Rangers losing streak in Montreal continues
Added by Joe Clewell on February 24, 2013.
Injuries are becoming a major concern for the New York Rangers.
The New York Rangers losing ways in Montreal continued last night when they were shutout 3-0, but they lost more than just the game. Playing with an already depleted line up, the Rangers lost Ryan McDonagh in the 2nd period after he took a high, hard hit into the glass by Max Pacioretty. In the final minute of the game, Dan Girardi took a PK Subban slap shot off his foot and needed help getting off the ice.
The injuries keep mounting, as do the losses as the Rangers are now 8-7-2 but this loss as costly as it was, showed something else. After playing a very strong 1st period in which they only allowed 3 shots but failed to score themselves, the Rangers failed to match Montreal’s intensity in the 2nd period and were outshot 13-7, allowing all 3 of Montreal’s goals.
The disturbing trend for the Rangers has been their lack of desire and intensity game in and game out. There are only a few players on this Roster that actually go out there and look like they want to play the game, most notably Ryan Callahan and Dan Girardi, who night in and night out give 110%.
What was even more noticeable was Coach Tortorella’s benching of Marian Gaborik for the entire 3rd period, the 2nd time this season Torts has done such a thing. Gaborik is a sniper, and as all snipers he is prone to being streaky, his shots have hit the post lately and at least twice last night he completely missed the net. Is the pressure and lack of scoring getting to him? He seems to be squeezing his stick so hard that it might snap, but the noticeable thing about Gaborik’s play is his lack of hustle, he has been skating around in La La land, unwilling to initiate or take and contact. Maybe the offseason surgery is still on his mind but he needs to snap out of it and quickly.
Another player who looks lost is Brad Richards, he has not scored a goal in the last 11 games, and he is another player who looks like he is skating in quicksand and playing with his head in the clouds, timid and unwilling to play physical on a nightly basis. These guys were leaders on this team last season, yet this year they have shied away from every aspect of the game that made them successful last season.
The most noticeable issue with the Rangers besides their horrible power play is the fact that this Ranger team plays with no heart. They are out there just going through the motions night in and night out. A team that used to stand up for each other and would battle for every inch of the ice, they have allowed their goalies to come under siege, night in and night out someone is taking a run at the goalie with not even a hint of retaliation.
Last night between the Pacioretty hit and then Marty Biron getting nearly decapitated, not once was there even the slightest hint of a player in a Ranger jersey dropping the gloves. I couldn’t even tell you the last time a Ranger has dropped the gloves this year, a staple of this team last season when they led the league in fighting majors. It’s not just about the fighting, but it shows the Rangers unwillingness to get dirty and get physical.
There is not an intimidating player on this roster right now and night after night they are chased off the ice like the scared kid in the school yard. This team is not playing for each other, they are like strangers out there on the ice and it is painful to watch, we no longer have a tough team, a physical team what we have is a team of pretenders. They pretend to want to be out there, they pretend to play hockey, they say the right things in the locker room but it’s not translating on the ice, don’t get me wrong it is not every player, but most of them at this point. There was a fire and a passion that everyone loved about the Rangers last season, that is just a memory now, because this team is a shell of its former self and every team in the league knows it. That’s why every team is taking liberties with the players and goaltenders every single night, because no one is going to step in and say enough is enough.
Teams have taken the body more against the Rangers and have played more bruising hockey then they have the past few seasons, because the Rangers have become a team of princesses, a team of figure skaters not hockey players and it is getting very frustrating to watch, it is sickening at times.
By no means is anyone giving up on this season because we all know they have the talent to win, but it’s not always about having the talent on paper. If we learned anything about this team since Tortorella took over it was that they would give everything night in and night out and leave it all out there on the ice. We are not seeing that anymore, when the season ended with the loss to the Devils in the ECF the talk was that the Rangers were 1 scorer away from winning a Stanley Cup, well they got that scorer, he has now missed the last three games with an undisclosed injury, but it’s not about what they gained it’s what they lost, the players that left this team apparently took the heart of this team with them, they stole the fire and thunder and intensity of this team, and have left us with the Strangers. A team that seems to have lost its identity and lost its will to bang, bruise and fight.
In this shortened season there isn’t much time to fix everything, but if it doesn’t get turned around quickly expect to see major changes to this team that was supposed to be the favorites, but has turned in to a group of overpaid underachievers.