No, Im not an Islander fan. This is coming from a die-hard Rangers fan who knows an undeniable fact when he sees one.
The Rangers came off a brilliant second half and playoffs last season and looking poised to make a Cup run.
In the offseason they added Drury and Gomez and lost Nylander and Cullen. This seemed like an upgrade but it left no room for error. And thats exactly what happened. Error, confusion, lack of chemistry, or what ever you want to call it. The Rangers' offense, especially the top lines, has had trouble getting sustained pressure, shots to the net and most importantly, goals. There is no shortage of talent on paper. Glen Sather put the best team possible on the ice. The fault lies with Tom Renney. Not the player and not the management. The proof:
The successful case, Coach Nolan.
The Islanders came into the season having lost their two best forwards: Ryan Smyth and Jason Blake. In came Bill Guerin, Mike Comrie and Ruslan Fedotenko. They have a combined 11 goals and 17 assists.
Thats 2 goals and 6 assist less than the entire Rangers team. They have shown superb chemistry whether playing together or apart. They do not look erroneous, confused, lacking chemistry or whatever you call it. They are fluid and solid at the same time. The Islanders have had more lineup changes with less skilled players than the Rangers yet they have been much more successful. Blame Renney for not utilizing his assets. Credit Nolan in his encore of leading a patchwork team and making them into a piece of art.
I don't know how long the Islanders will be this successful or the Rangers this dismal. But I do know that as of now, the Islanders are 5-3 and the Rangers 2-4-1. Take no credit or blame from the players but give recognition to a man who should have won the Jack Adams last year and is on his way to capturing it this year.