Coming up short this season was as heartbreaking as it gets, so what does Glen Sather need to do for the New York Rangers this offseason?
By Robby Sabo
As the time painfully dwindled down in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals last Friday night, New York Rangers fans everywhere had to face the reality that, yet again, their team came up short of the ultimate goal.
The only thing left after it was all over was questions and answers.
Questions such as how bad was Mats Zuccarello’s injury? And answers such as the one we received from Alain Vigneault about captain Ryan McDonagh and his broken foot.
If there’s one thing we do know, it’s that Henrik Lundqvist is part of the solution, not the problem.
Inexplicably, the New York City airwaves and social media worldwide was suddenly flooded with Lundqvist hate following Game 3’s loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning. Hank gave up six-goals in back to back games to the most skilled team in the world, and fans suddenly endured serious panic attacks.
Watching those games it was apparent that – while Lundqvist wasn’t on his game – he wasn’t the reason for those disappointing defensive efforts.
Lightning head coach Jon Cooper successfully lured the Rangers into playing a run and gun style, something Tampa thrives on with their quick transitional game after a defensive or neutral zone turnover.
Once New York got back to playing a structured game, things leveled off.
It’s a shame though. In a series featuring two teams so close in overall play, Game 3 became the turning point.
Both teams went back and forth all series long. It was a true chess-match of epic proportions. It was the Nikita Kucherov overtime winner in Game 3 that propelled Tampa to the only two-game winning streak (taking Games 2 and 3).
Still, even after giving up that soft Kucherov Game 3 winner, Lundqvist is the face of the Rangers and will be until the day he retires.
As for the rest of the squad, Sather has some decisions to make.
Here’s our five-step plan to make the New York Rangers 2015-16 Stanley Cup Champions: