The Rangers are a team emerging from a rebuild and are doing so in grand fashion. The moves, both to the roster and the front office ensured the team was making a push forward for a post season berth. However, no one could have expected that this team would come together as it has, nor that it would enjoy this level of success. This team was expected, at best, to be a playoff bubble team.
Time to believe in the New York Rangers
The 2021-22 New York Rangers are a team with a resilience unseen for the past several seasons. This team has heart, fights until the end and is always a threat for a comeback. As per morehockeystats.com the New York Rangers are tied for the league lead with 26 come-from-behind wins. If nothing else, 26 such victories proves it to be no fluke.
This is where coaching plays a role beyond running drills, line-up changes and barking at the officials. Gallant has instilled in his players a confidence, given them a chip on their shoulder and a belief that they can and will win. This is also what separates him from the Rangers coaches of the recent past. David Quinn tried to teach the team, Vigneault let the professionals govern themselves and Tortorella was a hot headed militant. Like them or not, agree or disagree with them, each of the coaches had their style, but each of them failed where Gerard Gallant has excelled.
Leaders choose to lead, not tell
Each of these coaches chose to coach their teams, Gallant has chosen to lead his. This is where the teams “it” factor originates. It is why the team can have fallen in overall offense, (from 10th to 16th, year on year), can give up more shots per game (29.71 to 30.91, year on year) and have virtually equal possession numbers to last season but still be battling for first place in the division, while last year’s team missed the playoffs.
The analytics crowd and national broadcasts were quick to point out that the Ranger success was unsustainable. That the efforts of Igor Shesterkin and the Rangers’ powerplay were not enough to keep the team atop the standings. Their opinions may matter when the votes are tallied, yet, the team is still at the top of the standings. Gallant’s leadership has been the key that unlocked this team’s potential. That is how this team has found success, surpassed expectations and why Gerard Gallant deserves the 2022 Jack Adams Award.