In order to come to some sort of solution, we need to start from the head coach. Sure John Tortorella did amazing things with a team that was in the dumps down in Tampa Bay. Sure he won the Stanley cup Championship. But that was many years ago and with a totally different team and a different league. The new rules has effected the way the game is played and we are stuck with a coach who is to stubborn to see that nothing he does has worked.
It seems like years ago that the Rangers went on their 7 game winning streak. Since then losing has become the norm. They have not even played the same. I am not talking about their physical play here. I am talking about the whole style of play.
Michael Del Zotto used to sneak down low and either look for passes or collected the rebounds and slapped them in for the goal. On the other side was Matt Gilroy doing the same, When is the last time they scored?
That has been tossed aside so that Michal Rozsival can play 22 minutes a game. wade Redden was not even on the power play in the beginning and now Wade and Rosy are on every time.
It takes a combination of both good defense and offense to win games. Something that Redden and Rozsival do not possess. If John Tortorella wishes to place the faith of the Rangers season on the sticks of Redden or Rosy, he will continue to get what he has been getting. That is a wide ranger of losses and nothing else. From getting destroyed to keeping it close, but in the end losing it in the last minute of game play. Most of the time because of defensive errors with Redden or Rosy on the ice.
We can start with the power play. On one line we have Gilroy and it used to be Kotalik,, now it is Chris Drury. It used to be Del Zotto , then turned to Rosy or Redden. It Used to be Marc Staal or Dan Girardi, but now it is Redden or Rosy.
This is so dam simple to figure out it is not even funny that it has not been done yet. An amateur coach or your average fan can see this and put this one together. Del Zotto and Gilroy belong on the Power play at all times. On the other side you place a forward. It does not even matter who the forward is, as long as it is someone that can and will actually put the puck in the net. That means you do not place Higgins there!You can always rotate the forwards, it does not matter. You are improving the chances to score and at the same time giving the opposing team another player to have to worry about. This also allows either Gilroy /Del Zotto or the additional forward to slip down to help the offense. The last thing in the world you want is Girardi, Redden or Rosy down low. They are not fast enough to recover if needed to.
Marc Staal has been so worried about improving his offense that his defense has diminished. Sure he can see some power play time as well, but not to the extent that he has been. Again we are trying to improve the power play, not take away from the man advantage and Staal has become a crutch on the power play as well.
Will anyone look or count on Marc Staal to win the game with a goal? NO, of course not. How about Redden or Rosy? Again NO you wouldn’t.
Michal Rozsival has fanned on more passes and shots then anyone. He does it more when on the Power Play, he simply chokes when he controls the puck and has cost the Rangers many Power Plays. But yet, Tortorella still continues and insists on playing him.
It is also the coaches responsibility to know his players. This is like a broken record. I said it so many times. But last year Ryan Callahan scored twenty two goals. He did not control the puck and very rarely did you ever see Cally behind the net or along the boards controlling the puck. Here we are fifty three games into the season and he is still controlling the puck and only has twelve goals.
Last year Ryan Callahan parked his rear in front of the goalie in the slot. Scotty Gomez and Marcus Naslund control the puck down low and along the boards. Playing an overload style of offense which is where the offense focuses and lines up mostly on one side of the net or the other. This allows for one player to sit directly in front of the net and it worked. All of Callahan’s goals with the excpetion of the short handed goals were scored when he was in fact in the slot.
Do we really need our coach to be Albert Einstein to figure this out and to change the offense of style of play. He preaches that his players need to keep the game simple. Well maybe the head coach needs to open his eyes and his simple mind first. The strategy is his, he is the one running the show, not the players. If I was the coach I would tell Cally to park his butt in the slot and move around to each side of the net. This is where he is at his best and plays to his strengths. When he does its simple, he scores!
Does Chris Drury have a shot that he can score from the point? Does he have a hard enough, accurate shot to even be effective along the boards or at the point. NO he doesn’t. Drury is not the best puck handler either, there fore he also belongs in the slot, which is where he has been effective when he was in Buffalo.
So pairing up Drury and Cally only diminishes their ability. You can not have two players sitting in the slot. It just will not work. So why in the word would you match up the two of them? Sure you can play the crash the net style, but you also need someonne that can shoot the puck on net. This is why you have so many pucks miss the net. They can't even hit the goalie! Say what you will, but the results speak for them selves. NO GOALS FOR EITHER ONE OF THEM! Never mind adding Higgins to it. He can not score from two inches away, never mind from out side the slot. That is a line that will never work. If you have Drury ad Cally infront crashing the net who will control the puck, your defense and Higgins. Will it work, absoluelty not.
Keeping it simple is the easiest way to get this team on the right track. But before you can do that, you need to know your players strong points. It is obvious that Head Coach Tortorella is clueless when it comes to his players. You can not sign a bunch of players that all have the same style or the same strong points. Sure you win a few games, but it will not belong before teams shut you down.
So you look at Chris Higgins, Ryan Callahan, Chris Drury, Sean Avery, Aaron Voros, Brandon Dubinsky, Brian Boyle, Donald Brashear, and Vinny Prospal. That is seven out of twelve forwards that need to Park it in the slot. Now you have Enver Lisin who is fast and has a great shot from anywhere, but he only plays three minutes a game. You have Boyle who is big but does not use his size at all, he only plays three minutes a game, So now you really only have ten forwards. Cross out Voros and Brashear so now you are down to eight forwards. Seven that need to be in front of the net to be effective. Only three of them can seriously move the puck. Gaborik , prospal and Anisimov. Think about it, this team was going to fail from the get go.
I know you are saying well what about Dubinsky, he can move the puck? Again NO, HE CAN’T. What does the most predictable forward in hockey do. Every game the same routine. He carries the puck in along the boards, he don’t pass, instead he gets checked or bumped and loses the puck. Yeah he had a short point streak, but he didn’t control the puck. As for the point streak, well this is something Bum Redden knows all about. You pass the puck to another player, he skates around with the puck for 5 second , he passes it to another forward who shoots and scores. Wow you have a point and didn’t do a dam thing. The point streak was a gift for Dubs. Half of those points he was third man touching the puck. I am not impressed and either should you be!
You have two defensemen that can score from anywhere, and four more that when it comes to scoring you might as well not even include them into the equation. But Tortorella is continously trying to force it to work. Its just not going to happen with the players he is trying to make it happen with!
The only time this team looks good is when they are given the time and not pressured. then they are allowed to move the puck and look better at it then they really are. More coaching issues that this problem has not been fixed yet.
From line changes to the line ups. Nothing matches and the best players when it comes to scoring are riding the bench or are not even playing where they should.
Why was Eric Christensen out of the line up against Pittsburg? What did he do wrong except add some spark and scoring to this troubled team. Once again Tortorella makes foolish decisions, costly ones. The results are the same. Shut outs and loses.
These players are not even given the chance to win. Enver Lisin scored two goals in back to back games. In those games he scored, he still saw minimal ice time, not even given the chance to go on a scoring streak. “Hard work , constant solid play gets you more ice time“. Torts words, not mine or yours. The head coach’s. But yet Lisin and Boyle who create offense, and play hard every shift still see minimal ice time. It is a joke! But it is not funny!
How are they given the chance to win when your head coach continues to play players that everyone in the word knows will not score and he doesn’t just play them for a few minutes, he plays them for twenty two minutes of the game. They are players that do not contribute to the offense in anyway, not even when they are on the power play. They do not play solid defense, pose no threat , nor do they at least play a physical game. But yet Rosy and Redden are playing everywhere they should not be playing and the amount of time simply takes away from the teams ability and chances to win.
Part of this sport is to allow your rookies to improve. Looking at the future and making an attempt to win the greatest trophy in all of sports. But yet the young players are being held back, riding the bench.
every team out their runs four lines continuously. Why in the world would you not? How in the world does drilling your best players into the ground, wearing them down help your team win. This is not even the case when they are looking good. Tortorella plays them for twenty five minutes even when they are being shut down. Not even giving the other players a chance to turn it around. Sure Gabby can score at any time with one shot. But it makes it so much easier for a team to shut one player down then compared to shutting down twelve. At the end of the night you have a beaten team, that is just exhausted. Well that is except the guys that played 3 minutes a game.
How about playing your fourth line against your opponents top line. Using your bigger players to wear down their best players. Do we see this happening, no we don’t.
I do not like Tom Renney, I think he was the worst coach ever. That is until Tortorella took over. Last year Renney pair up Marc Staal against the best player in the NHL, AND IT WAS Stall who shut Alex Ovechkin down. Last year it was Colton Orr all over Sid Crosby. Checking him and shutting him down, along with Paul Mara and Staal. If it wasn’t Crosby, it was Malkin. It did not matter, the Rangers biggest guys were all over them and did it well.
Last night Voros saw the ice for six minutes, Brashear, five minutes. Malkin and Crosby saw twenty plus minutes. Physical contact to Crosby, none, Malkin, none! Chances of winning against the former Champs, none! Specially if you are not going to play them Physical. Where is the big guys, why are they not shutting down Crosby and Malkin. Both players tallied two points each.
Give them the chance to win. Playing your best against their best all the time , is not giving the team a chance. Especially when your best is not that good compared to theirs. Match ups , physical presence, line ups, who plays and who isn’t. it all lands on the coach. The strategy, the approach, both defensively and offensively. The constant changing the lines, has become ridiculous. Again has proved nothing and has accomplished nothing but loses, all Tortorella issues!
Eric Christensen looked good on that top line. They scored goals and were winning games. Dubs played better on wing, not controlling the puck. Prospal came back, ok , but their was no reason to change the line up. The first line was clicking, for god sakes that is what you want! Place Prospal on the second line, that would have improved the second line of Drury and Cally . Now you can rotate the slot, you have Prospal who can most definitely move the puck. Maybe allow Prospal to play center with Cally and Lisin and move Drury down. Hell he i not no scoring threat either, so who cares were you put him, as long as it is out of he way!
Maybe move Drury all the way down to fourth line were in fact he played better. Now you have four lines that you will play and all four of them are for the most part solid lines.
Artem Anisimov belongs on the first two lines, So does Lisin. But if Tort insists on not placing them their, then he has to play them on the third line and give them more ice time. Why is Higgins seeing almost 20 minutes. Are you kidding me? This guy is a dam bum here in New York. You want to play him, place him on the fourth line with Drury and Voros.
Donald Brashear was placed back in the line up. Ummm why? Did he beat anyone up? Did he do anything for that matter? Again, a wasted spot taken for no reason. Again the chance of winning taken away. How can this team be expected to win when everything the coach does limits their chances. Its like the coach is on a secret mission to lose. I do not have a problem with that if the Rangers organization is looking to rebuild.
If that is the case then fine, let you dam fans know though, and he better do a better job at protecting players that will be here for a while , like Gaborik, and do not match him up against players Like Daniel Carcillo who looks to hit hard and beat people up. But this is not the case. The Rangers are not looking to rebuild.
You will not sign old players like Brashear to two year deals. You do not sign players like Kotalik IN HOPES TO HELP Drury score goals then not even play them together.
No this is not a team looking to rebuild. It is a team that has terrible coaching and a system that will continue to fail them as long as he is around.
Take a look at the Devils line up. Look at their entire roster. Do the Devils have better players then the Rangers. NO they don’t. what they do have is better chemistry and a much better coach.
How about the injury plagued Ottawa Senators, they lost all the top players at the same time and yet they still managed to win. Can you imagine what would happen if Gabby was to get injured for several weeks. This Rangers team will fall apart, not come together. But yet Ottawa managed to pull together and play as a team and win games. Do they have better players then the Rangers. Again the answer is NO THEY DO NOT! What they do have is a complete team filled with chemistry and solid defense. Add a good coach to that and what do you get. A team that is now a serious threat in the play off run, who now holds the 5th seed in the conference.
If there is anyone out their that thinks it is not the coach, you need to take a better look at this Rangers team. Higgins, Kotalik, Prospal, Drury, just those four players alone were starting on the first line or second line and scoring 20 plus goals prior to coming to the Rangers. That alone tells you something!
An even better example would be to take a look at the Buffalo Sabres team. This in no way is a team packed with great players and great talent. What they do have is a team that has outstanding chemistry, and a coach that has done a great job. This is not in no way a one season thing either. The Sabres have been a team that is always one win from the Cup for years now. The coaching staff has done a great job with their line ups, match ups, and when they go on the ice they are ready to play every game. With out question! Take a look at their roster. Their players are no better then the Rangers players. But they are in the top 5 in the conference and have been for several years striaght! Coaching , preperation for games, and knowing your players is big part of it.
In fact the Ranger players on paper have a much better team then most teams in the league. Again that is on paper. Looking at stats, age and so forth.
This is about coaching and the the team not given the appropriate chances to win games. This is about coaching that has turned what could have been a very good team into a disaster. There is no ifs ands or buts about it. The system and style of play is a bust, the line ups are a bust, players that Tortorella wanted have turned out to be a bust. Everything about this team is a bust.
I don’t care if they make the playoffs. It does not prove a dam thing. Every team that is in the conference ahead of the Rangers have indeed beat the Rangers and badly I should add. Being out played for sixty minutes is just as bad as losing 4-0. Its not just the score its how they play.
John Tortorella preached how this team was such a soft thinking , mental team. I have yet to see a change in that. They are not this hard team as he said they would be. They are not this awesome checking team that he claimed they would be. How could they be when their toughest guy is 5’11 185lbs. How can they be when their defense sits there and allows their best player to get pulverized by another team. Soft thinkers, soft mentally, again Torts words not ours. This team was set up for disaster since day one of Tort taking over.
So many of us were very happy with the coaching change. But ever since Tortorella benched Zherdev last year, something told me this guy is out of his mind and it wasn’t going to work. Not because I like Zherdev either, but because who else did he bench last year, noone. last year every player on that team was stinking out the Garden and only one person was benched. He just took over, he said it him self, the players are out of shape and soft. So he should have taken that into consideration and not immediately start benching players. By his own words he knew. With being a hard ass , there is also times to be fair and understanding. To see compromise and discipline. As a head coach you need your team to believe in you and what you stand for. Not show that you can abuse your power as the coach. Especially when you first take over.
How can this team believe in their coaches when their coaches do nothing to show that they have a clue on what to do. Again from line ups, players that see more ice time then others, to their match ups on the ice. How can a team have confidence in them selves when they have none in their coaches. The players do not even allow Tortorella in the locker room anymore when they talk! Problems , you bet there are major issues there.
Again how can this team be expected to win, when they are not even given the chance to improve, build chemistry, and become a solid team on all four lines. What Tortorella has done has caused separation between the top line players and those that see minimal ice time. You may not see it, the players might not even talk about it, but I can guarantee you it is there. If you do not think Enver Lisin is sitting there saying to himself why the hell is Hiiggin playing 18 minutes and Lisin is playing 3 you are crazy. If you think Lisin or Boyle are not saying to themselves, I would have put that puck in the empty net, after 3 missed attempts by Higgins, Drury and Dubinsky, you are crazy. It happens and this is what is happening now. This team is not playing as a team , and you see it. Friends stick up for each other, players on the same team stick up for each other regardless. that has not happen all year. Even when the goalie gets plowed into. They do nothing!
Until Tortorella is removed this Ranger team will not have or be given a fair chance to win! If they make the playoff, they will be eliminated in the first round. This is not a team that plays as one, it is a torn team with the head coach being the cause. Tortorella needs to go! Thats the bottom line!