Last night, Alain Vigneault got what he thought was his dream matchup. His two remaining –Ryan McDonagh is hurt– stud defensive defensemen out against one of the best players in the world in Sidney Crosby. Then the unthinkable happened, the perfect matchup exploded in his face, allowing three even strength goals.
Marc Staal and Dan Girardi were beyond ineffective last night, which is sad because they actually did a decent job in the possession department. It’s also sad because last night’s game was just a microcosm of their respective seasons. In fact, their seasons were summed up in one well timed picture from Josh.
This right here is what we’ve been seeing all year, yet Vigneault insisted on not only creating the pair, but keeping them out there despite getting destroyed by the Crosby line. Sure, they controlled possession, which was not only surprising, but a welcome change in positive process from the duo. Yet, those three goals happened, which brings me to this rant:
Click on the tweet to read the full rant. But as great as it is to control possession and show proper process –which the Rangers did for the most part– they didn’t have full proper process. There’s more to it than controlling possession. Right now the Rangers are flunking Hockey 101, sticking your man in the zone and recognizing reads.
The Rangers need to make changes in order for this team to even have a shot against the Penguins. Those changes are going to be tough to stomach, as it involves potentially removing these two from the lineup. It stinks to say, because we all recognize everything they’ve given to the team. Not only am I an unabashed Staal lover (well documented throughout the years), I was at one point considering purchasing a Girardi jersey. Despite the criticism I lay on them, I still love what they’ve given to the team.
It’s fine for me though, since I’m a fan. A coach cannot continue to play his favorites when they can’t do the job they are tasked to do. Something needs to change. If it’s reducing their roles, so be it. If it’s sheltering them, so be it. if it’s changing the system to better suit their skills, so be it. If it comes to scratching them, so be it. I, and you, want this team to win a Cup. These are coaching decisions that AV seems unwilling to make, and the opposition is, has been, and will continue to take advantage of it.