...is tough. I am not talking about watching a team that fails to score, move the puck on the power play, or generate traffic in the slot (of the other team's zone). I am talking about the realization that the Rangers' current ownership and management structure forces its fans to watch a pathetic product night after night without any hope for changes.
Changes need to happen because this team is still in prime position to earn a playoff spot. We've all seen what can happen in the postseason. Remember 8th seeded Edmonton marching all the way to game 7 of the 2006 Stanley Cup Final? I want the Rangers to have that chance, and let's face it: nothing remotely similar to that outcome will occur if we don't shake things up.
There are two options: change the coaching staff or change the roster. I believe changing the coaching staff is much more feasible and is a better bet to cause an immediate impact in apathetic group of personalities.
While Renney shouldn't bear the full brunt of the blame, his constant line shuffling and inability to fix a struggling power play both fall directly on his shoulders. His players aren't making the short plays; Nikolai Zherdev went from confident and untouchable to a constant turnover machine. Offensive zone pressure is followed by a quick shot (that will probably be blocked) and recovery that immediately goes up ice. There are three to four players giving 100% each night and that is just unacceptable. It's the coach's job to get his players going and Renney has failed to do that for a long stretch of games.
You may ask, what about adding some players at the trade deadline? Is it possible we can acquire some talent and provide a spark for this team to get rolling toward the playoffs? In short, no; at least not on a large scale. The cap has severely limited the ability to construct major deals and the Rangers don't have any cap space. GM Glen Sather screwed himself (and Rangers fans) with undesirable and practically unmovable contracts and will be forced to look to his youth for any trade value. The prospect pool, however has been severely diminished by both the graduation of recent prospects and the death of Alexei Cherepanov. Naturally, it would not be prudent to move for Sather to move any of his young assets.
Ousting Renney doesn't count anything against the cap, can be done instantaneously, and will change the flavor of a stale team. Time is running out and if something doesn't change, this team will likely miss the playoffs. Fire Renney and bring in Laviolette; if there's one coach out there that has a chance to mesh well with the Gomez and Drury leadership structure, it's a guy that has coached them before.
For the record: Sather may deserve to lose his job more than his coach but from all reports, has tremendous job security. So while that may the most prudent move in this situation, it's important to keep in mind what is and is not realistic.