Friday, March 4, 2011

Everyone Contributes As Rangers Get Critical Win Over Woeful Senators

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Now everyone can take a deep breath and step back from the ledge.  The New York Rangers did what they were supposed to do tonight and beat a bad Ottawa team 4-1 in their building and got back into the seventh spot I the Eastern Conference playoff race.  It is a feel good win because they finally finished off some of their chances, but in order for it to really mean something they have to carry over the confidence and lessons to Sunday’s game against Philadelphia. The best part of this win was that all four lines contributed to the outcome with each on scoring a goal and for the first time in a while, even though he didn’t steal the game, Henrik Lundqvist made some brilliant saves at the key moments of the game. Everything that had been going wrong over the last three games was reversed tonight, but one must also consider the opponent.  Enjoy it, but don’t think things are fixed by beating Ottawa.

Rangers Fans Group Therapy Chat

Rangers Decision Making On Gaborik Concussion Rattles The Brain

The way that Marian Gaborik and the New York Rangers are approaching his recovery from a concussion is just baffling.  Skating on Wednesday after experiencing no symptoms is the right approach, but for him to skate yesterday when he woke up with headaches and even worse for him to fly to Ottawa with the team today are bad choices.  Concussions are not like broken bones in which you have a set timetable to assume the appropriate level of healing.  They are unpredictable and for every step forward you can get one or two in the wrong direction.  It is a slow process that cannot be rushed and the more it is pushed the worse the results will be in the end.  With that in mind it makes no sense for the Rangers and Gaborik to take unnecessary risks with his recovery, especially when he isn’t even going to play.
Yesterday, despite the headaches he had before skating, Gaborik said that he wanted to play tonight in Ottawa.  Are you serious?  This thinking strikes me as someone who has a concussion and cannot think clearly.  There is wanting to help the team and you have to respect that, but frankly wanting to play while still having concussion symptoms is stupid.
When asked about the possibility of Gaborik playing against the Senators tonight, coach John Tortorella dismissed that possibility out of hand. "No, He still has symptoms."  That is absolutely the right approach and he should not even be considered a possibility until he has multiple symptom free days, much in the way the Stars have handled the Brad Richards concussion.  The problem is the organization followed up that right move by Tortorella with deciding it was a good idea to let Gaborik fly with them to Ottawa.  Again, are you serious?
Someone is going to have to explain to me the logic of putting a player with a head injury on a plane to fly to Ottawa for a game he is not going to play.  How bad the organizational understanding of concussions that they think this is a good idea?  There are zero positives that come out of him making the trip and combination of the altitude and the cabin pressure can only set back his issues.  There is no reason to do something like this and it shows just how misunderstood concussions are and how lightly the severity of them is taken.  The entire process going on around the treatment of this concussion leaves me wondering if everyone involved should be checked for concussion symptoms.

Analysis: Does Rangers Slide Reveal Lack of Player Leadership?

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With a team as young as the New York Rangers are a slump was to be expected at some point during the season.  Add in the fact that the team frankly lacks elite talent and has been decimated by injuries of varying lengths to just about everyone on the team and what is going on right now should not truly shock anyone.  If anything the fact that they held on for this long should be the bigger surprise.  The difference between the good teams and the great ones though is the ability to stop the bleeding and the Rangers really have not shown that right now.  For me, at some point there has to be a questioning of the leadership on this team.  That questioning goes from top to bottom, but while many will take the easy route and look at the captain Chris Drury I want to look at some of the young leaders on the team who are falling down on the job right now.

There is a push by many Rangers fans to give Ryan Callahan the ‘C’ on his sweater right now and not even wait until next season when it is presumed he will get it.  I am a big Callahan guy, as I love the way he competes on the ice, but I would ask where is this great leadership that makes him worthy of being the captain during this tailspin his club is currently in?  I am not seeing a captain in the making out there right now.  He had two huge games in the back-to-back wins against Pittsburgh and Los Angeles two weeks ago, but his game has been inconsistent since returning from his injury, and I get no sense of urgency when I watch him give the same interview after every single game they lose the same way.  How many times can he talk to a reporter after the game and say we have to start better before he goes out and does something about it?  Before he stands up in the room and demands the whole team goes out and does something about it?  That is what being a captain is about.

Video: Jose Theodore Diving Save Robs Ryan Callahan