The Ranger's slow start made many people debate when the panic button should be pressed. Well believe it ..."/> The Ranger's slow start made many people debate when the panic button should be pressed. Well believe it ..."/>

What Is Wrong With The Broadway Blueshirts?


Jan. 29, 2013; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers head coach John Tortorella reacts behind the bench against the Philadelphia Flyers during the third period at Madison Square Garden. Rangers win 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

The Ranger’s slow start made many people debate when the panic button should be pressed. Well believe it or not, it is now folks. But my version of a “panic button” is very different from other definitions. In fact, I would not call my panic button anything more than a realization or wake-up call to fans and the Ranger organization. The Rangers started off very poorly this season but managed to get back to 3-3. It seems that things were starting to turn around for the Rangers but when they faced the Penguins at the Garden for the second time this month, things went down hill again. The Rangers did not play a very good first period. They followed up by playing a decent second period and capped it off with a snake-bitten third by hitting two goal posts that robbed the Rangers of tying the game. Now tonight’s game is difficult to evaluate because the game was so choppy, there were way too many penalties by both teams and there was no flow to the game for the most part. But a few things are evident from this year since the Rangers have taken the ice. For starters, the Rangers were the team that was hurt most by the lockout. Not trying to make excuses but that’s just a fact. New team, new faces, and an intense coach who apparently runs a grueling training camp only had a week to run drills. For a team with many new players, a week was impossible to get this team into tip-top shape. Second of all, the Power Play is dreadful. And I mean DREADFUL. They cannot gain the zone most of the time. And when they do they always look for the perfect pass or perfect play. Did I mention that they hold the puck way too long? It is the worst thing I have ever seen on ice and I’m not exaggerating. What is scary though is that it has been getting worse every year since Torts has been the coach. In 09-10 they finished 13th in the league. In 10-11 they finished 18th in the league. Last year they finished 23rd in the league. And this year they are ranked 25th in the league, excluding the 0 for 5 tonight or whatever it was. This year many power plays are lethal because many teams have not covered their penalty kill a lot due to a shortened camp. Why is the Ranger’s PP struggling so much if that’s the case?  Also hasn’t this Ranger team got better every year under Torts? And the power play has been getting worse? For their power play to be as bad as it is with the talent they have is ridiculous. There is no excuse. Period, end of story. Now I hate to single out a player when no one has been that stellar so far, but I cannot avoid it anymore. Derek Stepan has been awful. He is playing with no confidence and he sticks out like a sore thumb. At least he did in the game against Pittsburgh on Thursday at the Garden. A lot of people were saying how bad he was playing to start the year and honestly I did not even notice him up until Thursday when Callahan was out. He doesn’t have a shot, he’s missing pucks, he can’t finish and he just isn’t creating anything for a second line center. So far Stepan has tallied no goals and two helpers in seven games. That will not cut it for a second line center. Stepan needs to find his game fast if the Rangers want to have two lines that can score. And finally, the lack of depth on this roster. It is beyond me considering how much depth they had a year ago. Callahan’s injury did take a big toll on the Rangers Thursday night. But at the end of the day good teams win if a key guy gets hurt. If the Rangers cannot win consistently without Callahan in the lineup then it will show just how much depth they are lacking on this team. Now you may read this article and believe I am coming off too negative or you may say it is still too early. Well, I am only looking at the negatives but in this year “early” does not exist. There is no time to take any game off. Also, there are no easy games. The Rangers play a very hot Lightning team on Saturday, followed by the Devils and Islanders where both teams are playing like they have nothing to lose. And did I forget to mention they play the Bruins again in two weeks. Every game is important and the Rangers will not have a stretch of games to “find their jam”. It starts Saturday against a difficult Lighting team. The Rangers need to figure out these basic problems fast or there will be no magical run like there was last year, despite the fact that the season is two weeks old.

Jan. 31, 2013; New York, NY, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins right wing Craig Adams (27) celebrates a goal scored by defenseman Simon Despres (not pictured) against New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist (30) during the third period at Madison Square Garden. Pittsburgh won 3-0. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports