UPDATE: Cam Talbot got the start and the Rangers played well and WIN 4-1 over the Wild. Talbot's record now stands at 7-2. Results are what matters right now and it is clear tha Talbot gives the Rangers the best chance to win while The King tries to find his game.
What is wrong with this years Rangers team? 36 games into this season they stand at 16-18-2 and tied for 12th in the conference. As bad as that is, they are still only 1 game out of a playof spot with more than half the season to go. So there is stil hope for a push towards respectability if the players and coaches are to get on the same page. Watching the team that coach AV is putting on the ice is painful to watch. One thing is clear, either AV was the wrong man for the job, or he clearly doesn't have the right players for his system. And it is very clear that these players on the roster right now can not play the system either due to talent issues or just the wrong mix of players.
Whenever anyone looks at the N.Y. Rangers, you start with the talent the Rangers have between the pipes. So far this season, this Rangers team seems to play better in front of backup Cam Talbot than they do in their elite goalie in Henrik Lundqvist. There have been at least 7 games in which the Rangers could have won if Lundqvist was playing up to his ability of past seasons. He is clearly affected by the change in the reduction to goalie pads around the NHL. It was reported that Lundqvist had to reduce his pads by 2 inches on each pad (compared to 1 and 1/2 inches on each pad for Fatso across the river who holds the records for most wins and most losses by an NHL goalie). Could that be the only reason why he has not been able to come up with the key save when the team needs it? Is it that his main gaol for this season is to play in the Olympics for Sweden? IS it that being a married man with a child takes up alot more time and he is having issues spreading himself to all facets of his life? It would seem like it all of those issues and more! He hasn't been good enough to start over Cam Talbot who has played solidly when given the chance. So finally tonight, AV is sitting The King as right now, Cam Talbot is the better goalie to get the Rangers a win at this moment.
On defense, the Rangers have just been as bad as they have in goal. This is like asking which is worse, goalie or defense; sort of like asking the reason why like is the goalie bad because the defense or the defense bad because of the goalie. It is both! The only player right now that is playing well is Ryan Mcdonagh. Marc Staal(injured again), Dan Girardi, Anton Stralman, John Moore, and Michael DelZotto have been lost on the ice. How the hell can a whole defensice group not be able adapt to a new coach and system? If it was one guy you could say that the player has lost a step, but the whole group? Definitely a group of players that can not play this coaches system.
I won't even start with the offense because it is so horrible. They are all flatfooted and never in position to make a play. Always on the backhand instead of in position for a one-timer. Glide back after a turn over instead of skating all out to make up for their turnover. They always get the puck back to the point on offense whether it is 5 on 5, powerplay, or penalty kill. The problem is , the Rangers don't have anyone on the point that can get the shot through from the point. The only player who is doing anything right on a regular basis is Chris Kreider, who actually has a shot at winning this years Calder award for rookie of the year.
The only players that the Rangers should make untouchable are Ryan Mcdonagh, Chris Kreider, Rick Nash, Derek Stepan, Henrik Lundqvist, Cam Talbot, and Mats Zuccarello. The Rangers should be talking to their future free agents(restricted and unrestricted) and if they don't see them fitting into their budget, trade them and get something for them while they either get the players needed for this new system brought in by Glen Sather hiring AV or bring up players from the minors that are willing to adjust.
Last night, Dylan McIlrath injured his knee and had to be helped off the ice and is having an MRI per the team twitter account. It is the same knee that was injured in a Rangers camp over a year ago. That is one less option for the Rangers and not very promising for his Rangers future. The Rangers should bring up Danny Kristo and Oscar Lindberg to take the place of Taylor Pyatt and Dominic Moore. Why not bring up Aaron Johnson who has been a "good Soldier" in Hartford or Connor Allen.
IF Glen Sather is going to sit on his hands and not answer the phone to make a trade to fix this team, why not figure out what next year is going to look like and make some of those changes now. Sometimes you have to take a step backward to take two steps forward. So far this season, this is a huge step backward.
One thing is for sure, The Worlds Most Famous Arena has not been an advantage to the Rangers! This team needs to play with some pride and puropse and turn this bad news bears season around!