I have been a Rangers fan for more then twenty six years now. I have seen this team go from a play-off team to one of the worst teams in the league. To turning it around and winning the Cup, to again being one of the worst teams in the NHL , to what we have now.
I witnessed some of the worst signings and trades in the history of the NHL. I have seen coaches take a good team and turn it into garbage and I also watched a great coach take the Rangers to the Stanley Cup and win it!
Some of the best players in hockey have passed through the Rangers organization and either made a difference or straight out flopped!
The one thing the Rangers have had in the past twelve years was a reliable goalie. Some would even argue that they were the best of their era in Hockey. But from the Mike Richter days to the Henrik Lundqvist days, the Rangers continue to have one major issue that continues to haunt them.
I watched Mike Richter from the day he made his debut in the NHL, and in my eyes he was one of the greatest goalies of all time. The saves he made was like no other and the year he had in the 1993/94 season will forever be remembered! But when you look at Mikes record, you might say well it really isn’t that good and you are correct. But in no way was it Richters fault or his lack of ability!
The New York Rangers had one of the best goalies in the NHL and for the most part of his career with the Rangers they also had one of the worst defenses in the league and this plagued them for years and still does! It also proved that it does not matter how good your players are or who they are, with out a good defense a team will not go far! The Rangers missed the payoffs seven years in a row and it was because of there defense!
Jeff Beukeboom was one of the best enforcers/defenders in the league and pair with Brian Leetch they were considered to be one of the great duos of all time. They were the heart of the Rangers defense and ever since the early retirement of Beukeboom the Rangers defense has never been the same.
No matter how great Richter was, how impressive the stops he made were. The Rangers defense were no-where to be found and Richter was practically playing alone. If there was ever a goalie that earned all of his wins it is Mike Richter!
But now the Ranger again have one of the best goalies in the NHL and again the Rangers fight and struggle for a win. They have stacked their lines with some great talent and big names. A trademark for this organization. From superstar Marion Gaborik to the rookie Artem Anisimov this is a team that can score the goals to win a game. But yet they struggle to do just that.
Well how can this be, that one of the best goalies in the league, gives up on average 3 goals a game in the last 10 games. Its simple and its called defense or lack of I should say!
To prove exactly what I mean all you have to do is look at last nights disaster. Last night the Rangers faced off against the Vancouver Canucks and the Rangers veteran defenseman, with over thirteen years in the league skates around his own net with the puck, has his head up and looking around and passes the puck right to a Vancouver player who in turn scores a goal. This is totally ridiculous as there was one Canucks player on the left against the boards and another all the way on the right , both player where close to the blue line and the Rangers where in the middle of a line change. Redden was not rushed nor did he need to make any kind of pass or move, he was in no immediate danger of losing the puck to a Canucks player but yet he passed it right to the guy. Not up the middle, not even a dump pass in an attempt to clear the puck, it was a line drive right to him. Back in the day he would have been accused of blowing a game deliberately! He is a perfect candidate for the loser of the week award!
I have said before several time, Redden will only hurt the team and he did again last night. But yet Tortorella will continue to play him. He will not be benched nor will he be replaced! Hmmm!
Another Ranger veteran going into his tenth year is Michal Rozsival. If their was ever a player that is a joke to hockey, it is this guy. Well him and Marik Malik! For sixty minutes rosy does nothing except take bad penalties. If you place your stick around a guys waist it is called hooking. Regardless if the guy grabbed the stick or not, your stick does not belong there. But yet , game after game, Rozsival gets a hooking penalty. He has been out of position more then he has been in the right spot and has been the cause of more goals then anyone else on this team. His offense is non existent and his defense has diminished to nothing. But yet Tortorella continues to play him and he too will not be replaced. But he is in the top running for loser of the week.
Dan Girardi has struggled big time in his own zone and has played poorly in more game then he has good games. I watch him play and sometimes he just looks lost and clueless on where he should go or what he should do. Going into his fourth year he should know not to ever let a player from the opposite team skate right by him when there is no one on his team behind him to pick the player up. But yet he has done this several times already and several times goals were scored.
Marc Staal is going into his third year and again he is a defender having problems. Lined up with Girardi they have been on the ice for most of the goals scored against the Rangers. Out of position or unable to clear the puck from their zone has been a recurring problem. But yet Coach Tortorella still keeps them lined up together.
There is something wrong with this picture when the head coach does not even mention the defensive play as one of the reasons they lose a game! He either wrongfully blames a goalie or his forwards. Is this guy for real or what? Is he so clueless that he does not see where his problems are. Yes offense is very important, but as proven already, it does not matter how many goals you score because with out defense your opponent will score more. Rangers 3 San Jose 7, Rangers 4 Montreal 5 , Rangers 1 , Vancouver 4 and so on and so on. But yet not one move has been made, Redden was getting the most ice time for a few games and this makes no sense what so ever. This is a brain dead move that tells us all that Tortorella is not even looking at his defense and is just focusing on the offense. Lets be real here, Tortorella cannot even get these guys to stop taking so many stupid penalties.
I Rather see Tortorella give a younger defender in Hartford a chance then continue to see veterans like Rosy and Redden take up space and time and doing absolutely nothing to help this team. Potter, Sauer, Sanguinetti, and Heikkkinen will all give a much better effort and do better than Rosy and Redden. Especially when they see a veteran and a star player benched or sent down, you can bet you life that these young players will play their hearts out to stay in the line up.
if it was the issue that they tried to make some trades and or they just cannot do anything in regards to Redden and Rosy that is fine. We are all aware of their contracts and salery , but do not go blaming others for the defenses mistakes and at least acknowledge the problem instead of acting like it does not exist!
It is not like the defense has enough issues as it is, Tortorella wants to add to it and Now they have Marc Staal working on his offense. I mean give me a break, they can not even clear the puck in their own zone or defend their own net. Forget about his offense and continue to work on his defense. It has already cost them a goal when he thought he was Brian Leetch and tried to skate the puck through the neutral zone between three opposing players. We do not need his great offensive ability at this time, the Rangers need defense.
In last nights game the Canucks controlled the puck for over 5 minutes in the Rangers zone in the third period. No matter what they did the Rangers defense and line could not clear the puck. There was not one check nor was there any real pressure on the puck carrier. This Ranger defense is one of the worst they have had in over a decade.
Michael Del Zotto and Matt Gilroy are rookies and mistakes are expected. But for the most part they have progressed extremely well and really have done a good job so far.
Chris Higgins scored his first goal last night and hopefully he will get on a scoring streak! He too took some bad penalties last night but his overall play, especially defensively has been superb!
As far as I am concern the Rangers are not yet ready to move on. Other then Prospal and Gabby, no other line has the chemistry and cannot score goals. The players that should be getting more ice time are not and the ones that shouldn’t are playing more then they deserve. The lines are all wrong and that goes for the defensive lines as well. Along with that I thought we were getting a fair, observant, and hard nose coach. But basically the Rangers have just your average, every day biased coach.
Staal did the exact same thing as Brandon Dubinsky and Staal was not bench and Dubs was. Rosy and Redden have done noting to help this team and their playing ability has diminished to nothing. But yet coach Tortorella plays them every game. Dan Girardi has been inconsistent but not yet to the point of benching. Same thing goes for Staal. Tortorella lied when he said he will bench anyone that does not play well, and what he really meant to say was that he will just bench those he chooses to bench for what ever reason he chooses and those reasons do not apply to every player, just the ones he chooses!
For continuing to playing these jerk-offs again this week, and for not being a man of his word, coach John Tortorella won the loser of the week award for the second week in a row. Wake up coach, its your defense that sucks!!!