This year, it’s put up or shut up time for certain Rangers players

Every summer since I’ve started blogging and writing down my hockey opinions in internet ink, I always try to use the downtime to reconnect with old friends still in the Show, read up on new systems and tactics, or dive into books illustrating important points in hockey history. What can I say? The game is in my blood.

For obvious reasons, this summer in particular I’ve spent a lot of time watching a bunch of tape on the Canucks (more about that closer to puck drop). However, I’ve also used this time to read up on Herb Brooks and how he used a ‘tough love approach’ to mentally prepare those young heroes of 1980. If you saw the movie Miracle, you probably already know what I’m taking about.

A lot of what I’ve read kind of reminds me of where the Rangers are at this stage in their development.

Though 1980 is all but a memory to some and a story to others, the lessons of Herb Brooks are still applied today. Sometimes the coach has to play the antagonist role to unify and solidify the players on the bench or out on the ice in front of him. Once the team concept is established, the players have to dig deep and find it in themselves to take their games to another level.

All of which brings me back to the Blueshirts. This summer I’ve heard just about every excuse you can think of for why certain Rangers didn’t perform to expectations last season. Hagelin couldn’t get it done because someone behind the bench thought he stunk on the power play. Kreider couldn’t meet expectations because he was gripping his stick too tight. Richards believes a new voice or not having a lockout will help rejuvenate his career. Arron Asham thinks…well who cares what Asham thinks?

The common denominator in all of these public frustrations is gone, as is his partner in crime. Yet, already we’re hearing about how the former Blue Jacket players (namely Brassard) and the new assistant coach Scott Arniel were at each others throats in Columbus. This of course is causing many fans to lament Scott’s hiring before the guy has even coached a game here. Excuses…already.

Frankly, I’m tired of excuses. This season the Rangers are expected to challenge for the Cup with pretty much the same roster that left the ice in Boston. I disagreed with this approach at the time, but it is what it is and I’m at peace with that now. However, the pressure is going to be turned up a little higher, as it should be. If Richards can’t find his game under AV, see ya. If Hags can’t pot a few more goals, adios. If MDZ can’t learn to QB a PP, finito.

There’s no untouchables on this team anymore and there’s no coach supposedly holding them back. The Rangers window to win likely closes with the retirement or the departure (via free agency) of Henrik Lundqvist, so we need to win now. Until we get there, remember this quote from former NYG Emlen Tunnell (the first African American player inducted into the NFL HOF) next time you hear another excuse filtered through Larry Brooks.

“Losers assemble in little groups and complain about the coaches and the players in other little groups, but winners assemble as a team.”

Do we have winners on this team? We’ll find out.

9 Responses to “This year, it’s put up or shut up time for certain Rangers players”

  1. Chris.C says:

    Excellent write up suit. Most excellent.
    It sure is time for the few to do just that.

  2. Walt says:

    Suit

    Great write up, and the thing that hits the point right on the head, NO MORE EXCUSES!!!!!

    Your right it is time to crap, or get off the pot. Let’s see what this team is make of. I believe we do have it in us to go the distance, that is if we all pull together and get the job done.

    LET’S GO RANGERS!!!!!!

  3. Gary says:

    Excellent write-up Suit.

    What we need is for the leaders (Cally is beyond question) of the team to channel Tortorella on their own. Keep the team and work ethic alive, as they transition to the new coaching style that is going to supposedly unlock their potential.

    Richards’ quotes can either be thought of as very scary (doesn’t get it, lacks personal responsibility) or more likely, cause for optimism because he knows how bad he sucked and has the pride to fix some issues (worked all summer) without Daddy having to remind him every minute.

    Suit is right about MDZ, Hags, Krieder, etc. If the team takes the next step then great. If not, let Hank go because they will be coming unwound anyway. So it is most definitely put up or shut up THIS year. Period.

  4. Centerman21 says:

    It’s histericle how many fans are now stroking this idea when they are all guilty of doing the very thing opposed by today’s writer. Yeah, most people here feel Kreider and Hagelin were held back by Torts. That’s all just bull. I’m looking forward to hearing what excuses will be thought up now. Maybe Torts is still hurting these guys by making prank phone calls referring to the Power Play. Maybe he’s still txting Hagelin saying he still stinks. Maybe after the Vancouver game some fans will see Torts make “Im watching you” type gestures at the NYR bench. My point is that Tortarella did everything he could to help Kreider develop and only had his best interests in mind. He does what he does because that’s what has worked for him in the past.

  5. Matt Josephs says:

    I see what you’re saying Suit but for the most part I think most players have been pulling their weight. I’ll be happy to point out some individuals though.

    Brian Boyle- Appreciate what he does without the puck, but when he does have the puck he needs to be better and more efficient.

    Brad Richards- He’s gone after this year anyway (that’d be the smartest thing to do) but he still has a duty to try to earn his pay for this year. He does that and he’s bought out after the year I don’t think too many people could complain.

    Carl Hagelin- Whatever inconsistencies he does have, I’m more willing to overlook. The guy works his tail off and fills an important niche for this team.

    Chris Kreider- We haven’t reached the point of bust for this kid yet, but he needs to start outplaying some people on the roster and needs to make the team. People like Pyatt and Pouliot are his competition. People look at him like a scorer, but maybe it’s in his best interest to start adopting a bit of a more defensive oriented game. That’ll make it easier for him to get in the team, and for Vigneault to get him on the ice.

    Just a few examples, but I’m digging how much competition there is for spots on the team. It’ll make everyone have to work harder and only good things will come from that.

  6. TxRanger says:

    Puliot is gonna be league MVP!!!