5 Reasons Why The New York Rangers Are A .500 Team
5 Reasons Why The New York Rangers Are A .500 Team
Going into this afternoon's game, the New York Rangers are currently 13-13, otherwise known as .500. A lot of fans would say this team is underachieving and will get a lot better as the season goes on, but right now this Rangers team is just not showing me enough to believe that.
Every single game you just don't know what you are getting from the Rangers, and that is not good. How can you possibly contend for a Stanley Cup when your team is filled with inconsistent players who do not show up every game? The answer is it's not possible.
It's no fluke the Rangers are at .500 because I believe that is really all I see this year's team willing to be. Now this slideshow is geared more towards why the Rangers are currently at .500, but since there are so many reasons and flaws that hold the Rangers back from being an "elite" NHL team, I believe they very well could end up around .500 by season's end and be a bubble team at best if they are lucky.
What you can look forward to in this slideshow, without giving away to much, will be not only the blaming of certain players but also aspects of this team's game that I would call subpar at best.
Now I am a Rangers fan, believe it or not, so I hope this team can turn it around fast and be the team some people think they could be. But I have watched too much Rangers hockey in my life to know not to ever get my hopes up.
So without any further ado, here are the top 5 reasons why the Rangers are a .500 team.
5. Marc Staal
I hate to say this about a really good guy such as Marc Staal, but he is damaged goods.
Ever since opening night Staal has seemed to regress every single game. I have never seen so many turnovers from him in my life, and it shows on the stat sheet as he is a minus-six on the year to go along with a lackluster two goals and one assist thus far.
Staal has never been a great skater, but now in head coach Alain Vigneault's up-tempo system it is becoming evident Staal cannot keep up with the pace and it has been affecting the Rangers greatly.
4. Henrik Lundqvist
Never, and I mean never, have I ever thought I would have Henrik Lundqvist on a list for reasons why the Rangers are a .500 team.
In years past Lundqvist has been dominant and virtually the only reason why the Rangers would win games, but this year, whether it is his contract situation, smaller goalie pads, or the Rangers' new style of play, his game has slipped. He is currently 8-11 with a 2.48 goals against average, which is the highest in his career, and I just don't know if he can recapture his old self as this season progresses now being in his 30s.
At this point in Hank's career I'd actually be shocked if he stays with the Rangers after this season is over.
3. Dan Girardi
Dan Girardi is a guy who I think will be traded sooner rather than later.
After benefiting greatly from former head coach John Tortorella's conservative style of play, Girardi's inability to produce offensively to go along with his weak man to man defensive skills has really taken a toll on the Rangers so far this season.
Girardi has scored more goals in his own net -- at least three -- this season than in the oppositions' net, only one. Besides his one goal he also has three assists and is a minus-5.
After a mediocre season at best for Girardi in the strike shortened year under Tortorella, he has continued that downward slope this year which is why I think he would be better suited to go to a team that plays zone defense rather than continuing to play for the Rangers.
2. Lack Of Grit
The best way I can describe a gritty player is one that has heart and is willing to pay the price in front of the other team's net and jam in rebounds for garbage goals. The Rangers, outside of sometimes Ryan Callahan and Derek Dorsett, have none.
If you want to be a great team that contends for a Stanley Cup then you need players who give it their all and do not stop until that puck is in the opposition's net. Great teams make a living on scoring garbage goals. If you can only score from mid-range to long-range wrist shots and slap shots and can't get to rebounds then of course you are going to struggle to score goals consistently like the Rangers do.
1. Top 6 Forwards
Outside of Rick Nash, in all honesty the Rangers' top-six forwards on Stanley Cup contending teams would either be in their bottom-six or not even make their team -- and that is saying something.
The captain, Ryan Callahan, while a good leader, really only has the skill set of a third line grinder. Brad Richards is past his prime and isn't a top line center in this league anymore. Derek Stepan all season has been playing like a third line center, Mats Zuccarello would most likely, because of his size, not be on another team's starting roster, and Carl Hagelin has never been able to finish off plays consistently.
Really this is a testament to just how bad GM Glen Sather has been over the years as the general manager for the Rangers. To have a top-six with mostly third and fourth liners is embarrassing, and therein lies the root to most of the Rangers' scoring problems and why they are a .500 team.