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First off, it’s never fun when the Rangers lose to the Thrashers since all my friends give me a heaping pile of crap, but this game was especially difficult to watch because of just how poorly the Rangers played in just about every facet of the game, poor passing, poor shooting, horrendous decision making, and the defense looked like one of the oldest in the league rather than one of the youngest in the league by constantly being skated by as if they weren’t even there.

While I am extremely annoyed at how poorly this team has played for the past 2+ weeks, I think the key here is that their mistakes are correctable. For the most part they are mental mistakes rather than physical mistakes. Poor routes to the puck, stupid decisions (Marc Staal, STOP rushing the puck up the ice!), inexplicable penalties (most were warranted, though that dive on Del Zotto was absolutely horrendous), and a disappearing Sean Avery have led to this slump.

Let’s start with Sean Avery. Avery has not only been a complete non factor out there, but at times he looks downright lazy. I expect Sean to go offsides at inopportune times, I expect Sean to take stupid penalties at inopportune times, but lately I’ve started to expect Sean Avery to coast every shift and not give it his all, and that is something we have not seen from Sean during his entire tenure here. Sometimes he is a detriment, most times he’s a piece of the puzzle, but as of late, he has been a waste of a roster spot, and that needs to stop right away.

The other aspects, the poor routes, stupid decisions, and poor timed penalties…those things can, and I truly feel will be corrected. I also want to mention one last thing. As poor as the Rangers played, as outright dominating as the Thrashers were for the vast majority of this game, it still took an incredible goaltending display by Hedberg as well as some pretty lucky bounces for them to win this. What that says to me is this is a good team who is struggling, rather than a poor team who is coming back down to earth. Ranger fans, this team is more than good enough to bounce back and string together several wins in a row and get out of this funk. I still have a very good feeling about this team, despite their horrendous play of late. Keep the faith.


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