First off, Happy Thanksgiving to all. We should all appreciate that we can speak and live freely and to have the luxuries that we have in this great country. We should all be very thankful for our great men and women in the military around the world that help keep us safe. We should also be thankful for our men and women that are firemen, policemen, and teachers, as they have a tremendous impact on our day to day living.
Now for the rant. What exactly was that the last two games? Rob L. started the ball rolling in his "Smoke and Mirrors" post a few days ago. It's true, during the 7 game winning streak the Rangers really did not play great, except for the San Jose game, which I though was their best played game of the season so far. I do not expect them to win every game. I do expect effort and hard work for most games. Every team goes flat from time to time, it happens. But I do not have the good feeling for this team that I had for the team last year. Last year, what they lacked in skill they made up for in effort. I knew they would make the playoffs, even during a crushing 3 home game losing streak in early March, 2011 (I was there for all 3, lol). Why? Because I felt the team would find a way. This team? Not so much so far.
We all know the "old way." That was to sign fat cat older FAs, only to see them coast their way through the season. Have we created our own home grown fat cats? I see zero edge from last year. None. I do not see any urgency at any points of games when they are behind. I do not see any skating. I see gliding or coasting. They hardly ever dictate the play so far this year. The opponent always has the puck and the Rangers are chasing it which results in penalties. 50 hits last night? A bogus stat that George would love. They had the puck, what, 15-20% of the game? The Panthers were passing and skating with very little resistance. It was another remarkable performance from the King that kept them in the game, especially on that one-two-three shot sequence in the 3rd period that kept the game to a one goal deficit.
What to do? Start benching players to get their attention if you have to. You have approximately 18 candidates to pick from. Bring up Hagelin and MZA to infuse skill and speed into the line-up. This line-up: MZA-BR-Gaby, Pack Line, Avery-Stepan-Hagelin, Feds-Boyle-Prust. Put Gaby, BR, Cally up front on the PP and put McD and Stralman on the points and SHOOT AT WILL. Do SOMETHING on the PP. It is not an NHL level PP right now.
The basic team and the coach are going no where right now so you do the things you can to get them going. Happy Thanksgiving.