State of the Rangers

No solution in sight for deficient Rangers

AV would not have anticipated this start. At All. (Andy Clark/Reuters)
AV would not have anticipated this start. At All. (Andy Clark/Reuters)

Instantly discount the idea of Alain Vigneault being in danger. The Rangers Head Coach isn’t going anywhere. Not unless the underperforming New York Rangers go on an almost season long losing streak and even then, six months into a five year deal, a change in leadership would be an extreme measure.  So with the assumption that the coaching staff are secure in their jobs, changes need to be made elsewhere.

Almost every single Ranger is playing horribly. While the Rangers improved against the Flyers, they still lost to a team that was 1-7 and arguably in a bigger mess than themselves. Not a single defenseman has lived up to their billing or contract. The offense – save for Brad Richards – has been invisible. At this stage, while still early, the Rangers will need to begin to think about the season as a whole.

This market won’t allow for the Rangers to rip it up and start again and anyway, would that kind of extreme behaviour help keep Henrik Lundqvist on board beyond this season? Glen Sather will have noted the lack of offensive production. He will of course, acknowledge the huge absences in Nash, Callahan and Hagelin but even with Nash and Callahan in the line-up this team was not playing well.

Does Sather go out and get more offensive help from outside the organisation? Given the cap situation and lack of proven assets to deal, is that even a possibility? Or does the team turn to even more prospects within the system? If the Rangers continue their struggle for much longer then big, season – and franchise – altering decisions will be considered.

The problem for the Rangers right now is that there is no obvious solution in sight. There is no time table for Nash’s return and Ryan Callahan won’t be seen on the ice for a good while yet. This team is beginning to look devoid of legitimate offensive talent even though so many of the current roster have or at least had burgeoning reputations. At some stage the system changes and implementation of a new coaching staff stop being considered as excuses. The players need to deliver or Sather will be forced in to action.

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  • While there is certainly no simple solution to this malaise, I for one think a cchange in attitude could go a long way. I’m getting a little annoyed at the lack of emotion from behind the bench, players and coaches. That’s gotta come from the coaching staff and team leaders. Richards, Staal, Girardi need to be talking and encouraging their teammates. And for God’s sake, AV needs to find a little passion. Yell a little, fire up your team. Do something that shows you’re invested in the game and won’t be tolerating another piss poor effort.

  • Sather will do what he always does if this kind of situation, overpay in salary or in draft picks for a players that past their prime.

  • Sather will be forced into action one way or another, this is a team with obvious flaws and it looks more and more like very soon we will be able to chalk this season up to whatever word/words makes us feel better about it, be it “a new direction” “re-tooling” “growing pains” or excuses like “injuries”.

    The truth of the matter is that the team in reality had/has many holes and in reality just isn’t that good, are they a playoff team? in theory they should be but that still doesnt mean they would make much noise once they got there.

    “Management” decided to go in another direction after Torts and everyone is seeing what they already knew, team is soft and short on skill. If AV had any knowledge of the organization then some of the process would have gone smoother but instead we have young players thrown into the fire in a city under a sports microscope.

    I would be a bit froggy about it all except that I know as long as Jimmy D is running things it will all be a circus disguised as hockey (or basketball).

    • “If AV had any knowledge of the organization then some of the process would have gone smoother but instead we have young players thrown into the fire”

      Players are injured so he is forced to play some rookies. What knowledge of the organization would have allowed this to be avoided? What are you talking about?

      • I was simply stating that AV coached out west for the last what? 7 years? So clearly he is very unfamiliar with the organization and players which is why much of the preseason was spent evaluating and not teaching/practicing a new system/philosophy.

  • Glad to see that alot of readers r coming to their senses on this year’s version of the NYR. They have a hard time even completing a pass as well as a simple dump in.

    I know it wont happen but maybe its time for a change at the GM position. Wish we could have gotten John Davidson. He seems to bring along all organizations that he touches, but I can only wish. Of course, NYR basically rebuilt Blue Jackets.

    We need changes at the top for different directions. Since Richards has started out so well, maybe his trade value has gone up?

  • Did anyone catch the Islander game? I hate to admit it but they showed passion vs Pittsburgh. This is something that is clearly lacking here. The sad thing is that we cannot even threaten to trade players to a worse team.

  • Islanders,accordeing to CapGeek are like $14 mil under the cap this season, $28 mil next season.

    Is Lundquist headed to the Islanders???

    Somebody check via Google search CapGeek to verify?

    • The Isles wouldn’t spend the money even if they were that far under the cap, and I don’t think they have the financial capital anyway.

      • This is proof positive that Sather throws money at re-treads, and gets zippo in return.

        It is getting boring posting this same line, but here we go again, dump the old crap, bring up the kids, and let them go. In so doing we get them the experience they need, and then also have left over cap space to fill in the blanks!!

        Watching the Isles last night, they hung in there with a quality team, and didn’t back down, They showed emotion, and pride in their jersey, who can say that with this years version of the Rangers????

        • I agree with you about I hate the the money at the re-treads, but to be fair, how many terrible seasons did the Isles go through while these kids developed and they slowly built the team? I don’t think that would have flown with the MSG crowd. Not saying the method is right/wrong, but there are realities of the Manhattan spotlight.

          As you mentioned in a comment last post, we are very impatient here.

          • The islanders followed the “penguins rebuild model”. ie suck long enough to stock up on a bunch of top 5 draft picks then reap the benefits. Hell, Chicago, the reigning cup winner followed that as well.

            NYR fans are ready to dump the season after 7 games. Who is crazy enough to think they will survive 7 seasons of sucking?

          • Right but when it happens we just fire everyone because the fanbase is all pissed and the media has a frenzy…I don’t think you can ever rebuild in a long-term sense here with the same people behind the strategy. They maybe sucked a lot, but never enough suck to draft consistently as high as the Pens and Isles did for a number of years.

          • Hate to say this, but both the Pens, and Hawks won the cup at least once from that model. I’m not saying take a dive, but even after some 6-7 years of missing the play-offs under this MG, we still couldn’t put together a winning team, through the draft. Enough is enough, and brain dead Dolan still keeps this bozo around. WOW!!!

          • Remember though that the Pens sucked at the right time and got Crosby … Just like the Colts sucked and got Luck..this does not always happen. Oilers picks were ok but there was no Crosby for them…

  • One point, Chris:

    “He will of course, acknowledge the huge absences in Nash, Callahan and Hagelin but even with Nash and Callahan in the line-up this team was not playing well.”

    The thing is, they only played 3 total periods together; 2 in LA (Callahan was out most of the 2nd getting his face fixed). The SJ game Nash went out after the 1st and it was 1-1 (I can’t remember but when he actually took the hit, they may have even been up 1-0).

    Obviously it wouldn’t solve all of the woes (those 8 other goals by SJ wouldn’t have been completely off the board just by having Nash in), but they were a much better team with both of them in.

  • Why institute a system that no one is buying into. It appears that the players were sold and understood a system. So why not adjust to what is best for the team and not what is good for the coaches head? Tort faced the same situation and he also adjusted. Keep putting a 4th liner on the second line.

  • Sather should be forced OUT of action, he’s had more than enough time and money to work with. No other GM in any sport would get to hire, what is it now 7 coaches? Ive seen enough!

  • The natives (and blogger) are restless. What type of solution is there? Honest answer: none. Not until there is a semblance of a complete team. Sather has made some bad signings, but he’s proven he will not make a panic trade. And anything done now is exactly that. Stay the course and try to make up ground over time in what is the worst division in the league.

  • After missing the playoffs 5 years in a row, it appeared to me like the Ranger franchise had a change in direction. A lot of that change was due to the cap rule. No longer could the team attempt to try to buy its way to success (which was a failed strategy anyway) they had to develop their talent from within.

    We saw as Ranger fans, young fresh talented players that brought work ethic and enthusiasm to the ice. For the first time in years they were the top team in the East and a became a perennially playoff team.

    In a bid to take the next step and win the Holly Grail of hockey, Glen Sather rolled the dice and acquire Rick Nash. Although a gifted hockey player, it was a move that I believe took the team backwards. I sure every Ranger follower remembers the chant “we don’t want you”.

    Yet the trade was done and I have to admit the team looked pretty darn good going into the playoffs last year. After eliminating the Capitals, they were dumped by a very good Boston Bruin team. If you watched the Pittsburg vs Boston series, the Bruins looked liked world beaters.

    However, again as a move to take the team to the next step: a coaching change was done in the off-season. Now with a new coach and key players injured the team appears to be sliding into the abyss. Be patient fans are being told as they watch their team fall apart. I ask what happened to the patience of the management of the franchise? Why the sudden win now and overreaching in their decision making?

    Like many Ranger followers, I have seen enough of Glen Sather. Its time for a new beginning and a new direction.

    • Well, the team was short on top end talent/skill for a while and it was clear that the team, as constructed, was just not good enough to win it all, even when they overachieved a couple of years ago so change needed to be made. Couple that with Gabby’s inconsistent play and expiring contract, Dubi’s terrible play for the contract he got, and the availability of a star player who’s more suited to bang on the 1st line than Gabs and poof, enter Rick Nash.

      The fact of the matter is that 1. the team was never really as good as they played 2 years ago and 2. that team was never going to win the cup as constructed at the time so changes needed to be made. Judging all of this in hindsight is ridiculous.

  • It’s a Torts team trying to play a AV system. AV system needs talent while a Torts system needs physicality and effort. So AV system needs talent and 3 of the 4 most talented forwards on an already modestly talented team are out.

    The thing needs to be retooled. Chris wrote: “This market won’t allow for the Rangers to rip it up and start again and anyway, would that kind of extreme behaviour help keep Henrik Lundqvist on board beyond this season?”

    Well, unfortunately Hank has not supported the team this year when it needed him most. He is right up there in culpable characters aside from I think one really Hank-like game in Washington.

    With the team looking like this I really don’t care what Lundquist thinks. I care about the team, not Lundquist. Maybe it is time to haul in a king’s ransom while he has some value. Not saying he is not an elite minder, but talking about his contract expiring.

    Back on the general subject again, I think Danny G is a perfect example of a Torts guy. Under AV, his skills turn him back into a nice, over achieving borderline 2nd pair guy that went undrafted.

    Package him while the perception is of the Girardi of the last 3 years along with Lundquist before the contract nears zero-hour and a bag of pucks for young but established forward, D and netminder.

    I realize I hopped on the BellyAching Express here with everyone else but I think they are going to beat Detroit tonight. 3-2 in OT.

  • If I didn’t know any better and my only exposure to hockey was reading the comments on this blog, I would think they handed out the Stanley Cup after 7 regular season games.

  • No one expects a Stanley Cup after 7 games Sponzo. What they expect is to watch their team play hockey not a cluster fuck.

  • Patience. Patience. Patience.

    Still not game 20.

    Talbot played well. Dorsett stood up. Kreider had a career game.

    A wise man once said, everything reverts to the mean. They will start putting pucks in the net.

    And this will become a distant memory.

  • I don’t expect much to happen in the short term. It is much easier to change the coach than to change the players and like everyone else, I don’t see a coaching change in the near future.

    How do you trade to make the team better? The answer is clearly to trade young players for established ones. This is not a good route for a team with a bright future which will be hard pressed to make the playoffs this year. You can’t trade guys like Pyatt, Moore, Pouliot and expect a lot in return. I suppose you can deal Girardi, Staal, Del Zotto, Brassard but will you actually get better players in return? Is selling low a good idea?

  • Kreider had a “career” game-a minus one, one assist.

    Ddidn’t Sather say when he was hired something to the effect that with MSG money he could guarantee a Stanley Cup?????

    When Nash,Callahan, & Hagelin come back other teams will target them. Hagelin is real fast, quick might not be that easy to target.

    Rangers should bring up Bickel or McIlrath to play “tops” like 6 min a game. Wth McIlrath, Mashinter, & Dorsett playing like 6 minutes or less each they would definitely “ANSWER THE BELL” 1st time an idiot like Kaleta or Lucic started head hunting. Especially McIlrath who has gone after a few guys for targeting Christian Thomas & Ryan Bourque.

    And you can take that to the bank

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