Ranger Rants: Food For Thought From a Loyal Fan

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Heck, I’ve been called a hockey maniac before, so I’m going to do the unthinkable here and put myself out there and see what happens. Go ahead and hammer me if you like, but I’m going to say what I feel and see if anybody at all sees the same things that I see. Somebody has to do it because there is way too much chatter about the New York Rangers’ defense and the inexperienced mistakes they are making at times.

Listen, I’ve been watching the New York Rangers since I was a kid and I’ve both played the game and I’ve coached the game. At the youth level of course, but regardless, I held a Level 4 USA Hockey coaching card for many years while my kids played, so I’ve taught the game too. It’s simple math here folks, kids make mistakes. And these young New York Rangers; Lindgren, Hajek, Fox, and DeAngelo included, are going to make mistakes. It’s a much faster game in the NHL as opposed to say the AHL.

For starters, for the European kids that come over here to play, quite frankly it’s a whole new game coming from a 200’ x 100’ sheet in the European elite leagues, to a 200’ x 85’ sheet here in the U.S.

What I feel is being overlooked here with respect to the New York Rangers is the ‘veteran’ problems they are having far beyond the inexperience of their younger players.

First of all, Lindy Ruff’s system of defense, both at even strength and on the penalty-kill, is quite frankly dated. It’s an ancient system in a game that has evolved since his successes way back when he coached in Buffalo and more recently in Dallas. The reason I say this is because I follow the Stars, and thankfully I only had to endure his system of hockey for one season until his departure. My guess, and it’s nothing more than just a guess, is that these youngsters don’t comprehend his system. Not because they don’t listen, but simply because our beloved sport has evolved into a much faster and much more skilled game than before, so keeping that in mind, by them recently coming from college and the elite leagues abroad, it’s just not how they’ve been taught to play.

In Ruff’s days as a player, the game was drastically different. I can say that because I’ve watched him play over his career and most recently when he was a New York Ranger. I’ve watched him play and coach because it was growing up years, and in his day the game was much slower and much more physical. Lindy Ruff was a physical presence in his day, but the game has changed. While I, like others, love to see the physical play too it’s hard to play that type of game now with the increase in both speed and skill. Rather than beat a dead horse, I will just say that I feel like something needs to change and I would like to see what Assistant Coach Greg Brown has to offer, since ultimately that is who David Quinn brought in with him while Ruff was still lobbying for Quinn’s head coaching job.

Now I’m backtracking here a little bit because I mentioned the word ‘veteran’ in the context of the New York Rangers’ issues. Does any anyone see, or agree that, some of the team’s issues have been veteran relevant?

With all due respect to King Henrik, because he has given us as fans some memories that will last a lifetime (no pun intended), but his historic susceptibility to giving up the early tally at times has often led to outcomes like we saw last evening. Don’t get me wrong, I love his game play, and I love his competitiveness as well as his desire to win, but with that in mind, it’s just my feeling that the commitment to Alexandar Georgiev is by far, if nothing else, not exactly what I would call a commitment. Nor is it a total commitment to the youth as a whole, nor in essence the rebuilding around the young players as they have promoted.

Maybe I’m not seeing the same things as others, but I see a different team when Henrik Lundqvist is in net as opposed to Alexandar Georgiev. Especially on the defensive zone side of things. Maybe the D relaxes too much with Hank in net because they feel as a veteran, he’ll do his share and by god we know he does. We’ve all seen it time and time again. I know that Coach Quinn has said in many interviews that he would not ride the hot hand in goal, but after 26 games, that needs to be a flexible thing at the very least. Redacted, eh maybe, but it should be at the very least elastic enough to give young Georgiev the green light even if the King says he’s ready-to-go, and most especially after a momentum building win like the shutout in New Jersey on Saturday.

In addition, while I am ranting nevertheless, what in the world is going on with Chris Kreider?
I love the way this guy plays, but only when he plays. When Kreider plays his game, as we’ve all seen before too, he is a major force to be reckoned with. I’ve been watching him play since he was still in the AHL in Hartford. Back in the days when they said that he, as an eighteen-year-old, was not quite ready for a full season with the big team.

I lived just outside of Hartford, on the New York State side of the border of course, and I’ve gone to the games with my kids and watched him emerge into this league after college. There’s no other way to say this, but the guy has the skill, speed, size, and the grit to be an incredible iron-man in the Metropolitan division.

Exactly the type of feared player he should be since, when he wants to play, he tends to be unstoppable. That being said, he’s had a terrible history of inconsistency. And like Hank’s historical issue, I put Kreider in the same boat with him. While I am amazed at his ability to guide the youngsters as we’ve seen on the bench with him talking to his young teammates, it has not been consistent on the ice in his game play. I believe he’s worth the big money going forward, and maybe should have been the next Ranger captain, but he like Henrik, should be able to realize that the face of this team is changing around them, and if he’s committed to the rebuild as Henrik has said he is, he needs to put out more every game, not just here and there.

That’s all from me folks, so go ahead and have a ball. I’m an objective person so your thoughts, comments, and criticisms are welcomed. No censorship, speak your mind and I’ll respond when I can… and #LGR I’m hoping for a nice bounce-back game from them on Thursday night in Columbus.

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Author: Mike

Writer/Creator, Sports Fan, Guitar Player, and Collector of things Sports and Music.

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