Remember that Herb Brooks line, “You’re not talented enough to win on talent alone”?
I’m not sure there’s a better way to describe the Rangers.
What’s remarkable about a team that has at least shown it can compete with the best teams in this league is how quickly it can become unhinged, especially of late.
I don’t think it helped last night that the Rangers were less than 24 hours removed from a fairly impressive win over the Penguins. But that has less to do with the physical toll of a late flight and early-morning arrival in Montreal, and much more to do with the self-satisfied air the team might have been breathing in coming back against the Penguins.
And that’s the problem. These Rangers are just not good enough to approach any game in a half-hearted manner.
It’s going to happen on occasion over 82 games.
It’s been happening too much with this team.
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Some other thoughts:
<li>Speaking of which, today was a scheduled off day, just as Monday was a scheduled day of off-ice conditioning. That’s two clunkers in a row in which the Rangers haven’t had to lace up their skates the next day. I understand the need for a coaching staff to take a step back and allow its players some time to rest. After all, sometimes less is more.
But given the vulnerable state of this team, and the need to work on specific areas of its game — the power play and defensive zone coverage to name a few — I’m not sure the Rangers can afford to take many more steps back.
<li>On the other hand, now you have Blair Betts day-to-day with an upper body injury and Wade Redden day-to-day with a lower body injury. Put those two together and you have one completely healthy person (or one completely injured person, depending on your outlook).
The Rangers have been fairly fortunate with injuries so far, even when counting Scott Gomez’s five-game absence with an ankle condition. Now they may be forced to scramble. Regardless of what you think of Redden’s play so far, his potential absence Sunday means someone stepping in cold.
Here’s another reason why a seventh defenseman wouldn’t have been such a bad idea for the first few months of the season. At least then someone like Corey Potter would have had more of a chance to acclimate himself to his surroundings.
<li>Thanks to everyone who joined for the live chat last night. It was a great success on our end, although it would have been better if I could type a bit faster. I’m thinking about a personal trainer just for my fingers.
Anyway, I believe it’s something we’ll throw into the mix on occasion this season, particularly on nights when when I don’t make a trip.
But if you have thoughts or suggestions, let me know. Of course if every live chat leads to results like last night, I can understand if you want to give it a rest.
Update, 1:45 p.m.: Six games for Sean Avery (four more on top of the two he already served) plus anger management counseling.
I realize I’ve taken some shots Avery, but the first task of anger management should be how to manage his anger over a ridiculously long suspension for basically trying to make a joke.