Last night’s loss to the Oilers was bad, but this is the one Rangers article you need to read today!
Going into the third period, Ulf Samuelsson called it the worst “two periods” he’s ever seen since he’s been here. Apparently, Ulfie is still feeling the ill effects of being sucker punched by Tie Domi almost two decades ago.
Last year, I had counted 9 stinkers the Rangers put together after 42 games! That’s over 20% of all games played in more than half the season by January. Following what would be their last stinker of the year against our next opponent, the Pittsburgh Penguins, I wrote:
10/3/13 at Coyotes: Your first warning sign. Rangers started ok and tied it early in the 2nd but defensive lapses led to 3 unanswered PHX goals en route to a 4-1 loss. NY showed very little in compete level in this game.
10/8/13 at Sharks: Still the mother of all stinkers this year, NY broke down for 9 goals against! This game basically caused Biron to retire. The problems in this game still show up today. After the game Sather came down and closed the door to the dressing room!
10/10/13 at Ducks: So how do these NYR respond to giving up 9? They give up 6 more and score 0! So much for that pep talk Slats! The AV apologists (aka: Torts haters) came out in full force after this loss.
The Rangers then settled down a bit to go 11-8 in the next 19 before a bomb in Tampa.
11/25/13 at Lightning: AV called it a “no-hitter” as basically every TB player had the easiest NHL game of their lives. A 5-0 beating in one of the most heartless performances of the year.
12/2/13 vs Jets: The first home game stinker of the season. Yes, I know they’ve been bad at home but this loss was terrible. After an emotional win in Torts’ return, the Rangers followed it up with a sloppy 5-2 performance.
12/8/13 vs Caps: After a tough OT loss to NJ where Peter DeBoer shouted “8 million dollar goalie my ass”, the Blueskirts (I meant to do that) got crushed by the Caps 4-1. The battle level was so poor that the players held their own closed door meeting for 15 minutes. When AV was asked about it during his presser, he called it “just talk”.
12/10/13 vs. Predators: So what do the Rangers do following another closed door meeting? Another clueless, gaff filled lifeless fest where they lose at home again 4-1! This is the game where Torts’ daughter tweeted out “NYR and MSG … You got want you want right? Hopefully you find some identity.” Really? Losing to Nashville at home!
12/12/13 vs. Blue Jackets: After that performance and the buzz around Brittany Tortorella’s tweet the Rangers were definitely going to bounce back right? Nope, another gutless and sloppy performance at home for a 4-2 loss. Brandon Dubinsky alone showed more heart than the entire NYR lineup.
NY then settles down a bit and goes 5-2-1 in their next 8. So maybe they are rounding into form? Nope! Rangers go dark in Pittsburgh to the tune of 5-2 against a depleted Penguins lineup.
Those are 9 games, NINE LIFELESS AND INEXCUSABLE efforts! The Rangers are past the midway point of the season and in almost 20% of their games this year, the effort was embarrassing.
Stop reading if you’ve heard these player quotes before:
“The first period wasn’t very good,”
“They just jumped all over our mistakes,”
“We have to stop making it hard on ourselves,”
“There’s 110-percent urgency to clean this up.”
“You can’t play that way”
“It was just too easy for them to create chances”
“I’m just disappointed. That’s my feeling. Not surprised”
“We didn’t play as well defensively as we needed to”
Are we not hearing quotes just like this after last night? I.E. Wake up calls!
DO YOU GUYS GET THE PICTURE?
The Rangers were halfway over with the season and floating at .500 in early January. We all know how the story ended up, don’t we? Let me remind you – NY went on a tear and finished 2nd in the division, beat the Flyers, Penguins and Canadiens all without home-ice advantage (except for the Flyers) and lost 3 OT games in LA to lose in the Cup Final.
WAS IT A BAD LOSS?
Can someone tell me of a good loss?
Ladies and Gentlemen, this was just game 14 of the season. I believe there are 68 more games to go. Here’s why I’m not flipping out:
1. The Rangers are hurting – they are 6-6-2 and haven’t had their entire roster together for 1 game this season. If they play this badly in December with the whole roster intact for a few games, I’ll worry.
2. They aren’t learning a new system again – That was a huge issue, and I was critical of AV for not wavering from it to adjust to his personnel. Ultimately, he was dead right. I trust the coach, so should you.
3. What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger – What we are losing sight of here is how much information Sather, Vigneault and the players are getting from all this adversity. We now know that Matt Hunwick can play if needed and that Conor Allen could probably handle a bigger role. We also see kids learning valuable lessons on how to play the game that could pay huge dividends late in the season.
So was it a bad loss? Absolutely. Was it the worst game the Rangers have ever played since Ulf Samuelsson has been here? Please don’t make me laugh.
Short memories. It works for the players and coaches. It should also work for you too.