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The Rangers are closer to the Cup than you think

Big picture outlook > lockout shortened season.

Big picture outlook > lockout shortened season.

After the Rangers loss against Boston Sunday night, much of the Rangers fan base went into panic mode. The usual suspects came out and called for Tortorella’s head, Michael Del Zotto’s and to some extent Brad Richards, as if the loss was solely on them. We’ve been down this road before, and quite frankly, I wasn’t surprised at the fan sentiment. The stakes are high at this time of year and everyone is wound tight. I get it.

Still, despite some Rangers bloggers calling this team mediocre and overachievers (which kinda contradicts the Torts hate no?), I beg to differ. No matter what happens the next couple of games, I still believe the Rangers are closer to the Cup than most give them credit for.

Do the Rangers need to make a couple of moves this offseason? Sure. But the right core is still in place and the right coach still leads them.

Look, there will be plenty of time to debate who stays, who goes, who we should acquire, etc. For now, take comfort in knowing the Rangers have the best goalie on the planet. We have one of the best defenses in the NHL (Sunday’s game was an aberration), save a move or two and a buy out of Richie, our offense will be much improved.

And that’s not to say this season is over. The Bruins are still beatable. They have better roster depth, but throw in a healthy Staal, or even a Ryan Clowe and these last two games could have easily gone the other way. Save a few brain farts in coverage, the Rangers have been right with them. These mistakes they’ve made are correctable and I’m sure Torts will have them playing the right way tonight at MSG.

Okay Suit, but what about the Penguins? We’d never get past them!

The Penguins seem to be everyone’s pick to steamroll through the Eastern Conference, but a team with goaltending issues shouldn’t be guaranteed anything. The Islanders outplayed the Penguins and lost. Hockey happens. But they exposed their weaknesses.

If we can comeback and beat Boston, I think we could carry that momentum into the Eastern Conference finals and perhaps beyond. McD and Girardi shutdown Ovie and Backstrom. Perhaps they wouldn’t have the same success against Crosby and Malkin, but perhaps they could contain them enough for us to have a chance. If not, there’s always next year.

Maybe next fall Kreider takes a step forward. Maybe Miller replaces Richie. Maybe Dylan takes Eminger’s spot. Maybe we acquire a PP QB. If any of those things happen, the puck moves closer to the other team’s goal line. The point of all this is, this team isn’t mediocre. While Henrik Lundqvist is the best goalie in the world, if the team was as bad as people thought, his save percentages would be back down in the .916 – .917 range like when he actually did have a mediocre team in front of him.

We’re getting there people. Though the hour seems to be getting late in Rangerland, the night is always darkest before the dawn. Chin up. Let’s go Rangers.

20 Responses to “The Rangers are closer to the Cup than you think”

  1. Sally says:

    While I glad to read your remarks Suit, my hope is that the Rangers don’t gut half the team again. I’m a great believer in chemistry and I don’t think you can develop that if you are always changing half the team.

    • Dave says:

      They have no reason to gut half the team this year. They needed to make the Nash move last year, and the other guys priced themselves out of NY.

  2. SteveM says:

    LET’S FREAKIN GO BOYS!!!!!!!

  3. RangerMom says:

    As usual, Mr. Suit, a very good perspective on our situation. I can’t agree more. We’re very close. We have most of the pieces already — best goalie on the planet, elite goal scorer, hardest working Captain in the league, and young, promising D & Forwards. We need a little more snarl, a little more goal scoring depth and a PP QB/booming shot from the point. (I think we have the second one and maybe the first in the system now – PP QB/big shot D is what I think is the most glaring gap.) Oh, and I know this will not please everyone, but we also have a coach who knows how to develop young players and knows how to win. So, whatever happens in this series (and I’m not counting us out just yet), I am very, very excited about our near term future.

    • DIRTYOLMAN35 says:

      To start with, since Torts got there the PP has gotten worse. 2 for 31 in these playoffs shows that. There’s no way that this excuse for a coach has any idea how to handle or develope young players. Open your eyes. Comment about Haglin, way he plays Krieder. You must be kidding. This team will NEVER, repeat, NEVER win the cup as long as Torts is there. The Bruins are showing everybody how to beat the Rangers, and Torts stays the course without making any adjustments.

  4. KennyJ says:

    Thanks, for slapping me around. I was panicking! Been to Disney World with the grandkids, so I missed both games. Wasn’t worried after game one, but 5-2 was a bit chilling. I know, on any given night…..
    I’m still hoping for a Richie resurgence and a Nash explosion. We need a little magic.
    Like SteveM says “LET’S FREAKIN GO BOYS!!!!!!!

    • Dave says:

      I was at the 5-2 game, that one was tough to watch. Blip on the radar, I still think this goes 6-7 games.

  5. TxRanger says:

    Too many maybes and speculations.

    Maybe Hank’s play declines significantly next year. Maybe Zuke gets a better offer and splits. Maybe Kreider and Miller are busts. Maybe Cally gets hurt, misses most of the season. Maybe Step can’t repeat this years performance. Maybe Nash is the next in a list of bad acquisitions.

    There are just too many possibilities to make a statement like this. A team is only close to the Cup when they are in the Finals, honestly.

    Also, I found the comment about “save a few brain farts in coverage” a little disturbing. That’s how you win hockey games, by capitalizing off of your opponents mistakes. Being right with the Bruins would not include these mistakes that cost us the game. I don’t know about you, but I don’t know anyone who’d call a 5-2 loss a close game. They are better than us, that’s reality. They’re beatable, yes, that’s why they play the games, but this has not been an even series. Yeah, game one was close, but we still lost. Game 2 was a blow-out. That does not equate to being right with them. I know you guys are being optimistic, but I don’t understand how you watch the games in this series and come up with that conclusion.

    This series is definitely not over though. I believe. We did it before, so we can do it again. The team has proved they can overcome this, but this time it is going to be a bigger challenge.

    • The Suit says:

      I don’t just evaluate where an entire organization is at based on one game where we got lit up – uncharacteristically at that.

      You can call it optimistic. I’ll call it analytic. Go Rangers.

  6. Rangers Fan in Boston says:

    Like the optimism. It would help if the Rangers’ could win a postseason series in less than 7 games occasionally.

  7. Mikeyyy says:

    I will be very interested in how they play in game 3.

  8. Rob says:

    Great write up Suit. Could you imagine the momentum this team gets if we get past the B’s? Oh boy! But it all starts with one game tonight. LGR!

  9. Dan says:

    I definitely agree with you on the core of the team, it’s there now and it’s awesome. Both trades we made with Columbus are definitely going to pay off, we made out like bandits.

    The thing that worries me going forward is the way they’ve played in the playoffs the last two years. 3 seven game series and the six game series against the devils. I wanna chalk it up to the parity in the league over the last several years but I feel that in many of these playoff games over the last two years, they haven’t been dominant and in control of the play as much as I’d like them to be when we know that our boys are the better team (Hank has had to steal a lot of these games).

    However, every time I wanna rip into Torts and the system, the team surprises me and climbs out of the hole they’re in.

    It’s been a wild ride the last 2 years for sure and I’d gladly take this than what we had to endure pre-lockout. GO RANGERS!

  10. Walt says:

    Great write up but the reality is tonight, the big bad Bruins pushed us around again, we blew a lead, and lost again. We are under sized at the forward position, our d-men are somewhat soft, and no one will clear the slot, how the hell are we so damn close to winning it all? Last year, we scored, and kept the lead especially in the 3rd, now we cant hold our bowel movements, let alone the lead. I guess I have to wait another 54 effing years to see the cup again!!!

  11. Jim says:

    Couldn’t agree less with this article. This team is in bad shape, they are not playing as a team at all. Blind passes in their own zone to no one in particular. Defense is just plain bad, giving the puck up way too much and to no one in particular. PP is even worse, cannot capitalize on opportunities and they are definitely not in sync at all. Most of the time it looks as though they are skating in slow motion, compared to the teams they are playing, and they only played a 48 game season. Looks nothing like last years team, with most of the same core in tact. This team lacks heart and a team mentality, still strong on courage though as they are laying the body down to block shots. Sad to see that they have seemingly given up on the team concept.

  12. Vasily Chapayev says:

    How long would it take for Dolan and Sather to realize that Torts is not the right coach for that team and by playing his ”system” they won’t go anywhere. Henrik’s time is ticking, we got great team (should add & get rid of some players like Richards, etc) and maybe 3 more years to win the Cup. Why not to get rid of Torts & replace him with Guy Boucher who is the right coach for the team, he can easily fix power play problems, get offense and defense going.
    The team does not respond to Tortorella anymore & would not do it next season. You can’t win tough contests as a one man Lundquist team. He’s also human & just been broken by Bruins.
    Every sane Rangers fan should realize that our playoff run is over. Everything has the beginning and the end, same applies to Torts. He’ll eventually be fired, but better sooner than 2-3 years later when most of the guys on this team are not gonna be around & who knows what kind of talent Rangers will have then

  13. bernmeister says:

    While there are more positives than negatives, I vehemently disagree with you about Torts. You gotta get off is bandwagon! Mgmt needs to understand he must go, and his arrogant posture that he is so right about his philosophy and treatment of players must simply, bend, buckle and break, before what is sane and correct, before players who should be fairly treated like human beings, not embarrassed in public like Hagelin (regardless of how he performs w/this one as opposed to that one on the power play), and most of all before the fans, who are entitled to better.

    This (*^*%*)@@) system does NOT work as a regular methodology in place full time. We get out of position blocking so many shots, which causes us to work harder and recover; we have too many blocked shots taken; we do not spend enough time with the puck at the other end; the offensive is too predictable with constant dump and chase. All of these things result in a club that overworks is more and more exhausted as it goes deeper and deeper in post season, to which, we cannot use our perceived shoot out advantage.

    And the proof is clear. Last year’s full season, we were totally exhausted; this year we again needed 7 games to advance, if we get together vs. Boston, we will need another 7. Of course we are more and more of a mess as we get closer to the cup vs. opponents likely to be more rested than we are.

    Finally, there is no frigggin excuse for the way Kreider was wasted this year. Another whole ELC! And why? because Torts has to break him.

    Screw you, you numbskull, for lack of more vulgar vernacular!

    You let a guy like Kreider get his max minutes, preferably up here, and have him learn on the job, with encouragement, not get into his brain and make him think a gazillion times before he does anything! Kredier is a special talent.

    I could go on but the real world beckons.

    We have a good enough core.
    Moves are needed.
    #1 is buh bye Torts!