The New York Rangers had a big opportunity to keep their playoff lives intact today, and sadly came out as they do all too often – FLAT. The Boston Bruins, who currently occupy 8th place in the Eastern Conference, were the opponent du jour, and gave the Rangers plenty of chances to steal the game away, despite outplaying the blueshirts in nearly every facet of the game.
Zdeno Chara took a total of 8 minutes in penalties while the teams were still tied at goose-eggs, but the Rangers powerplay yielded more chances than it generated, underlining one of the many problems with this team. Simply put, it’s just a random assortment of players, some talented, with no sense of cohesion. It’s a mish-mash team that can’t really play together. It’s a bunch of guys playing shinny on your local rink. It’s disjointed beyond repair.
Where was the effort? Considering this was a stereotypical 4-point game, one would have expected some jump from the Rangers, who are now in 10th in the East and 5 points back of Boston. Yet, John Tortorella’s boys came out with the kind of effort you might expect from a team resting players prior to the playoffs with their position already solidified. It was appalling, to say the least.
In the end, the Bruins took the game 2-1, with the Rangers’ only goal coming off of a shot by Mike Del Zotto that banked in off of a B’s defender to break Tuukka Rask’s shutout bid.
I’m tired of talking about who played well and who played poorly. It’s always the same people on both sides of the discussion. Hank was again let down by a total team implosion in a game that could end up meaning the season, and quite frankly I feel bad for him. Henrik deserves to play on a better team, or at least a team who doesn’t mail it in on so many gamedays. His frustration is so very visible when he sits on the bench at the end of games when the Rangers utilize the extra attacker. His body language is more than what words can tell. He is a man with a broken spirit. And yet, he’s the only player who consistently plays his heart out for this rag-tag organization.
So, what is the plan moving forward?
This team won’t make the post-season, and if they somehow manage to get into the playoffs, they’ll be one and done. They have no fight, and even Hank can’t possibly get them past one of either Washington or Pittsburgh or anyone else for that matter (unless it’s New Jersey, who for some reason can’t beat the Rangers in the playoffs these last few years).
Is it better to sit the veterans and call up some players from the AHL? I know I’d like to see Evgeni Grachev play. Same with Bobby Sanguinetti or even Ryan McDonagh. It’s time to send a message to players like Wade Redden, Michal Rozsival, Olli Jokinen and Chris Drury (a combined salary total of $24M or so) that if you aren’t going to play hard, you aren’t going to play at all.
To make matters even worse, Ryan Callahan left the game after taking a hard hit from Zdeno Chara in the Bruins’ end while he was gunning to negate an icing call. He beat Chara to the puck, but was then crushed by the man-giant, and did not return to the game. That’s one of the few heart-and-soul players the Rangers have, and he looked to be in severe discomfort. Hopefully it’s nothing serious, but knowing Callahan, he wouldn’t have left the game for anything that wasn’t serious…
Anyway, it’s time to start looking forward to the draft and who the Rangers could get with what may be a top-10 pick.
My hope is that Kirill Kabanov will still be available, as he possesses top-end skills – something the Rags desperately need. He is a bit under-sized, but has great hands and a good sense for the game. It’ll be interesting to see who we end up taking in the first round, but my bet is that it will certainly be a forward, as we’re already deep in defensive prospects.
Next game is on Tuesday against the Isles at MSG, which is basically a game 7 of the playoffs type of situation for the Rangers. If they don’t win, their fate is all but sealed. From thereon in, they play 6 straight on the road, which is a tough test for any team. Again, without a win against the Islanders, this season’s end is just a formality.
That’s it for now, until next time,
About the Author
Written by Dan Rakusan
A huge Rangers (NHL), Falcons (NFL), PGA Tour and soccer fan, I have been writing semi-professionally for about 7 years now. I try to impart information with some degree of humour, and always have an opinion. PSB is another feather in my cap, and am really proud of the team assembled here, and look forward to the long-term journey PSB is embarking on in terms of establishing itself as the best sports blogging collective on the net! Look for articles such as 4-Play, Rangers blogs and PGA Tour updates, along with my NFL handicapping service!