Rangers continue hot steaming pile of **** hockey, search for fixes continues

Lundqvist and the NYR are struggling (Darcy Finley/Getty Images)

Lundqvist and the NYR are struggling (Darcy Finley/Getty Images)

Could the Rangers be playing any worse than they are right now? While that could be possible, it just doesn’t seem likely. This group has hit rock bottom and it may take a few games to come out of this rut, at least for once during this stretch they seem to know they’re really in one.

[su_quote cite=”via NYPOST” url=”https://nypost.com/2015/12/18/rangers-struggles-become-full-blown-crisis-in-another-disaster/”]At some point you have to ask yourself as a player, ‘What more can I do to prepare? What more can I do to get my game to where it needs to be for this team to be successful again?’ ” said captain Ryan McDonagh, who was pointed and clear-eyed after a game when he was as culpable as many of his compatriots in helping the Jets to a plethora of terrific scoring chances. “Nobody is doing quite enough, even close to what it takes to win games right now.” [/su_quote]

A full blown admission from the Captain? You bet and the Rangers had a closed door meeting to address what is becoming a serious issue. One that led to Mats Zuccarello obliterating a garbage bin.

While Zuccarello showed it visibly, Alain Vigneault remained way to calm and cool for my New York sensibilities. This was a horrendous performance against the Jets. Quite possibly their worst of the season and he was too nonchalant for my liking.

Granted, blowing up in a post game interview isn’t going to help the team. All it does is confirm what a mess they are and how we feel watching this steaming pile of crap they call hockey. It only fuels newspapers with silly quotes for headlines. However, I just need to get some inkling that he understands it’s on him primarily to lead them out of this rut and I got it. Soft spokenly he told Sam Rosen of MSG, “It’s my responsibility.”

The question is, what will he do to get them out of it. Scratching Oscar Lindberg appears to have been a bad move and what would’ve been an obvious choice in Tanner Glass, actually isn’t anymore. Glass has likely been one of the better Rangers in the lineup. So whom to sit? Kreider? Maybe that’s what he needs to finally get going. Is there a trade out there for GM, Jeff Gorton to make? The team is cap cuffed and very limited so don’t expect one.

No, the answers will have to come from within. AV said there are a lot of top guys fighting it but have their hearts in the right place. That’s great, but that needs to actually translate up to their brains and onto the ice where it counts.

For some context the Rangers record after 34 games last season was exactly the same as it is this year, 19-11-4. The year they went to the Cup, their record was 16-17-1! While last year at this time the Rangers were trending up, this edition is trending down. That doesn’t mean that this team isn’t as good or better as the two prior teams before. It’s a slump that has been filled with defensive mistakes from every Ranger and Lundqvist is now in a rut too and struggling badly.

On social media outlets, the pro-analytics crowd and bloggers are coming after me hard. Let them, it’s their time to gloat. I admitted here that the Rangers PDO (sv% + sh%) was too high and not sustainable. I also believed that the regression wouldn’t lead to a string of losses, for now I look wrong. But even Stephen Valiquette noted in the post game last night that Chicago and L.A. had awful stretches during the regular season in years they won the Cup. So as far as I’m concerned, the Rangers have a lot of time to prove me ultimately right.

The Rangers play on Sunday against the Caps…you can enjoy the weekend and go see Star Wars The Force Awakens. For now, let’s just have one last look at Zuccarello going all Sith Lord on that garbage bin.

Anthony Scultore has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL since 2014. His work also appears at... More about Anthony Scultore

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