So it has begun. The blaming. And probably not a moment too soon.
Of course with the now-underachieving Rangers (who earlier overachieved, at least in terms of a record artificially pumped up by the PED of shootout points) there is plenty to go around.
The GM has made an absolute mess with his roster and his salary cap, a mess for which there will be no easy of quick answers.
The coach continues to fluster a good portion of the fan base, and probably some players, by refusing to play a popular scorer named Petr Prucha while the team fails game after game to generate enough offense, and by not holding his top-dollar players accountable; indeed by continuing to send them out, never missing a shift. And by, arguably, stifling their abilities with a conservative scheme.
And the top players are just awful for the most part. Some of that is not their faults, because it’s not fair to expect that extra-large dollars will equate to more production. But plenty of it is their faults, because none of them is living up to reasonable expectations.
Personally, I continue to bang the drum about the roster not being nearly good enough to be a serious competitor for the Stanley Cup, and maybe not even for entry into the playoffs, although it should be that good.
“All of the above” surely fits when trying to figure out what’s going wrong with a team that has lost six of seven, scoring nine goals in that stretch, four of them in one game against a Washington team willing to trade chances.
Some of you have noted that the competition (Larry Brooks of the Post) beat me to some of this blame game today. Good for him. He’s never been afraid to take out the ripper. He shredded the top management, the coach, and the players today.
The question, though, is what James Dolan is prepared or qualified to do to fix it. Sather can fire Renney (I think it will have to get much worse before he does). Dolan won’t fire Sather (ever, it seems). Renney won’t bench Sather’s players. Sather’s players won’t perform for Renney. And there is no space in the salary cap for help, with the exception of a half-priced Hartford Wolf Packer, Sean Avery, who will provide spark and distraction, but not much offense. He’d have to be Jaromir Jagr, circa 1990s, to have a serious impact, anyway. And Prucha, if he ever gets a chance, will have so much expectation on him that it just won’t be fair. He’s not going to come in and score 20 goals the rest of the way.
What a mess.
(PS, watch how the NBC crew parachutes into town, reads the Post and all of a sudden starts tearing apart the Rangers. That’s how these networks operate: Read the paper, gain instant expertise).
Try to enjoy the game.
Voros and Kalinin out; Prucha and Reitz in. No kidding. Not absolute 100 percent definite, and everybody will skate in warmups, and Reitz does have a bruised foot, but Renney said he’s planning to use Prucha and Reitz! And it’s not even April Fool’s Day.