The question was raised whether the Rangers are panicking because of their sluggish offense, to which I’ll respond:
Hello? Do you not even remember last season?
Let’s be clear that the Rangers are a lot of things right now — concerned, frustrated, confused. Pick any word. This is a team that’s hardly content. But it’s also a team that is four games over .500 and at least in points, tied for first place in the Atlantic Division.
Moreover, while they’ve certainly had some ugly stretches, they really have had only one complete dud of a game — the loss in Atlanta the third week of the season.
Now compare that to last season, especially midway through the schedule, when the Rangers truly had reason to panic. They were blowing two-goal leads as if it was going out of style. They were falling further and further outside the playoff picture. They had Sandis Ozolinsh at defense.
If memory serves, the absolute low point came on the night they blew a two-goal lead to Detroit and I more or less wrote them off as finished (that was also the night that Sean Avery was literally en route from Los Angeles). But even then, I honestly never detected panic.
The point is that if you don’t panic in February when your team looks like a complete mess, you certainly don’t panic in November when your still winning more times than losing, and you can pinpoint exactly where there’s room for improvement.
This is not to gloss over what are some obvious flaws to this team. But in my view they are the flaws you can rectify. Maybe that starts Thursday against the Islanders. Maybe it’s not until 2008. Either way, the Rangers would have to be a lot worse off for the “p” word to even enter the conversation.