flagyl 100

What a mess

AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

To say the Rangers have gotten off to a rough start this season would be an understatement.  The Kings game aside, the Blueshirts have been thoroughly de-pantsed by some of the Western Conference’s finest over the past few games.  After spending all summer telling my wife (who knows an awful lot about the game) how excited I was about AV’s arrival and the potential for this team to be really successful this season, she pointedly asked me last night, “what the hell is wrong with them?”.  I was at something of a loss.

Earlier this week, The Suit splendidly broke down AV’s systems and got us all up to speed on what we should be expecting out of the Ranger players this season.  But this malaise goes much deeper than simply adjusting to the system.  They are making serious fundamental hockey errors, as opposed to systems errors.

Sure, the backchecking forwards and defensemen haven’t quite seemed to grasp the concept of the strong-side overload yet, routinely allowing a weak-side defenseman or winger to slide into open ice for a quality chance.  The centermen have had issues covering the slot area as the defenders range out of the low-zone collapse, and Hank has been very mortal to start the year.  (This could also be symptomatic of having to deal with backdoor lateral plays non-stop, but clearly the frustration in performance is there).

This is all compounded by AV’s personality, which seems trusting at best and apathetic at worst.  His hands-off approach has lead many members of the fan base to panic (especially since Torts would have displayed heads on stakes at the pre-game presser in St. Louis).

The question that is ultimately begged is: where does this leave us?  This team clearly has the talent to be a contender, and the off-season moves only helped to reinforce this notion.   The system AV runs is far more complex than Torts’ more direct style, so I’m sure there are still growing pains on that front, but at the end of the day, this is the regular season and those training camp excuses aren’t going to fly anymore.  There is a tangible transition going from zone to man coverage, and also backchecking coverages from a more offensively aggressive system, so there’s that.

I guess my best advice goes back to what we have been saying all along: we are still just 4 (!) games into the season.  Not having Nash definitely hurts, but that’s what depth is for.  This team needs to get a handle on this new system, and quickly.  The nine-game road trip to start the season against some of the best teams out west was always going to be brutal, but we got a glimpse of what this team can do against LA.

Many pundits have discussed the timing of fights and team chemistry and yada yada, but at this point, its all about fundamentals.  This team needs to clean up its communication, first-passes and backchecking coverages.  This is first day of pee-wee’s stuff.  Forget the system, forget the line-matching, and get back to competent basics.  No more running around in the defensive zone, no more centers staring at defensemen staring at centers while the puck is in the back of the net.  Time to start playing like men.

59 Responses to “What a mess”

  1. Ryan says:

    How can you say they clearly have the talent to be a contender when they clearly don’t? When Nash is healthy they have 1 legitimate 1sr line player. That’s it. They overachieved w Torts getting the most out of them and now its showing. Staal and McD r okay but the rest of the D is severely lacking and Hank looks human when they’re not blocking shots. The forwards r third liners on most teams. I’d say blow it up but its obvious Sather has no idea what he’s doing. What a mess indeed

    • Dave says:

      Well that’s a whole lot of unnecessary panic.

      • Ryan says:

        Will it be necessary in about 20 games? Are we all watching the same team the last few years? The one that made it within 2 games of the SCF is gone. Dubi, Prust, Anisimov, Gabby, Prospal are elsewhere, mostly on the same team. Even if they get the system down, where are the goals coming from? How can they compete with the elite teams when they have no legit first liners who are healthy?

        Last year started the concern, this preseason and start to the regular season confirms it.

        • Dave says:

          I just don’t think it’s necessary to panic after 4 games, but yes, after 20 you can panic. I’ll probably start panicking after 12.

          This is not the same team as before, but this year’s team –once they get going– has a great balance of skill and depth. The vanilla issue is a concern though.

          • Ryan says:

            I dunno, I just don’t see it. I hope I’m wrong, really do but I just have a bad feeling about the way they are constructed now. And Sather signing absolute stiffs like Pouliot and Pyatt doesn’t help anyone

            • Dave says:

              I don’t think Pouliot is a stiff. He was top-20 in P/60 over the last few seasons, so I can understand that signing.

              I hope we are right, and that these are growing pains. If we are wrong…then we are in for a long, long season.

            • Centerman21 says:

              Pouliot is one of the league leaders in P/60 mins. Pyatt is not a top 6 player and he doesn’t play on the top 6 for a reason. If you don’t like the way the team is set up then don’t watch. Part of being a fan is going through the ups and the downs of your team. This happens to be one of those down periods. This team went to the playoffs last year and any team that makes the playoffs has a chance to make the finals. They still have the best goalie in the NHL and along with Nash they have top 6 Centerman like Richards and Stepan. Along with real good 3rd line players. Every team has holes in them and the Rangers are no different. Most people wanted Torts out. Well you are getting what you wished for now. Maybe the next time there’s a coach that brings the team to the playoffs every year, you’ll shut up and leave it be. In any event this team will turn it around. It’s a matter of when not if! Keep the Pessimism to yourself! or don’t watch. The word “fan” is short for fanatic! I consider myself a fan do you?

              • KennyJ says:

                I love your attitude. I BELIEVE THIS TEAM, AS IT IS PRESENTLY CONSTITUTED, (oops, didn’t mean to shout) can and will provide much fun this year, and, beyond that, may very well not only make the playoffs but get pretty far into them. I miss Torts, but the coaching is not necessarily the problem. Hank will get it together, Step will get in shape, Hags will return, system will be learned, D will return to form, etc. No way we are a team that will continue to give up like 5 goals a game!!! Give me 30 games before I give up on this season. Of course, even when I concede this season (not even close yet) I’ll continue to watch and enjoy. Hey, I still watch and enjoy our Jints!! Okay, I’m not claiming to be all that smart, just a “fan!” ( Yo, Centerman21)

    • Pro Sports says:

      This point is crystal clear. They over performed with Torts. He was furious that Sather let Prust go and from there started the slide as the character of the team changed. Sather brought in mercenary stop gap plumbers Asham and Pyatt to replace Prust. Then it’s bye bye Dubi and Anisimov and hello the bad Brad and Nasher show. Who is left to hunt for the puck and battle? The character has completely changed.

      • Dave says:

        No one is really arguing that the 2011-2012 team overachieved a bit, or that the character has changed.

  2. paulronty says:

    Over the next fifdteen games or so, we are going to see if AV is the coach for this team. I really had my doubts but that being said I want him to succeed. Right now this team looks to be totally lost on the ice.

    • Dave says:

      I think over the next 15 games we will see this team turn it around.

      Nice to see you holding out for that 20 game mark.

  3. VinceR says:

    Do you think they are thinking too much about the system and where they should be? Not meaning just merely getting used to playing it and making mistakes within the system, but not having it ingrained enough yet so they are spending an inordinate amount of mental capacity on thinking about what to do within the system and not what the smart thing to do is/making a pass/skating etc.

    In other words, only a very small percentage of the population can actually *really* multi-task (doing two things at once as efficiently and as accurately as they would dedicating efforts to one of those things at a time). Perhaps the system is too mentally taxing as they adjust and takes away from the basics (added on to the extended road trip, being away from home, etc). Combine that with two powerhouse teams, losing Nash etc and it was a recipe for disaster?

    We will have to see, as there is no other option at this point.

    • Dave says:

      I want to say it’s systems based, but they are making fundamental mistakes. Passing has nothing to do with the system. They can’t pass.

      • VinceR says:

        That’s what I’m saying Dave…it isn’t systematic mistakes, but are they concentrating too much on system while making basic goofs on fundamentals? In other words, putting too much brain power into what they are doing within the system, and not the basics of what they are doing on the ice?

        Meaning that hopefully as the system becomes more automatic and they have to think less about it, they will be more focused on what is happening on the ice itself. They won’t have to make a system decision then execute a play…they will just execute as the system becomes more automatic.

        I hope this is part of it…of course Girardi’s quote last night about this system not being very complex or different and not knowing what is going isn’t too promising, but we shall see.

        • Dave says:

          I mean, it’s a possibility. But these guys are professional hockey players, the fundamentals should be second nature. That’s what is so alarming.

          • VinceR says:

            Yeah, as I wrote that I also thought (and along Seahorse’s line of thought below), that split second to make a system decision could be the difference in the successful execution against these top tier teams.

            Meaning the time it takes to make the split second decision before the pass is the split second that causes a pass to be off or the lane to be gone. Dunno, I just can’t think of an explanation of how this got so bad.

            • Dave says:

              That could be a reason too. But it doesn’t explain things like Pouliot being unable to accept a pass. Pouliot and MDZ playing hot potato with the puck, no one covering the slot, no one keeping their head on a swivel, etc.

              I understand that they need to adapt to a system, but if it’s all blown up, pick a man and stick him.

    • Seahorse says:

      that would be my argument, thinking about playing vs just going out and playing. not being able to go full speed because its not second nature

    • Rangers Fan in Boston says:

      It can be considered a recipe for struggling, but not the wholly uncompetitive slop the Rangers have put on the ice.

  4. Chris F says:

    There is a heap of factors going against the team at this point in the year:

    1) The introduction of a new coach (and staff) that has no relationship and little familiarity with the players;

    2) The adjustment to an entirely new system, stacked to one side, with a huge emphasis on communication and picking up coverage that fundamentally differs from the Tortorella system;

    3) The absence of Callahan and Hagelin; and now Hagelin and Nash;

    4) The lack of practice/training camp/preseason games for Stepan;

    6) An absolutely brutal opening road trip against some of the top teams in the West who these players haven’t seen in over a year.

    7) New players in the mix, starting on the road in Rangers blue, yet haven’t even played at the Garden yet.

    It’s not an ideal environment to thrive. But, beyond all these factors, the real issue seems to be an absolute lack of will, an almost depressed lack of morale among the team. No chemistry, no camaraderie.

    I’ve been watching videos this morning of some clips from the last couple of years. The Dubinsky/Gaborik/Prust years. I gotta say, I miss those times. There were so many epic moments. There was a commitment to sacrifice, and warrior mentality and some chemistry that compensated for the overall lack of elite talent. The 2011-12, and 2012-13 Rangers were a lot of fun to watch, despite the many ups and downs.

    This current team is really hard to get excited about. I don’t like what I see; I don’t feel much for this group of guys (besides a couple of Rangers stalwarts, and even they’re disappointing).

    This sucks.

    • Dave says:

      Yea, there are certainly a lot of factors at play here. At the risk of making excuses, you wonder if the seven points are serious issues for this team.

  5. Bloomer says:

    Amen, back to fundamentals… preaching to the converted here. There was a lot of expectation by Ranger fans that AV was going to take the club to the promise land and that the Stanley Cup was within the teams’ grasp. However, in my view the coaching change was a step back not forward. Some retooling will have to be made to adjust to a new style of play.
    Team chemistry is very important for the success of a club. It appears to be lacking right now as the Rangers have lost their identity. Whether or not they can get back their mojo remains to be seen, but the Coup la Stanley is slipping beyond their reach.

  6. Evan M says:

    I’m going to do something that I hate, and wish for an impossible situation… I loved Torts and the fire he brought. The post-game press conferences showed the he really cares about the sport, about the team, and about success. He made some mistakes by wearing his heart on his sleeve, but you can trust a man like that.

    It’s only a handful of games in, and I’m excited for what the Rangers can possibly do under AV. I’d just like to see some fire, and know the players are being held accountable for careless hockey. I’m thinking that getting Callahan going will remind the players of why they lace up their skates. He personified the great things from the Torts year that I loved, and needs to be, in all ways, this team’s leader.

  7. Chris F says:

    Dave/Suit/Justin/Chris/Kevin-

    At what point, if this type of play continues (even if less abysmally) does this become more than rust, more than adjustment to transition, more than the need to re-hone the fundamentals, and become something much more catastrophic? When does it become a toxic personell or coaching flaw?

    • John says:

      Settle down, it’s a long season, let’s not get crazy yet!

    • Dave says:

      We have been preaching the 20 game mark. With all that has gone on (your points made above were very accurate), they need time.

      • Chris F says:

        Are you really comfortable with the 20 game evaluation? That’s a quarter of the season.

        I think some very tangible improvements need to be apparent well before that.

        As tough as this 9 game road trip is, I think if they still seem lost by the time we face the Canadiens at home there is a grave cause to more than panic.

        • Dave says:

          These were games against the best of the west. They have STL next (could lose), but then it’s WSH, NJD, PHI (all very winnable) and DET (toss up).

          If they win the 3 winnable games and split the bookends (4-3 to close out), then it’s a 5-4 road trip and no one is complaining. That’s actually ideal.

          Even 4-5 (losing the bookends, winning the 3) is acceptable.

          • The Suit says:

            Chris F – A wiseman once told me wait 20 games. Trying very hard to get to that point.

            For me it’s not about wins and losses at this point. It’s about being in the fight. They need to up their battle level first.

            • Dave says:

              I think they need to find a battle level first. Let’s worry about upping it once they, you know, have one.

  8. Dave says:

    Comforting?

  9. Mikeyyy says:

    If we hit the panic button now kiss the playoffs goodbye.

    Give av a chance. At game 20 if we are still playing the same way. Call it.

    • Dave says:

      Well said.

      • Chris F says:

        My point is not to determine at what point the season is lost.

        I’m looking more for a rational explanation for deciding at point something drastic needs to change to SAVE THE SEASON.

        • Mikeyyy says:

          The window to save the season is gone. This is it for this year, av . Changing a coach even now, or shaking up the roster will require this season as a building season.

      • The Suit says:

        Agreed MikeyX3

  10. Ray says:

    We need to panic now. If the Rangers are really this bad, we’re getting out in front. And if they turn things around quickly, the opportunity to panic will be lost entirely.

  11. Craig says:

    The Rangers are to soft a team (Dorsett & Ashem not the answer), team need more of a mean streak and much more physical players to ignite a spark.
    Call up Mashinter or Haley right now. Where is Clowe when you need him?
    Pyatt is useless and trade Boyle (enough!)
    Also Trade in a package some prospects and one or two soft defensemen(Stralman and or Michael Del.) and get some bangers until Dillon M. is ready)

    • Dave says:

      Did you just ask for Clowe?

      • Craig says:

        Dave
        Just trying to say how much we need a guy like him in the lineup. He was the type of player we needed for a long time and when he was healthy made a BIG difference
        He will most likely be hurt soon for New Jersey

  12. Bloomer says:

    I agree Dave its too early to hit the panic button, but to wait it out 20 games would be a mistake. There is much parity in the league and falling below in the standing is very difficult to make up.
    Lundquist, Cally and Girardi are all free agents at the end of the season. Some tactical adjustments or roster changes is needed sooner rather then later. This to avoid the hard choices that will come at the trade deadline if this franchise is missing the playoffs.

    • Dave says:

      The W/L waits 20 games before we know what we have. The on-ice play, well I figure we have a handful of games left before we see a hammer fall.

  13. The Suit says:

    huh?

  14. Erixon20 says:

    To those people pining for the 2011-2012 Rangers…..that team was not and would not be able to win a Cup. Yes the pride and the effort were there, and they weren’t nearly as soft as this team, but they did not have the skill to hoist the Cup then and wouldn’t now. If you ask me, we have Hank, Nash, Step, Cally, Staal and McD and then a bunch of bottom 6 guys/bottom D pairings. Our kids are too young to make the jump and our veterans are too mediocre to make a legit push. So we need to see if the team gets on the same page first. If they can’t jell after 15-20 games, then I think we need to package some of our plain vanilla guys (anybody else)for a good piece or two and then fill the gaps with our kids.

  15. Leatherneckinlv says:

    I was at the game last night….their body language was awful…Del Zotto was horrible….Lundqvuist went south after the 1st goal as in “here we go again” attitude. Best players were Staal, Zuccarello and Asham. Callahan was very frustrated and it showed. Richards, Pouliot, Stepan and Stralman looked like they could have cared less with their demeanor. Girardi waits till an opposing player is right up his heels before he shoots and voila…it gets blocked. I do not know what the issue is but when Lundqvuist got run over no one payed attention to him, when Getzlaf ran his mouth to a Ranger couldn’t tell who he just skated away….not good signs folks

    • Walt says:

      Lack of GONADS!!!!!

      How many times do we need to post this, it’s a broken record. I hate the Flyers to no end, but they, even when playing poorly, come out with heart, and ready to defend each other. We come prepared to hit you with our purses.

      I agree with you leatherneckinlv, here we go again.

      Lack of GONADS!!!!

  16. Chuck A says:

    A comforting article. Fixing fundamentals is doable; working with sub-par talent, limited depth and an ineffective system isn’t.

  17. AD says:

    I am saddened to remind my fellow Rangers fans that we will never accomplish Stanley Cup representation as long as Glen Sather remains the club’s General Manager.

    I realize we were just one period away from that two seasons ago but close doesn’t count; the team over-achieved during Tortorella’s tenure as head coach — otherwise this team is around a 6th-8th seed playoff team, AT BEST.

    Sather cannot compete with the top GMs in the league in constructing both a minor league and professional NHL team worthy of a Stanley Cup finals representation. GMs do play an important role in winning and advancing teams toward the finals and Sather, while trying hard, and having ample resources available to him, simply makes too many mistakes.

    What a shame.

    • Mikeyyy says:

      Yep Sather will never be able to do it.

      Such mistakes as:

      Getting McDonough for Gomez
      Moore as a throwin
      Nash for dubi and aa
      Brassard and some pieces for a hurt gabby
      Kristo for Thomas
      Lindberg for barely anything

      Drafting Kreider, miller,

      Getting Boyle for nothing.

      Zuc for nothing.

      Slathers successes far outweigh this failures the past 2-3 years.

      He has constructed a roster that has potential.

      Winning the cup takes more than a gm. It takes a bit of luck, some good homework, a great coach. A top tier goalie, deep,defense, solid offense.

      Every year there are 29 teams that lose the cup. To pin slathers success on winning one, and not including building the ahl and nhl rosters with good players would be an oversight.

      • AD says:

        a) signing Gomez was a big part of why two full seasons were wasted; I am thrilled McDonagh blossomed to save Sather on this one;

        b) I love John Moore, but he is still a 3rd line defenseman; nice trade but not earth shattering;

        c) I believe the trade for Nash also included the 19th overall pick in last year’s draft, along with Tim Erixon. Also, the team’s current problems partly stem from the inability to replace Anisimov and Dubinsky

        d) I love Brassard too, but Gabby is still a 40-goal scorer that are hard to find

        I can go on and on with signing Drury instead of Briere, not resigning Prust; signing Asham & Powe; trading a 5th rounder for Jon Scott; signing Brashear; trading Tyutin for Zherdev, yadayadayada.

        The fact is Sather has done a good job getting out of his own problems — and that’s the sign of a mediocre GM.

        You are 100% correct: winning the CUp takes more than a GM. However, it does take a GM and Sather cannot compete with his top peers.

        How many more coaches do we let this guy hire and fire before it becomes obvious the team & organization can only go so far under Sather’s leadership?