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"Talking New York Rangers Hockey, since 2007"
New York, NY • United States • 23 Years Old • Male
Now that the long road trip is over and the Rangers still seem incapable of playing a full game of good hockey, fans turn to the next excuse for failure. The defense has been struggling without its leader Marc Staal, that is undeniable. However, the suggestion that a miraculous return by Staal would put an end to the Rangers’ struggles seems a bit misguided. He would certainly help some of the problems, like being pinned in the defensive zone, clearing the crease, and improving the transition game. But there are even more problems he alone cannot solve, problems that it takes an entire team to fix. Every player on this team needs to improve their shooting, passing and checking, and meanwhile, the successful system from last season needs to be better executed. Marc Staal can only do so much

There is no ‘Avery’ in team either, though some of the more casual Rangers fans may believe so. That said, there is merit to the argument that the agitator belongs on Broadway more than the likes of Erik “Charmin” Christensen and others. He brings a lot of positives and negatives to the ice, and the decision to bring him back up clearly shows that at this point, the risk is worth the reward. But let’s not forget, Sean Aver y is not a scorer. He may energize this team, but he is not going to fix all of the aforementioned problems. So if he does make it back through re-entry waivers, let’s all keep in mind that his contributions will be limited.

It seems like everybody is quick to blame John Tortorella these days, and it is not surprising given the image he has cultivated for himself. But at the end of the day, like him or not, he is a good coach. The Rangers have struggled for long stretches every single year, but their seasons have been defined by winning when it counts and making the playoffs five of the last six seasons. Obviously, expectations are higher this year; bad stretches are supposed to be short and infrequent. But aside from Brad Richards and Marian Gaborik (8 goals combined), this is the same team that struggled with consistency last year. The scoring problems have come from the bottom 12 forwards (12 goals combined), and until these players find their game, the problems will continue. This is not a strategy issue, it is an execution issue. There is nothing John Tortorella can do about that.

This team looks like the most talented Rangers squad in a long time, so the struggles are especially worrying. Perhaps the Rangers of years past were overachievers, and many of the young players we consider “second-line talent” are no more than third-liners with a lucky season in their rearview mirror. It is a scary thought. The Rangers are locked into this roster for a long time, and whole-sale changes would take years. It is a pessimistic view, no doubt brought on by the 3-3-3 record posted by the club to start the season. But then again, maybe it is closer to the truth than the optimistic view that most fans have about their team. If so, starting getting comfortable with mediocrity.

History is usually a good barometer of things to come, especially with the Rangers who tend to go through the same situation every year. The observed trend is that the level of play foreshadows the wins and losses. It seems the Rangers’ play is cyclical, and possibly psychologically understandable. In simpler terms, they start of playing poorly, but manage to win some games, so they don’t make the necessary adjustments. Eventually, they stop getting away with it and the losses start piling up. That serves as a wakeup call, and the play starts to improve until they start winning a lot of games. They become overconfident and the play deteriorates. After managing to win games despite the poor play, they start to go on a losing streak. And so on. What am I getting at? A part of me wants the Rangers to lose a bunch of games instead of continuing to flounder at NHL .500, because a wakeup call seems like the only way things are going to turn around.

Results and Schedule

Mon Oct 24, 2011 NYR (2) - WPG (1)
Thu Oct 27, 2011 TOR (4) - NYR (2)
Sat Oct 29, 2011 OTT (5) - NYR (4) SO

Mon Oct 31, 2011 Sharks Rangers 7:00 PM
Thu Nov 3, 2011 Ducks Rangers 7:00 PM
Sat Nov 5, 2011 Canadiens Rangers 7:00 PM
Sun Nov 6, 2011 Jets Rangers 7:00 PM

The author is traveling abroad and will not post again until November 10

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October 31, 2011 9:31 AM ET | Delete
Alex great job brotha. LOL I love the Eric "Charmin" Christensen. hahahahaBe patient though we will turn it around. I am confident.
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