New York Rangers ready to close the book on 2020-21 season with Bruins tilt; exit meetings set for Monday

zibanejad stats
May 5, 2021; New York, New York, USA; Mika Zibanejad #93 of the New York Rangers leaves the ice following the last home game of the season against the Washington Capitals at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Bennett/POOL PHOTOS-USA TODAY Sports

The end is near for the New York Rangers and it probably couldn’t come soon enough after a tumultuous week. Words like shocking, stunning, and wild were just a handful of terms used to describe what transpired. Anonymous executives texting friendly reporters with expletive filled message about what the hell was going on at MSG. It’s all coming to a close – thankfully.

New York Rangers wildest season in recent memory

In a season that started with the exile of Tony DeAngelo after a last straw scuffle with Alexandar Georgiev, it only got crazier from there. There was certainly foreshadowing of what was coming. The Zoom incident involving K’Andre Miller and Mika Zibanejad contracting COVID before training camp should’ve set off alarm bells.

A political hit job on Artemi Panarin caused him to miss nine crucial games mid-season. That was expected to be as nuts as it could get. We were wrong.

Then the entire coaching staff was wiped out due to COVID protocol. I mean, controversy and turmoil hung over the Rangers like a dark cloud all year. There was more than just the insane circumstances too. They dealt with serious injuries to players like Jacob Trouba and Igor Shesterkin as well.

Despite all of this, the Rangers were in a playoff race until the Islanders manhandled them for two games sealing the fate of two key people during the rebuild. This was further expedited by the Tom Wilson incident, and subsequent statement calling for George Parros to step down which led to a $250,000 fine.

This past Wednesday, the Rangers announced the dismissals of those two key people. Both President John Davidson and General Manager Jeff Gorton were let go in what James Dolan called the need for a “culture change.”.

Not wild enough? That night the Blueshirts had to play the Capitals again in a fight filled first period that handed out 12 fighting majors. Hey! At least Tom Wilson called to see if Panarin was ok after he body slammed him to the ice. Wild indeed.

New President and GM, ChrisDrury is handing exit meetings on Monday. It will officially mark the beginning of an aggressive offseason for the Blueshirts.

Rangers to face Bruins in last game of the season

new york rangers 2020-21
Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

It almost feels like a major accomplishment in and of itself to make it to game 56 of the season. This could also be the last game for David Quinn as the head coach too. There’s a lot of rumors swirling around the Blueshirts that involve bringing in a big name coach for the next step of this process.

The biggest name at the moment is the possible return of John Tortorella. There’s also Gerard Gallant and Claude Julien being bandied about. Another name is that of Mike Babcock, whom as I understand is making a push to land the job. And let’s not forget that Patrick Roy wants to get back in the game as he hired an agent to represent him this offseason.

As for the game today, it would be nice to see a big effort from the team. They owe David Quinn that much. When he was hired his task was about connecting with this very young group of players and getting them to the next level. He accomplished that and anyone who says he didn’t must’ve forgotten the shambles Pavel Buchnevich’s confidence was in before Quinn took the helm. The young winger went from clueless player to top line wing under DQ and is also now one of the team’s best penalty killers.

Let’s not forget Adam Fox and Ryan Lindgren who became one of the premier defense pairings in all the NHL. Kaapo Kakko, Alexis Lafrenière, K’Andre Miller, and Igor Shesterkin all benefited under his tutelage. The fact that he didn’t have the sandpaper personnel to deal with the Islanders and Tom Wilson isn’t really on him.

For what it’s worth, Quinn was a great coach for the task at hand. He did it well and he deserves credit for it.

Rangers Pregame Notes

  • All-Time vs Bruins: 261-297-97-4 (150-126-55-1 at home; 111-171-42-3 on the road.
  • The Rangers are one of eight NHL teams (and the only team in the MassMutual NHL East Division) that have averaged at least 3.10 goals per game and 2.75 goals against or fewer per game this season (Carolina, Colorado, Edmonton, Minnesota, Tampa Bay, Toronto, Vegas).
  • The Blueshirts are the only NHL team that has five players who have recorded at least 45 points in 2020-21 (no other team has more than three). New York is one of two NHL teams that have three players who have registered 20 or more goals this season (Pittsburgh).
  • The Rangers have had six of their own draft picks register their first career NHL point this season (Miller, Lafrenière, Reunanen, Kravtsov, Jones, and Barron), which is tied for the most in franchise history (also in 1979-80 and 1980-81).
  • The Rangers are one of 10 NHL teams that have a power play efficiency of 20.0% or better and a penalty kill efficiency of 80.0% or better this season.
  • Mika Zibanejad – 2 goals away from 200 in his NHL career

Notes courtesy NYR

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Anthony Scultore is the founder of Forever Blueshirts and has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL... More about Anthony Scultore

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