It’s that time of the year again. It’s that time of the year where points are hard to come by and every team is scrambling for a playoff spot. Granted, the Rangers are sitting pretty right now but if they want to ensure the number one seed in the conference, their defense is going to have to improve.
Last night’s loss to New Jersey showed how fatigued this team was. Everyone was making careless mistakes, so much to the point Tortorella put John Scott on defense. Yes all 6’8 270 pounds of John Scott. The Rangers were making mistakes last night that they never used to make a few months ago in the season. It’s time to start making some changes.
Follow after the jump for more.
Last night we saw the benching of Anton Stralman, which wasn’t too surprising after his horrendous game against the Bruins. Yes he scored a goal, but he also nearly cost the Rangers the game. I think he’s played well enough this season to earn another chance though.
Then you have guys like Dan Girardi (who could very well be playing injured) and Stu Bickel. Both guys have been very good this year and now are starting to wear down. My suggestion is to bench Bickel for the time being, and cut down Girardi’s minutes. Mean while you call up Tim Erixon from the minors. His play in Connecticut has earned this promotion and I would like to see what he can do if given the chance to log some minutes in the NHL.
If Erixon is only going to play less than 10 minutes a night then I would say it isn’t worth it, but if he’s given the chance for some quality minutes then I’m all for it. If Erixon doesn’t succeed then no harm you just send him down to minors again, and if he does than management has to seriously consider keeping him a Ranger for the duration of the playoffs.
If all goes well these would be the defensive pairings I would like to see come playoff time:
I’m not too worried about handedness in this case because Del Zotto is comfortable playing either defensive position.
Be sure to follow me on twitter @Matt_J1.