NHL New York Rangers

5 New Year’s Resolutions for New York Rangers

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New York Rangers' New Years Resolutions

Kim Klement - USA TODAY Sports

As 2014 arrives, the New York Rangers have hit the halfway point of their schedule. The team's performance has simply been mediocre, but it could be so much worse.

Right now, the Rangers benefit from playing in the worst division in hockey, the Metropolitan. They are tied for third place in the division, and in the NHL's new playoff format, finishing in the top-three of your division gets you in.

The question is, do the Rangers deserve it? Right now, they probably don't. But the NHL season is a marathon, and after the Rangers' New Years Eve game against the Florida Panthers, they will have 41 more games to get it right.

In order to get to the playoffs, however, the Rangers need a lot more out of a lot of players. Except for Brad Richards, the Rangers' top players have had bad seasons or seasons marred by injury. Ryan Callahan, Marc Staal and Rick Nash missed significant time due to injuries. In Callahan's case, he has missed more than two weeks twice.

Those that have stayed healthy such as Dan Girardi and Derek Stepan have not pulled their weight this season. In Girardi's case, he may not last the rest of the season as he is the subject of trade rumors. Then there is Henrik Lundqvist, whose inconsistent play has led to cries of a goaltending controversy.

Coach Alain Vigneault and GM Glen Sather will have a lot of decisions to make in the next couple of months, but it is up to the players to make their jobs easier. What New Year's resolutions can the Rangers make? Let's find out.

Matt Stillwell is a New York Rangers contributor for rantsports.com. Follow him on Twitter @MattNYR12, "like" him on Facebook and connect with him on Google Plus for all NYR news and notes!

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5. Mats Zuccarello continues brilliant play

Kim Klement - USA TODAY Sports

Not only has Mats Zuccarello had a breakout season, but one can argue he has been the Rangers' best player. Can he keep it up for the rest of the season?

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4. Make at least one major trade

Joe Camporeale - USA TODAY Sports

All we've heard for the last two months are rumors about the impending departures of Dan Girardi and Michael Del Zotto. Whether or not it is these two that are dealt, one cannot argue the Rangers need to make a major trade to shake up the roster and become a potentially dangerous playoff team.

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3. Rick Nash plays at an elite level

Kim Klement - USA TODAY Sports

Rick Nash played the best he has in weeks during Sunday night's game against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Needless to say, this Rick Nash needs to show up every game.

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2. Go on a long winning streak

Winning Streak
Kim Klement - USA TODAY Sports

As stated before, the Rangers are lucky to still be in playoff contention, especially after wasting a golden opportunity during a long homestand in December. It will be a tall order with their remaining schedule, but the Rangers need to go on a long winning streak to establish traction in the playoff race.

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1. Put to rest any idea of a goaltending controversy

Kim Klement - USA TODAY Sports

Yes, it is a wonderful thing to see Cam Talbot play great in his first few NHL games. The truth is though the Rangers cannot afford a goaltending controversy. Henrik Lundqvist needs to be the Rangers' best player the rest of the way, the same way he has been for the past decade.