Wade Redden’s fighting. Chris Drury’s scoring. They totaled six goals. In one game. They’re relentless. They swarm to the net. They’re physical. They stand up for themselves. Who are these guys? Are they the Rangers? Or are they imposters? Ok, we now know they can play a game like they did vs. Montreal and even one such as last week’s contest against the Devils. But then they squeeze in a couple of snoozers in St. Louis and against Ottawa. They have multiple personalities. They have an identity crisis. Not every team is consistent night in and night out, but this is ridiculous.
The Rangers are a team filled with a mix of young and old, and part of the learning curve for inexperienced players is learning to be consistent on a nightly basis, and for the crusty vets on the team, let’s face it, they periodically, and sadly, can’t be bothered to try every single game at this stage of their careers (I don’t think I need to name names). They’re also a middle of the pack playoff team talent-wise, and that’s what middle of the pack playoffs teams do – they play inconsistently.
This team sure makes it hard for us fans. Should I get fooled into thinking they’ve turned a corner after a game like the one against Montreal? Or have we seen this before? And now they’ll revert back to the hapless, low-scoring, pushovers they often seem to be? Maybe that’s their identity – a consistently inconsistent team. All the fights sparked and motivated the Rangers in the second period of last night’s game, but is that what it takes for them to play well? Why do they need special motivation? Why can’t they crash the net, and shoot the puck looking for dirty goals every game? If they only have one real natural goal scorer on the roster, isn’t that the way to get their goals in every game? There were a few pretty passes that led to goals (Vinny Prospal’s on Brandon Dubinsky’s second goal, and Ryan Callahan’s pass on Drury’s tally), but most of the scoring was done by good old-fashioned hard work around the net. Why does that concept have to be a mystery to this team?
Which Ranger team will show up tomorrow night? Who knows? It’s always a surprise and a mystery. But if we’re lucky, it will be a good surprise.
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