Rangers Struggling, Need Spark

Kevin PapaCorrespondent IFebruary 4, 2009

As I sat watching the retiring of Adam Graves' legendary #9 I began thinking. The man  right on my television was exactly who or what the New York Rangers need leadership, grit, and a passion for the game. As of late, the Rangers have showed little to no emotion, and the majority of them look like they would rather be somewhere else.

The only player that slightly resembles what Graves stood for is Ryan Callahan who plays his heart out, but cannot be relied on to be an offensive powerhouse. This is even more apparent when you have players such as Markus Naslund, Chris Drury, Scott Gomez, and Nikolai Zherdev.

If the aforementioned players competed with even a margin of Callahan's or Graves' passion we would be in first place by a long, long lead.

Instead, our grip on the Atlantic Division is slipping with each passing game of sloppiness, and lackluster effort. It almost seems like no one wants to make it the playoffs, but just wants to end the season now.

I apologize, I may be too harsh on a team that is still in 2nd place in the Atlantic and fifth in the Eastern Conference, but what happened to the exciting play at the start of the season?

If that continued, even if it was less concentrated, we would still be beating the team that has their 31 year old backup goalie in who has only 15 games experience at National Hockey League level prior to this game. (Yes, you, Devil fans.) We should be tearing up our division, and potentially in front of the recently struggling Canadiens, and easily in third place.

Who knows? Maybe with a little late season magic they will wake up start playing smart and passionate hockey that once was a staple in New York.

I pray someone finds a way to change the team around for good, and if they do, be sure to let me know.