If you have been a listener to my “30 On Broadway” podcast you know extremely well where I stand on the 2021 New York Rangers. If you don’t, then sit back and let me give you a little glimpse into my feelings on the current state of the club.
I have long stated that when this current core group of Rangers is ready to compete and potentially win a Stanley Cup that David Quinn would not be the man leading that charge. This current season has done nothing more than cement that idea firmly in my mind. While the Rangers have been snake bitten beyond belief whether or not it has been Mika Zibanejad’s Rick Nasheque cold streak or all the injuries that the club has endured it’s definitely been a season to forget for the Blueshirts.
First things first, injuries are never an excuse for any team because all teams throughout the course of a season will go through them and it’s all about how you react, adapt, and overcome. When a team suffers a major loss it’s a chance to see how strong both the room and your coaching is and while some players stepped up in the loss of Artemi Panarin, the coaching has failed to hit the mark. The notions of using COVID as an excuse as well rings hollow as every team has had to endure largely the same problems across the league with many dealing with even further issues of postponed games, positive tests etc…
Nothing is more evident of that than in the Blueshirts current loss to the Bruins on Thursday night. After another soft goal given up by Georgiev after a solid start from the Rangers it absolutely crushed the Rangers spirit and the team could never recover. Of course it didn’t help matters that right after the goal David Quinn did what many fans have come to hate that’s throwing the lines into a blender and there was no cohesiveness the rest of the night. Quinn’s line juggling has become a focal point for many fans frustration because in so many ways it can limit chemistry and hold the team back. Also in what universe does it make sense to drop Alexis Lafreniere to a line with Brett Howden and promote Brendan Lemieux? Don’t get me wrong I’m a fan of what Lemieux brings as a player but in no way or any hockey universe should he ever be ahead of Lafreniere especially when you’re down in a game.
Last night when the Bruins netted the shorthanded goal to go up 2-0, the bubble on the night had burst and you knew the game was effectively over from that point. During the intermission former Rangers captain Ryan Callahan brought a perfect example of the lack of leadership and direction currently hindering the club on the and in the room. Callahan (paraphrasing) mentioned needing someone to step up on the bench and say something or drive the momentum with a big shift, hit or play to grab the momentum swing back and this team sorely lacks that ability. It seems as if when the tough gets going, the team folds like a house of cards and a light push of breathe from the opposition.
I’m not only burying Quinn for the Rangers recent stretch because let’s be real without Artemi Panarin and Igor Shesterkin it was going to be hard for this team to string wins together. The problem I’m having watching this team though is that they’re not devoid of talent on this roster and a lot of their issues are coaching related. For instance can anyone tell me with any amount of certainty what this teams identity is?
One night you will see this team come out with their hair on fire and look like they can play with any team in the league and then on another night they’ll look like they couldn’t skate with an AHL team. Players have to play well for sure but it is the number one job of a coach to put his players in a position to succeed and right now every coach on the Blueshirts not named Jacques Martin has failed miserably in that aspect.
For a team to have the strong development of Adam Fox continue, K’Andre Miller to have largely a breakout debut in the NHL, the penalty kill to look outstanding all season outside of yesterday, and the defense to having taken a major step forward from prior years makes this season even more frustrating.Embed from Getty Images