After last night's disgraceful, disgusting effort by the Rangers, the team held a closed door meeting to address the current battle level, but coach Alain Vigneault says talk is cheap...
"You can talk all you want, but you need to have those words become actions on the ice. We can talk all we want behind closed doors, but it's on the 200 by 85 that things are decided."
He then seemed to indicate that a change may be coming...
"With the personnel we have right now, we need to play a smart, high-percentage, good puck-movement game. If we can do that, we can be very effective, That's the type of personnel we have at this time."
...hmmmmm, the "personnel we have RIGHT NOW." Hmmmmm. I wonder if AV was trying to be cryptic that some kind of move is coming or he was again calling out his current roster.
...either way, this team needs a Sean Avery type shakeup in the locker room and on the ice. The players have become too comfortable and too tolerant of what's become a mediocre effort. I've said it numerous times on this blog, but whatever Vigneault is selling, this team ain't buying. So I think some kind of wildcard needs to be thrown into the mix. Who or what that wild card is, I don't know, but this organization needs to figure it out and figure it out quickly.
...where's the grit? The passion? The fight? It's like night of the living dead on the ice most nights from this disinterested group. It infuriates me beyond belief that in a year in a half, Glen Sather turned one of the most beloved Rangers teams in the history of the franchise, who played the game "the right way," into this pathetic bunch.
...these guys get paid a lot of money to play a game we all love, and it's insulting that we can't get a better, more consistent effort on a gamely basis. There's more than enough skill in the locker room to be above a .500 team, which only proves this team lacks the proper heart and character to get the job done. Disgraceful.
And the lack of excitement on the ice has transferred into the crowd at MSG, which has been equally as subdued this season, which Capitals head coach Adam Oates took note of last night (via Daily News)...
"The place was kind of quiet, which is always a good feeling on the road."
Ryan McDonagh feels that's on the team (via ESPN.com)...
"The crowd had nothing to stand for tonight. And that's something we're ashamed of."
...remember the "Can You Hear Us" moment back in the 2011 (started on this blog BTW)...
...now the only thing you hear at MSG are the sounds of the suits text messaging in the expensive seats.
...not only have the Rangers become an easy team to play against, MSG has become an easy place for opponents to play.
This team is a bunch of Mary's ! The Pens pushed us around and kicked our ass all over the ice! And not one player stood up to them, you know why? Because we Have no one that can! Dorsett is tough but he's a middleweight and now with a broken leg he's gone. The minute the Pens realized that it was open season ( ask McDonough who got mugged by Cindy Crosby or Moore who got tossed like a rag doll )
We have 2 tough enforcers in the AHL ( and no not asham who's not a heavyweight either) Bring up Dylan " the undertaker" Mcllrath and Michael Haley. Then trade del zotto,Faulk and a bag of popcorn for anyone who can check and grind up front . This team is lame!
Love the Rangers but could we somehow: a.Trade DZ to the Bruins for Lucic and bunch of other shit b. Lower the price of beer significantly at the games?
Even Katie Strang gets it:
@KatieStrangESPN: Speaking of the rough stuff, the Rangers seemed to be lacking the requisite sandpaper and snarl needed even to hang tough in an underwhelming Metropolitan Division matchup against the Washington Capitals on Sunday night. The Rangers showed little fight or fire in an uninspired 4-1 loss to the Caps, and grit has to be a concern moving forward. Consider this: 5-foot-7 Norwegian winger Mats Zuccarello was the one who got up in Alex Ovechkin's grill after No. 8's hard hit on veteran center Brad Richards. Again, that's 5-foot-7 Mats Zuccarello. Both Chris Kreiderand Rick Nash showed some feistiness too, but should this really be a task for the team's skill players? Without Derek Dorsett in the lineup, the Rangers lack toughness and moxie. Gone are the days of the supremely effective Brandon Prust, and so too is the winning record as the Rangers are stuck in neutral at 15-15-1. I'm not suggesting the Rangers employ a heavyweight enforcer a la the days of John Scott, but extra physicality on the ice night in and night out wouldn't hurt, either.
Trade Sather back to the 1980's where he belongs and get some of those picks back used over the years or go out now and get a big Dorsett, a medium Dorsett and small Dorsett, one to play on each line.
Same ole story. Our 4th line sucks beyond belief. That's what separates us from other teams is our lack of quality players in the top 12 if one line is down who is the next line to step up? If both lines are being defended the bottom 6 need energy and something to get the team going. All the top teams have legit players up and down the lineup and we can't match the talent or compete level with our stiffs out there in the bottom 6 especially. Would Hartford guys who have something to play for really be that much worse than what we trek out there every night?
They need to call up skilled players from the AHL to let everyone know they could be gone at anytime and their roster spot isn't guaranteed
...only problem being we have no skilled players in the AHL because they suck and everyone on the roster besides maybe Zucc (because he's playing for a long term deal this year and trying to prove he belongs) is sitting back and dogging it, mailing it in every game. There's no hunger to win, zero desperation out there.
Since this season is probably a bust, maybe we hopefully get a high pick out of it because it's borderline unwatchable right now.
Really well written piece man. This year's Ranger team has forced me to buy the tv hockey package so I don't forget what real hockey is like. Most Ranger games are so damn boring, even when they win. I am not sure who to question anymore but I really hope there are some changes made. How the hell can a line of Pyatt-Boyle-Pouliot be rationalized? Until that shit goal last night, Cam Janssen had as many goals as that line combined. How long do we need to say that grit and toughness is the answer? Clean out the roster fillers and get some guys that play with a purpose. Let's see if a change in role players has an effect before more is added for offense.
Was at the game last night. There really wasnt much to cheer for, but it was really quiet. Nash shoving match with ovechkin brought some life to the crowd...felt like a game where if a bruiser wouldve stepped up and fought it wouldve brought some energy
"There's more than enough skill in the locker room to be above a .500 team..." Really? I'm not so sure. Nash is overrated. He's a good first line forward, but not a franchise guy. Otherwise, I see a top 6 that would need an awful lot of luck and favorable ice time to crack 15-20 goals. On D, other than McD on some nights, the defense has is pretty average in every facet--size, speed, and skill. This team isn't under-achieving. It overachieved for one season. With all the parity in the league, maybe they'll get lucky with a move or two and contend soon, but not right now.
Ok all i here is the team can't play with a soft coach. They can't play with a tough coach. Give me a brake the team needs leadership on the ice. When Mess was the captain he did not put up with any bullshit. He would be in the players shit if they didn't perform. i say change all the whimp ass captains and get people in there who want to play, win, and lead. All the the UFA's are crying like bitches that the King took all the cap space.
I posted this comment after last night's loss but I'm re-posting it as it's relevant to this blog as well:
[ This team is almost good, yet they're bad. Upon reading some of the comments we're all saying similar things. My 2 cents would be that we've got enough here, especially in lieu of the emergence of Kreider to make a go at it if we could round out the roster with some dirt and grit. Trades of course mean we got to thin out the already thin talent unless you're expecting other teams to take our dead wood. I don't. The sad part is that all Sather had to do was surrender only one player of talent to have achieved the means to acquire the sandpaper needed to round out our roster and give the skilled forwards the space they needed and that of course would have been to buy out Richey. F*cking Idiot! ]
I did not even bother to watch either game this weekend. Call it intuition, common sense or whatever but I knew they would lose both games and I did not want to be frustrated. After almost climbing back to respectability they're sinking back into despair and I believe the suits are starting to get it now - they've given this mix a chance. It ain't working. Time for a call to action.
I think AV is a
smart guy - good coach (even if I do not always agree with his
decisions) but he is passionless. That is very bad. Hockey is a tough
grind. It's easy for you and me to say that it's inexcusable for
players earning millions to lack effort but during this long grinding
season where other teams manhandle you?? We're not the ones getting bruised and battered night after night. Your tired, out of breath,
bruised, battered etc. etc. you need the guy behind the bench to give
you that extra incentive to push through your discomfort. It's really
not that hard to know this, especially if you ever played. We expect
top effort every night yet these are human beings who are getting beaten
down and demoralized - so the guy behind the bench has to motivate them
to push through it and high passion is contagious. It lights a fire
under your ass and you play through your pain until it disappears and
you find that inner strength to push through it and succeed. I'm not saying AV has
to get red in the face, or yell at everyone and everything like Torts
but show something God Dammit!, and though I'm not a Torts fan - god do I
miss his passion. Anyway AV is who he is. He ain't changing so your
next line of motivation has to be your captain. Right now Cally is
learning a valuable lesson in his captainship. Always a lead by example
type but what if you're injured and you can no longer lead by example?
What then? You got to find another way to motivate these guys. Cally is cap't for
a reason and is the right choice IMHO but now he has an opportunity to
grow as a cap'n, and grow as a human being. Address the challenge.
Know that for what ever reason you're not able to motivate through your
inspired play and come up with another solution in spite of having a
dead fish behind the bench. In the end Slats has to somehow acquire
some energy players to help facilitate this without giving up more of
the thin talent we need to turn this ship around. Like I said at the
top we are almost good, yet we are bloody awful. All it will take are a
couple smart moves, and infusion of passion and grit and this can still
be a competitive team. We're at the crossroads right now. Change is in the air. Let's get it
This team was originally built for Torts system hes gone now we need to build a team around AV's system. Keep the people who fit that mold and move on 2-3yrs we might be back as a contender.
MSG has been a dud for a while. Pricing out the "average" fans and replacing them with people who for the most part could care less about hockey. All about $$
AV is NOT the problem. Hockey players worth a damn need NO motivation from their coach. Direction? YES. Motivation?? C'mon. Do you think Prust, or Dubi, or Avery, or Feds would need to be TOLD to play tough?? That said, the Rangers have a coach that doesn't seem to give a crap about that sort of thing, so he matches this roster PERFECTLY!!!! Good job Sather...you made a team that could compete in 1985.
Anybody here still thinks Torts lost the locker room.....anybody? Like it or not Torts was a leader who does not appeal to wussie's. Torts never said it is the responsibility of "on ice leadership" to play harder and stronger. He put it on himself to be accountable. It is and will always be his responsibility as Coach to inspire his team.
AV was tossed from the Canucks because he was too soft with a far more talented team than the Rangers have now while the Western Conference was growing bigger, tougher and meaner. Sather wanted to keep Richards and go in a more skilled direction (ala the old Oilers before The Cap) to win the Cup and Torts wanted to build a tougher more defense first team (ala the Bruins,The Kings, SJ, The Blues). They both agreed to go their separate ways.
AV is a soft coach. No fire.....no passion......no enthusiasm. Every team in any walk of life including hockey is always a reflection of it leadership. The NYR have the most passionate fans in hockey. AV fits nicely with us doesn't he?......another Renney, this time in Armani suits.
While I agree with you, you are starting to sound bi-polar! Weren't we just a few backs saying how the trades since the Eastern Cup Finals were for the best and the Rangers are better for it now? The single biggest factor that has not been addressed was the loss of Prust and Rupp. Sather keeps dragging his feet w/ Richards and Del Zotto. Trade Del Zotto now and buy out richards in the summer before it's too!
"According to Cap Geek, if the salary cap rises to $70,000,000, the Rangers would have $29.9 million in salary cap space."
"If the Rangers exercise their final compliance buyout on Richards, they would have $36,610,000 in cap space."
It will be interesting to see Sather throw that away.
dorsett is scrappy,but we need a big guy who can fight.that idiot from boston challenged the whole ranger bench ,dorsett stepped up but was out sized.seriously,bring back prust.
I think a lot of this goes back Brad not being bought out. Sather secretly has to be kicking himself for that one. here are some guys we could have had, their points, and their cap.
25 points (3 more than Brad) 3 million dollars (4 less than Brad)
22 points (same as Brad) 5.5 million dollars (1.5 less than Brad)
24 points (2 more than Brad) 2 million (5 million less than Brad!!!)
do you think we could be better with those caps and point productions!?
if we had grabovski an jagr we would have double the points at 2 million dollars less than Brad!
I know this is subject to discussion and subject to the "can't score to save your life" rangers curse, but those numbers are crazy!!! screw Sather!!!
How is Sather to blame for this? He has put a roster together that most people would sign up for in a heartbeat. He gets the guys on the ice, he isn't responsible for motivating them once they are on there.
That is the coaches, and the players themselves -- who somehow have escaped culpability in this. These guys are on cruise control.
@Brettlebo You sound tlike the guy who lost "The Room." AND I LOVE IT! Can't believe this is what represents the greatest city in the world!!!!
@barondon Not much to cheer for against WASH. NJ game was very loud though.
@JamesU Spot on. Under Slats, this team has been for the most part a perennial 7-9th place team. 2012 put blinders on a lot of fans eyes, thinking that we were finally becoming a contender, while not realizing that the NYR still had many holes. Maybe with all the UFAs & RFAs coming up and the cap set to go up, the NYR can rebuild with the right pieces, but under Slats, I don't have much hope.
Is he worth his cap hit though? All conjecture of course but what if he was bought out, we had tougher guys on the ice, and thereby suffered less injuries, while giving other skilled forwards more space to perform. I'm not arguing or saying you're wrong but do believe we'd be better off if we bought him out. Yes he's leading this team in points and goals which is absolutely pathetic. On a good team he'd be 4th or 5th given his current output.
Spazz, did you steal my avatar? I thought I was the only one who knew where to find a NYR Mega Man Sprite....
@Say my Name I agree. Always easy to point fingers at the coach. God how I miss our team when we went to the ECF. Even though we "didn't score goals" it was so exciting to watch that team play with passion.
I'd KILL to see another start of the game like that year against the devils, which everyone just dropped their gloves and went at it.
I agree with you EH but Torts did lose the locker room. I saw it very early last season before it all came out. Motivation from your coach is important in an 82 game season where you're run into the boards by 200 pounders skating at 25 mph every night, and you can barely walk to the arena the next day yet you have to give 101% when you step out on that ice. Torts is a great motivator but he oversteps the line IMHO, and players revolt. You can call them wimps or whatever but hockey is an extremely tough demanding sport and the leadership structure does at times need to provide you with the extra motivation to play through your pain.
@EHBIGAPPLE I'm apathetic to AV. I wasn't excited about his hiring, but I didn't hate it either. (rather would have Ruff or Laviolette) with that said, Torts did lose the room, and most likely this season would be a horror show if he was still around, because a team who doesn't want to play for their coach is much worse than a bad team that tries (which I think the NYR are) but fails. And why all the Renney bashing? He was actually a good coach. Best coach? no. But he was a good coach, and just like Torts and AV, was saddled with a mediocre roster and did the best he could with it.
Look for Sather to go hard after Statsny and Phaneuf, probably offering both of them $8-9 mil each for too many years (I actually wouldn't mind Statsny one bit, but not for that money), followed by Cammalerri (Possibly trading for him at the deadline), and a ride-off-into-the-sunset offer to Dan Boyle.
Other potential targets: Alex Steen, Dave Bolland, and Brooks Orpik.
The issue, as always will be that Sather will have to offer extra dollars to lure any of these players away from their current team, which he can, and will, do. There aren't a ton of desirable UFAs, which will also increase their value. The 5 above (Bolland, Steen, Statsny, Phaneuf and Cammallerri are probably the most desirable under 30 options. Orpik is 33.
@johnAMIRANTESrug During the offseason my main reasons for wanting to keep Richards one more year was that A) I thought he simply deserved a second chance, but the bigger one (B) I knew Sather could never resist spending every dollar possible that he had. Rest assured he would have given any one (or two or three) of those guys at least $1 million more than the deal they currently have, he probably would have given McDonagh, Stepan and Hageling a few hundred thousand dollars more ,each, and low and behold we'd be just as bad today, up against the ceiling, but with no looming buyout. It's just how he and the NYRangers operate. Despite the cap, they love to show that they can outspend the competition.
I also thought this team would be much improved under AV, and that we'd be sitting here at the end of the 2013-2014 season wanting to resign almost every single UFA/RFA, and at that point, the savings from buying out Richards would give Sather the flexibility to do that. If we had bought out Richards last summer, the increase for contracts to guys like Hank, Girardi, Cally, Brassard, J Moore, Stralman, Kredier, etc (not saying theyre all staying anymore) would have had to fit within the amount that the cap increased, and that would have been impossible.
@johnAMIRANTESrug honestly, i wouldn't have wanted any of those 3, but I agree. Not buying out Brad was just delaying the inevitable and is currently hurting the development of this team.
@Scott_from_Jersey Huh? a roster that most people would sign up for in a heartbeat? I beg to differ.
Just wait until tonight when the leafs who lead the league in majors kick out ass. It's gonna be ugly.
If we buy Richards out 36 mill is a great way to rebuild just need to make sure we resign the right FA players and the ones we don't need to trade and bring assets back and go from there.
@Betweentheworlds Ok but do you really think Sather can get someone better? Look at his track record.
@Scott_from_Jersey LOL I found it on reeit a month or two back through kotoku.com
I agree Shoot about AV and felt the same way. Thought AV was an OK choice - not great. I too liked Renney but apparently he was too soft according to most. yes, in the end it's the players and not the coach that matters. Still you need a good coach to bring out your talent, structure your team and provide the additional motivation to succeed in an 82 game grind.
Did not want to come across bashing Renney. So my apologies here to you and all Renney fans. I have a bias......I simply want the best for myself, my family, my friends, my women and all my teams that I lead or play for or root for....that is how i see my world. LGR!
I know they aren't sexy and probably would have gotten grief in the offseason but would it be any worse than having no cap space and having to give a roster spot to 67 and 14!? we'd be over the moon right now with those caps and point productions!
We have a core of home-grown/well developed talent, a superstar goalie and a superstar scorer. We've developed guys like Chris Krieder into of the most promising young forwards in the league and moved overpaid underperformers like Gaborik and Gomez, while holding onto most of the parts that made this team 2 years ago so effective (Prust and his un-matchable contract aside). I don't love the Richards deal, but 1 year into it and every year prior to that he was a different player than he is today -- and Sather, who isn't to blame for his on ice deterioration, will have a buyout mulligan to make it all better.
My point is, I don't blame the GM when guys are not playing to their potential or playing with heart. That falls on the coaches and the players. This team, with the personnel they have, should be MUCH MUCH better.
Like Kevin said: There's more than enough skill in the locker room to be above a .500 team, which only proves this team lacks the proper heart and character to get the job done. Disgraceful.
OK BigBrian. You got me there...
I would be looking for a group of cheaper tougher players for Richey, not a replacement of his skill.
@Scott_from_Jersey UGH... all this proves is people from NJ really do think alike.
@johnAMIRANTESrug Not about them being sexy. Just don't think those 3 would be a great fit on this team. Then again, this team is mediocre so who knows...lol.
@shoot_the_goalie @Scott_from_Jersey From Dubinksy's lips to gods ears: NY always wants the shiny new toy. But in truth, it's Dolan and Sather, not the fans. I'm hard on AV because he's not adapting to his roster. But you're right, the roster is the GM's problem, and Sather is the root cause of all this.
I posted about this a few days/weeks ago. In the off-seasom, reporters were asking AV about his strategy and game plan, and because of his whole clean-slate thing (starting to think that was Sather's doing too), he admitted that he wasn't watching video, and he kept making comments like "I've been told we've got the talent here to..." He was told by Sather, who built this roster, and who had some grand delusion about the skill that was really out on the ice. AV knew nothing about our team or our players, he was sold by Sather that we had the skill and the potential to be a high scoring offensive team, and that the previous coach had been holding the roster back. This all, eventually, comes back to him. Turns out this team is "offensive" in the wrong definition of the word...
Oh I hear you re: Gomez, but one thing we've all seen is Sathers graduation from that mindset. He has done a good job of erasing some past mistakes (see: turning Gomez into McD) and the Rangers - partially bc of the Torts influence - really started to alter their approach toward building a team. I don't think we've gotten away from that, we just see a lack of effort from the guys capable of "playing the right way", which to me, is on the players themselves or the coaches. Its an organizational thing, but I think backbone players like Cally adn Staal will be the first to tell you they aren't happy with their play this season.
@Scott_from_Jersey I see your points, but it's also the GMs job to not only get skilled players but players who work hard, have a good head on their shoulders, and most importantly, are a correct fit for the team you're trying to build. It's as if Sather just goes out and gets the shiny new available thing every year without purpose except to sell seats and jerseys. The classic example of this from Slat's tenure is Scott Gomez. Slats gets rid of Nylander (probably one of two people in the world who can center Jagr) and then replaces him with Gomez. Gomez was a great play making center at one time, but he and Jagr were oil & water. Instead, if Slats has the intention of keeping Jagr (as they did) you try to keep Nylander.