NY Rangers start 0-1-2, Time to Panic?
With the renovation (ok transformation) of Madison Square Garden taking place, the New York Rangers opened their 2011-12 campaign in Europe as a moneymaking venture, a tribute to the hometowns of some of their players and a way to build team chemistry away from New York.
However, this long not-so excellent adventure to Europe did create some setbacks for the team. For starters, the European exhibition games were played on Olympic sized rinks and not NHL rinks. This created some issues for the coaching staff trying to implement their systems for the upcoming year. The travel that came with these European exhibition games also limited practice schedules. Lastly, the competition in Europe was not NHL quality and may not have probably prepared them for the opening of the season.
But those are all excuses and should not really be considered reasons for the poor start. In truth, it goes way beyond the long trip to Europe. It goes to a Rangers roster that is not suited for them to get any better than the hockey hell that is the 6-11 spots in the conference. Why is it hockey hell? As a Mad GM once said, “You are not good enough to win in the playoffs and not bad enough to get significant talent in the draft.”
Now, I agree it’s true that the 0-1-2 start is nothing to panic over because it’s only three games and in a League where wins are worth 1 point more than loses at this point (For example: Isles convincingly beat NYR 4-2 Sat while Phily plays a lousy game vs. LAK but get to OT and lose and gain a point. A reg. win there was worth 1 point in standings for NYI)
With that being said, there is a difference between panic over a start and looking at a roster, finding faults and feeling it will cause this team to miss the playoffs. Quite honestly, the NYR could’ve started 1-1-1 or 2-0-1 (whatever) and I would think the same way based on their play not the results. While bringing in Richards certainly will ignite Gaborik and create a dangerous top line it will not solve a MAJOR concern I’ve had all off-season and that’s Special Teams. In an NHL where on most nights the refs don’t let the game breathe or as we saw Saturday invent penalties (Boyle delay of game for a smart hockey play) you are better off being lousy 5-5 but in the top 5 in both PK and PP.
As long as this organization refuses to part with 1 or 2 of their many so-called top prospects (it’s one thing to call them a future star and another when they make a big impact in camp and force a way onto a team) and acquire a true PP point man that will force teams to respect their point and not create a 3 on 4 down low they will continue to be in the bottom half of the PP in NHL.
As for the PK, it’s true that as long as Hank is in net your PK is in good hands but… they will miss Dury in this role. A fearless shot blocker willing to put his face on the line for the puck. I don’t see same intensity in this role YET this year (Of the two units, this one has more upside).
So I’m not panicking over the 0-1-2 start, I am stating a fact that this roster makeup is flawed (even with the return of Sauer and Staal).