A Rangers season destined for a Cup ended with a thump

NEWARK, NEW JERSEY - MAY 01: The New York Rangers leave the ice following a series losing loss to the New Jersey Devils in Game Seven of the First Round of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Prudential Center on May 01, 2023 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
NEWARK, NEW JERSEY - MAY 01: The New York Rangers leave the ice following a series losing loss to the New Jersey Devils in Game Seven of the First Round of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Prudential Center on May 01, 2023 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
3 of 3

There are questions surrounding this team as to what’ll happen next. We won’t know the answers for a while, as tensions are high following their elimination. According to Elliotte Friedman on the “32 Thoughts podcast”, the problem goes beyond the head coach.

“After one of the games in the series(The Athletic confirmed it was game four), there was a huge argument behind closed doors, and everybody could hear it. They could hear the Rangers coaches and the management. They were so frustrated with how things were going,” he said.

Unrestricted Free agents Tyler Motte, Niko Mikkola, Vladimir Tarasenko, and Patrick Kane expressed interest in remaining on Broadway. However, as Kane noted on Wednesday, “They have other priorities, like signing younger guys.”

Kane also revealed he wasn’t 100% all season, as he’s been dealing with an injured hip over the last couple of years and will know within the next week whether or not he needs surgery.

“We’ll figure everything out, talk to the doctors, and see what the plan is going forward,” he said. “There’s not a decision on that yet. We’ll have to find a way to get me back to as close as 100% as possible.”

“I have nothing bad to say about the organization and the situation. It was an amazing experience for me. I know I’m turning 35 next year, but it’s not like I feel old. I still feel pretty young. The passion is still there. I still know I can be a top player if I focus solely on hockey instead of how I feel that day.”

“My family was taken care of very well, and I cannot say a single bad word about my time here,” Tarasenko said. “It’s important to know you have a family, too, so it’s important to be set. Of course, I want to play on a competitive team. I’ve been lucky enough to win one (Stanley Cup) and want to win more, if possible.”

The Rangers only have a little cap room, as due to the big contracts on the books, they only have $12.3 million in Summer cap space. That’ll likely be spent resigning Miller, Lafreniere, and Jaroslav Halak if they want him back as the backup goaltender.

One guy who won’t be going anywhere despite fans’ pleas is Gallant, who, while Lindy Ruff outcoached him in this series, shouldn’t lose his job over it. “I can’t believe I have to answer some of these questions about me getting fired, brought up by the media. Disappointing,” he said on breakup day on Wednesday.

“We had one bad week, and it cost us. If I can’t stand by my record (99-46-19 in his two years as the Rangers bench boss) there’s something wrong.” “Boston was a pretty good team; they lost. Colorado was a pretty good team; they lost. Should we have won? Yes. But it didn’t happen.”

“He’s a guy that players respect,” Trouba said of Gallant. “He’s been through a lot of different situations as a player and as a coach. He’s a guy that I think players enjoy playing for.”

The players must be held accountable for failing to produce with the season on the line. They were shut out twice over the final three games and couldn’t capitalize on their power play opportunities. “I feel responsible for some of the goals they scored. Chris Kreider said after game seven.

“Being a veteran guy, I’m supposed to be defensively responsible. Can’t be on the ice for all four goals & hurt us like that.” “To lose the way we did in 7 games to that team that I thought we were better than, it’s disappointing”, lamented Vincent Trocheck.

All the Rangers can do now is try and get better over the Summer as they look towards the 2023-24 season, where most of the core will return. “You have a bad season; you expect to bounce back. You have a good season; you expect to do it again. Mika Zibanejad said. “That’s sports. That’s just how it goes. We believed this season, and I still believe in this team.”

So does yours truly, who following the handshakes, three stars, and  Schmid’s on-ice interview, walked out of Prudential Center with his friend who received a puck from Kane in warmups and started to think about where the Blueshirts go from here.

BLS FAN COMMENT OF THE NIGHT: What a disappointment, after Igor, not many bright spots.  Have a good summer Rangers fans, hope there are some good articles to read…LGR!!!”-Barry Green

WHAT THEY SAID: “In their 4-0 Game 7 triumph over the Rangers, it wasn’t even that close. Or at least it didn’t feel close. The young Devils, who had no real experience like this as a group, went out in Game 7 and had the time of their lives, using their speed and skill to outwork and skate circles around their rivals. They were fast, attacking, and supportive and could’ve won 8-0 if not for Igor Shesterkin’s goaltending.

New Jersey built their team for this moment. Drafting Nico Hischier, Jack Hughes, Akira Schmid, Jesper Bratt, and Michael McLeod while sprinkling in a veteran presence in the forms of Ondrej Palat, Tomas Tatar, Erik Haula, and John Marino via trade and free agency.

Meanwhile, the Rangers keep signing and trading for the over-the-hill veteran with little gas left in the tank or unable to keep up with the pace of the new NHL. Did anyone out there notice Artemi Panarin or Patrick Kane over the final few games of the series? I did when they turned the puck over. Again. And again. And again. What makes it worse is they don’t play much defense.”-  Dan Rice – Puck And Pitchforks