there’s mass hysteria. Calls for trades, benchings, call ups, more trades, firings, hirings. Everything you can imagine. All because of three games. People lambast Sather for spending much of his tenure with the Rangers trying to build a Stanley Cup Champion overnight and then complain when the organization preaches patience. They roast Tortorella for changing lines to quickly yet come up with a laundry list of transactions that could be made three games into the season. Three games.
Here is what the Eastern Conference Standings looked like at this point last season.
Three of the seven teams that weren’t in the top-eight made a miraculous comeback and found themselves pin the playoffs at the end of the year. Meanwhile, two of the three division leaders managed to choke away their spot and miss the playoffs altogether with only 75+ games left in the season. Incredible! But most impressive of all is Boston’s cinderella story as they went from out of the playoffs to Stanley Cup Champions in a short six-and-a-half month span. But if you look at the Western Conference it’s even crazier! The Vancouver Canucks started the season with a 1-2-1 record in four games and were second to last in the Western Conference, yet managed to rally their way to a Presidents Trophy and Stanley Cup appearance. The only team who fared worse was the Anaheim Ducks, with a 1-3-1 record, and yet they finished fourth in the Conference. Truly a season of flukes!
What’s even more amazing is that these teams facing such a devastating start to the season didn’t lose their cool! The Canucks stuck with Ryan Kesler despite having no points in his first four games. The Ducks stuck with experienced and successful head coach Randy Carlyle despite the early losing. Vanek’s dreadful start to the season with 0 points and a -5 rating in four games didn’t faze Lindy Ruff.
Becoming paranoid and worried about the Rangers because of three mediocre games – games without or #1 and #3-4 defenseman – is just silly. It’s like going to the hospital because you woke up with a headache. Sure, it’s unpleasant and there’s always a small chance it’s a sign that something bigger is wrong, but at the end of the day was it worth all of the panic and commotion? Shouldn’t we wait AT LEAST until Halloween before legitimately analyzing things?
But enough of that. Who should replace Tortorella as head coach? What can we get in return for an Artem Anisimov and Michael Del Zotto package? And whom will we draft 3rd overall in June?