Changes Needed; Hobbit Time?

December 6, 2010, by

The Rangers need a spark. As Michael wrote after the Ottawa defeat, the Rangers were caught up playing down to the opponent. It’s something the Rangers have historically done (see many of the Islanders match ups) but recently, playing poorly and winning has apparently been a sign of a good team. Well that cliché only goes so far. This team has gone slightly stale and needs to be woken up to a point. The power play has been dismal (no change there) but the offensive lines haven’t created much, the team has failed to get sustained pressure on any opponent in recent weeks and many of the team’s offensive ‘weapons’ are not contributing. Is it time to dip into a somewhat resurgent Connecticut side?

Despite his obvious skill Erik Christensen isn’t doing it to the level that’s required. Todd White has officially become a waste of a roster spot (not all his fault to be fair) and Alex Frolov – at least – needs a benching to wake him up. This is where guys like Mats Zuccarello could come in. He may not yet be ready for NY full time, he may not have an impact when he gets to NY initially but it may be the right moment to get him in the line up if for nothing else but to put pressure on some stale forwards. Zuccarello has played lights out recently scoring goals, playing effectively on the power play and being an offensive factor on a team that is still finding its feet in their season. An obvious injection of skill to the level that the Norwegian possesses cannot do the Rangers any harm. Tortorella needs to bench a player or radically shake up the team with a call up if nothing else but to nip the lethargy in the bud early and avoid a lengthy losing streak which, believe me, is around the corner the way this team is playing. After the second Ottawa game the schedule gets much harder so the current level of play is unacceptable. The fact that the Rangers looked second best in every puck battle against a tired team speaks volumes. The coaches and the team need to find a spark, maybe Zuccarello (or another Connecticut player) can be that spark.


  1. RangerSmurf says:

    Too early for Zuc. Yes, he’s got 16p in 16g of late, but he’s got eight zero-point games in there.

    He still needs a little time to gain more consistency, plus with Drury ready in the next 10 days or so, you have too many forwards as is.

    The play of Fedotenko and Boyle has made reaching to HFD this year for forwards somewhat unnecessary.

  2. Mikeyyyy says:

    Maybe a trade? Get rid of frolov, ec, and white for whatever you can.

    And gabby better step up. Or he should be scratched.

    I guess everyone is happy with their play. Being an nukes is not a right. It’s a privilege. And these guys need to start playing for their pay.

    That goes for Torts too. Start making smart decisions and stop coddling. Scotty bowman expected the best from all his players. So should torts

    Players need to wake up.

    • Dave says:

      White and EC have no trade value, so you can’t really trade them. Frolov will have some value (minimal), but he hasn’t been as big of a disaster as people make it out to be. He’s not a liability on the ice, he’s just not scoring.

  3. M.R.M. says:

    I’m all for bringing up someone from Connecticut. Weise or Zuccarello are probably the top candidates. Maybe they aren’t ready yet but we won’t know for sure unless they get a chance to prove themselves. It would also help those players to see how it is to play with the big guys.
    I say give them a chance. The Rangers can always send them back if it doesn’t work out.

  4. jurgenno88 says:

    Smurf, I used Zuccarello as the prime example because he’s producing, whether its consistent is immaterial to an extent. he cant do worse than some of the guys currently in red/white/blue.

    What is not immaterial is the lethargy and self satisfaction that is creeping in to the Rangers. The play has been sub par for 5 or 6 games now. Something needs to be addressed.

    • RangerSmurf says:

      Fair enough. In that case, I think I’d rather have Weise, since the best spot to open up is on the bottom 6.

  5. Dave says:

    If Weise doesn’t make it this year, then he should get one of the open spots on the team next year. Personally, I’d rather have him than EC, but my opinion there is biased.

    • jurgenno88 says:

      Smurf, Dave… Weise should be first in line on merit but this team doesn’t just need size and enthusiasm (I’m being harsh on Weise there – who I do like a lot) but they also need skill and creativity.

      Torts summed it up recently when he said cycling is one thing but eventually you have to go to the net too. I’d be more than happy to be pretty radical and bring up Zuccarello AND Weise. Drop White down and play both call-ups until Drury/Prospal are ready. If the kids earn their keep then EC is sent down too. I think bringing both up would send a clear message, that changes are needed and the management are willing to make them.

      I’ve watched how this season, my football team, Bayern Munich, played ‘happy families’ all season and be too self satisfied with themselves only for their play to drop off significantly. They are 17 points off top spot, a disaster of epic proportions. Its comparable to an extent because the issues in the team haven’t been addressed quickly enough.

  6. Jordan says:

    EC is on pace for a 7+ GVT. Enough of the group think hate. It’s so old and tiresome.

    • Dave says:

      GVT stats are available? The link on BTN is dead. Where are you getting that number from?

    • jurgenno88 says:

      He’s also on course for 30 points, predominantly playing top 6 minutes. Enough’s enough… talent should only get you so far. Eventually you have to produce to warrant the faith shown.

      If he was even remotely consistent I’d be inclined to show him some more love but he’ll bring it for one game and then disappear for 5.

      • Jordan says:

        He’s more consistent than Anisimov, Frolov, Fedetenko, Prust & Avery according to the best statistic available to evaluate the value of hockey players. So he probably should be on getting top 6 at this point.

        • jurgenno88 says:

          5 of his points have come against the Isles and Oilers in 2 games. Which means he has 6 points in the other 26 games he has played in. I don’t care about the crazy maths of hockey at times, that is not consistent unless its consistently bad.

          Using Anisimov as you mentioned him; in the first 13 games only 5 times was he held without a point. he’s in a slump now but he has shown more consistency at a younger less experienced stage. Also, Torts is too quick to demote him compared to the occasional in-game benchings EC gets.

        • Chris says:

          Except EC has more skill than 3 of the 5 guys you mentioned, Jordan. And, of those same 3 (Feds, Avery, Prust) they all do more to help the team beyond scoring. They do the dirty-work, if you will.

          EC cant do anything but score… and doesnt do it often enough against quality opponents.

          Anisimov and Forlov… well. They’re just (seemingly) lazy.

        • RangerSmurf says:

          GVT is a good stat, but even it’s creators understand it also has flaws.

          • Jordan says:

            Of course it has its flaws, but as I said, it’s the best statistic available today for evaluating hockey players overall contribution/value.

            Anecdotal plays and cherry picked stats are not as telling as GVT.

            • Jordan says:

              And futhermore (not saying you’re saying this RsngerSmurf) just because people don’t like what the statistic says doesn’t mean it must be wrong.

            • Dave says:

              But if you look at EC, his GVT is skewed by his performances against the Islanders and Oilers.

              • Jordan says:

                You could say the same thing about Gaborik. But no one is going to.

              • Chris says:

                You can ride the EC love train as much as you want… but theres a reason he was a waiver wire pickup.

              • Jordan says:

                It’s not riding a love train. It’s analyzing the facts and evidence. The objective empirical data proves he’s better than the naysayers argue. Denying that is silly.

              • Dave says:

                The EC hate is only deserved when you look at him as a top line center. I think that’s the biggest issue that I have.

                If he’s on the 3rd or 4th line, there’s no hate whatsoever.

              • Jordan says:

                “Personally, I’d rather have him [Weise] than EC, but my opinion there is biased.”

              • Dave says:

                Right. I hate EC because he’s on the top line right now.

  7. Phil Randazzo says:

    MZA is coming along. I’m not entirely thrilled with his post-game comment the other night, though. He gave a response that was intended for a European audience, but to a North American reporter.

    • Dave says:

      What did he say?

      • Phil Randazzo says:

        It was a long quote. Basically, in Europe they think players who fight are garbage. He just re-asserted their importance; it was meant for European fans. My point is, he still has a couple of things to learn about the mentality of North American hockey. He’s coming along very well, perhaps too well, otherwise on the ice.

    • jurgenno88 says:

      which was?

  8. Mikeyyyy says:

    Let’s stop looking at the players. When the whole mentality of a team changes it’s the coaches responsibility to fix it. It’s part of being the head coach.

    Torts was brought in because his intensity was opposite renney.

    He was pretty fiery in the beginning. He is startinto tail off.

    Go into the dressing room. Throw some sticks on the floor. Walk up to your best player and say. You suck, your not playing like you can. Get your act together. An that goes for all of you. Now get our there and start showing me what you can do. Or go the bleep home. The goal is the cup. Not .500 hockey.

  9. Canyon of Blueshirts says:

    Completely agree with ya shap. I was thinking about something along these lines earlier today, frolov needs to be sat.

    Even though MZA might not be ready for full time NHL duty, Frolov should know he doesn’t have a garaunteed spot in the lineup.

  10. Anders says:

    I think they should give Zuccarello a chance. He was the most scoring player in last years swedish league, and he’s just getting used to the smaller american rinks.

    Also; he’s short, got a long stick and comes from a country the size of New Mexico, but with only 40 ice rinks.