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"Talking New York Rangers Hockey, since 2007"
New York, NY • United States • 23 Years Old • Male
Take a look at the shots on goal from the previous 4 games. Keep in mind though, that the Rangers lost 3 out of 4 of these games, and their opponents earned 7 of the 8 possible points. Also keep in mind that the Rangers were outscored 14-7 in those games.

NY Rangers 29
New Jersey 17

NY Rangers 32
Atlanta 22

NY Rangers 25
Toronto 16

NY Rangers 28
Carolina 29

As you can see, the Rangers outshot their opponents by a wide margin in every game except against Carolina where the shots were about even. Let us ignore the fact that a combination of Henrik Lundqvist and Stephen Valiquette had a combined 3.5 GAA and that Lundqvist was pulled from the game against Toronto because that is a rare occurence in this season and the team has what to build on after a shutout against the red hot NJ Devils.

What they do not have what to build on is their offense. Of 114 shots, only 7 of them found the back of the net. In case you were wondering, that is a 4.86% shooting percentage. Of course, the Rangers fans love to blame the low offensive production on too much passing and not enough shooting. But that is not really correct. If you are outshooting your opponent by almost a 3:2 ratio and are averaging 28.5 shots per game, you should be scoring at least 2 goals per game.

So shooting is not the problem. The problem is the passing. Not the number of passes but the quality of passes. Those slam dunk, bang-bang, perfectly placed passes that lead to goals 2 out of 3 times. Those passes that every good team seems to come up with 5 to 10 times per game. That is what is missing. In the Official Language of Hockey, we call these plays "quality scoring chances". Its very nice to have 30 shots in a game but if 15 of them are from bad angles or soft wrist shots from the point or a PK clearing attempt that goes on net, your team will not, I repeat WILL NOT, score goals. No matter who you have on the ice.

The key for this Rangers squad and for every team in the NHL is to produce these chances by making good passes, good reads and good decisions. That is how a power play should be run as well. Not "Gomez along the boards, to Rozsival at the point, back to Gomez, now Rozsival, across to Drury, back to Rozsival". There needs to be creativity, brain flow, a play like this: "Gomez along the boards, cuts to the corner, passes to Jagr, Jagr moves to the middle, passes to a cutting Drury, across the crease to Shanahan, HE SCORES!"

A system is an important thing in hockey. It is important that a system be unpredictable, creative, productive and most of all executed. I dont want to point fingers but the Rangers system is very predictable, not creative, counter productive if anything and not well executed. As a result, a team with the firepower on offense to be top 5 in the league in goals is instead hovering around 30th in that catagory.

The solution is simple. It lies within how the game is played. It must be played with a system that will bring out the best in every player as well as create more scoring chances. It must give the players opportunities to make those slam dunk, bang-bang, perfect passes. It must make the power play unit swarm and move and get players in front and move the puck side to side to side instead of Gomez to Rozsival to Gomez. It must allow the forwards to gain the zone with the puck on their sticks instead of dumping and chasing and retreating and doing it all over again. It must include a strong forecheck that actually sends more than one halfhearted player to put pressure on in the neutral zone. It must create odd man rushes. It must make those 30 shots into 30 chances. I am sorry Mr. Tom Renney but changing the lines again is not going to help. It will not be easy to fix what is badly broken. It will take a lot of time, effort and disappointment but there is only one way to do it.

You must change the system.
December 10, 2007 6:28 PM ET | Delete
Step one: Stop overpaying for old streaky forwards. Step two: Get a GM who knows what hes doing.
December 10, 2007 6:58 PM ET | Delete
Nicely done Rags! Love your thoughts on the issue. Scoring is such a funky thing. One minute, every pass in front of the net ends up behind the goalie and every screen shot finds the top corner; the next, you can't hit the broad side of a barn with a howitzer, the goalie looks like he is 8 ft tall and the puck looks like you are playing catch with a beach ball to the netminder. Nice analysis. The Rags will get it together, and when they do, the Atlantic had better hold on to their hats. Nice work! SYF
December 10, 2007 10:04 PM ET | Delete
hey sabresx since when did Drury and Gomez become old? You are right that prior to the lock out Sather became victim for the signing of over the hill veteran players, but since the lock out he has made many good moves. Not to mention the Rangers have many good young players in their line up and in their system. If I were you I would be worried about your own GM and team. At the rate the Sabres are going theyll have a top 5 pick in this years draft. Which is a shame because they seemed destined to be a powerhouse in the league for a long time. So maybe take a look at your "step two" and hope that the sabres "get a gm who knows what hes doing".
December 10, 2007 10:06 PM ET | Delete
just remember that its not Sathers fault you cant wear your Drury Sabres jersey anymore
December 11, 2007 9:56 AM ET | Delete
I never claimed that the Sabres have a GM who knows what hes doing. The Sabres front office is run by a bunch of children! Drury chose the Rangers because of his preference for that city over the city of Buffalo. The offers were nearly identical. But, nevertheless, the Rangers DID overpay for him!!
December 11, 2007 10:38 AM ET | Delete
I can agree with you there, but unfortunately thats become the market for UFA's. If New York hadnt given him that contract someone else would have. In fact there arent many UFA's from ast year who werent highly overpaid. Everyone is recieving more than they are worth these days so the Rangers really had no choice. They needed centres (and dont tell me Nylander was the right choice, because his contract might be the worst of them all considering his age) and they needed to set themselves up for the post jagr/shanny years. Sather didnt come out with some absurd $7 mill a year figure, it was common knowledge before July 1st that that amount is what was going to be needed to draw any of the "top 3". Sather hasnt been perfect, in fact his first few years in New York were awful and were exactly as you have described. However, since the lock out he has been excellent and has built a very good team from within the organization while also adding needed pieces, ex. sean avery. Mistakes will be made, no GM is perfect, but it will be impossible to asses the Gomez and Drury signings until the end of their contracts when we can all look back on the big picture. But while the current Rangers continue to fight for the division lead I think it is impossibe to say that Glen Sather has no idea what hes doing. He has built a good team.
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