The end of the tough seven game stretch

Rob Carr/Getty Images

Rob Carr/Getty Images

The Rangers opened the season 3-4-0. Sure, it’s not the start everyone had envisioned, especially with both Ryan Callahan and Chris Kreider out with injuries, but it’s only marginally worse than last year’s 3-2-2 start through seven games. That start included four games against non-playoff teams. This year the Rangers played the Penguins twice, the Flyers twice, and the Bruins twice. That’s six games against playoff teams.

If you told me that the Rangers would be 3-4-0 after this seven game stretch, I’d take it. I may not like it, but it’s a lot better than what could have been. In the month of February, the Rangers will play 12 games, nine against teams that missed the playoffs last season. Sure, the Lightning (two games) are 5-1-0 to start the season, but for comparison’s sake, the Islanders are 4-2-1. That’s not a slight against the Lightning, but hot starts fade.

Using last year as a barometer, the Rangers still went 0-1-1 in their next two games before really opening things up. After that, they won seven in a row, before going 3-2-0 to close out the month. To put the numbers together, the Rangers started last year at 3-3-3. They finished November with a record of 13-5-2. A lot can happen over the course of a month, and last year’s top-seed in the Eastern Conference also had a sub-par start to the season.

The Rangers had arguably the hardest start to the season. They survived it, managing to get three wins in the process. It wasn’t pretty, and it likely won’t be pretty until the club really hits its stride after two or three more games. Once they get Cally and Kreider back (assuming it’s the playoff Kreider), then their depth problem won’t be exploited as badly as it has been.

Based on the reaction from last night’s game, there’s a lot of ship-jumping at the moment. Such is a by-product of being a New York sports fan. We live and die by the teams we love. But in all the hype, let’s remember that 41 games still remain in this season. The Rangers are only three points behind the Devils for the Atlantic lead, five points behind Ottawa for the conference lead, and two points behind Pittsburgh for a playoff spot.

Remember, it could be worse. We could be Philadelphia, Washington, or Florida. All three made the playoffs last year. All three are in the cellar of the Eastern Conference.

12 Responses to “The end of the tough seven game stretch”

  1. Evan says:

    Spot on post. Absolute no reason for anyone to panic. I feel last night we saw the penguins at their absolute best and we actually controlled a lot of stretches of the game. We should have scored 3 times on our first PK and then we were unlucky later in the game.

    The bottom line is the rangers havent even scratched the surface of their potential and we still went 3-4-0 against the best teams in the east. We had the fewest amount of skaters during the lock out and now with fewer games this month torts can finally get his system rolling again.

  2. Bloomer says:

    It’s not the fact the Rangers are losing that’s making fans jump ship as you put it, it’s how they lose their games. I rather see a bunch of muckers lose going down swinging and scrapping then a bunch of prima donnas lose in a zombie like trance. When Cindy and Malkin pull off their slough foot and other garbage, someone needs to line them up and knock them into tomorrow. That’s the difference between this years team and last year… no moxie.

    • Dave says:

      They opened last season looking like this too.

    • VinceR says:

      Yes the played like that in the beginning…in the first Boston game and in both of the second games in their back to backs (played bad vs. boston, then in b2b vs. Pitt, then well in second boston match, poorly in b2b vs. philly, then well vs. Toronto and Philly).

      Many are willing to attribute that to getting into a season with no training camp. The games they played well they didn’t look like they played like prima donna zombies. Last night they most certainly did, but it’s also one game in the middle of what appeared to be a turn around, and just after a big personnel loss.

      I’m waiting to see a pattern before I call them out on heart totally, or that they can’t play the “right way” without Cally.

      I think last night they were missing the spark that Cally provides, but it is one thing to realize going into a game they need to generate spark themselves, and another to experience the actual first game without that spark…I think after being in a game without him they get it and I’m looking for the spark out of them from now on.

      With that said, there will be games here and there where they won’t have it. Also last night, they would seem to generate that here and there late in the game (too late, I know), and it would immediately be cancelled by a bad penalty or a bad break (posts).

      I guess what I’m trying to say, let’s not judge the team’s heart/scrappyness quite yet. They were starting to break out with their identity and they hit a road bump. If it continues, I will certainly change my mind.

  3. Joe says:

    Nobody is talking about the real problem, just like in Tampa Bay the coach’s philosophy wears on players. I mean Hagelin plays his best game of the season. has one mistake, caused by his zeal to get in and play and the coach calls him “Dumb”. I don’t know how many of you would put up with this kind of Sh*t from your bosses, but I wouldn’t, it is unprofessional. The solution: Fire the coach!!!

    • VinceR says:

      Because it’s not a normal job…coaches yell at and call out players all the time. If I was paid the same money to get called out publicly by boss for playing a game, then yes, I would certainly take that from my boss. I would also hopefully understand, after years of being in sports, that it is meant for motivation/and or making an example to play smarter.

      I don’t think at this level they play for hugs.

    • rickyrants13 says:

      Joe I see you got alot of thumbs down. Dont let that bother you This blog needs more like you Who are willing to put players and coaches on the spot. I dont know how anyone in here cant see that Torts has worn out his wellcome in one place allready. And his style will wear on players. Torts did the same thing to Dubi a few years back and his game went downhill afterwards… FACT

  4. SalMerc says:

    Maybe fire the coach is extreme, but there is something to be said for a good coach/player relationship. Did you see the stat where the NYR play the most players 20+ minutes a game. Is that a talent issue, a trust issue or a coaching issue? Either way, look around the league. All of a sudden the Islanders are a team to be reckoned with. No free passes in the NHL and the NYR need to bring their best game every night. I do not see that so far.

  5. ranger17 says:

    I thought Gilroy looked fairly good last night at least for another start against TB .Worst game i have seen in 3years .I watch Pitt all the time when not watching the Rangers , and other teams have hit Cindy and Gino when ever they can . And it works . The more you hit cindy the more off his game he gets ,until he can get a hold of Bettmen and tell him to send a memo out and let every one know you can’t hit Cindy after all he is the face of the league .

  6. Randy says:

    Who are we talking about here? There is no reason to fire Torts already…it has only been 7 games into the season and the Rangers could be much worse off (also this is not the NBA). Sure, they have lost a few games looking sluggish and without the spark they had last year, but this is still a new group of guys who have only been playing together for about a month.

    As for Geno and Cindy, I actually thought the Rangers did do a good job containing Crosby but let Malkin do too much damage with his shooting. The only times I can practically remember seeing Crosby are when he was complaining to the refs about a late hit or penalty he wanted (classic). The other time I remember seeing him he was throwing a spaz attack on Girardi, who easily checked him back and buried him.

    We can’t start worrying and pointing fingers this early on in the season when our team is not even in as bad of a position as they could be. I think Torts’ nailed in in his press conference last night claiming that the issue is all mental right now. Guys like Hagelin, Stepan, and Boyle play at their best when they are confident (as does everyone), and the more pressure the fans put on them to get their scoring going, the harder it gets for them. The goals will come…Stepan and Hagelin have had about 15 chances each over the past couple of days. Nash will start converting because he creates chances every game. There is no reason to panic…Rangers should come out flying against the Bolts tomorrow.

    I recently read that today’s practice was ‘Optional’ and the whole team showed up except for the guys with the most ice time (Nash, Richards, Gaborik, DZ, Staal, Girardi, McDonagh). Do you think Torts is just trying to rest them or do you think he is trying to send a message to the guys at the practice?

  7. Walt says:

    Bloomer

    I, too wish that the twat twins get their butts kicked just once, that would make my season. The NHL would come down on the player who would retaliate against these two limp wrists, dirty bastar*s, because Buttman loves the Pens, and Cindy!!!!!