False Hopes: Rangers Season Ends In Disapointment Again

Vinny MadioCorrespondent IApril 28, 2009

NEW YORK - APRIL 26: Henrik Lundqvist #30 of the New York Rangers is beaten by Alex Ovechkin #8 (not shown) of the Washington Capitals at 16:44 of the second period during Game Six of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinal Round of the 2009 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden on April 26, 2009 in New York, New York. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Up three games to one against the number two seed, the seven seeded New York Rangers couldn't close out. After getting beat so badly that Lundqvist had to be removed in each of the last two games, the Rangers lost a two-to-one game on Tuesday night to the Washington Capitals, ending their long, disappointing season.

The Rangers weren't very solid in this series at all. Actually, their best game as a team was in game seven, but Sergei Federov scored the game winner with about five minutes left. The real reason the Rangers were even in this series was for their goalie, Henrik Lundqvist. Ironically, it is the same reason why they are going home early.

Lundqvist was spectacular for three games this series, which happened to be the three the Rangers won. As for the other four games, he was less then stellar. In game seven, he made some great saves, game-saving saves some would say, but this wasn't all he did. With five minutes left, he let in a very save-able goal by Federov, which went high glove side, something the Capitals and most teams are finding out is Lundqvist's greatest weakness.

Like I said, the Rangers would never have gotten to a game seven without Lundqvist. Heck, they would never have gotten to a game four without the so called "King."  This disappointing year is also on shoulders of the leaders and veterans, who basically forgot to show up for the playoffs.

Drury might have been injured, and Gomez might have had some good rushes, but for the most part, they were quiet and very invisible in the series. For two guys who are supposed to be the true leaders and captains of this team, they didn't show up at all.  Mr.Clutch, a.k.a. Drury, had one goal in the series and was not even a factor in game seven.

Markus Nasland, Wade Redden and Michal Rozsival were also non-factors, as they were all season. I will give credit to Rozsival for his game seven performance, he was definitely injured and still kept going out there. However, this does not make up for his lousy season, or that hefty four year deal he got. 

Redden turned out to be a total bust, and Ranger fans have five more years of watching him continue to be one. Naslund had an okay year, but for a guy who was coming in to replace Jagr's production, he didn't do the job.

Nikolai Zherdev had a good game seven also, though he still couldn't find the back of the net, and is still a lock to be the first one off the roster come next year. He had more fire, but still is in John Tortorella's doghouse. He also happens to be a free agent, so I would bet he will not be returning come September.

As for next year, the only guys that should be definite returners will be the goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, along with fellow young stars Marc Staal, Ryan Callahan and Brandon Dubinsky. These guys played with the heart and passion that Ranger fans love to see.

Also, I would love to see Sean Avery back, but we know the coach isn't very fond of him and hasn't been shy to say that. Also, Nik Antropov had a nice little run with the Rangers, and if he would be willing to return for a small deal, I would love to see what he can do during a full season under Tortorella.

The Rangers have some young guys in the minors, especially defensemen, so it will be interesting to see what they will try to do and accomplish in the off season. You would have to believe, out of the four major contracts of Drury, Gomez, Redden, and Rozsival, that the Rangers will try to move two of them in order to free up space for hopefully a true goal scorer.

The offseason will be a long one for the Rangers. With decisions in every area of the game besides goaltending, it will be up to John Tortorella and Glen Sather to get the guys Tortorella needs to run his system. 

But, we still have the rest of the NHL playoffs to go before we see which way Tortorella and Sather are going. Even though it was a great series, it was only the first round. Like I said, its going to be a very long off season for the New York Rangers.