NEW YORK, NY – If you missed Different Matt’s State of the Rangers address on Friday, go back and read his succinct and proper take on the Blueshirts season thus far. Today, I’m here to quell Ranger fans’ worries. Widespread panic is settling across the Garden faithful because of Rick Nash’s undisclosed injury and an impotent Power Play, while the squad is teetering on the playoff Mendoza line. But rest assured, this Bruins fan is here to say the Rangers are fine.
A ma$$ of money has been invested in Nash and should this guy sneeze improperly, management is doing the correct thing by keeping the big forward out until he’s right. Relax about the Power Play! See the 2011-13 Boston Bruins for a PP unit consistently ranking at the bottom of the NHL not interfering with team success. A Penalty Kill more than offsets man-advantage failure as does successful 5-on-5 play since 90% of a hockey game is played at full strength. When Failing only once in the last six games to pick up at least one point is the bottom line as not securing the two points in a few of these contests prevents separation in the standings causing the current uneasiness but, it is early even in this 48-game schedule. Speaking of the schedule, the Rangers are on the cusp of a critical stretch in their season starting with Winnipeg on Tuesday as relief comes in the form of seven of the upcoming nine games against the bottom conference feeders. St. Paddy’s Day rolls around we’ll have a better view of the team’s direction. If the Rangers home uniforms turn a color, it’s a result of having wet the bed during the next few weeks because every kindergärtner knows yellow and blue make green.
Plain and simple, the Rangers are not finishing games strongly to get the only two points of the contest. Sharing points in games makes securing home ice for the playoffs an arduous task and considering the world-class goalie patrolling the Rangers crease, the fan-base expects more. Yes, Henrik Lundquist keeps his team in games and covers up many a game-wart but “The King’s” situational goal-tending has been less than acceptable–and at certain times I’ll tell you the same about my guy in Boston, Tuukka Rask. Let me explain this “situational goaltending”… it’s protecting a third period lead… it’s not giving up a goal shortly after your team scores and keeping the opponent off the scoreboard in the last two minutes of games. Billy Joel will ask any net-minder, “Can you deal with pressure!?”
My eyes tell me Karl Hagelin is the Rangers best player. John Tortarella rips everybody at one point or another and means little if he’s unhappy with a player once in a while. Sustained ire is cause for concern and that’s Brad Richards’ status currently but the veteran will snap out of his slump. He’s too good not to. Taylor Pyatt has been a beast. Ryan Callahan doesn’t seem right to me, but his defensive mates have been stolid as a unit. Breathe deep Rangers fans. Things are about to get better.
Things get better tomorrow with West Coast Craig.