Larry Brooks at the New York Post feels that the Rangers are having an identity crisis right now...
"Everyone understood this team would be more top-heavy following an offseason in which Rick Nash came but Brandon Dubinsky, Artem Anisimov, Ruslan Fedotenko and Brandon Prust departed. Everyone could see the added skill level. But the Rangers, a guts-’n-glory team if there ever were one, seem to be grappling for an identity in this new season."
...Brooks hits the nail on the head here. While newcomers like Pyatt, Halpern and Asham are playing hard, they're just not bringing the intangibles that the guys Brooks mentions above did every night. Those guys knew how to give the team a lift whether it be through a fight, a big hit or a clutch penalty kill. And they did it with some swagger. Which is something this current group is in desperate need of.
...another concern is the drop in battle levels from holdovers of last year's team. Specifically Boyle, McDonagh, Stepan and Gaborik. If a large swatch of the core isn't buying in, why would the recent acquisitions? You have to wonder if these guys, who laid it all on the line last year are burned out by Torts' system.
...Torts needs to figure out if he's going to force Nash and others to buy into the style of hockey that made the Rangers so successful last season or open it up to allow his new Super Star player to do what he does best and get this team scoring goals again. Right now it seems like this team is caught in the middle and it's obviously not working.
...hindsite is always 20/20, but Sather deserves a bit of a hit here also for maybe doing too much of a turnover for a team that made it to the Eastern Conference Finals last year.
Everyone expects Nash to jump in and take this team to the next level, it takes time. The season after the NJ traded for Kovalchuk (and gave up less cause he was a UFA) they didnt make the playoffs. It takes time to adjust, many fans have to realize just cause a team went to the conference finals and added a top talent in the league doesnt mean the cup gets lifted the following season.
People need to get over these "intangible" players.Those said 4 players combined for a measly 40 goals last season. And every single one of them played in over 80% of the season.
Also keep in mind that 2 of the 4 played on the 2nd line for most of the season with Dubinsky also getting some 1st line minuets at the beginning of the season.
So if you think about it, Nash's production should easily cover Anisimov's and Dubinsky's, I'd take Pyatt over Fedotenko and if they use Powe right we'll soon forget about Prust.
The problem lies on some of the returning players not progressing to the next level of their careers. Namely Stepan, Del Zotto and Boyle.
The Ranger's problem is that they can't score. They are last in the Eastern Conference in Goals with 20 (tied for last in the NHL) and if you consider that 5 were vs. Tampa, they then average just 1.8 Goals in their remaining 8. Not going to win many games like that. Part of that is due to the abysmal power play, but also how many players on this team outside of the top line can you actually count on to score? Too many useless forwards on this team, especially with a D corps that doesnt contribute that much offensively. And of course if the top line struggles...then you really in a bind.
It worked last year because they a) scored more (were ranked 8th) and b) were #1 in Goals Against. Tough to live that way though - need remarkable goaltending, shot blocking and great D. Not working as well this year. .
It amazes me that people and fans of this team actually think the addition of Nash has caused this mess. Yuck.
You will never hear of Dubi or Artem ever again. Marginal at best. Now can I please sulk in misery and confusement with fellow Rangers fans please?
You guys made it the conference finals with no scoring, just hearts on the ice hockey, like us. You didn't need to go out and get him, you were going to be fine with the youngins and vets you had. Kreider is someone I would kill for, and Miller is going to be great. Chemistry is worth more than a goal scorer, I figured Sather would have learned that witnessing his team go farther than they have in decades. Guess old habits die hard.
You said it. If keeping Dubi and Artem, then who scores? NOBODY. That was the biggest need going into the offseason. Now losing Prust is what hurt bad.
Nash is a powerful player, and more skilled than 96% of the NHL, but losing Prust, Dubinsky, and Anisimov, you gave up what made that system work. Regardless if they didn't score more than twenty goals, when Dubinksy played hard, he leveled people and made you make mistakes in your own end. Prust was one of the most effective penalty killers I've ever seen, he reminded me of the good years with Madden and Pandolfo. In my opinion, Sather gave up what worked, and what most of you were praising him on, and went for the big name.
If this team doesn't start performing, Torts is done. As much as I do like him, I think it's the right move
I know it's sacriledge to say this, but another problem is that a certain Messianic like "King" of the world/universe/infinite space, can do no wrong, nothing can be his fault, he's perfect goalie isn't exactly lighting the world on fire right now. In fact, there have been a lot plays where he looks downright mediocre.
No they are not even close to being the same team as last season but Dubi and Anisimov weren't exactly lighting it up during their tenure. The trade was a steal. Period. He's world class.
I thought at the time of the deal that Nash was definitely an improvement over Dubi and AA and I still don't think Erixon is ever going to be an NHL defensemen, so I was in favor of it. I still think that way. Remember, Nash has been this team's best forward for most of the games they've played so far, with the exception of the couple of nights Gabby showed up. Nash is an animal, but he needs to get used to the idea of deferring to other players a bit. He spent so long on a crappy team in Columbus where he always had to do everything that it's going to take time for him to learn to let plays develop on their own and be a part of making something happen instead of trying to make everyhing happen on his own. He'll get there, but it probably won't be until late March or April. Let's hope the team isn't fighting for the cellar at that point.
I think maybe keeping Dubi or Anisimov and maybe putting in Hagelin for Nash might have worked better...both dubi and artie were grinding it out all season.
They just aren't the same team this year because they are more top heavy. I don't think this is a team capable of being the black & blueshirts from the last couple of seasons. This team, at least with last night's lineup is more built for speed, run and gun. It's incredible how much quicker this team got with the subtraction of Rupp and the addition of Powe, Kreider and Miller, not to mention that you already have guys like Hagelin, Gaborik and Nash in the lineup who can really skate. They gotta reinvent themselves and not try to be something they are not.
Well, then I'm lost, b/c I NEVER WANTED Nash. Not sold on him being so brilliant and wonderful. The fans got what they wanted, that's how I look at it. I watch the Rangers this year and I don;t even see a shadow of what they were last season.
As much as I love giving Sather shit, it's not his fault at all. Dubinsky and Anisimov were the only active Rangers who left for Nash, so that trade definitely cannot be faulted. Not that I don't direly miss Dubinsky, of course.
I sincerely do think that the lack of training camp hurt the Rangers worse than any other team.
This team isn't that far from being where they need to be, but the biggest, Biggest, BIGGEST problem is the power play. I made the comment last night that they should look at declining penalties because it's so bad, I was only half joking there. The power play is so monumentally horrendous that it actually has a detrimental affect on the whole game. When they get a man advantage and they can't even set up in the offensive zone, let alone get scoring chances, it changes the momentum that came off the hard work they just did to earn the power play. Torts said it last night, it's killing them. It's time for either Torts to take over the power play completely or they find a replacement for Sully who can figure this out, because if this power play doesn't improve (3 for 38 right now), they ain't making the playoffs.
Their post on twitter says they were working on shoot outs today. WTF LOL YOU HAVE TO BE ABLE TO TIE A GAME TO GET TO A SHOOTOUT. How about working on the power play for say like 10 hours a day till that shows some signs of life. Or some Shooting without missing the net by a mile. Passing? No they do enough passing of the puck and passing on wins they are great at. I say get a coach in there that can train these guys right and not work on crap there is no need for right now like shootouts. Keep playing like this and they will NEVER see a shootout this season.
One in no way is this Sather's fault. He did everything the fan base was clamoring for, and did it at a extremely low price. Everyone was begging for goal scoring, and he got an elite goal scorer in the NHL for Brandon Dubinsky and Artem Anisimov. I would do that trade any day of the week.
Two. The difference between last year and this year is the defense. Last year we were one of the best defensive teams in the NHL, but so far it has not carried over. All the goals I have seen scored so far have been defensive breakdowns or bad turnovers by Del Zotto or someone else. The offensive opportunities have been there we just have not been cashing in yet that will change. But we need to step it up a lot on the defensive side of the puck.
Finally, the power play needs to be better. Even though it was horrendous last year, it has found a way to be even worse this year (Didnt think it was possible). Also, the penalty kill has not been great, but hopefully that just needs time to mesh with all the new parts and no Callahan recently.
Deb you nailed it. The system has to change. They are way to reliant on blocked shots and because if that they aren't pressuring the puck on D they are just waiting to drop and block it and it's not working like it did last year. I will say that I like why Tort did with the lines last night. Miller and Kreider looked great with Richards and Nash and hags played well. Though they didnt score try looked really fast last night and pushed the pace. Have to break up Nash Gab and Richards. Gives lines more depth and makes hen all dangerous. I can't get o'er how good the kids played with Richards that could end up being the best line this season. God speed Ranger fans
Why are we the only team in the league without a "power play specialist"?? We have awful spacing, a defenseman in Richards who is actually a center, who couldn't break a pain of glass with his shot, in which uses just about every time there is a blue moon.. Listen, I like Torts, but his coaching strategy is horrendous.. This league is about trusting your line mates to be where you think they are gonna be and changing the lines every 5 minutes isn't developing any trust whatsoever... How can the guy trust his players if they don't even trust eachother???
Right now it looks like "Pretty Scoring Play Once Every Three Games" is their identity. Our boys will get it together. I've just lowered my expectations from going 48-0 and winning the Cup so hard that they decide to award us with the next three just because.
No one wants to hear it, but there were too many changes made. Your gritty shot-blockers anbd grinders are gone. The fans got what they wanted --Rick Nash. Well, he isn't exactly Mr. Wonderful, but again, no one wanted to hear that either. I thought Halpern and Asham were supposed to be the cheap replacements for Fedotenko?What have they done again?? And sadly, Lundqvist is looking very human this season. I have no answers.
Yep, everyone was totally against sending Dubi and Anisimov to Columbus for Nash, and not giving Prust $8M over 4 years, and not re-signing Fedetenko...oh wait, I don't believe there was a peep when any of that happened. Yes, this team is looking for a new identity, but thinking they are going to have the same one as last year is ludicrous!! Sure they made it to the Eastern Conference Finals last year, but they were also a bad bounce away from being knocked out in the 1st round! They are starting to find their way and when they do, they will be much better equipped to handle the ups and downs of a playoff run. Just because it's a shortened season doesn't mean that 9 games counts for anything more than 9 games. It was right around this time last year that they found their way. Patience.
Gabby, exactly. I figured they'd only be better than last year with a healthy Gabby ( not you ) and the addition of Nash. Apparently they aren't ready to play.
i'm surprised how much this team has not lived up to the expectations i had before the season began. i thought the pick up of nash was a great thing. they've ended up being almost the complete opposite of what i had expected.
This is exactly how I feel. Last bullet nails it on the head. Why change a team completely when all it needs is just a tweak or two?
scoring more goals doesn't mean you're a better team if you're allowing more goals too. People need to realize that keeping pucks out of your net is just as, if not more important than scoring them
@Beckfan5 You maybe right. Jury is still out in my opinion on what the problem is, if there even is one. We'll know more about the makeup of this team in a month. Hopefully by then they will have had it figured out.
@Andrew794 -- no way that was remotely an option. Columbus had to get something for Nash. Arti is still young, Dubi a proven NHLer. Hagelin was just a rookie. That deal doesn't get done.
@gravey94 No one is saying the Rangers shouldn't have made the Nash deal or given Prust a ridiculous contract, but you have to admit there was a large turnover of the grinders that defined this team last year.
Which is fine, but Torts has to change his strategy accordingly. I still see him talking up the same game plan as last year (forecheck, jam, hardness) and I'm not sure this team is equipped to do it.
Having said that, I hope you're right and I'm just being impatient, but the Rangers are closing in on the quarter point of the season and it gets late early in a 48 game season.
I agree. Nobody thought (or thinks?) that the Nash trade was anything but a steal that made us better. And what were we supposed to do with Prust? Its easy to pile on now.
Don't get me wrong, I don't approve of the way this team is playing and certainly agree we need more bite, grit, edge..whatever you want to call it. But don't say not giving prust $10 million (TEN MILLION!!) and trading 2 dubie and artie for a top 5 NHL talent was a mistake or is the issue here.
I also don't think that McDonaugh deserves to be lumped in with the other non-performers thus far.
Team just needs to wake the fuck up.
@JustinRP37 2 wins away from the Stanley Cup Final and Sather's answer was to rid himself of Dubinsky, Anisimov, Prust, Feds and Mitchell, not to mention Zuccarello probably couldn't hurt this teams powerplay...Sather is fine signing Rupp for 1.7 but not okay with Prust at 2.2? Some head scratchers for sure.
@malber9 It would if they could actually score!
The Rangers average 2.22 goals for while giving up only 2.78 against.
I think that solidifies my point.
@KevinDeLury I think the reality is that the players who provided most of the grit are still here, but just not playing the same they did at the end of last season. I think it takes some time to get that gritty edge and still use their skill.
@JustinRP37 My point being that we were just a tweak or 2 from the Cup last year...unless Miller and Kreider step up I think this might be a step back this year
@kicker75 @KevinDeLury Gabby had 41 goals last year, Richards had 60+ points after a bad start, and Cally nearly had 30 goals. Torts doesn't play a trap trying to win 1-0 every time. His system is being responsible on possessing the puck in the offensive zone. The mindset change is to teach offensive guys to come back and help out defensively, but I don't think it hinders their creativity. They just need to commit to it!
@Andrew794 I agree. It is a head scratcher. You also need chemistry to win a cup. Chemistry is developed over time.