New York Rangers, Mats Zuccarello
Photo by Bergen Record

The New York Rangers haven’t exactly looked like a playoff-ready team this month, and that trend continued yesterday against San Jose.

By Chris Wengert

Let’s not sugarcoat this, the New York Rangers laid a serious stinker in San Jose yesterday.

What a mess.

The Rangers were coming off of two games in which they collected three out of a possible four points. Those were three very optimistic points too, because they were earned against the Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings, both of which are strong teams.

So instead of ending their west-coast trip with a strong effort, the Rangers laid down on the tracks and didn’t even attempt to move away from the oncoming train.

The New York team that stepped out onto the ice for the second and third periods looked fatigued.

Not just physically, but mentally. They looked like a team who has played deep in the playoffs for five years straight.

Teams that win the Stanley Cup use this to their advantage.

They take the experience gained from previous seasons, learn from it, and build upon it moving forward. But the Rangers look like they are waiving the white flag right now.

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If it were not for Henrik Lundqvist, this game could have easily been 10-1. His being pulled was not a result of his performance, but most likely a show of mercy by Alain Vigneault.

What I’m about to say isn’t really fair, but Eric Staal looks very unimpressive at times.

When Marty St. Louis arrived at New York two years ago, his regular season production was very similar to Staal’s. But St. Louis showed glimpses of brilliance with his speed, hands, and overall hockey IQ.

Staal looks good at times, but he certainly doesn’t look like an elite player who will make a serious difference in the playoffs.

Oh, and this defense is just pathetic.

Bad outbreak passes, no presence in the crease, awful coverage, you name it and it’s probably plaguing the Rangers defense at this point.

To put it simply, the defensive squad doesn’t look strong enough to impose their will on whatever opponent they’re facing. They consistently allow teams to bully them in front of their net which consequently screens Hank, and breeds scoring chances.

The forwards are not helping much either.

While the offense that Mats Zuccarello adds to the team has been great this season, his defense has been equally as poor. Watch this awful back check on the Joe Thronton goal.

Henrik Lundqvist stops the initial shot yet Thornton is allowed to just sail into the slot like he’s on a Sunday afternoon public skate, and Zucc looked content to hand out the ticket.

Dan Girardi is just as guilty too, because there is no reason that Tomas Herti should have been allowed to break to Hank like he was.

What ever happened to checking? That was a perfect opportunity for Girardi to lay a hip right into Herti (he wouldn’t have even need to turn around). That one play was a microcosm for the entire Rangers’ season.

Bad defensive play, lazy offensive coverage, and a goal.

It’s a tired story, and to go into how the offense was horrible and didn’t create any forecheck would just be redundant at this point.

Here are some telling quotes following the disaster:

Whatever is going on in that locker room has to be resolved, and fast.

NEXT: Here’s How The New York Rangers Lineup, Lines, Pairings Should Look Like


I've been a die hard Rangers and Giants fan for as long as I can remember. I enjoy sharing opinions, and hearing from fans that love their teams just as much as I do. Henrik Lundqvist makes all of us look like mere mortals. E-mail me at: