For those who thought that the addition of Brad Richards to
the New York Rangers was going to magically fix the team’s offensive
inconsistency and dreadful power play, the first two games of the season showed
that at the very least it will take time.
The Rangers lack of practice ad familiarity with those they have been
playing with was painfully evident the past two days.
The chemistry and timing issues are not
something to be overly concerned with as that will come with more repetitions
together, but what is more interesting to watch is whether the Rangers are now
caught between systems.
Since taking over as head coach John Tortorella has been
trying to install a more blue-collar identity on the team because it best fit
Last season the Rangers had
success in forming that identity and using a forechecking style to generate their
offense, but these first two games they appear to be a team that is caught
in-between playing a more skilled game to the talents of Brad Richards and
Marian Gaborik and the grinding style that best suits Ryan Callahan.
A middle ground will need to be struck.
While the skill is learning what each other want, the
grinding style must return or this team is going to continue to have serious
issues generating anything offensively and will be back to relying on Henrik
Lundqvist to hold the opponent’s to a lone goal or less to win.
A good first step in establishing that
identity again would be putting last season’s two most effective lines back together
with Dubinsky going back to play with Anisimov and Callahan while Fedotenko
gets reunited with Boyle and Prust.
Tortorella can mix and match all he wants outside of those six forwards,
but putting those two lines together would bring stability back to the lineup
and provide a foundation to build from as the chemistry within those lines is
Adding Brad Richards has paid dividends in the first two
games with the two goals he was involved in, but as a whole the effectiveness
has been limited.
He is a great player
and he will find his own way and timing with his teammates, but until then the
Rangers must return to basics and that means reforming their identity.