I’m just working on my column for tomorrow, trying to analyze the Rangers’ season, and to me it’s just so simple … I have said it all season long, and especially so since inheriting this blog from Sam Weinman, and I am certainly not even close to being the only one who saw it this way:
The Rangers don’t score enough goals, at even strength or on the power play or ever.
So I was just adding up the damage:
The Rangers played 89 games this year, including playoffs. They scored two goals or fewer in 45 of those. In another five, they were awarded a “third” goal because they won the skills competition at the end of the game. That’s 50 times in 89 games they had two goals or fewer in regulation.
You can blame some of that on Tom Renney’s defensive system, that it stifled some offense, and that’s fair. But under John Tortorella’s “Safe is Death” system, the Rangers played 28 games including playoffs, and scored two goals or fewer in 14 of them, including five times in seven playoff games.
And as I posted last night, the bottom line on the seven-gamer against Washington: 11 goals in seven games, a number exaggerated even by the four allowed in Game 1 by Jose ThreeOrMore, who sat on the bench the rest of the series.
Or seven goals in six games against the rookie goalie, Simeon Varlamov. And that is five goals in six games if you subtract the two garbage-time goals in Game 6, when it was 5-1 in the third period.
You all know how I feel about the general skill level on the team. All the guys on the Rangers top two lines would be fine if they were on the second and third lines, even Gomez and Drury. But they weren’t.
And you all know about the cap hell that’s going to make this a difficult summer.
But we’ll get into that more as we go.
For now, some picks for the conference semis (after going a pathetic 4-4 in the first round).
Bruins over Hurricanes in six.
Penguins over Capitals in seven.
Detroit over Anaheim in six.
Chicago over Vancouver in six.
Anybody else want to go out on a limb?
AFTERNOON UPDATE, 2:50 P.M.: Just got this on Blair Betts. He does have a concussion, but the fractured orbital bone will not require surgery. He should be fine over time. Of course, with concussions, you never know how much time.