Wednesday, April 29, 2009

We Are Truly A 2-1 Hockey Team

Funny season. We started with two 2-1 wins against Tampa Bay in the Czech Republic and ended up losing 2-1 in the first round championship playoff game. In between we had a clueless coach who publicly stated, "We are a 2-1 hockey team." The team lived up, or was it down, to that doomed prophecy until it got another coach; a fiery one, who self destructed and in the process he brought his team down with him. He thus became the first coach in Ranger history to blow a 3-1 games lead in a playoff series and lose the series.

Make no mistake though, this was not a very good hockey team from the start and if not for their goaltender, Henrik Lundqvist, they would never had made the playoffs. The Ranger fans kept waiting for the "big guns" to step up. But there were no big guns, only big contracts. The wrong guys were brought in for the wrong reasons at exorbitant wages. There is no better example of this than Wade Redden. Signed for six years at $6.5 Mil per year, he waltzed his way through the season. In this game, the biggest game of the year, he played over 22 minutes, got no shots, dished out no hits, coughed up the puck four times and was useless on Federov's winning shot. He kept backing up until Lundqvist was completely screened. $6.5 million down the toilet.

The fault lies with the Stealth GM and his inability to recognize talent. I heard that Michael Kay blasted the Ranger GM as the Stealth GM on the radio today. Really. Welcome to the club. This arrogant out of towner has turned this franchise into a joke. He often bragged while in Edmonton that if he had the money to spend that the Rangers have he would win the Cup every year. Well, here he is nine years later and he is batting all zeros. As long as he remains in charge the Rangers will continue to flounder, tease but never make the big game.

The Rangers lack overall team toughness. They don't have one D man that any opposing forward fears. They have no big scorer. While other teams have 40 goal scorers the Rangers have trouble getting to the 25 goal mark. They were built as a defense first and foremost team. "Not playing defense is not an option." This was ingrained into their brains. The new coach tried to go to a pure attack, fierce forecheck type of game and soon discovered they lacked the stamina and some lacked the will to play that type of game. How do you explain one shot on goal in the third period of a first-round championship game?

There will be big changes next year. The trick will be to maneuver their way around the big contracts with the long term commitments such as Redden and others. However, how do you accomplish this with an incompetent GM running the Rangers? In the meantime Ranger fans can rest assured that the Bettman doctrine of ensuring the top teams with the star players continue to advance. How else can the NBC game of the week survive?

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  • MarkNMiami said...

    Boy, no matter who coaches this team we just can't score! Funny thing when all of us were calling for Renney to be fired, we talked how Torts is the right guy for the job. But he has made many mistakes in so few games. He's been out coached quite a bit. I'm talking about when he left the penalty box empty against that game in Pittsburg while we were on a PK!That just added another kill, elementary stuff a coach should know. taking out Avery when things were going right, flipping out on the bench no matter WHAT happens, is no excuse. I would have alerted the refs and told them we won't come out of the locker room until security handles the situation. Short practices, instead of working on the PP IS ANOTHER MISTAKE. I'm disappointed in Torts so far. I think anymore mistakes, we have to start looking for another coach, Joel Quinvilesk. That being said, we need to dump salaries, and go after Kovulchuk($7 mil/yr 5 yrs) to play w/ Gomer. He's a UFA after next season, and that will give us some time to work out the aches and pains. This team is just not built to score and we just have too many support guys, but no finishers. I buy out Naslund. Slats can get all the puck moving D's in the world, it hasn't worked to help these mediocre forwards. We trade Rozy and a 2nd Rounder, and assign Redden to Hartford. Let go of Mara and Morris, which looks like the case anyway. We need a bruiser on the blue line. I resign Antro for no more than $3.5mil/yr 3 yrs. We trade one of our blue chip D's, for a bluechip, highscoring, forward who can go into traffic. We'll still have one or two left, BELIEVE ME! I would drop Drury. We have no leadership in that locker room anyway and he's overpaid. I rate Gomez higher than Drury even though they're both grossly overpaid(NEWS FLASH). Oh, and one last thing...FIRE SATHER!

  • kels said...

    Mike, it'll be an interesting off-season in Rangerland, for sure (and as always). Lots of problems with big questions on how/if they can fix them.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts this Rangers season; I've really enjoyed your blog!

  • blow-me-down said...

    Mike - I want to thank JB and yourself for providing a pretty good site. Never boring, not hard to tell you put a lot into it.

    I appreciated coming here all through this taxing season. Can't wait til training camp, but there's going to be plenty of controversy and discussion generated between now and then, as always.


  • jb said...

    Mark, nice run down of issues and some answers. I feel like I am on the edge and need to be talked down before jumping. Because of these overwhelming problems and lack of respect for what this team has become. Getting into the playoffs and a round 1 game 7 just masks the rot in this organization. I had very high hopes for Torts, but he fell apart.

    This low scoring 2-1 hockey is no fun. I wonder if it's a league wide problem? Too much defensive hockey will kill the game. Is it bad to like 6-5 shootouts and lots of shots on goal? I don't think I can nurture an enjoyment of low scoring Rangers hockey played along the boards?

  • jb said...


    Thank you. It's been good sharing the bumpy ride with you.

  • Luke said...

    Thanks for providing such an entertaining and well thought out take on the team and the season.

    I hope you enjoy the summer and I look forward to more of your insight next season.


  • Brooklahn said...

    I hate Slats as much as the next guy, but I wouldn't exactly call him incompetent. After eight years, I think a more appropriate term is arrogant.

    He makes moves that the rest of the hockey world thinks are foolish, and he makes them completely unapologetically, because he can. He has no fear for his job security, no pressure to do anything other than just make the postseason.

    This team is a Frankenstein's monster. No discernible identity, or consistent approach towards building one. And because contracts were taken on with no view towards how they fit together into an overall team, we're going to be forced to lose some of our most valuable assets this summer.

    Now, that all said, Slats also has been able to swing some good deals in the past. He's a shrewd negotiator, and hasn't (lately) been pillaging the farm system to bring in overpriced hack talent. He's going to have a long summer. He can't keep the expensive parts he has now. Someone has to be traded or bought out. Let's see the Stealth get his way out of this one...

  • Down by the Seaside said...

    Another season of nothing accomplished in Rangerland. But that's ok, because idiots like me will soon be re-upping on our season tickets, which makes Dolan happy. So Stealth gets another pass.

    How about those young players like Dubinsky, Callahan and Staal! Too bad we couldn't add Prucha and Dawes to this list. Yeah, much better to have Morris than youngsters who work hard, have speed, and are legitimate 30-goal scorers.

    Oh well ... let me get my checkbook, I think my 2009-2010 season subscription just showed up.

  • Section 335 said...

    This will be a very difficult year to justify the expense of keeping my tickets. After 32 years as a season ticket holder, I am having difficulty with continuing to support the NHL and Dolan. I love the team, and always will, but I can always buy tickets for a slight premium when I want to go. No need to pay for preseason games.

    Will I renew. Maybe. I like having Center ice seats. But, Slats has made a mess of this team and one season will not fix it. The NHL will not let Avery play. So it will come down to whether I think we can get two pure scorers or not. Without that, I am just watching 2-1 boring hockey and bad - of not hostile - Refs. I came close to not renewing last year. I am closer.

  • Jim said...

    Brooklahn, spot on about Sather, he isn't incompetent, he's arrogant.

  • mike said...

    MarkNMiami-Sounds like you are calling for an overhaul, which is not a bad idea. Sather must go but with Dolan firmly in charge there is little hope of that happening.

  • mike said...

    kels-I will attest to the fact that it is always an interesting off season with the Rangers. Productive? Probably not, but always interesting.

    Thanks for your support.

  • mike said...

    blow-me-down-Trust me, its been a blast for jb and me to try to come up with some sanity when discussing the Rangers.

    That statement may open the question of the sanity of yours truly.

  • mike said...

    Luke-Thanks for your kind thoughts and hope you have a restful and enjoyable summer.

  • mike said...

    Brooklahn-Good analysis of an arrogant individual who doesn't seem to have any ryhm or reason for some of his actions which leave the team devoid of any personality or identity.

    That sounds like incompetence to me.

  • mike said...

    Down by the Seaside-God bless the enablers for they shall inherit the debts.

  • mike said...

    Section 335-See comments to Down by the Seaside.

    Also want to thank you for contributions to The Ranger Pundit.

  • mike said...

    Jim-Arrogant seems to be an agreeable point. Incompetence looks like it is open for discussion.

  • blow-me-down said...

    The only thing that makes the incompetence tag questionable to me, is that, in my opinion:
    1. the players being drafted are of a higher quality now than the Brendls, Lundmarks and Jessimans of the recent past. Those guys were so over-rated.
    I like to see these recent picks as a sign of competence.
    2. Finally, these homegrown players are fitting into the plan for the future. Next training camp and the one after that should be very interesting.
    If that holds true, I see this also as a sign of competence.

    Plenty of bad moves to talk about, but just talking about what I see as good right now.

    I want to see a complete, well-rounded team while Henrik is still in his prime. No more fumbling and foolery.

  • mike said...

    blow-me-down-On paper, the prospects look better. Who had a better resume than Brendl?

    Homegrown players are looking good but we still have too many "overpriced big name veterans" that we should do without.

    Should be interesting how it plays out in the off season with all these big contract underachievers.