Rangers

“I look at the Detroit Red Wings, who I know well because I coached against them the last seven years. They have no toughness, per se, as far as that type of personnel in their lineup…but those guys play hard. They have the puck, and they say, ‘Try and get it from me.’ Or they don’t have it and they battle like hell to get it back. They compete. That’s the team toughness that I’m hoping we would get here. Maybe we’ll get there by changing some personnel and adding some more toughness. We’re at .500. I’m trying.”

“I’ve got an idea of how I’d like (the team) to play. I’m not quite sure we have the personnel to play the type of game I’d like to play, which is more offensive-oriented…I’m not saying we won’t get there, but I’m thinking at this time right now it is a big challenge for us, and we’ve got to be more defensive-oriented for the time being.”

So this is who Torts got the boot for, huh? An offensive-oriented coach who can only coach that way if he’s got the Sedin twins, Kesler & a stable of scoring blueliners on the bench in front of him? Awesome. Obviously the Rangers aren’t overflowing with skill. But a team with Nash, Richards, Stepan, Kreider, McDonagh & MDZ should be faring way better than being the worst scoring attack outside of Buffalo. That’s what the AV regime was supposed to accomplish. Now, not even halfway into his era, he’s throwing his hands in the air. Fuck it. These guys suck and there’s nothing he can do about it until Sather gives him some new toys that’ll do the work for him. Inspiring shit, coach.

He’s right about his squad skating like pussies though. The one thing you could bank on under Tortorella was that his teams would grind. He always had the Rangers near the top of the league in hits & blocked shots. Under Vigneault, they’ve fallen to mediocrity in both. Those aren’t necessarily championship stats, but they do reflect a lack of heart and energy. What reflects it even more is their inability to mount ANY sort of comeback. Losing 14 of 15 games when the opposition scores first is as emasculating as it gets. I never realized how much they miss guys like Dubinsky & Prust until I watched a bunch of no-name Preds do whatever they wanted right in the Rangers’ living room without a hint of resistance.

With Staal and Cally on the shelf, it looks like it could actually get worse. And I wouldn’t expect any help to be on the way in the form of a trade. Who does Sather have to offer? Rumors swirled around Del Zotto, but if he was gonna bring back anything worthwhile, he’d be gone by now.  The Rangers did, however, finally call up 2010 first-rounder Dylan McIlrath to make his NHL debut tonight. Hopefully he’ll be the reliable, bruising d-man they need – but he won’t help the scoring woes. You’re just gonna have to coach, AV. Either figure out how to squeeze more from your studs or get guys like Hags & Brassard to contribute. It’s the entire reason you’re here. No one expected an immediate 3 goals a game. A regression from last year for the same group of players, though, falls squarely on you. Not your personnel.