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You know, people use the phrase “it’s a game of inches” a lot when describing just about any major sport. In baseball it’s with reference to the strike zone, or a close play at home. In football it’s about getting that last inch to get into the end zone. In hockey most people think “a game of inches” refers to a shot going in the net, or just missing.

To me though, this game wasn’t about a game of inches, it was really about a game of feet. You could literally see the difference in playing styles on every single shift in glaringly clear high definition. The Rangers concede the offensive zone, and their part of the neutral zone. The Bruins fight you for every single inch you want to move up the ice, regardless of what zone you are in.

We back off, they come at you. We retreat, they attack. We surrender, they storm the gates. We have Renney, they have Julien. Go back and read any of my prior rants, and you’ll see one consistent theme. The Rangers need to stop conceding so much of the frigging ice. They need to pressure the puck more. They need to get in the faces of the opposition, they need to use their speed to create turnovers and they need to pounce and counter attack on those turnovers. Instead any time the opposition gets the puck in their own zone, we quickly run away to behind the red line and wait for them to enter and we try to set up a wall for them to go around.

So, which method was more effective tonight? Well, let’s see, 1 team scored a goal by stealing the puck in our zone when we had clear possession of the puck by aggressively forechecking and creating a turnover which ended up in the back of the net. The other team had 35+ perimeter shots with only 1 or 2 quality chances the entire night to speak of and no odd man rushes to my recollection.

One team is at the top of the Eastern Conference and continues to steam roll past the opposition despite having an inferior lineup to at least half of the teams out there, including our own (in my humble opinion anyway), and one team continues to drop like a boulder down the standings despite starting the season something like 10-2-1. We are currently sitting at 4th place, but 2 teams behind us have 3 games in hand and only trail by 1-2 points. We may be sitting in 6th place by the days end, despite roaring out to a gi-normous lead to start the season. Why is this? In my personal opinion, it’s because the Rangers smoke and mirrors routine is starting to wear off. We are beating the teams we should…barely, but the better teams are starting to see our weaknesses, and are exposing them.

One of the true weaknesses we have right now is Wade Redden who continues to be an unmitigated disaster out there. In what might turn out to be the worst signing in Rangers history, Redden continues to flub passes, to be beaten routinely with speed, to have no physical edge whatsoever, to bring nothing to the table in the offensive zone, and to be a slow ineffective puck carrier through the neutral zone who easily is overwhelmed by faster players leading to scoring chances against. If we want to turn this season around, the first step needs to be getting rid of this guy. He will be the reason the Rangers get destroyed in the first round of the playoffs. If I were an opposing coach, I would match up against him, and dump, change, and pressure the guy every single time. He turns the puck over, and is scared to take a hit. No way does this go unnoticed by NHL scouts and NHL head coaches. He’s going to be the end of us. Just wait and see.

Want something else to digest after todays loss? Try this on for size. If the teams behind us all win their games in hand, the Rangers will only be 3 points out of 8th place, and 7 points out of 10th place. That’s 1 bad week and we could be looking up at the playoffs, instead of looking for home ice advantage.


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