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NJ • 29 Years Old • Male

Rangers Need a Leader

Posted 6:01 PM ET | Comments 7
Leadership is not about what you have done. It is about what you are doing. It is about instilling enough confidence in those around you to formidably face a challenge. It is about making responsible decisions and understanding when you have made a mistake. Most of all, however, it is about collectively teaching each other to learn from mistakes and come back even stronger than before.

I'm not insinuating that Chris Drury is failing as captain. Sure, he is underproducing, obviously overpaid, and leads a group that is unsure of its identity, having posted only 4 regulation wins since November 1. While Drury himself has had a pretty inconsistent 08-09 campaign, he has had his hands full with a pretty big problem: a lack of logical leadership from the head coach.

To observers, many of Tom Renney's moves this season have made little to no sense. His line shuffling seems to take place when the Rangers are winning. He has yet to admit that Petr Prucha has deserved more playing time, that maybe the power play needs a new coach, or that playing Brandon Dubinsky with bottom 6 forwards is not going to help the sophomore center's development.

I've only named four issues here, but they are important ones. Let's start with the lines.

Line shuffling is necessary when players start to stagnate and get complacent with each others' play. The problem is, no line on the Rangers has been together long enough to even know its tendencies! The 08-09 roster is far different from last year's squad and you have to let the lines feel themselves out before making changes.

Petr Prucha may not be the player that he was in 05-06, fine. Who do you think deserves the blame for that? Renney should get most of it - not for incessantly making Prucha a healthy scratch - but for the failure to explain why #25 was returned to a fixture in the press box after scoring a BIG goal against Pittsburgh on December 4. For a coach is supposed to be a specialist in player development, Renney has really failed to instill any confidence in a player that desperately wants to play for this hockey club.

The power play is an issue that has been beaten to death by Rangers fans, but I will say one thing: when you pride yourself on being a defensive team that wins close games, you sure as hell better be great on specialty teams. Perry Pearn has been leading the power play for the past three seasons. Maybe it is time for a change.

The Dubinsky issue is most important. All of the Rangers' scoring talent is focused on the top line. Zherdev-Gomez-Naslund is a nice combination, but it really makes it difficult to form a formidable 2nd line that consists of top 6 forwards. What the Rangers are left with is some combination of Dubinsky, Drury, Ryan Callahan, Nigel Dawes, Fred Sjostrom, and Aaron Voros. With the exception of Callahan (and MAYBE Drury), none of these players have found the ability to score on a consistent basis. Dubinsky has been unable to find a linemate that can feed off of his abilities.

Look, I'm not saying Renney should be fired right now. The team is struggling but still stands at 22-12-3, which is something you can work off. Renney's Ranger clubs have turned it on in February each of the last two seasons (and got screwed by the Olympics in 05-06), so I'm going to wait until playoff time and beyond to issue any type of judgment. However, if the Rangers are going to build on anything they have done or failed to do this season, they will need a lot more accountability and confidence from their head coach. Leadership starts at the top and works its way down to the core. Hopefully Renney can get there.
Filed Under:   Renney   Rangers  
December 27, 2008 10:12 PM ET | Delete
Great read, great points
December 27, 2008 10:26 PM ET | Delete
If you factor in shorthanded goals against, the Rangers power play is perhaps the most inept in the National Hockey League
December 27, 2008 11:58 PM ET | Delete
Jagr was a better leader than Drury was. Imagine this line up rather than this one and we def would still be under the capJagr Gomez NaslundZherdev Dubinsky KorpikoskiCallahan Drury DawesSjostrom Betts OrrRozi StaalGirardi HainseyPotter KalininAll these signing were a wasteVorosRissmillerFritscheRedden
December 28, 2008 10:23 AM ET | Delete
Rangers need D! Rosi and Redden are overpaid and underachievers which makes em trade bait! Drury has to step up look at what the Devils have done since losing Marty! Theyve been almost unstoppable with Penalty killing and PP! The only reason they got shut out with Pitts is Fleury is a great goalie and their D is pretty solid! If we can trade for Bo itll give us the depth and Beukeboom type player weve been missing for a long time Voros was supposed to take over for Avery which hes failed miserably! I do believe and ill go along with you on the Kalinin deal was a waste of money in which we couldve traded or signed someone better than him! But all in all they need D! Start with D and go from there! Renney obviously did sh!t the last few weeks with the time theyve had off for practicing! Theyve gotta try new things playing the way they are now is obviously not working! And i havent seen a smile on Renneys face in i dont know how long ago ive seen it! Rangers need the shakeup very soon whether its a trade or sending someone down to the minors! Not to get off the NHL issue but look at how the Yanks sent down Robi Cano and he came back a ball of fire! send Gomez or someone down to show they aint messing around! Send up Sevangetti or someone else!!
December 28, 2008 1:04 PM ET | Delete
Nobody will take the Redden contract
December 28, 2008 1:39 PM ET | Delete
The Hartford Wolfpack may have to
December 29, 2008 10:28 AM ET | Delete
When a Horse can't go , you shoot him.
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