Well, give the Rangers credit: this time, no one was trying to dress this game up as anything other than what it was.
“Awful,” Tom Renney said. “Brain-dead hockey.”
It is reaching a point where changes have to be considered, and when I asked players about the specter of this group being pulled apart, no one dismissed the concern.
“That is always the case, no matter what team you play on,” Paul Mara said. “If you don’t win, there are changes. We don’t want that. This is the best group of guys I have ever played with. And you ask 22 guys in this locker room and they’ll all say the same thing. We all want to be here, but we have to start winning.”
When I asked Renney as well about the prospect of personnel changes, the coach originally said he wasn’t sure how to answer. But he did use it as an opportunity to rip into his team.
“I can tell you I’m not happy with how our team played. I’m not happy with performance from some very key members of our hockey club, who need to be better,” Renney said. “They need to step up and start taking charge of this hockey club and start playing the way they can. If we do that, we won’t have to worry about making personnel changes. We’ll strengthen ourselves internally by how we choose to play. Nobody has to worry about their jobs at all. Show up. Play hard. Compete. Battle. Want it bad enough. Have some urgency in your game.”
Who was Renney referring to? I later pulled the coach aside to ask him to specify, but he only said I could probably guess on my own.
So take your pick. Chris Drury went minus-3. The line of Markus Naslund, Nikolai Zherdev, and Scott Gomez was invisible. Wade Redden was dreadful. The list goes on….