I had that feeling, after the 3rd period in game 6 that the Rangers were going to finally show us the team we thought we had. And show us they did. They were all over the puck tonight, winning almost every board battle, controlling the puck in the offensive zone for minutes on end, clogging the neutral zone with a ferocious backcheck and forecheck, and playing superb D limiting the offensive chances against. However, in a game where I felt the Caps played well, but the Rangers played great, talent won out. The Caps have talent oozing out of every pore. They have an elite defenseman, 3 elite forwards, and perhaps an elite goalie who finally came up big against the Rangers when they actually generated quality chances against.
In almost every facet, they are better, and really that is what this all comes down to. The better team won. The more talented team won. Our team, which had a negative goal differential really had no business winning. Our team, which had the most putrid offense of any playoff team, really had no business winning. Our team, which was significantly outplayed in the first 6 games, shouldn’t have even gotten to this point. But they were here, and they gave us their best, and for that, I am thankful.
What I am not thankful for though, is that it took a do or die game for the Rangers to finally wake the fu** up and play this kind of John Tortorella hockey. THIS is what I expected, us controlling the puck, us not giving up large portions of the ice, and us generating chances. And I think there is a pretty big reason why we have not seen this kind of game till now….a complete and utter lack of leadership from this team.
Tom Renney was not right about a lot of things, and I really did not think he was a good coach at all, but he had his pulse on this team, and when he left, he took a shot at the leadership of this team, and in this series we saw why. Scott Gomez, terrible. Markus Naslund, terrible. Chris Drury, terrible. When your C and 2 A’s are probably the 3 worst players in the series, you will never win. You can’t win, it just defies all logic. Which is why we didn’t win folks, our best players weren’t our best players. Our best players, outside of Henrik, were consistently Dubinsky, Callahan, and Korpedo. You can’t have 3 kids who may form a nice line there, be your best players. These arent your big time players, these aren’t your big money players. They should play like this, AND have the leadership group be even better.
This team needs to beheaded. We have a tremendous base to work with in Dubinsky, Callahan, Staal, Korpedo, Girardi, and Lundqvist, we also have some superb talent that should be either NHL ready or almost NHL ready in Anisimov, Del Zotto, Sauer, Sanguinetti, and Grachev. This is the time to rebuild on the fly, you have a strong base, you have some talented kids, you have a coach that can win you a championship, and you have an elite goalie. Get rid of that dead weight, supplement it with legitimate offensive talent, and turn this ship around. It can be done, it should be done, and if Glen Sather really has an ounce of sense in his body, he will do it. Last season was not the time to get rid of Jagr, but he’s gone, and the only way to fix this team, is to dump the 7 million dollar 3rd liners we have, and fix this team in a 1-2 season turnaround, I think it can be done, and I will spell it out, in detail probably a week or two from now.
Have a great offseason everyone, I hope you enjoyed reading the blog, and remember, unlike the newspaper guys, and unlike most other blogs, this site remains very active during the offseason, I do player evals, long dissertation like writeups, and everything else Ranger related that I can even remotely think of. In some ways, the offseason is even more exciting that the regular season.
Just an idea of what is to come, I will have an offseason game plan in about a week or two, and then a draft preview a few weeks after that. Then we talk about free agents, and such. The season doesn’t end with this loss, in fact, it is just beginning.
Bring on the 2009-2010 New York Rangers.