Slowly, but almost certainly, the New York Rangers are loosening their grip. On the brink of being knocked out of the playoffs by teams who actually appear to be playing hockey, the Rangers are playing almost every game lacking one ingredient of success: Passion.
I've mentioned the lack of passion in each of my articles pertaining to the Blueshirts. It is starting to look and sound as if they do not care enough to make a game a slight bit entertaining. Recent games portray shorthand 5-on-3, bad puck-handling, and all-around domination. But these were almost exclusively the opponents of the Blueshirts.
Coaching has been shoddy, goal-scoring is at a league worst, and almost every player on the aforementioned team seems uncaring. A handful, like Korpikoski, Dubinsky, and Callahan seem futile in their multiple attempts to get this team back on the track it once was.
Truth be told, it's going to take a lot more than one goal a game and clueless defensemen relying on their brilliant goalie to end this streak of incompetence.
I personally believe that there needs to be trades completed prior to the trade deadline for this team to have major success in the playoffs (or to even make it).
Erik Reitz, for example, brought some outside grit and power to this slumping defensive core. Although he's not an outstanding D-man, he also has big hits and pivotal fights that if nothing else, try to pump his teammates up.
But who get the boot? Drury or Gomez seem perfect candidates. They both have potential, and with the right players on their respective lines, could be a lot better.
I would love to see an Anze Kopitar-caliber player on the Blueshirts. He works hard, he scores goals, and he sets up players. More importantly, he is an eventual first line center that you could build a team around.
That is much more than you could say about Drury, or even Gomez.
So if the Rangers could attain a potential star like Anze Kopitar, a young center with scoring ability, it would give Lundqivst more leeway and less pressure on the defense to keep the score at zero.
Have a better suggestion than Anze Kopitar? Let me know in the comment box below.