Twenty Seven games into the season and I think I’m able to sum up the Rangers season in one word: inconsistency. I don’t think it’s been a good or bad campaign thus far, but I think it’s been a little bit frustrating in all areas of the ice. Let’s break it down bit by bit.
Offensively: The Rangers finally have a power play. Hallelujah. I took much joy in watching the Rangers completely dismantle the Canucks this afternoon 5 on 4. The power play’s been a little bit inconsistent along with everything else, but it’s been pretty strong most of the year. 5 on 5 is where the team needs some improvement though. The Rangers have been extremely weak in this regard. This is one area in which I think if the team improves, they could be make a run come playoff time.
Rick Nash only got back from injury recently, and he appears to be back to his old self. He’s definitely a huge boost.
Defensively: Good at times, poor at others. I think at this point Vigneault has about four defenseman he can trust. Those guys are Staal, McDonagh, Stralman, and Girardi. Then there is Del Zotto, Falk, Moore, and a couple guys from Hartford who can potentially jump into the mix. Trades are on the horizon and our 5th and 6th defenseman spots are open. It will be interesting to see what happens from here.
Goaltending: It’s amazing what’s happened this year as far as goaltending goes. Cam Talbot is a godsend, and suddenly Hank has to be on his guard and play better. Competition though as far as I’m concerned is a good thing. That’s something Hank has never had in his career and suddenly it’s staring him in the face. It’s maybe a small sample size, but the Rangers play better when Talbot’s in net. It’s just the way it is at the moment and for now, that can’t be ignored. We’ll see what happens from here on out.
Things the organization needs to do:
1) Get Henrik Lundqvist sorted with a new contract. If Talbot keeps playing like this by the way, I’d take my chances with him if Henrik asks for too much money and too many years. I love Henrik as much as anyone, but in a salary cap world there’s come a point when it just isn’t worth it anymore to have a player. Even if that player is arguably (and probably) the best goalie in the league.
2) Get the defense in order either through trade or within the organization.
3) Improve 5 on 5.
Basically there’s still hope for this team, and there’s a lot to believe in. Now it’s just a matter of showing these flashes of solid play on a more consistent basis.
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