Many fans love to point fingers and call for heads when teams underachieve. When fans spend their hard-earned money to support their favorite teams, whether it be on buying tickets to watch them play or buying apparrel—they get angry when they don't see results—and rightfully so.
But where does the blame deserve to land in the case of the New York Rangers?
Does it fall at the feet of John Tortorella?
Is his coaching strategy simply not working and should he take the heat for the lackluster performances night-in and night-out?
Or is it not his fault—but rather the players fault—for not performing the way they should be. Are the players simply not giving the effort that they should be giving at a professional level?
Or are they not the right players for the job? Does the blame then shift to GM Glen Sather for assembling the wrong group of players to consistently win?
Is Sather to blame for handcuffing the Rangers with several contracts that weren't warranted?
Did signing the likes of Chris Drury, Wade Redden, and Michal Rozsival to absurd contracts—both in length and worth—hurt this team so badly that it cannot rebound?
Speaking of rebounds, is this the fault of Henrik Lundqvist? Was he too good? Was he simply so good these past few seasons that the rest of his team relied on him too much, and now that he has shown that he is human the team can't compensate?
Maybe it wasn't Sather's fault, after all, it's not just him making the decisions. So are the scouts to blame? Did they simply mis-evaluate the talents that the Rangers invested in?
Was passing on the likes Zach Parise and Ryan Getzlaf to draft Hugh Jessiman enough to sabotage a team for years to come?
How about Neil Smith, remember him?
Was the Cup in '94 worth the dismantling of youth which has held the Blueshirts ransom for the next 10 years?
How about we go straight to the top. Right up to James Dolan himself. Is his disinterest in the Rangers hurting this team so badly that he doesn't even realize what is going on? I mean, we still shell out the money and sell out the Garden every night, so I guess it's not putting too much of a bearing on him now, is it?
Or does this go much, much deeper. Are we to blame? Are we as New Yorkers to blame for these troubling times? Is our "we want it yesterday" attitude so bad that we simply can't live with these results?
While other cities like Pittsburgh and Washington knew that they weren't going to be competitive for a few years if they stuck to a plan, were we too demanding to ever let that happen? Why not us? Why couldn't the Rangers have drafted Alex Ovechkin, Sidney Crosby, Evegni Malkin, or Alex Semin?
Did we really think that Eric Lindros, Pavel Bure, Theo Fleury, Brendan Shanahan, Jaromir Jagr, Luc Robitaille, Martin Straka, Jari Kurri, and Wayne Gretzky were going to bring us Cups for years to come?
We were promised rebuilding and were asked for patience. But then the aging stars continued to come.
We were promised a disciplined decisive team, but got nothing but boring 2-1 losses.
We were promised an up-tempo team that delivered full 60-minute efforts—something that hasn't been seen in years—but all we've received is third-period collapses.
So maybe we are to blame; maybe it was our fault all along.
It was our fault for being gullible.