After a 1-3 start in which New York Rangers have been outscored by opponents 20-6, many fans have already started to play arm-chair General Manager and offer up their suggestions via social media for how to fix the Blueshirts.
Ideas like, “Fire Alain Vigneault” or “Trade Henrik Lundqvist and build for the future” have been some of the more common statements I have come across since last nights defeat to Anaheim Ducks.
I can appreciate that a fan-base gets frustrated when their team struggles, especially one as strong as the Rangers. Blueshirt faithful are some of the most passionate fans in all of sports and they only want to see their team succeed. Sometimes they bring it a little too far. This is one of those times.
Fans of Rangers need to take a deep breath and look at the big picture. We are four games through an 82-game NHL season. Lundqvist, despite his early struggles, is one of the best goaltenders in the league and will not be allowing five goals per game, nor will Rangers’ defensemen.
Vigneault is still getting to know the roster and hammer home the focal points of his system to the team. The team seems to have grasped the main concept of Vigneault’s offensive philosophy, but the defense continues to struggle in the man-to-man marking scheme. Players like Ryan McDonagh, Dan Girardi and Marc Staal are too good to not figure this thing out and I expect them to do it sooner rather than later.
Things take time to develop. Are there areas of concern? Absolutely. The effort from the team needs to increase infinitely, the skill level of certain forwards and defensemen may not be as high as we had thought in previous seasons and the team has been outplayed on a nightly basis going back to the start of the preseason. But these are early season concerns, not excuses to jump from the ledge.
This team is too skilled and has too much pride to allow these putrid performances to continue and they understand better than anyone that their act needs to clean up immediately. If these are issues the team continues to struggle with moving into November then the pushing the panic button is justified. Until then, stay positive and have faith that your team will come around. It’s only a matter of time.
Martin Burns covers New York Rangers hockey for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter for more thoughts and news on the Blueshirts as well as the rest of the NHL!