Based on the last few posts, you would think that the Rangers are either A) comfortably in control of a playoff spot, or B) well out of reach of a playoff spot, with nothing left relevant to discuss.
The reality, we all know is different, and tonight against the Hurricanes is the latest biggest-game-of-the-season in an inevitable string of biggest-game-of-the-seasons for a team scrambling to work its way back to respectability.
I believe it was before the Tampa Bay game last week when I said a win for the Rangers was essential for two reasons: one, they obviously needed to make up ground in the standings. But two, they needed to prove they are capable of making up ground in the standings. This is still a team a long way off in terms of the first part. But the second part no longer seems so absurd, and certainly a win tonight would reinforce as much.
And yes, as many of you have noted, part of the reason for a renewed confidence has to do with the balancing of the lines, both at even strength and the power play. As I said in “my story today”:http://www.thejournalnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070215/SPORTS01/702150410/1034/SPORTS, the decision by Tom Renney to put Jaromir Jagr and Brendan Shanahan on two different power play units not only allows both players to each embrace the style they’re more comfortable with, but it allows the Rangers to throw two different looks at an opponent in the same power play.
And while you’d be right in wondering why Renney didn’t consider this option sooner, you also can’t dismiss the fact that the coach now has more potent personnel at his disposal. And in that sense I guess, better late than never.
A few other quick hits:
“I don’t necessarily love the point,” he said. “It’s fine, but it’s kind of a tough spot because if you screw up it’s in your net. But it worked well for me last year. Hopefully it will work well for me this year.”
What? Say that again? In other words, something that’s been gnawing at a lot of fans this year hasn’t necessarily been keeping Cullen up at night.
I could give you a whole string of explanations of how this happened, some of it having to do with my rudimentary understanding of waivers rules, some of it having to do with miscommunication. The bottom line is some of you poined out earlier that this sounded goofy, so I’ll go ahead and take my two minutes in the box.
OK, more later…