Saturday, October 20, 2007

Rangers Watch: NYR 0, BOS 1 (SO)

OK, this is getting a bit frustrating. I've been resisting the urge to send up the SOS flares, but the impulse is growing stronger with each game.

Scoring chances are generally the best indicator of how a team slumping. If you're getting them but the puck isn't going in, you're simply snake bitten. The tide will turn. When the chances aren't there, you team is struggling as a whole. Tonight the Rangers looked very much like the latter. If their big guns weren't equal part talent and character, I'd call it a renaissance of the pre-lockout Blueshirts. (We can debate where Jagr fits in that statement later.)

New York is a team without an identity. They seem to either lack a system or the ability to execute one. Like the loss against Atlanta, there were too many errant passes to be acceptable. There's speed throughout the Rangers' lineup yet - particularly in the first two periods of tonight's game - they slowed down in the neutral zone and consequently killed the quickness needed for a dump-and-chase game. And there's absolutely no counter punch when they are able to establish a forecheck - or backcheck for that matter.

I have to admit I'm losing faith in Tom Renney. Unfortunately, nice coaches finish last and Renney is heading in the that direction. I'm not advocating a coaching change just yet, but Bob Hartley is available.

Should Glen Sather choose to shake the coaching staff up, Benoit Allaire's job is safe. Henrik Lundqvist has been New York's best player in all seven games this season, earning every dollar of his $4.25M contract.

Another player who earns every penny is Martin Straka. He left the game in the first after a blocking shot from Zdeno Chara which broke is his finger. Of the combined injuries to Straka, Sean Avery and Marian Hossa, the Rangers will feel Straka's absence the most. He comes with energy to every shift and does the little things on both sides of he ice.

Renney needs to find a way to make his roster click if plans to salvage the team's slow start...and justify his own job.

Recaps: Y!/AP, TSN Broadband



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