The Rangers fail to show up for about half the proceedings, their all-world goalie bails them out and they commit at least a misdemeanor in stealing a point. In the process though they lose their star scorer for probably a month, their captain for six weeks, the alternate captain and second leading scorer from a year ago for an indefinite time period. There were two ways to look at last night’s game, either it was a complete disaster which showed why this team will not go anywhere, or it was proof once again that no matter how badly they play for most of a game or the year, Henrik Lundqvist will always make them viable. Personally I happen to believe both are true, but with the news of the injuries one thing was for certain, panic would rule Ranger fans the day after.
In the wake of the injury news the memorial for the year was already being planned as if Gaborik was done for the year and not a month. The reality is in this league if you cannot survive a two or four week stretch without one guy, your team simply is not that good. Teams like the Capitals for instance do it every year as Ovechkin or Semin or Green or a combination of all three miss 10+ games and instead of folding the tent it is everyone else’s job to step the hell up. Instead of talking about that I am reading about whether or not the Rangers need to make a trade to fill the voids left so it isn’t a lost season. It has been THREE games people, step away the rails of the bridge or third rail of the train.
It all speaks to the split personalities Ranger fans possess because it one breath you will hear, “Play the youth,” “Fix the cap,” “No more huge names” and in the next “I want to win now,” “Can we trade for or sign X” who happens to have a huge salary. I guess somehow they think either the team that has X “great” player will just give him to us because we ask and it wont cost us the young talent we have spent years actually building or that those guys will cost less once they get here so we can field a full team instead of constantly play salary cap bingo. Or just take our own players as all off-season and during the preseason we heard about how great Alex Frolov was, how he was the answer to help Gaborik and because he hasn’t scored in 3 games he is now slow, cant play and must be sent away.
I just wish there was more of a middle ground because I love that sweater as much as anyone, but the highs and lows of rooting for them and listening to other fans is a rollercoaster without being strapped in. Let’s try a few harsh truths and see what happens.
- This team is not going to win the Stanley Cup this year. They will at best probably make a 6-8 seed in the East and possibly win a round in the playoffs.
- This team will not be bad enough to get a top 5 pick in the draft unless Henrik Lundqvist is the one that gets hurt because he simply wont allow them to be that bad.
- This team will not go to all out rebuild letting kids play unless Sather decides he is going to retire at the end of the year and let’s Messier see what he really has at this level.
- Tortorella is not the answer as the coach of this team. He talks a great game with the media but watch this team on the ice and the same selfish, dumb mistakes happen repeatedly partially because there is no real accountability.
For those in despair about what we see on the ice, know that, or at least I believe that help is on the way the next few years as long as we don’t make those panic moves to “win now.” We are not one player away and it would cost us at least 2 of our best coming players to bring one of those in anyway. The goal should be to build a contender not a playoff team. Within the next two years I expect from our prospects that Chris Kreider, Ryan McDonagh, Pavel Valentenko, Ethan Werek, Roman Horak, Carl Hagelin, Evgeny Grachev, Tomas Kundratek will all either be in the NHL or knocking hard on the door with more reinforcements like Christian Thomas and Dylan McIlrath coming behind. We have suffered through a bunch of mediocre to bad years, don’t panic and make all that suffering be for a short term pop.
I will be doing a listing off the top prospects as I see them tomorrow as well keeping running totals of their play this year. The best place to find the daily reports on their play though wont be here, but over with Jess at theprospectpark.org.
So, Ranger fans lets have some middle ground, enjoy the wins, hate the losses, but keep your heads straight in both.
Now you can rip me in the comments if you like.