Amid a scoring slump of sorts (2 games is hardly a crisis) Coach Tortorella once again swapped up his lines during the Blues game. On one occasion Carl Hagelin played opposite Marian Gaborik. With all the line changes comes speculation about the who, what, where and why’s.
Perhaps the main thing the Rangers didn’t do well against the Blues was stick to their own game. The team needs to get back to basics in the next game against Phoenix. The game against the Coyotes should signal a few changes as the Rangers need to get some snarl back and improve their overall effort. Examples may need to be made and the game should call for the inclusion of Sean Avery and Mike Rupp. There should be more ice time to Carl Hagelin whose sole mission should be to harass the puck carrier.
They need to throw the puck on net and crash the net as much as possible. What went on in St Louis was not nearly enough in regards to offense generated and the last two games have been the result of slipping play in recent games. The Rangers have had an up and down couple of weeks with some good and some bad performances.
Will Tortorella bench Brandon Dubinsky at some stage? Despite being a Dubinsky fan it’s a move I have called for, for a while. It’s becoming a serious issue. He’s well off his normal level of play and he needs a game out of the line up. While Dubinsky isn’t the only player underperforming (Brian Boyle, Fedotenko both come to mind for starters) he is the most critical element of what is going wrong.
The Rangers, especially right now, need Dubinsky to be better, much better. He’s an integral secondary scorer that simply isn’t scoring (the occasional assist doesn’t count). When the Gaborik line is being shut down so much pressure turns to Richards and Callahan to score as Fedotenko (on their line) has never been relied on for offense. So with no Dubinsky offense, the depth is tested.
It’s getting to the stage of the season where Dubinsky’s bad year threatens to undermine everything good about the year so far. His bad year threatens to adversely affect the great start to the season. He needs to be a factor going forward. I don’t buy into the apparent annual team slump around this time of year. It’s a different team with different players. What I do buy into is making changes to proactively impact players’ form. Let the players characterised by work effort and determination play. Get back to being a relentless fore-checking team and for that, at least right now, Dubi needs to sit.