April 28, 2012; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers center Brad Richards (19) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal against the Washington Capitals during the third period in game one of the 2012 Eastern Conference semifinals at Madison Square Garden. Rangers won 3-1. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-US PRESSWIRE
One of the topics we have discussed during these dog-days of summer has been the New York Rangers recent trend of bringing in players -- both via free agency and the draft -- who "have a good head on their shoulders."
Let's go off track for a moment. One of my biggest criticisms of the Tom Renney era was that Renney and Glen Sather were never on the same page. Renney employed a defense-first system in which he wanted his players to create offense off of created turnovers and quick transitions. But Sather never brought in the players to make that system effective, and the team's inability to take the next step was proof that something wasn't working.
This time around things are different. When John Tortorella came into play he brought in a different type of system. An up-tempo, hustling, quicker-to-the-puck and do anything it takes mentality he demanded from every single player. Last yea he got that attitude from every single player, and it showed with the team reaching the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since 1997.
Join me after the jump for more.
Sather has helped Tortorella's system succeed by bringing in the right types of players. Brad Richards (a competitor who knows what it takes to win), Taylor Pyatt (a gritty, does-whatever-it-takes kind of player), Ryan McDonagh (at the time of his acquisition he was Mr. Everything for Wisconsin) and Brandon Prust (his leaving New York aside he was a big hustle player for the Calgary Flames) just to name a few.
To this point, it's worked wonders. Especially because all the players have bought in. The young players like Carl Hagelin, Artem Anisimov, Derek Stepan, Michael Del Zotto -- in addition to all the professional players above -- along with the likes of Brian Boyle, Marc Staal, Dan Girardi, Stu Buckel and even Anton Stralman all helped create a winning atmosphere at Madison Square Garden last year.
That doesn't figure to change much, but it does give us a pretty good idea of what the Rangers will not be doing this offseason: Alexander Semin. Now, of course, this isn't a post to talk about whether or not the Rangers should or should not make a move for him. It's just a talking point about why the Rangers don't seem to be very interested in his servies, despite a skill set that could potentially help displace Marian Gaborik while he is injured. It is the same reason I thought Shane Doan was a good fit, but it seems as though he will be playing elsewhere.
The Rangers have a system. And for what it's worth, the system has worked to this point. I would personally take a gamble on Semin, but if the Rangers' brass decide not to then I understand that thought process as well.
So what do you think? Do you agree with the Rangers' system and ideologies?