Thursday, January 13, 2011

Daily Recap: Offensive Struggles Slump or Bad Sign; Stepan With Gaborik, Off PP Point; Torts Best Coach?

Following last night’s loss today was a day spent mainly discussing the New York Rangers offense and its recent struggles not to create chances, but to finish those chances having led to just eight goals in the six games the team has played in January.  With the Rangers history of offensive struggles anytime that the team goes through a stretch like this there tends to be a higher level of concern than there would be for other teams without that history.  I took a look at why the recent offensive struggles were a cause for that concern and what the team might be able to do to correct the issues they have been having this month.  There are a series of potential causes for the struggles from being just unlucky to having overachieved offensive before and everything in between and hopefully against the Canucks Thursday night the team will make all those causes moot and implement some of those potential solutions in a rout.

Speaking of their next game and the struggling offense at practice today the Rangers made some changes both in their even strength lines and their power play personnel to try and spark such a turnaround in the results.  The major move in terms of the line combinations was to switch the two centers now having Stepan play with Wolski and Gaborik while Ansimov would move between Dubinsky and Zuccarello.  On the man advantage the change was to take Derek Stepan off the point where he struggled on Tuesday night and move him back to a forward on the unit.  I analyze how each of those moves might impact the Rangers offense as well as had a discussion about the whether or not Sean Avery belonged on the fourth line following many fans complaining about how he was demoted following his three straight solid performances.

Also on the agenda was this growing talk concerning John Tortorella and the coach of the year race.  There are links to the various high profile hockey writers that peg Torts as their winner for the Jack Adams at the midpoint of the year and I analyze what the case for Tortorella winning the award is.  The case is a compelling one with all the injuries, young players and overall talent level to be where the Rangers currently are and I believe he should be given serious consideration for the award, but do not think he should be the winner right now.  Check out the details of the case and who I would give the award to inside.

Finally in the videos there was the response to last week’s Price pose when Fleury returned the gesture in kind.  Bet the NHL would love to see that in the playoffs.