It seems as if this team, with all the upheaval and tension produced by underachievement, is still searching for an identity. This writer has to wonder, now that most of this 2009-2010 season is done, is this all there is to this team?
On the heels of one of the most disappointing losses, the one last night to the Nashville Predators, the Rangers seem like a team without a clue. They played two periods of uninspired hockey, before realizing that the game wasn't snowed out by the blizzard outside during the final frame.
They were guilty of multiple giveaways in the first few minutes of the middle period, and it seemed like they were waiting for the absentee Marian Gaborik to suddenly come and save them yet again.
It seems that Ryan Callahan is the only player, other than Lundquist, that realized a game was being played. And that's just not enough.
Rozsival and Redden, the wonder-twins, have seemed lost. When you have to rely on Brian Boyle for offensive spark, and then he MISSES his teed up shot, fans have to be wondering the same thing.
It starts at the top.
Charles Dolan, the Cablevision mogul, clearly is out of touch with both teams in his building. Glen Sather seems to be throwing darts at a board with players' names to decide who he should add to this roster, and then uses a semi-trained monkey to come up with the salary numbers.
John Tortorella is doing his best to change the culture in his locker room, but if Sather doesn't provide him with the players that he needs, then all of his efforts are for naught, and they might as well put Joe Micheletti behind the bench.
Chris Drury may have been a leader on the Sabres. This writer was an advocate for him coming to the Rangers a few years ago, and he has left everyone - players, coaches, and GMs alike - wondering what happened. Clearly, he seems to be overwhelmed by the "C" on his chest. He has wandered through three seasons as a Ranger without ever living up to his contract.
Although the Rangers seem to have a crop of players in the minors that seem wholly promising, they are weighted heavily in the salary cap department, and can't seem to commit to a "rebuilding" policy from within.
The addition of Matt Gilroy and Michael "I need to shut up and play" Del Zotto have been inspiring, and watching Marc Staal blossom into a shut-down d-man has been a wondrous experience, three guy do not make a solid defense, especially when tow of those men are rookies. There is no doubt that Del Zotto is going to make his parents proud for years to come. Matt Gilroy will prove to everyone that yes, in fact, he CAN play good hockey.
However, the albatross twins (the aforementioned Rozsival and Redden) are going to hang around for years, unless Sather finally gets fed up enough to either waive them or send them to Hartford, thus admitting his mistakes and waving the white flag in his battle with the salary cap. Dan Girardi, however, as he is a great asset, should be traded away for a bigger body, or two.
I'd hate to see any young Rangers blue chips get traded. Because of this, the death of Cherepanov looms large on this franchise. The crop of defense-men still in Hartford seem doomed to either stay there or be traded away like so much Rangers youth of yore.
There are no easy answers on how to fix this organization, but there's one thing for sure. A culture starts at the top. Time for change in One Penn Plaza, and the sooner the better.
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