Found October 31, 2011 on
Bleeding All Blue:
Nick Laham/Getty Images
The New York Rangers 3-3-3 record to start the season
leaves much to be desired. Worse yet is
that the level of play on the ice isn’t even worthy of that mediocre record. The Rangers are lacking a lot of things on
both ends of the ice to open the season, but beyond the offensive and defensive
problems they seem to be lacking any sense of leadership within the group. The lack of scoring consistency or secondary production
offensively and awful turnovers are things that Rangers’ fans are used to
witnessing, but the lack of desire to put forth effort for a full game is
disgraceful. To lose games because players have off nights or the other team is simply more talented is one thing, but to be outworked goes against what fans expect of the Blueshirts.
The question for some becomes where does the responsibility for that consistently being the case reside? Is it on the coach who is paid to get the best out of his players, on the players themselves who should have their own internal pride of performance or on the leadership within the locker room?
There is no question that some of it is clearly on the shoulders of coach John Tortorella, but the players, especially the leadership are getting off too easy from many of the supporters in terms of "blame" for effort. Following each game, especially the losses, you see
those who are presumed to be leaders, either by being team captains or vocal
presences in the locker room say the right things to the media. They talk about how the team has to play a
full game and how unacceptable different aspects of their game on that
particular night were along with knowing they have to fix it. Yet, the Rangers are now nine games into the
season and have yet to put 60 minutes of hockey together even once. No denying the coaching staff
shoulders responsibility in that, but on another level, at what point do you
start looking at the “leadership group” on the club and asking when they do something
about what is going on?
To listen to Brad Richards and Ryan Callahan admit
following the collapse against Ottawa that they relaxed when they went up 4-1
is unacceptable. To watch this team play
lifeless period after lifeless period is deplorable. Where is that leadership group standing up in
the room and calling people out? Where
is that group doing something about it on the ice themselves instead of just
giving lip service to the media after the game ends?
Callahan was named captain this season because he
was said to have the respect of the
room and performed well as the de-facto captain last season. The room
is not showing the same level of fire playing for him with the 'C' that
they did when he had the 'A' a year ago and part of being the head guy
is demanding that effort. Placing the full blame at his feet would be
wrong, but it goes with the title that he should be one of the first
places you look when the team consistently lacks the effort he himself
has been known for throughout his career. Even more disappointing is
that he himself has had a number of games this year where he would not
have met his own standards before, though to his credit he has owned up
to it and is getting back to his type of hockey. Now he has to demand that of everyone else in the room.
In talking about the new locker rooms at Madison
Square Garden, Captain Ryan Callahan said that the shape of the room was
important because it allows all the players to look each other in the eye and
breads more accountability. That level of
accountability to one another does not seem apparent thus far this season. Last year this team had the feel of a team
that fought for one another and did whatever it took to win a hockey game. This team has the feel of a club that is
willing to do as little as possible to get the result they want.
You do not win in this league without hard work for a
full 60 minutes and this team has not been willing to make that kind of effort
once this season. They have three wins
on the year, but there is not one of those games where the team played for 60
minutes or you could argue, outside of the goaltending, they outplayed their
opponent for the majority of the contest.
That itself should be seen as an indictment on the leadership of a club.
The thing that made last season’s club enjoyable to
watch and gave such hope for what was to come was the level of intensity they
played with each night. They certainly
had lousy periods, mainly opening periods, but they fought and achieved despite
being the less talented team on many nights. You cannot blame the start this season on
talent as the Rangers went out and spent the money on the biggest fish in the
free agent market, Brad Richards, and both he and Marian Gaborik have produced
while Lundqvist has been Lundqvist in net, minus some soft goals against
The loss of Marc Staal has certainly hurt, but the
Rangers issues on the ice are based more on compete level and desire than
talent. The idea that Sean Avery needs
to be called up to give the team life and a spark is both a statement on Avery
and a negative reflection on everyone else in the locker room. Some will argue that the Rangers are playing
lifeless because Tortorella has lost the team, which could be true, but if they
believe in their leaders they will run through the wall for them regardless of
feelings on the coach. The Rangers are
not doing that right now and instead are being consistently outworked by the
opposition game in and game out. The
time for placing the entire blame on Tortorella’s shoulders needs to come to an
end and players like Callahan, Richards and now Girardi need to take control of
the leadership of this team, demand better and accept nothing less. They cannot control the results and performance of each player, but they can require the effort.
BEST OF MAXIM
Here are the highlights about why the Rangers decided to re-call Sean Avery (or at least, put him on re-entry waivers). Will have audio in a few minutes right below this:
Why Avery now?
“Rupper. Rupper has a lot to do with this. We’re concerned about this. So we have to be careful there. Not sure what’s going to happen. There’s a couple other things...
Ryan Callahan scored twice in New York's three-goal second period, and the Rangers shook off a blown lead and raced past the surging San Jose Sharks, 5-2, on Monday night.
(10-31) 18:40 PDT New York (AP) -- Ryan Callahan scored twice in New York's three-goal second period, and New York shook of a blown lead and raced past the surging San Jose Sharks 5-2 on Monday night. The Rangers (4-3-3)...
John Tortorella didn't appreciate San Jose Sharks captain Joe Thornton calling his team "probably the softest team we played against."
The New York Rangers had just defeated the Sharks by a 5-2 decision on Monday when Thornton noted that "we played some good teams, and I think we probably should have beat these guys, to be honest with you."
The Rangers won’t face the Sharks anymore in the regular season, but coach John Tortorella got in his blows yesterday at San Jose center Joe Thornton for calling the Blueshirts “soft.’’
An incensed Tortorella branded the 6-foot-4, 230-pound Thornton as a “classless’’ individual who’s never won anything and...
First, he did not give out his lineup, or his lines, saying he wasn’t sure. (Andrew Gross loves when he says that, LOL). But he said it will probably be the same lineup as the home opener.
He did say that Mike Rupp (knee) remains out.
I asked him a few questions about the possible breaking-up of Brad Richards and Marian Gaborik—at practice yesterday Gaborik played with Erik...
The Rangers' effort in their 2011-12 home opener against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday was disgraceful. Actually, maybe I am wrong in using the word "effort" to describe what happened that night because there simply was no effort beyond the first period of play. From top to bottom, everything with the Blueshirts' game was ugly, even the goaltending, which...
NEW YORK (AP) - Ryan Callahan scored twice in New York's three-goal second period, and New York shook of a blown lead and raced past the surging San Jose Sharks 5-2 on Monday night.
The Rangers (4-3-3) led 2-0 in the first period but squandered...
The Rangers gave themselves a blueprint for how to hold a lead in their first home victory of the young season: Get everyone involved. Four Blueshirts registered at least two points, led by captain Ryan Callahan (two goals, one assist), as the Rangers (4-3-3) snapped a two-game skid with a 5-2 win over San Jose (6-4-0) at the Garden. In the process, they ended a five-game winning...
For all the hullaballoo about Sean Avery descending to the AHL, the Connecticut Whale didn't even get a single home game with him on the roster before he was brought back to the New York Rangers through re-entry waivers. Which has to be the most depressing thing to happen to Hartford since ... well, we simply don't have the time ...
This doesn't mean Sean Avery Hipster...
One could hear the clarification coming from miles away: Joe Thornton — frustrated by the San Jose Sharks' effort in the last game of their road trip, losing for the first time on that six-game swing to the New York Rangers — drops the S-bomb on the Blueshirts:
"To be honest with you, they were probably the softest team we played against on this road trip."
John Tortorella did not appreciate Sharks captain Joe Thornton calling the Rangers soft after the Blueshirts defeated San Jose, 5-2, Monday night. Not one bit.