For reasons unbeknownst to myself and others, I have not been able to access this blog for quite sometime. And after last night’s 10-2 debacle, it seems that divine intervention has allowed me to return, to talk about the hideousness that occurred in the Lone Star State.
The honest to god’s truth is that over the course of an 82 game season, you are going to have a collapse such as this at some point. Around this time last season, it was the blown 5-goal lead in Montreal. The year prior, a 7-game losing streak plagued the Rangers during the winter months. But the context in which this atrocity to hockey occurred sets the new standard for the Blueshirt collapse. If you go back to the third period of the Rangers-Pens game on January 28th, the Blueshirts have been outscored a total of 18-4 (insert expletive here). This includes a lackluster effort against the conference’s top team, the Boston Bruins. If you cannot get hyped up enough to play the top team in the conference, what can ya get hyped up for? That was followed by an essential no-show for almost a whole 60-minutes against one of the conference’s worst teams, the Atlanta Thrashers, on Adam Graves night no less. And if it wasn’t for Markus Naslund’s miraculous goal with 11 seconds left, the Rangers would have had their 2nd 1-0 shutout in a row. If you cannot get hyped up enough to play one of the worst teams in the conference on the night one of the most honorable players in your franchise’s history has his jersey retired, what can ya get hyped up for?
To make issues more alarming, Tom Renney does his best Herb Brooks impression by skating the Rangers into the ice in the practice that follows the Atlanta. Now I am all for corporal punishment in the world of sports. I think coaches must send those types of messages to their mostly overpaid, under-achieving, prima donna athletes (does not apply to everyone). But for the Rangers to respond to that message in a way they did last night tells me one thing….
Tom Renney has lost this team. These guys can say whatever they want in front of the camera, but to not just come out flat, but to be embarassed in front of the entire NHL speaks volumes to the trust and faith these players have in their coach. If he cannot turn this thing around in the following week, some drastic measures must be taken to ensure the Blueshirts do not become the laughing stock of the league. Call that previous statement a little dramatic, but I’m pretty sure opposing teams do not see the Rangers as a legitimate threat and in turn, do not respect them (a Sean Avery post is coming soon). That to me is inexcusable in itself.
Monday’s game against the Devils has become the most important game in Tom Renney’s tenure as a coach. When you consider that it is a game against their biggest rival, on their home-ice (a place they have dominated since it opened), who is in first place, on national television (Versus is national right?), in the midst of an imminent implosion, there is no game bigger than this. Rumblings have begun in regards to Renney keeping his job, and if the Rangers do not respond as a team, it will become obvious that they have lost faith Renney. When you know your coach might on the cusp of losing his job and you want him to stay, you play your heart out for him (see Week 17: Jets vs. Dolphins). We will know Monday night how the Rangers truly feel about Tom Renney.