Another reminder: We will have a Live Chat today at noon. On the ledge. Be there. Or else. Should be entertaining.
1) They are boring. They are soft. They are mistake prone. And they are losing players almost every night. They don’t defend very well, and they can’t score. Other than that … How’d you like the play, Mrs. Lincoln?
2) They don’t believe they are soft or that they played soft last night. I disagree. After all that soul searching Sunday night and Monday, they came out and played this way, without nearly enough effort? This is as soft a Rangers team as I can remember in a long time. Honestly, Valeri Kamensky could play on this team. And I’m not saying they were manhandled or pushed around.
3) But I lost count of the number of times, especially in the first period, where a Rangers player threw away the puck to avoid a hit. Talk about throwing snow. The Weather Channel said it was 2-4 inches.
4) Bad efforts happen, where there isn’t enough try or battle or whatever term you want to use. I will say, that didn’t happen very often with the previous coach, but it did happen. And when it did, the next game was usually all kinds of fire and vinegar. This team hasn’t shown that characteristic.
5) And I will repeat this for the nth time: This team, with all its faults—and there are many—is still one of the top three teams in the Lesstropolitan Division. I mean, seriously, look at the teams below them.
6) Still, I thought the admission from Alain Vigneault that this team may not have the personnel to play the system he’d like it to play, was fairly startling. But probably true. I wonder what he would have thought about taking this job if he had actually known more about this roster. Vigneault did, smartly, slam on the brakes before putting any blame on Glen Sather and the team that put this team together. But with the remarks yesterday morning, and then those after the game, you really get the feeling Vigneault doesn’t like his personnel at all.
7) Count the backups. Holy cow, I swear—and I don’t follow the game to the degree I did when I was on the beat every day—I never heard of either of the last two goalies to beat the Rangers, allowing a single goal apiece. Never. There sure have been a lot of these types beating the Rangers this season. The Rangers have now scored one goal or fewer 12 times in 32 games (1-11), and two or fewer 19 times in 32 games (4-15).
8) I know, the cap was an issue, and Matt Hendricks was probably overpaid, but last summer he was available and the Rangers wound up with Dominic Moore instead … another example of another bad off-season for the Rangers. Nashville’s fourth line was so much better than Rangers’ fourth line. And the Rangers’ fourth line is way down the list of reasons why they are doing what they’re doing so far. And Moore was beaten getting back in the play on the goal by Gretzky, er, I mean Clune.
9) Alex Ovechkin had four goals last night. Rick Nash scored his sixth of the season.
10) We haven’t even gotten into the injuries yet. Ryan Callahan (Grade 2 left knee MCL sprain) is now out 4-6 weeks. Nobody has any idea if or when Marc Staal (concussion) might return. There was a moment there when Ryan McDonagh looked injured, when he took that terrible spill that left the front of the net defenseless on the 1-0 goal. Callahan, who has certainly not played to his potential, has in the last seven months had shoulder surgery and a broken thumb and now this, plus he got slashed on the hand and took a puck to the onions over the weekend. You have to wonder how he’s going to hold up, with the way he plays, going forward. Staal was playing terribly too.
11) Carl Hagelin. What happened to this guy, who shot out of the gate when he returned after missing the first 10 games? How two offensive zone penalties were awful and obvious calls. Maybe he was trying to glom all of Benoit Pouliot’s bonus penalty box points.
My Three Rangers Stars:
1. Ryan McDonagh.
2. Derick Brassard.
3. Brian Boyle.
Photos by Getty Images.