The Strengths and Weaknesses of the New York Rangers

Hot Stove New YorkSenior Writer IDecember 2, 2009

NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 30: Henrik Lundqvist #30 of the New York Rangers makes the stop against Sidney Crosby #87 of the Pittsburgh Penguins at Madison Square Garden on November 30, 2009 in New York City. The Penguins defeated the Rangers 5-2. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The Rangers are in a freefall and it looks like the only thing that can stop them is the break in the schedule.

With no game until Saturday, now’s a good time to break things down and list all of the Rangers’ strengths this season:

Marian Gaborik can score goals.

Ok, that about wraps that up. Now for their weaknesses:

Henrik Lundqvist is having a subpar year. The defense is porous in front of him but he still lets in far too many goals that should be stopped. Hopefully, he’s just in a slump.

The defense is too soft.

The defense has too many breakdowns.

The defense is constantly out of position.

The defense lets too many opposition forwards stand alone, untouched in front of the net.

The defense chases the puck around in their own zone, leaving opposition players wide open.

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The defense can’t stop anybody from scoring touchdowns in the red zone...oops, sorry, getting the Giants’ freefall mixed up with the Rangers’.

The whole team is too soft, getting pushed around like a bunch of ragdolls.

Dave Maloney should be the TV color man instead of Joe Micheletti .

Nobody can score a goal except for Gaborik.

The team doesn’t have any defensive-minded forwards.

The team doesn’t have any offensive-minded forwards.

The power play has stopped scoring goals.

The penalty kill has started giving up too many goals.

The effort comes and goes. They’re consistently outworked by the other team, slow to the puck, slow to forecheck and slow to backcheck.

John Tortorella ’s attacking, defense-is-an-afterthought style of play may not fit this team. They’re thinking offense first, yet still can’t put the puck in the net.

And it all leads to bad defensive zone coverage. If a coach is supposed to get the best out of his players and put them in a position to succeed, Tortorella’s not doing it.

Their salary-capped-out situation has forced the roster to be constructed with a mix of young, still-learning guys (especially on defense), disastrous contracts (Michal Rozsival , Wade Redden , Chris Drury , et al.), offensively challenged forwards, one scoring threat and Donald Brashear .

I’m sure I’m missing a few things here and there. Their defensemen are scoring, so I guess that’s a positive, and they’ve been sticking up for each other now and then lately.

Sure, they played decently in their last game but that was in comparison to the absolute disasters that preceded it (and they still lost by three goals).

Right now, the Rangers are a bad offensive team, a bad defensive team, with bad special teams and bad goaltending.

Is there a miracle cure? Only hard work and a prayer can help them now.

And sudden career-ending illnesses to Rozsival, Redden, Brashear and we’ll throw Glen Sather in there, too, for good measure.

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