Determination: Firmness of purpose; resolve.
There is a famous saying, "Where there's a will, there's a way." If you decide to accomplish something and commit yourself to acheiving success you will reach your goal, however lofty. Conversly, if you do not commit yourself to work hard you will not achieve. Hard work is usually the recipe for success. When there is competition, it is not merely helpful but in fact a neccessity. When two people are equally or close to equally talented, the harder working person will be more successful. When there are 30 teams in that situation, hard work is imperative.
Parity has been a focus of the new NHL and it has existed moreso at this time than any other time in the expansion era of hockey. 10 points separate the 2 and 9 seeds in the east, and 12 points separate those teams in the west. The standings have changed almost every day because of the parity in the league. Never before have points meant so much with over 25 games remaining in the season. Almost every team is in the playoff race. With so much competition and such equal skill level, teams need to win games on effort and determination; being better on paper is not enough.
This is a concept that the Rangers have yet to learn. They are a very good team on paper and they have more quality players than most teams in the league. But what is not on paper is the effort put out by the team every night. The Rangers "take periods off," "have a bad game or two," or "don't play every shift." That is unacceptable. The team fails to realize that every play is important. They do not concentrate on every shift. They make sloppy plays and ill advised passes on the defensive end as well as making poor decisions and missing opportunities on the offensive end. They play hard in one period and get owned in the next period. This all comes from their lack of determination to play hard. An NHL team cannot afford to put out a sub-par effort in a period. It cannot afford to take many penalties or squander scoring chances. Every second needs to be taken advantage of and the Rangers are not doing that.
For this team to win, every player must make a commitment, must be determined, to play every second of every shift with iron concentration and unyielding effort. Games are won and lost in the neutral zone and along the boards. All of the little things add up to really big things and the determination to do all the little things right can turn this team around. The Rangers are in a big hole right now. They are hanging in the playoff picture by a thread and they need to turn around immediately to become a playoff threat. However, now is not the time to look at the big picture. It is time to question the effort and determination in every game. It is time for each player to take it one shift at a time and make sure to make smart plays, finish checks and win the battles. Those shifts will add up to periods and games and eventually the season. You need to add 1 and 1 to get two. The Rangers need to piece together consecutive periods with only one collective thought. Win every battle to win every game.