Contrary to what you may believe, the Rangers are not the worst team in hockey. Nor, for that matter, are they even below .500.
But if you were to take the temperature of the team after an otherwise non-descript off-day practice, you’d almost get the sense the Rangers still haven’t won a game.
Among the signs:
What’s going on here? Are the Rangers closing up shop and relocating to Winnipeg? Will I next see Tom Renney when he’s fixing my sandwich at Subway (“Dagnabit Renney, what part of ‘no mayo’ didn’t you understand?!”)?
There are two ways to look at this team on the eve if their last home game prior to a four-game week-long swing on the West Coast:
One, the Rangers have played mediocre hockey and are destined for a long, torturous season.
Or two, the Rangers have played mediocre hockey, but are still 4-4, and likely to figure out whatever ails them at this early stage.
Maybe it’s my sunny disposition—which, granted, can in part be attributed to an alarming intake of caffeine—but I can’t imagine this team is going to struggle like this all season. Outside of some notable exceptions, which we’ve discussed here at length in recent days, it is a group too talented, and already too aware of what is causing it to play so poorly.
As is the case in any recovery program, admitting you have a problem is the first step. If nothing else, today was evidence of as much.