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The Rangers have a certain window in which to win the Stanley Cup. Henrik Lundqvist will turn 31 in March, meaning that he's entering his prime, but by 34 or 35, his prime could be over.
Marian Gaborik has two years left on his contract, and Brad Richards just turned 32.
Further, Derek Stepan, Carl Hagelin, Ryan McDonagh and Michael Sauer are restricted free agents after the 2012-13 season. Chris Krieder is a restricted free agent after 2013-14. Ryan Callahan, Brian Boyle, Dan Girardi and Henrik Lundqvist are free agents after the 2013-14 season.
The Rangers can't sign all these guys. They're going to have to make choices. Even if we assume that they will re-sign Callahan and Lundqvist, it's possible that Boyle, Girardi and Gaborik could be gone.
It's hard to replace the core of your team that quickly. That means that the Rangers have a window, and that window begins to close sharply after 2014.
The core of the team, as it stands right now, is capable of winning a Cup. Assuming health, there are few teams with this much talent. Further, there are few teams that have as good of a goalie.
So the Rangers have a window, and it's starting to close. They need to take advantage; windows like this don't always come around.
And it's up to Tortorella to make sure they take full advantage of this window. If they don't, it's much easier to fire a coach than it is to fire a whole roster. Coaches, fairly or unfairly, take the blame. If the Rangers can't complete the ultimate task before the window closes, then it will be Tortorella who takes the blame.