“There’s going to be no entitlement around here, and I think it kind of stinks of that around here. We’ve got kids, and this coaching staff and manager wants to infuse some kids into our lineup, because we feel that’s going to be the best way to build it as we go along the way. We’ll go through some bumps in the road with kids, but not with underachieving veterans. I just don’t buy it, and it’s not gonna work here. It’s not gonna work that way.” - John Tortorella
No entitlement? Accountability? I don’t even know who the Rangers are anymore. It’s a long time coming, and the fact that the coach of the Rangers had to make that statement is an indictment of the Glen Sather era. But more importantly, he backed up his words with actions. Tortorella scratched Wade Redden and Ales Kotalik for two games and demoted Chris Drury to the fourth line (though Tortorella changes his lines so often, who can tell which is the second and which is the fourth lines anymore?). Yes, the captain of the Rangers is a penalty-killing fourth-liner.
What happened in the three games since The Tirade That Rocked the Garden? They won them all. Of course it just may be a coincidence, since Henrik Lundqvist saved his teammates’ bacon in the first two games and only let in one goal in the third. And all three contests were played against subpar and/or struggling teams. But the fact is, they won them all. Drury actually scored goals in the first two games. I pinched myself to see if I was awake. Though I’ve never actually had a dream where Chris Drury scores a goal either. Redden and Kotalik were de-scratch-ified for the third game, but neither did much of anything. Redden didn’t take his benching well. “Why me?” he wanted to know. Umm, because you add absolutely nothing to the team, and have just been going through the motions the last year and a half. If he had any inkling of how poorly he has been playing since he signed his ridiculous contract with the Rangers, he would have been skating with a brown paper bag over his head all these games.
The real question is, will this new era of no entitlement last? Supposedly Sather’s on board, but it’s his fault in the first palce. Will it now be easier to scratch Michal Rozsival or even Drury if need be? And will the coach and GM have the guts to send the passionless Redden down to Hartford? The Rangers finally have plenty of youth to fill out the roster. Let them play and learn from their mistakes. Would you rather see the Rangers lose but with young players gaining valuable experience? Or would you rather see them lose with veterans like Redden not even aware of how badly they’re doing? Or maybe, just maybe, they’ll start to win consistently with players earning their ice time just like a real team. What a concept.