Monday, October 17, 2011
0-1-2: Rangers' JT < Islanders' JT
I did not see the game and won't even pretend to. The box score, the lowlights, the post-game quotes and actions taken by the Rangers paint a grim picture, one that is only amplified by the utter shame that is a loss to the Islanders.
Hatred of our rivals aside, it is time to admit that the Isles are a young, hard working team that has lost enough to accumulate some decent talent. John Tavares is coming into his own and Mark Streit has always been a solid offensive defenseman (one the Rangers should have signed instead of Wade Redden). Once the incapable, glass-jawed Rick DiPietro removed himself from their crowded crease, they were bound to improve.
Meanwhile, the Rangers are a cobbled together collection of semi-capable players led by what has been an incapable coach. The failings of this franchise this season (and the last two) have little to do with the guys wearing the sweaters. Rant about the shortcomings of guys like MDZ, Arty and Gaborik (as I often do), the sum of the parts should be far better than the results they've gotten.
We were sold on a rebuilding team last year and that was fine ... hell, it was wonderful. We finally had the chance to see youth blossom on Broadway. Well, so much for that. I agree with Larry Brooks, Torts had his team picked long before camp opened. Several guys played well enough to make their way onto the club but saw their jobs go to other guys because, as Torts told Brooksie, "there's a bank account." Dale Weise, Sean Avery and Mats Zuccarello have all been banished because they didn't have enough 'banked' with the head coach.
At what point should the bank fire its branch manager for poor decisions that don't pay off?
Since singlehandedly driving the Tom Renney-built team out of the playoffs in 2009, John Tortorella's failing to find chemistry and a capable power play has doomed the Rangers time and time again. He reshaped the team through favoritism and it flopped in the first round in April before stumbling out of the gates this season. Has it been just three games? Yes. Is it time to panic? No. But something should be done sooner rather than later because his account has just about run dry.
Torts didn't want to use Europe as an excuse for this loss to the Isles. He didn't use the injuries to his top defensemen as an excuse either. Instead he claimed it was discipline that did his team in. Well, who is responsible for keeping the team disciplined? Tortorella is placing the blame where it belongs - on himself. While it is nice to see him finally admitting his own mistakes (albeit not in so many words), he needs to do something about them quickly.
Apparently he felt that swapping Zuke for Kris Newbury was the lone personnel step needed to put the team headed in the right direction. When the puck drops in Vancouver we will see if a fourth liner will be able to power the Rangers to victory. Somehow I don't think so but it is early enough to suspend some disbelief.
That being said, this week's trip out west had better see the best from the Blueshirts because if they limp into the Garden at the end of the month then there will be hell to pay. It will be time that the bank will finally foreclose on the coach.