Ok now right off the bat I am going to tell you folks
that I really donít believe that even with the win over the Bruins last
night that the playoffs really are going to happen for the Rangers. Even
though they pulled within 4 points of the Bruins with the win it remains
to be seen if this Ranger team as it is built has what it takes to win
enough games to in fact wind up in 8th place by the end of the
regular season. At best it
remains a major long shot but instead what I am tired of is seeing all
these scenarios that suggest what the Rangers have to do and what the
other teams have to not do for the Rangers to make the playoffs.
Want to know what I think?
Simple stop worrying about what everyone else does and just win as
many games as possible. It sounds very easy doesnít it?
The way I see things these scenarios as built upon the premise of
what the other team does to force the Rangers do such and such.
There is just one silly little problem with all the
scenarios that are being written all the time and that is they are based
upon the other teams playing 500 hockey.
Has anyone looked lately at the standings to see what everyone is
doing as of late? Hint of the 5 teams that are fighting for the 8th
and final playoff spot only one team is playing above 500 hockey in their
last 10 games. That team is
the Rangers and they barely are above 500 themselves but everyone else is
below that magical 500 mark so it tosses all those scenarios into the
Everyone talks about all those games in hand that
everyone but the Rangers have and how there is nothing the Rangers can do
about them since they have played more games than they have.
Guess what everyone is wrong when they say that there is nothing
the Rangers can do since because of those games in hand the pressure is on
the Rangers to win now. They
are right about the need to win now but what I think so many are missing
is how the Rangers can turn those games in hand into a weapon of their own
to help them.
What I am thinking is that right now no team has been
able to step up their game and run away with that last playoff spot.
Heck of the 5 teams that are involved in the fight for that spot
only the Rangers won last night everyone else lost. That is right the
Pens, Habs and Panthers all lost along with the Bruins so it got me
thinking of how I think the Rangers can turn things around and put
pressure on the other teams.
When you see how people are saying that those games
in hand are like an insurance policy for the other teams then the way to
change that is for the Rangers to do what they havenít been able to do
all season long which is a real winning streak.
If the Rangers can somehow put together say about a 5-6 game
unbeaten streak right now then it will change everything. It will turn
those games in hand from an insurance policy to pressure packed must win
games for those other teams. The key word here folks is unbeaten not
winning as what I am suggesting is some wins and some ties put together
can do some damage.
Yea I know a Ranger unbeaten streak of 5-6 games is
asking for a miracle but think about it for a second once you stop
laughing at this idea of mine. When those other 4 teams are averaging
about 3 wins in their last 10 games what kind of pressure a 5-6 game
unbeaten streak would put on them? Does anyone seriously think that any of
those 4 other teams have the kind of team that could match a Ranger
The Pens canít thatís for sure Mario or no Mario,
The Habs or the Panthers couldnít either as neither of those teams have
the kind of offensive firepower to get hot. The Bruins could if they could
ever get healthy but their team is so messed up at the moment that I
expect old Robbie to be fired at any moment.
I take it by now that I am getting your attention and perhaps even
some of the most cynical of you (who really are like me) are seeing that
this is quite possible.
Now of course I fully realize that given the upcoming
schedule it would be a minor miracle since the best the Rangers have done
was a 3 game win streak but look at the upcoming schedule and see what I
am saying. They got
the Panthers at home twice in 10 days, then both the Islanders and
Flyers also at home before road games with the Sens and Devils.
The Panthers the Rangers should be able to beat in both games,
neither the Islanders or Flyers are setting the world on fire either so a
win and a tie from those games on home ice is possible.
The Devils have only been able to tie the Rangers
each time they have played so another tie would be nice so that leaves the
Sens as the really truly tough game in this upcoming stretch which makes
this unbeaten streak possible. If
the Rangers can get say 9 points out of this stretch then given how
everyone else is playing it will change everything for them as well since
none of them are playing well as of late.
Realistically I know that this is almost impossible
to expect from the Rangers but at the same time it offers a more simple
scenario than all those win 12 out of 15 while everyone else is 500
scenarios being offered up. I
donít believe that there is a magic ceiling of points for that last
playoff spot given how poorly all 5 teams have been most of the season.
To me the first team to put together any kind of win or unbeaten
streak will take that 8th spot so the Rangers have as good a
chance as everyone else does.
Now of course I realize that I am asking the
impossible of the Rangers given how they have shot themselves in the foot
all season long. However at
the same time right now everyone else is doing the same so why the heck
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