New York Rangers: A Modern Day Jekyll and Hyde Case
May 4, 2017; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers left wing Chris Kreider (20) celebrates after scoring a goal against Ottawa Senators goalie Mike Condon (1) with teammates during the third period of game four of the second round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Hit or miss has been the trend from the New York Rangers in the 2017 playoffs. This crapshoot is holding them back from the Stanley Cup.

As the postseason rolls along this spring, I seem to be always asking myself before each game, which New York Rangers team are we going to see? Are we going to see the soft more passive Jekyll’s or the hard working, forechecking, and physical Hyde’s?

Frankly, it’s a question that shouldn’t need to be asked. At least at this stage of the season. This is something that doesn’t just fall on one scapegoat. This isn’t one person’s fault. This is a team epidemic, and if it doesn’t get fixed, the Rangers can kiss their chances of winning a Stanley Cup good-bye.

Now, we all know the Stanley Cup is the hardest trophy to win in sports. 16 wins needed, in one of the more grueling sports today. What I love about the sport of hockey is the amount of sacrifice one individual will give up for the betterment of his twenty teammates. Is it hard to give a consistent effort night in and night out? Yes. No question.

But something has to give here, and the Rangers need to find a way to close the gap on their good games and their bad games. To me, this issue is inexplicable. And no, you Twitter heroes can’t even pinpoint this one on AV. The coaching staff can only do so much in preparation. The coach’s coach and the players play.

My biggest thing with inconsistencies is with our top players, including Henrik Lundqvist. I think you all would agree he’s been a different player in round 2 than he was in round 1. Same goes for the offensive threats. Rick Nash can look like the unstoppable power forward force that made him a No. 1 overall selection and other nights he takes a back seat. The young three that were so effective in the regular season have disappeared this postseason.

JT Miller, Kevin Hayes, and Chris Kreider have all seen their games slip and the team is hurting because of it. When you trace back former Cup winners, the one thing that those teams we’re able to do night in and night out have their top players be their top players. The Blackhawks didn’t have nearly the depth the 2017 Rangers do, but guys like Toews, Kane, Hossa, etc.wake up, thrive in big game situations. At the end of the day, the onus is on the players, and right now, they need these players to step up.

This may seem unfair to heap on a guy that has given SO much to the organization, but this needs a wake-up call for Henrik Lundqvist. Henrik needs to play the game and stop worrying about other things. Yes, the defense in front of him is wrong and prone to massive breakdowns. Yes, over the years he’s been an ace pitcher with no run support behind him. But what is moaning about on the ice going to do for this team?

Can you call up Kevin Shattenkirk and get him here now Henrik? No. So here’s the deal, encourage your teammates, which is what leaders do, do not bash them, and stop the puck. Kyle Turris’ overtime winning shot was nothing special. That needs to be a stop. Forget what Dan Girardi did or didn’t do in front of you, stop the puck.

At this point, there has been a somewhat viral sensation in Ranger world that came from Game 5, a GIF where Assistant Captain Derek Stepan is shown skating over to Lundqvist to tell him to relax.

Stepan is then seen doing the same thing on the bench. Henrik has a history of showing too much emotion and has a tendency to get rattled on the ice. I thought this was a great thing Step did, and it shows the strength of the leadership core of the team.

Again, back to Lundqvist, I understand his poured his heart and soul into winning a Stanley Cup, but it’s not something that’s going to happen if you continually bash the players in front of you. Nobody likes a whiner, so keep your mouth shut, and stop the puck.

Again, back to Lundqvist, I understand he poured his heart and soul into winning a Stanley Cup, but it’s not something that’s going to happen if you continually bash the players in front of you. Nobody likes a whiner, so keep your mouth shut, and stop the puck.

In all the doom and gloom in Ranger world, the bright side is this; the Rangers have dominated the majority of Game 2, Game 3 and Game 4. The latter two on home ice, where the series shifts for Game 6. Henrik has a proven track record in elimination games. And the Rangers play best when they are desperate. So drink your potions Rangers, it’s time to show your Hyde side.

Notes

The Rangers agreed to terms with undrafted free agent Dawson Leedahl. Leedahl comes to the Rangers from the Regina Pats of the WHL after scoring 35 goals and 54 assists in 71 games. Leedahl is a 6-foot-2 left winger who hails from Saskatoon, Canada. A throwback type player, many say he will remind some of Ryan Callahan (but let’s keep the expectations lower).

At age 21, he just completed his overage junior season, a season in which he nearly tripled his scoring output. Some will say it’s just a product of being an older, bigger, and stronger player that led to the offensive outburst; others will point to hard work paying off.

Regardless, the kid has always been a captain or assistant on previous teams. A low-risk high reward type signing, Leedahl will most likely add punch to the bottom six forwards in either Hartford or Greenville.

NYY

NYM

NYG

NYJ

NYK

BKN

NYR

NYI

NJD

SJU