The New York Rangers maddeningly inconsistent season continues. After winning 3-2 over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday, the Rangers fell to the New Jersey Devils by a score of 3-1 tonight. One step forward, one step back…
What I liked:
Well it’s hard to find a lot here but certainly the play of Chris Kreider and JT Miller was encouraging. Miller, playing in his first NHL game looked like he belonged. Kreider, back after missing several games due to an ankle injury was solid as well, cashing in his first regular season goal of his career in the third period. Both played fast and smart. They even got some time together and it was an exciting look at what the future holds for the Rangers. That said, these guys need to play. They need to get steady minutes and the Rangers need to sink or swim with them. Look around the league, players and stars are getting younger and faster and playing a more wide open game . These two are simply significantly more skilled, lack of experience aside, then some of the Rangers other players and you can’t sit them or relegate them to limited roles just to play cagey veterans, that won’t fly in the faster, more wide-open league that the NHL is becoming.
What I didn’t like:
-Sam Rosen and Joe Michelletti beat this into the ground, and I’ll continue. The Rangers power play and penalty killing is awful. The power play has been bad now for years, the penalty good seems to have declined this year. All in all, as Rosen mentioned, if the special teams don’t turn it around the Rangers are going to have a long season. I’m truly not sure what the Rangers do at practice because it’s quite clear they’re not coming up with anything new for the power play during the week.
– What does Stu Bickel have on John Tortorella? How you can throw out Gilroy and Bickel as even a third D pairing and be expected to be taken seriously is laughable. I’ll be the first to admit Steve Eminger is solidly unspectacular, but he is at least a little step up from both of these players and if nothing else consistent
-Henrik Lundqvist has not had his best year. No doubt about that. That said, he has carried this team for years now, isn’t it time they picked him up.
One more thing…
I am a big fan of John Tortorella. I love his grit, his tenacity, his heart. I think his system rewards effort and grinders. I am absolutely thrilled with the job he has done to change the fortune of this franchise over the last four years. That said, at some point he has to be put on the hot seat. There is just no change on this team. The power play has failed miserably this year, and has been bad for three years. The offense is not creative, it does not open chances for the Rangers big stars. Yea, I get it, the players all need to execute better, boy if I had a dollar for every time I heard that phrase I’d be a millionaire. I get that the players all like him and want to skate for him, but the bottom line is this team has plenty of skill, two 40 goal scorers, two 25+ goal scorers, and a pleathora of young talent, and yet every night is a struggle for offense. There is no margin for error, and a system that once seemed much more defensively sound has gaping holes. Given his track record you probably have to give him the benefit of the doubt, at least through the end of the season, but things need to change and fast. As Einstien said, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.
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