I stopped watching the Rangers about 5 years ago because every single time they ever sniffed anything in terms of post-season success, they inevitably screwed the pooch. I returned to the team this year, and was pleasantly surprised to see they made it to the playoffs. Unfortunately, this team hasn't looked like they even belong in the playoffs since game 1 against Philly.
I come here, admittedly not experienced in the ways of hockey enough to know myself, to ask what the hell is going on with this team. I recorded tonight's game (Game 4) in order to skip the commercials. I am writing this after Pitt's 3rd goal. Here is what I saw. Please tell me what I am missing.
- PP - abysmal as always and is now in the negative-horrible column thanks to a short-handed goal by Pitt. Is it the players on the PP unit (Girardi/Richards)? Is it the PP coach?
- Turnover. Turnover. Turnover. Turnover. Turnover. Turnover. Turnover. Turnover. Turnover. Turnover.
- Ranger tries to get into the offensive zone (ALONE, usually). Penguins line up at the blue line. Ranger can't get through and tries to dump the puck in the zone. Rangers inevitably lose possession.
- Never anything but white jerseys in front of Fleury. Never anything but white jerseys in front of the King either, for that matter.
- Rangers don't seem to have a clue what to do with the puck once they have it. Nobody is in a position to do anything useful. I don't know how many times I see 2/3 Rangers in the same spot, like lined up in a row against the boards when trying to get out of their own zone. Who is supposed to receive a pass? That's if the pass even makes it to the right person successfully.
- Penguins constantly hitting 2-3 passes in a row, fluid and sharp.
- How man times am I going to watch a Penguin glide to the left of the King, to freely and gingerly pass the puck totally uncontested to their team mate waiting in front? How many times are we leaving the King out to dry with the breakaways?
Why is every Ranger shot devoid of follow-up/rebound attempts when the Penguins seem to have the EXACT opposite. As in, EVERY mother f***ing shot results in a rebound chance and EVERY time there's a white jersey ready to receive it.
- Lost most of the foot races. Lost most battles in the corners.
- Please, don't bother with the "fatigue" argument. I'm sure every single team sitting at home would gladly take the Rangers' schedule if it meant they were in the playoffs. You have the fire or you don't.
I'm sorry but again, this looks like the Rangers of old. They look like a team that fell ass-backwards into the playoffs and don't belong. They look like a pee-wee team playing against pros. I realize they happen to be playing one of the best teams in the league with two of the best players in the league in Pitt, but they barely made it out of Philly. Barely.
I have no clue how teams are built. I don't know how the NHL draft works or how the minor/farm team works or how players get on the roster or how a re-build works. But the King is now in his prime, and if I were him I'd be pretty depressed right now. I truly dig our players man. They are like true-blue underdogs with heart who play clean, honest hockey. This collection of players just don't seem good enough to me.
So what am I missing? Am I wrong about this list of things I (think) I observed? Is it the players or the coaching or the system or what?
P. S. I don't accept the "Nash and MSL just aren't playing up to par" and "McD/Kreider were injured" answer either. If Nash and MSL can't score, they shouldn't be on the team. Additionally, players get injured. That's what depth is for.