Brendan Shanahan may have done the Rangers a huge favour by suspending Brandon Prust for game four. In the past few years no team has better utilized an ‘us against the world’ mentality better than the NFL’s New York Giants. Consistently written off by the media, the Giants used that apparent lack of respect and turned it into a huge motivating factor that helped win two Superbowls. They played with a chip on their shoulders.
In many ways the blatant inconsistencies so evident in the NHL’s disciplinary this post season and grievances the Rangers have had throughout the playoffs can be used the same way the Giants used the lack of respect to strive for success. The Rangers; such a close knit, team-first-individual-second kind of team will use the absence of Prust the right way. They won’t be crying over the suspension.
Coach Tortorella has been more than vocal in his disdain for the way Brendan ‘losing league-wide respect by the second’ Shanahan has ruled over his players and the way the NHL’s VP of player safety so often hasn’t ruled against others.
The Rangers will have felt a distinct sense of injustice about the Prust suspension. If tiredness is present in tonight’s game four showdown maybe winning it for Prust and putting the proverbial middle finger up to the NHL disciplinary team will serve as motivation to the Rangers. Maybe it can lift the team above any fatigue that is clearly starting to kick in.
The Rangers need to offer Henrik Lundqvist more help. As spectacular and MVP-like that he has been, they cannot expect him to hold the fort for forty minutes while the team find their game. It’s during struggles where teams, individuals and fans look for something to turn to, to inspire. The NHL clearly haven’t got their act together when it comes to ‘player safety’ and league discipline and the Rangers might use this to their advantage. Whatever works, right?