Two weeks ago, it was Marty Biron questioning the Rangers "hardness," now the Blueshirts other goaltender, you might have heard of him, Henrik Lundqvist is criticizing the team's toughness...
“We did a lot of good things, but the games are decided in front of both nets right now. We need to have more traffic in front of their net, and I think we need to be a little tougher in front of our net.”
...Lundqvist has had to deal with a lack of toughness around the crease his entire Rangers career. In fact, it's gotten so bad at times he's had to actually stand-up for himself when his teammates wouldn't (see Habs game two years ago). But never a peep from him. So for Hank to call out his fellow Blueshirts like this you know things are bad. The perfect example was Stralman allowing Miettinen to park himself in front of Lundqvist without putting so much as a finger on him before the Winnipeg forward deflected home the game winner. Stralman has got to make life a living hell for that guy if he's going to plant himself at the top of the crease like that. Constant cross checks to the lower back and slashes to the back of his legs. That's something that's taught in pee wee hockey.
...and similar to Biron, Lundqvist is 100% correct. Unless their name is Rick Nash or Ryan Callahan a Rangers player is likely no where near the front of the net on other end of the rink. It's exactly the reason the Rangers have had a total of TWO power plays the last two games. If you're not constantly driving to the net in the offensive end, how can you expect to ever draw a penalty?
...and yes, I know Brandon Prust alone would not change things drastically with this team, but I tell you what, it wouldn't hurt to still have him around. Maybe he was worth $2.5 million per year.
...since we're on the subject of toughness, I'm loving Haley more and more every game. If Torts can continue to give him around 10 minutes of ice time I think he can become an almost "Avery Light" type player for this team. I was real impressed with the timing of his fight against Stuart last night. Things seemed to be getting away from the Rangers after the Jets early goal and his fight not only quieted the crowd but it gave his teammates a chance to catch their breath.
Here's video of his fight...
...this fight not only changed the momentum at the time, but Haley dropped Stuart like a sack of potatoes with a stiff right to the chops.
Also here's Torts and other players'post game thoughts...
If I was lundquist I would request a trade. This team is half filled with guys who block shots and miss the net from the point and superstars who have alot of skill and can't play the way they want cause the coach is a dick !!
@TheNYRBlog lose Prust, Rupp, even Dubinski and we add Asham who has hardly even played. What do we expect...
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@McPhee21 Not bad George.........(one of my favorite Rangers)
@RangerGuy99 -- you beat me to it!
Thanks Ranger. Ah..my man George McPhee..my hero growing up. When I played there were three players that I tried to emulate in a one way or the other...McPhee, Curt (Master Of The HipCheck) Giles...and Jay Wells.
Ha...Boom Boom Langevin...turned into Broken Jaw Langevin
@McPhee21 I will never forget when McPhee laid out Dave Langevin with one punch!!!!
@TheNYRBlog dead on! They have NO toughness in forwards or on Defense. I can't wait for Macilrath to be ready. It's hard to watch this!
If the Rangers are going anywhere this year, they are not doing it with this team. They have been exposed as weak in front of the net, and confused on offense. How long have we been waiting for a "crease- clearer" - since Bukeboom? This can be addressed today with a trade for Douglas Murray. How long have we waited for a power forward who will beat the crap out of you if you get in his way? This can be addressed today by trading for Ryann Clowe and Chris Stewart and Kyle Chipchurra as a third line center. Get rid of Gaborik & Richards to clear cap space, and Brian Boyle, Taylor Pyatt, and Jeff Halpern, who are too soft - no jam! And if nothing is addressed this year, then as soon as this short season is over (with no playoff appearance), fire Sather and Torts or move them to Sales, where they can try and sell the new ticket hike product for next year!
I realize Stralman did allow Miettinen to park in front of our net and score but please also point out that over the last two games McDonough has allowed three goals to be score by allowing "free Parking" in front of Hank.
Was it me or did everyone else realize how tired the team (except for Hags) looked last night. Nash didnt have that extra jump in his step, and Richy laboring to skate back to cover the weak side on a 3 on 2. This team is poorly conditioned.
@TheNYRBlog Great art.I agree 100%.We r lettin teams knock us around.Wer jusNOT hitting.I like Haley butwe cud rly use aBANGER who can score
@TheNYRBlog frustration is starting to get to everyone this is not a good thing
@Steve_Specia I wasn't saying that. When did I ever?
@NYRangersZone I guess it's all good cause of once
@Steve_Specia I pointed out the one example where a D man did his job to protect Henrik this season.
@TheNYRBlog Sad but true.
Talk about toughness all you want, talk about bottom 6 forwards all you want, but let's face it there is not a team in this league now or ever that is going to win games if the top 6 forwards are not putting the puck in the net. If any of the top 6 bury the ample chances they had tonight, this conversation is about what a great bounce back win this was. Those players MUST put this team on their backs now if they want to get rolling. Much has been made of Richards and Gabby' with their struggles, and rightfully so, but for all his ridiculous moves and abundance of talent, the fact that Nash only has 9 goals and has more assists than goals is troubling. I thought getting out of Columbus would propel Nash to new heights, but so far he's just been a very good player, not an elite superstar that everyone makes him out to be. He has 1 goal in his last 7 games. I know he's created a lot of offense, but he NEEDS to score more. He's got all the talent in the world, but needs to take it to the next level. If the top 6 get going, and especially Nash, the rest will follow. I think it needs to start with Nash proving that he can be a superstar.
@gravey94 But these just aren't solutions. last year it was "oh we need another top line scorer" and now with these gabby trade rumors "oh we need bottom 6 scoring." No. We have the team. They need to play. And I love torts as a coach and personality and I love the character he gives this team but at a certain point, when a coach loses the room there's not much you can do. And I'm starting to fear he is losing the room. I'm not saying he needs to be fired tomorrow, I'm just saying maybe there is a reason beyond injuries that gabby and richards aren't finding motivation. They can turn it around under Torts and I hope they do because I think he is a perfect NY style coach but maybe an offensive minded person behind the bench could do them good. Especially when Hank, Staal, McD, and Girardi are your pillars for keeping the puck out of the net. It's just too easy to say "Hey our top guys have to be better" That's such a cliche coming out of every dressing room these days that there needs to be more substance to their analysis.
@SA24 I just don't agree. We've seen coaches in other sports that completely lose the locker room (Rex Ryan, any number of Mets coaches, Mike D'Antoni, etc.). There's no way Torts is even close to losing this team. Gabby's reaction after the penalty shot speaks volumes as to what's going on. He's in a terrible funk and the only one that can get him out is himself. Richards looks like the same thing. Their ice time is no different than it was last year. Short of putting on skates and taking their shifts I'm not sure what else you can expect a coach to do. It's completely up to the players as Torts is giving them every opportunity to work their way out of it.
@gravey94 I would love for you to be right. Like I said I'm not calling for his head but I think it needs to be looked at. We're not in the locker room so he may very well be the perfect fit despite what I think at times but there sure is something wrong with this team's heart and sometimes I don't know where it went and how it left. And no I don't think losing Dubi and Artie are the reason. I just don't. Prust we miss but like I said we need to move on and if this team truly can't find it's grit and energy without him they have big problems.
I know, I know i sound extreme, it's not over by any means, and I hate the optics of firing a coach but this year feels different from years past where it seems as though this team isn't as willing to take on torts' identity. It's not crazy to think he is starting to lose the room save for a few guys on the team. They are just flat out mediocre and deserve to be where they are. Don't forget, last year was the ONLY good year under torts and you have to thank super heroics from Hank, Girardi, and Cally (and prust but we all miss him.. let's move on). If this team isn't playing with vezina-quality hank and armored knights in front of the puck I'm not sure why we expect them to be that much better than they are. Sorry, I'm just pissed and I don't know Richards and Gaborik are...
@SA24 Agreed about Tortarella. If the Rangers don't make the playoffs,he must be fired. The man have no clue. All he does is jugling linups and keep the players from developing chemistry. This team is good enough to be in the playoffs.It is time to start pointing finger at the coaching staff.
@TheNYRBlog Haley is a keeper! Rangers need a jay wells type in front. Players too comfortable there.
@erichan Me too. Prust brought a lot to the room that helped his teammates gel. It wasn't about just what he did on the ice, his contributions off ice were just as valuable.
@TheNYRBlog hashtag Haley!
@TheNYRBlog You think he regretted saying that when he woke up this morning? Even though it had to be said.