Saturday, April 2, 2011

Rangers Change Lines For Offensive Spark, "Need To Be Who We Are"

With the rival Philadelphia Flyers looming tomorrow afternoon the New York Rangers are talking a very confident game today despite the current two game skid.  The level of confidence in who they are and the way they play is something that is necessary at this point of the year.  However the key is not whether they say the right things, but that they truly believe what they are saying.
One of the key quotes put out from coach John Tortorella via Rangers official twitter feed was the following…
"We're going to respond the right way...we know who we we need to be who we are"
There is no better way to phrase what the Rangers need right now than that.  This team has spent an entire season attempting to form an identity and when they play to that identity they can have success.  When they lose track of who they are and how they are successful, then they predictably struggle.  A Rangers squad that does not forecheck, does not cycle the puck and does not maintain puck possession is one that does not generate offense.  A Rangers team that does not cover in the defensive zone, does not sacrifice the body to block shots and does not clear the puck when they have the chance is one that struggles defensively.  Most importantly a Rangers squad that does not outwork its opponent on a nightly basis and show how badly they want to win that night will not win because they do not have the talent to get through it will less than their top effort against a team like Philadelphia.
In an attempt to spark the struggling offense Tortorella has changed the lines and moved Brandon Prust up with Brandon Dubinsky and Artem Anisimov.  The corresponding move was to take Ryan Callahan off that line and put him with Brian Boyle and Ruslan Fedotenko.  I don’t really like the move as it was done, but in trying to keep the Gaborik line together I presume this was the easiest of the changes to make in the lineup since the fourth line was pretty locked in as it will be.  If there is a struggle offensively early I would expect changes to those lines anyway so no need to get overly excited or upset about them.