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"Talking New York Rangers Hockey, since 2007"
New York, NY • United States • 23 Years Old • Male

Just Shoot It

Posted 7:56 PM ET | Comments 3
There are very few things more irritating to true hockey fans than listening to an arena full of spectators screaming "shoot!" for an entire power play. But at this point, the Rangers need somebody to yell at them about being dead last in the league in shots on goal.

This is a team that manages to stay in almost every game, thanks to the defensive effort led by Henrik Lundqvist. This may mask the underlying flaw in the team's game. It may allow the club to go on seven game winning streaks, despite only showing up for 15 minutes or so.

But it is not going to last.

It is hard to play the blame game with this one because everybody is at fault. John Tortorella and the coaching staff needs to make the team understand, as apparently just telling them does not work, that they need to get the puck on net. Beyond that, the line combinations are no conducive to shots on goal. You have Marian Gaborik and Brad Richards, who like to create offense using speed and odd man rushes, split up. They are each playing with two grinders who create offense off the boards and the cycle. That leaves the two most talented forwards along the boards and in crowded areas way to much.

Meanwhile, the cycling-style players seem to be missing the point of the cycle. It is great to control the puck in the offensive zone for a long time. But its not going to get you a goal if it doesn't lead to a shot. Someone needs to get to an open area, and the puckhandler needs to find him. It could be a forward. It could even be a defenseman. Of course, the few times the puck does come out to the point, it invariably leads to hesitation and a soft shot that gets blocked easily.

Even the shot attempts are few and far between. Usually, the cycle leads right to a turnover. Either the puck gets cycled right to a defender, or a forward loses a battle along the boards. Or, and this is the Brandon Dubinsky specialty, the puck is slid weakly towards the net. Extra points if you ignore the wide open cutting teammate. These turnovers leave the three cycling defenders caught deep in the zone, and the opposition gets a nice odd man rush.

Speaking of odd man rushes, how many times have we seen the Rangers blow these opportunities without so much as a shot on goal. In Florida, the club had a clear 3 on 1, but, inexplicably, the Rangers tried to make the most difficult pass possible, that missed the mark. By a mile. Even if you put it at the net there is a chance it will go in, or that a teammate will find a rebound.

Something needs to change. John Tortorella takes a lot of criticism for his line chaning, but at this point Marian Gaborik needs someone who can lead him into open ice where he thrives. Brad Richards needs to be a playmaker for players who can finish. Ryan Callahan is borderline in that catagory. Brandon Dubinsky, Rusland Fedotenko and Brandon Prust are not even close.

Meanwhile, the Rangers need to simplify their game. Pucks and bodies to the net. Go to the dirty areas.

And when in doubt...


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November 25, 2011 2:18 AM ET | Delete
Absolutely. Another thing - on the PP.... move! Slide around, stay in motion, make them scramble. Standing like statues negates any real advantage. Motion will either open up a scoring opportunity, or at the very least tire out the defenders.
November 25, 2011 8:36 AM ET | Delete
Thats a good point as well. The Rangers have looked completely stagnant on the PP. I understand slowing it down with the man advantage to minimize mistakes, but if thats what they are doing, it is being taken too far.
November 25, 2011 10:09 AM ET | Delete
Agreed. Richards needs to be placed with Gaborik and left there, along with Stepan.
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