Being based in the UK (and the UK time zone) poses a challenge to your average European NHL fan. It requires dedication. So… I stayed up late (despite an eraly A.M. work meeting) to watch the Rangers take on Montreal. I wont lie to you though, I got the sleep that I needed all along. Why? come the 1st intermission I tuned out and turned my laptop off and went to sleep. I couldn’t watch any longer. Why you ask? I knew we’d lose. I had no faith in a comeback.
The way the Rangers played against the Habs disgusted me. I won’t go into detail about why because you all know it. Lets keep it brief: work rate, desire and a lack of offense. Thats some key reasons right there why the Rangers lost. I can handle a lack of talent but not desire and work rate reminiscent of the NYR 1997-2003.
As Dave points out, mathematically they can still do it, but despite being an optimist im telling you they wont. This team cannot win 9 of 12 right now. So what now? Im all for a high draft pick as I’ve said before but this team also has other concerns.
If the Rangers lose the next two games I’d start planning for next year. Of the final ten games they should rest Lundqvist and give Alex Auld 6 starts. This team was not helped this year by its goaltending beyond Henrik. Lets see if Auld can provide them with the back up next year that they need. Give him a real audition. I think he can be the perfect 15 start compliment to the King and solve one problem area.
Bench Redden and Roszival (I know, never going to happen) and give Sanguinetti and Heikkenen or McDonagh (apparently might be coming out of college) extended looks. Give Grachev a game or two (even if he hasn’t earnt it just yet)… Dont hold back, start the audition process now, and look to this years draft and next season.
The problem with all of this? It’s unlikely to happen because a) it means Tortorella would be putting his own job on the line because you know Sather wont take the fall for a lottery ending season and b) until the playoffs are absolutely 1000% ruled out, this team (read: senior management) wont look to the future.
But wouldnt it be good to know – ahead of camp – that Sanguinetti and co. can make the grade and wouldnt it be nice not to be the Caps 1st round cannon fodder and instead have a Seguin, Fowler or Tarasenko to plan with?