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The Rangers Problems

The Rangers Problems

By: Greg Vitucci

The previous two seasons the New York Rangers have made significant runs into the playoffs. In 2011 they finished third in the Atlantic conference and were eliminated in the conference quarterfinals. Last season 2012, the Rangers won the Atlantic and were ousted from the playoffs by New Jersey in the conference finals. So naturally, this (elongated) off-season was filled with anxiety and excitement in hopes that the Rangers could make another serious and hopefully successful run at Lord Stanley’s Cup. On top of that they went out and got a top tier offensive threat in Rick Nash. And what has come from all these high hopes? Nothing but massive, massive bed shitting by New York.

Now one third into the season the Rangers are 11th in the eastern conference and are going through an exceptionally tough injury stretch. But even when Nash returns from his mystery injury, something just isn’t working. I have a two theories on why the Rangers have declined and how they can return to dominance.

First, they picked the wrong versatile forward. Allowing Brandon Prust to sign with the Montreal Canadiens was a mistake. Instead Brian Boyle is still under contract and producing about as much as a dead cow produces milk. Both forwards play a similar style. Both are willing to drop the gloves, both kill the penalties well, and both achieve a Mendoza line amount of offense. As stated Boyle has been a sack of crap this year having produced a mere one point and owning a -6 +/- rating. Prust on the other hand is flourishing in Montreal with five points and a +8 rating. Staggering numbers? No, but if you watched the Canadiens versus Rangers on 2/23 it was obvious to see which player is a turd on skates.

Boyle has lost whatever scoring touch he had and the lack of secondary scoring is holding us down like the man. My solution is two-fold. Firstly, spread the talent; Gabby, Richards, Callahan, Hagelin, and Stephan, across three lines early in the game. Later in the game and during offensive opportunities (home-ice line changes or opponent’s icings) stack your weapons and take your chances. Secondly, bury Boyle on the fourth line so he gets 7:13 ice time a game.

I have no logical reason for what has happened to Marion Gaborik this year. Gabby simply has not been a catalyst for the offense. Though he got an assist on the Anton Stralman’s goal in the third period against Winnipeg on Tuesday, it’s only because the puck literally just bounced off of him. My only explanation is that Marion Gaborik apparently can only score more than 30 goals in even years. Look at the stats in the 2006, ’08, ’10, ’12 seasons he had 38, 42, 42, and 41 goals respectively. In the odd year seasons of 2007, ’09, and ’11 he netted 30, 13, and 22 goals. (I am very aware it would be highly improbably to net more than 30 goals in the lockout shortened 48 game season, but you get the general concept, nit-pickers.)

Solution, can somebody please get this guy a different calendar; Jewish, Lunar, Mayan, Tunisian, Romanian, alien who fucking cares as long as it makes this year end in a 0,2,4,6, or 8. Snatch Gary Bettman and create some type of sundial, solar calendar using his rotting corpse on the steps on Stonehenge, I don’t really care, just make it happen.

These aren’t the Rangers only problems but they certainly are two of the more glaring flaws. With just 18 points New York really needs to get their shit together and turn it around. Disappointment like the way this season has started would usually and should maybe lead to a head coach being decapitated. But it doesn’t seem like the Rangers have given up on their coach or his self-sacrificing style of play. John Tortorella appears to still control the locker room and has the utmost respect of his players. The product on the ice had better change otherwise it’s going to be another elongated summer for Ranger’s fans.


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