With Wednesday’s lack of action by the Rangers Front Office, they leave their team with no other option but to win with the lineup they have. That is the same lineup that has struggled all season long to pick up wins and score goals. The same lineup that has been consistently soft and loose defensively. The same lineup that is just two games above .500 and still out of the playoff race. Will this same lineup be able to pull out a miracle and make the playoffs?
In all the years since 2006 when the Blueshirts have claimed a playoff berth, this year’s may be the hardest to bid for when considering how many teams will be in contention and the caliber of those teams for that matter. Sure, if they play like they did against the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday night, it should not be much of a problem, but as fans that have followed the team for the entire year, we are well aware that there is a slim chance our Rangers win consistently from now until April.
The goal of this team each and every year has been to pick themselves up and barely make the playoffs as the regular season schedule comes to a close. We saw it last year, the year before that, and the year before that. It is never the lineup that was created in the offseason that is making that run at a playoff spot, either. So my question is if this year’s lineup will have what it takes to make the playoffs.
Bringing in Olli Jokinen is a plus, but I do not feel it is enough of a boost on offense to get them scoring at a pace that they should under an offensive system run by head coach John Tortorella. The defense needed change before yesterday’s deadline and it did not receive that. There is still a very big gap on defense and of course, limited offense. I am not too sure a team with those sorts of problems will be able to keep itself active in the month of May, when half of the league is hitting the Golf Course and the other half is still playing hockey.
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So if this lineup cannot get it done in 2010, what would make GM Glen Sather think it will be able to do so in 2011? The fact is that he won’t, forcing him to fix problems such as Wade Redden and Michal Rozsival in the offseason. He may have made the mistakes, but he is not dumb enough to believe that everything is all hokey dory. He knows damn well that some of the big contract players on this roster are not worth the money they make.
There are already signs that this team is in a youth movement, but Glen Sather wants to win while going through that semi-rebuild. He doesn’t want to follow through with the full-blown tanking. So I now raise this next question to you. Would this team be better off not making the playoffs?
It would be the best way for management, ownership, and the rest of the organization to realize that they are not all high and mighty once they miss the playoffs. And like I said, it would leave Sather with no other option but to man up to his mistakes and find ways to fix them. Unless, of course, he is willing to watch the team completely fail yet again.