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Rest the Rangers?

March 9, 2012, by

At what stage – if any – should John Tortorella consider resting Rangers for a game or two with the playoffs approaching? It’s a key consideration for the coach as particularly in the recent stretch of games some players have started to evidence wear and tear from the long season, probably because of the way this blue collar Rangers team play the game.

The issue of rest is a tricky one because of the hard charging and getting healthy Penguins (winners of seven straight), the benefits securing home ice advantage throughout the playoffs would provide and, don’t discount organisational pressure/desire toward securing home ice and the associated financial advantages an extra game or two would mean. Points mean prizes folks.

Dan Girardi has looked mortal over the last few games. His turnover that led to Jordan Caron’s goal in the Boston game was very un-Dan Girardi and it may have been the result of mental fatigue. Girardi almost always makes the right decision, the sensible decision. In that instance he misread the play and tossed it through center ice – we saw the result.

That said Girardi isn’t the only one who has begun to look jaded. The team generally has been scrambling a lot, has been handsomely outshot in their recent 1-1-1 streak and look perhaps a step off the pace. This team gets away with it and continues to rack up results because they never give in and the effort level is always high. However, once a tank is running on empty there is only so long even the hardest working team can go on.

Players like Dan Girardi and Brandon Prust don’t voluntarily take a seat. They play through pain so a ‘rest break’ would be foreign to them. If anyone takes a seat it will be because the coach has told them to. Not an easy situation to negotiate.

There could be benefits from any rest, aside from the health factor. If a few Rangers sat for a game or two it might allow the team to give more NHL experience to the likes of Tim Erixon at the back or a final gauge of whether Zuccarello can cut it with the Rangers up front; with injuries in deep playoff runs so frequent having potential call ups recently involved in the NHL could be beneficial; plenty to think about for the coaching staff.

Fantasy hockey fanatics out there will worry about Henrik Lundqvist too. Probably the easiest and most likely position to justify an extended break would be in goal. If the Rangers can maintain a healthy lead in the division heading in to the last week or two there’s a good chance Biron sees a few games more than he normally would – a refreshing change to when the Rangers have had to rely on Lundqvist just to get in to the playoffs. A well rested King come playoff time? Sign me up.


  1. Bloomer says:

    There is nothing more demoralizing then when your busting your ass in a hockey game and your goalie lets in a soft one. Biron has let in too many soft goals in his last few games, the Rangers need to take a look at some of their farm keepers.

    • Justin says:

      Yikes Bloomer. Trust me, the Rangers have nothing on the farm worth looking at. Chad Johnson’s ceiling is a decent backup, but he sure hasn’t reached it yet. Biron has played remarkable well for this club overall. His last few games were admittedly not his best, but his overall body of work is tremendous. If the Pens and Devils were sliding, this wouldn’t even be an issue, it’s simply got people rattled because he is slumping while the Rangers are losing ground.

  2. Rickyrants13 says:

    We dont have anyone in the system better then Biron. But some of the other kids should see some time to spell a player or two. Only a moron wouldnt do it. In the next three weeks we will see if our coach is one or isnt one.

  3. Leatherneckinlv says:

    In all honesty should the Rangers not finish atop the Eastern Conference, it won’t bother me. In fact if they fall into the 18-24 range in the draft that would please me more so due to the fact we can add another valued piece to our organization in a deep draft. The Rangers have had a successful season in comparison to what I call “The Plan”. A real successful season would be to make it to the conference finals…an unbelievable season would be to win the cup. Both are attainable for the Rangers. What I think the Rangers need to do is to work on consistency in the top 6 for offensive chances. Resting the players is a good idea and should be implemented especially with the defense. But the most important factor to work on for the remainder of the season is the top 6 and the powerplay.

  4. Bobby Tux says:

    . Sutuational replacement might be the answer to many if the Rangers shortcomings. What if the Rangers prompted Zucs to the big club and sat Scott. Bickel could play the few firward shifts needed from the physical perspective with Rupp and Mitchell and at normal defense shifts with Staal.

    As fir Zucs, he would be on the 2nd PP and play occasionally with Hagelin and Gabirik in a speed line especially against an opponents slow 4th line.

    Currently Scott does not offer much and once the Playoffs start fighting is a deterrent that can be in the Press Bix waiting for the next game.