One thing has become abundantly clear to most who closely follow the Rangers and don’t make a living needing access to the team and it’s head coach. Alain Vigneault has to go.
It is time for the Rangers to get proactive. And the best they can do now is swallow the hard pill, in buying out both Staal and Girardi prior to this summer’s Expansion Draft.
No doubt it’s a lot of dead cap space to carry, but perhaps with the defensive prospects they now have thanks to some savvy work by Rangers GM Jeff Gorton on the young free agent market, he’s created the perfect time to rip the band aid right off.
The season series between the New York Rangers and Ottawa Senators doesn’t tell us much about their upcoming playoff match Ottawa won the series two games to one, but all three games were notable for who was missing from the lineup for each. Antti Raanta started two of the games for the Rangers, while New York was missing at least three of their regular forwards every game. Matt Puempel and Brandon Pirri played in all three games. The final game of the season series, the Rangers rested seven regular players, while Henrik Lundqvist was in his second game back following an injury.
Look, Alain Vigneault, I know coaching a professional hockey team is hard. On your best night, you’re still playing against another top professional team with a world class head coach in opposition. And this is the Stanley Cup Playoffs! So everything is amped up, or so we’re constantly reminded. The game goes by in a whirlwind. One moment you’re up by a goal with just over a minute left to play, on the cusp of taking the first two games on the road in a best of seven series, then the next you’ve put your worst defenseman on the ice, the puck is behind an angry Henrik Lundqvist and you are 17 seconds away from heading to an overtime loss to tie the series. So in the future, maybe…you know, don’t do that.
Last season at this time, most honest Rangers’ fans knew that a first-round matchup against the Pittsburgh Penguins was going to be a bloodbath. And not the kind where your team has plenty of rest for their second-round appointment after a sweep of an inferior team, but rather one that ends with a quick trip to the golf course. That team’s defense was so awful that only a Herculean effort by Henrik Lundqvist kept even making the Stanley Cup Playoffs a possibility. The offense was good, but could in no way offset the blown coverages in the highest of scoring areas in front of the crease.
(Update: I originally mistakenly removed the last game instead of the first game in Columbus as part of the tie breaking procedure. This does not change the positional outcome, however, I have fixed the story to reflect this change – DR) The New York Rangers win over the Philadelphia not only eliminated the Flyers from […]
There are eight games remaining on the schedule for the New York Rangers before the NHL regular season ends. If you examine their record down the stretch, their laundry list of injuries and their players’ overall lack of production you might think they were a playoff bubble team trying but failing to gain ground. However, […]
Earlier today, the Rangers added Henrik Lundqvist and Rick Nash to their long list of injured players prior to their game against a Carolina Hurricanes team that’s far from a playoff position. With Lundqvist and Nash out, Raanta would get the start in goal, while Matt Puempel would draw back in. You might think that […]
Some games throughout the season don’t deserve a highlight-by-highlight walk through from the first quality scoring chance to the final goal of the game. When the Rangers faced off against Montreal on a Saturday night in early March, it was one of those games. So I won’t tell you in any detail about the puck […]
New York Rangers’ newest member, Brendan Smith, wearing the number 42, got to start the game paired on defense with former University of Wisconsin teammate Ryan McDonagh. With Michael Grabner out after an injury suffered in the off-day practice, the starting forward combinations featured Pavel Buchnevich, Mika Zibanejad and Rick Nash as one unit, while […]