All I want for Christmas: New York Rangers Edition

Stop laughing AV

The Rangers were once again battered from pillar to post, this time by the red-hot Minnesota Wild (who won their 10th in a row). Last night, most fans of the NY Softshirts were at each other’s throats over who, what, where, and why.

In the spirit of the holidays, I am going to (most likely at my own expense of online abuse) lay out what I believe Santa should bring the Rangers.

Dear Santa,

All I want for Christmas is for…

The Rangers To Grow A Backbone

Brian Boitano

Let me kick it off with the one thing that has gotten me the most flack on social media…the Rangers passive attitude and lack of “anger”. For the 2nd night in a row, the Rangers were abused on the scoreboard and I saw nothing in the level of a response except dejected faces and slumped shoulders.

Matter of fact, the only Ranger to really show any emotion on the ice has been Henrik Lundqvist. Last time I checked hockey was still a contact sport. Regardless that most Rangers fans think that the game has changed to just skating around like a bunch of Brian Boitanos, I’m here (along with others) to remind you… it’s not.

If you read this blog and follow me on social media, you are aware that I believe the Rangers are too one dimensional and easy to play against. Last night, former Rangers captain, Don Maloney said it first on radio and then in the postgame, that the Rangers need to “get angry”. For those of you that need to have these old timer hockey statements explained to you…it doesn’t mean drop the gloves and fight everyone. It means get physical and in your face.

The Rangers are soft all over the ice…up and down the lineup. Players like Dan Girardi and Kevin Klein are rough and tumble defensemen, yet they are being asked to play as highly skilled puck movers. Sadly, they just don’t fit with the way AV wants the Rangers to play defense and they continue to be exposed. Matter of fact, continuing to force the Rangers D to play this way is hurting every single one of them.

Unfortunately, changing the defense isn’t going to happen overnight or maybe even this season. Dan Girardi and Marc Staal both have no move clauses, and Kevin Klein’s play has basically given himself one too. Last night was another reminder that Adam Clendening is NOT a fix.

So what can the Rangers do that is simple enough with no cost at all to change things up? They can call up Tanner Glass. He instantly changes the dynamic of the 4th line, gives them at least one person who will drop the gloves if needed, but more importantly…THROW THE BODY!

I’ve been saying that it’s the one tool the Rangers ONE DIMENSIONAL team does not possess. That is the ability to change the momentum with a big hit or (dare I say it) a fight. I’m not the only one saying this either. Here’s ESPN’s Linda Cohn:

The Rangers are too easy to play against. They can’t slow down high powered offenses by grinding them down physically. They have no one who will punish a defenseman going to retrieve a dump in. Simply put, they don’t scare anyone and don’t put the jitters in other teams playing the puck.

By the way, the NYR rank 17th in hits per game and 28th in corsi for. Which means not only don’t they have the puck enough, they don’t do anything to slow down or turnover the puck either. Just to provide you more perspective, the #1 team in hits per is also #2 in corsi for, the L.A. Kings.

So Santa, if the Rangers can’t trade for a better option…please let them call up Tanner Glass. If not, can the Rangers please start playing with more fire and emotion? Pretty please.

If this is too much to ask, well then…

Can You Please Make AV Less Stubborn

Skjei (Bruce Bennet/Getty Images)

For some inexplicable reason, Alain Vigneault scratched Brady Skjei. I’m sorry, but if he thought Skjei was the biggest issue in Pittsburgh that’s a problem. Kevin Klein was awful and should’ve been scratched, not Skjei.

He needs to stop opting to teach kids lessons when at this point his biggest issues are veterans. He also needs to rethink using 4 skilled lines that play identical to one another. He needs to realize he doesn’t have 6 defensemen who can play a quick transition, up tempo skating game. AV needs to change the style to fit his roster and individual player’s strengths.

So Santa, can you please give AV a dose of humility and some common sense.

Well that’s it…milk and cookies will be left for you tonight in AV’s office.

Happy Hanukkah and Merry Christmas to all.

 

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