State of the Rangers

So What’s the Answer?

Mats Sundin?  Nah.  Too expensive.

Brendan Shanahan?  Possibly.

How about a new coach?  Hmmm…

That could be a radical idea.  Renney has had success as the Rangers coach, he’s 151-107-37 with the Blueshirts, and has led them to the playoffs three years in a row after a seven year absence.  His defensive schemes have led to offensive minded players all of a sudden becoming great two-way players (Zherdev is a +7, and leads the team in that category).

However, with that said, his defensive minded schemes are a double edged sword.  It handcuffs the skill players, and leaves the team fighting to score.  With players like Zherdev, Gomez, Naslund, Drury, Redden and Rozsival (yes, Rozsival), this team shouldn’t be struggling to score two goals a game.

It also can’t help that Renney changes his line combinations more often than P.Diddy (Diddy?  Puff Daddy? Bueller?) changes names.  Hockey is a chemistry game, and linemates  need to have time together to mesh. One game, or worse, one shift, just isn’t enough time for the players above to adjust to each others games.

Is Tom Renney a good coach?  Yes, he is.  But it’s time for a change.  There are two solid options that stick out in my mind.  One is Ted Nolan, who turned an awful Islander team into a playoff team before getting let go by Garth Snow.  The other is the recently available Peter Laviolette, who won a Cup with Carolina a couple years ago.  Both are winners, and both know how to offensively stimulate a team without sacrificing defense.

Update: The Rangers average 2.3 goals per game, good for 29th in the NHL, with Tampa rounding out the bottom.  You have to assume that with all the fire power, Tocchet will get the Lightning going offensively, leaving the Rangers as dead last in the NHL.

On a positive note, the Rangers average 2.5 goals against per game, good for 5th in the NHL.  Defense isn’t the problem, it’s offense.

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