I had to steal a line from the late great Dennis Green when talking about the current New York Rangers. Dennis Green, a great NFL coach, was coaching the Arizona Cardinals at the time. Green spewed out one of the all-time great coach quotes when his team blew a game against the favored Chicago Bears.
The line “They are who we thought they were” resonates with me a lot now and days. Especially when it comes to this year’s New York Ranger team.
Sure, there were good times. In mid-November, this team was playing great hockey. They were right in the thick of the Metropolitan Division standings and getting excellent play from several players. Coach Dan Quinn was getting praise from everywhere for how tough his team was playing, despite being undermanned and less talented than most of the teams they were competing with. Some Ranger fans even thought, “Hey, maybe we can make a run at the playoffs?”
Well, you would be hard-pressed to find many people saying that now. After last night’s loss to the Las Vegas Knights (still dying to get out there to see a game, because….well its Vegas and everything Vegas does is big and awesome), the Rangers find themselves in 6th place in the Metro. They are losers of 15 out of their last 20 games. Hank is no longer able to carry this team. This isn’t just a bad stretch anymore folks. We are in for some dark days.
The thing of it all is, this should not be unexpected. The Sather and Gorton told us this was going to happen just last year. I mean shit, they we’re decent enough to even write us a damn letter! How many fan bases can say their front office was THIS honest with them?
So, now that the team is done playing over its head, so to speak, we can get back to the rebuild. This was the plan all along folks, and we need to stick through it. Hopefully, we aren’t going through stretches where we are seeing four game losing streaks with goal differentials of 22-5, but make no mistake folks, the defense is that bad. The goal scoring talent is that weak.
The team has a ton of holes, and there will likely be more holes once the team trades the likes of Kevin Hayes (quite arguably the team’s best player this season), Mats Zuccarello (sad face emoji), Kevin Shattenkirk, and others. While I would love to keep them all, this team is not currently constructed to make a run in those player’s primes. This team needs to get younger and less expensive through the draft. The hope is that we can trade these vets for prospects and draft picks, and hope that they can hit on 3-4 of the picks/players the Rangers get back.
We have to hang tough Blueshirt faithful. This was never going to be a one-year fix. The Rangers front office was open and honest about their plan. Now we just have to have faith that they can execute it and execute it the right way. There will be better days ahead. TRUST!
Mr. Glass-Half-Full’s Take:
Listen, I love winning as much as the next guy, but what the Rangers are doing right now is necessary. This team was getting by on shoot-out wins and puck-luck for the first two months of the season. I am sorry to break it to you Ranger fans that are having a tough time with this, but this is what NEEDS to happen.
The Rangers currently sit 6 points back of the Ottawa Senators for worst in the league. This is the race for Jack Hughes.
The New York Rangers have lacked an offensive star for SO long. Jack Hughes is that guy. He is a franchise-changing talent. I need him playing on Broadway. YOU need him playing on Broadway. WE ALL need him playing on Broadway.
So, the march is on. The hashtags are flowing (#HuntforHughes #Sack2018forJack) (I will come up with a good one, I promise). Once we get rid of the veteran talent that has kept this team afloat, the bottom WILL fall out. The Rangers will be on track to get the tantalizing offensive talent this team has yearned for since the days of……Adam Graves? That’s how long its been folks. We need a star. To get that star, we need to suck.
Embrace the suck.
Warmest and Comfy Regards,
P.S. Sign me up for Kaapo Kakko or Vasily Podkolzin if we miss out on Hughes, but I am NOT entertaining that right now. Hughes is the Moon I am shooting for, and if the Rangers miss, let them lang amongst Kakko or Pod.