The only good thing you can say about last night’s game was at least the Rangers didn’t embarrass themselves. After 156+ scoreless minutes, Artem Anisimov came through with a goal, and we all let out a sigh of relief. But, as usual, the Blueshirts fell to the Penguins (0-4 against them this season). It looks like they’re back to the days of if Henrik Lundqvist makes one mistake and Marian Gaborik doesn’t score, the Rangers don’t have a chance (where have you gone, Marian? Ranger fans turn their lonely eyes to you).
Like clockwork, after the Rangers teased us with those 6-2 and 8-2 victories, they followed them up with the “Carcillo Incident” game, the complete shellacking in Montreal and last night’s “well, we played better” game. They may slip into the playoffs, but it’s doubtful there will be any “getting on a roll” or “turning it around” or “finding themselves” this season. A little successful stretch is always followed by a disaster, or at least a losing streak. It’s very possible they’ll start another mini winning streak tomorrow, but we now know it won’t last. They are what they are – passionless, characterless, leaderless, passive and offensively challenged.
I don’t want to view the Rangers in a constantly negative light, but this team really makes it hard for its fans. I want to be able to say, “The team I root for might not score a lot, but at least it has grit, character and toughness, and they stick together.” But I can’t. I want to say: “The Rangers brain trust has a forward-thinking plan that has the franchise going in the right direction, with a well-thought-out roster, constructed with players that know their role and complement each other.” But I can’t. I want to say: “The Rangers using this season as a rebuilding year, a stepping stone to a brighter future, and they have plenty of cap space, no albatross-like contracts and a successful draft history to act on their plan going forward.” But I can’t. I want to say: “Their veterans are showing the way for the kids, teaching them how to go about playing and preparing night in and night out.” But I can’t. I want to say: “Their coach has his players wanting to run through a wall for him; he’s miraculously getting the most out of the talent he’s been given and has them competing every single game. And he’s too focused on winning to engage in petty squabbles with the media.” But I can’t.
But I’m a Ranger fan so regardless of all of the above, I’m going to tune in to every game and somehow hope that I’m wrong, that they start to overcome their deficiencies and move in the right direction. Because, God knows, I want to be wrong.
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