With yesterday’s shootout loss to the Flyers, the Rangers’ season came abruptly to an end. Maybe I’d gotten too used to seeing post-season play, but for whatever reason the loss yesterday struck me as surprising, and of course more than a little disappointing.
In many ways it was a fitting end to the season, a shootout loss following a one goal game. Perhaps was also fitting that the high-priced under performer Olli Jokinen failed to convert on the shot that would have prolonged at least the game, if not the season.
In the end the failures were many, the successes few. The Rangers managed to string together three or wins on four occasions during the season, and if not for a 7-1-0 streak to start the season, and a 7-1-2 finish it wouldn’t have been close.
Henrik Lundqvist, Marian Gaborik, Brandon Dubinsky, Ryan Callahan and Marc Staal all equaled or set career highs, while Wade Redden, Chris Drury and Donald Brashear all ended up at the low end of their career statistics.
Henrik Lundqvist had an up and down year, setting a career high for appearances, but also losing more games in regulation as well as in the extended formats of the regular season games.
Moderate bright spots on the year also included the play of Vinny Prospal and waiver wire pick-up Erik Christensen, while trade acquisitions Brandon Prust and Jody Shelley teamed with Artem Anisimov to form a big part of the Rangers offense down the stretch.
Going into the off-season, the challenges remain very similar to last year. How will the Rangers deal with the constraints of several big, overvalued contracts. What can they do to strengthen the blueline, and what can they do to get some offensive help for Marian Gaborik.
Perhaps too, whether there might be some changes in the front office or behind the bench. What the Rangers will be able to do to substantially change the team in the off-season remains to be seen. It began Sunday, and will continue through to next September’s training camp.