This is a Bad Hockey Team: Part 2
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02-01-2013, 03:04 PM
After 5 years...
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: New York
Originally Posted by
Hindsight is always infallible. Moves that seem the right move at the time with time end up eroding a team's vision. It's only when you look back that you say "why did we do that? What were we thinking?" "Where did it go wrong?"
I'm certainly not giving up on the season although the warning signs are everywhere. This team could still be very dangerous come playoff time.
But is seems to me that somewhere along the line we went from rebuilding with youth, establishing a core, surrounding them with some good talent, to "going for it." Nothing wrong with that, you can rebuild forever and never get to make that final push to the top. Can be seen in all sports.
Two years ago we got bounced out in the first round but our young core was improving and there was hope for more on the way. It was felt that if we just had the elite #1 center, we could take that next step. We signed BR, a move I was totally in favor of.
But that signing was always a risk. He was on the wrong side of 30, had suffered a serious concussion and the contract was long term and large. How has it worked out? Well we got to the Conference Finals last year but it was evident to any who looked at it objectively, the BR had lost a step, seemed to be absent in many games, and as productive as he was, just was not the player he once was. Anyone could look at it and see a further deterioration in the future.
Then the mantra became, if we just had one more high powered forward to help our power play and score (and take advantage of BR's last real productive years), we could take that final step. I've always been a RN fan, was absolutely for trading for him, but was always concerned that we would have to pay a steep price. As a long, and I mean long, time Ranger fan, I will never forget giving up oodles from our 79 Cup final team to get Barry Beck, "the proverbial last piece of the puzzle." Nothing against Beck, he was a fine player but we never recovered from all the pieces we gave away to get him. We didn't give up as many players for RN as he did for Beck, but we did give up 2 key, versatile, home grown, and productive players.
Suddenly our young core doesn't look as deep as it did. Some, like Stepan,are not progressing but that's normal: not all of your young players will live up to expectations. Suddenly our pipeline of young talent doesn't look so deep: full of second and third liners (maybe): Miller, Jean, Fast, Thomas et al. Alarms bells are ringing over Kreider's lack of AHL production. I buy all the theories about why he wasn't more productive but the fact is, he should have been.
I hope I'm wrong: nothing like a few good games to turn things around but we are a slow team without forward depth. We are a low-key, non-emotional team. None of our top players are overly emotional. We are not a physical team.
The big picture is, like many other teams in other sports, we are always chasing that one illusive piece to get us over the top. Along the way, something may have been lost that is only to be seen when you step back after failure and examine the big picture. But, to argue from the other side, you can't just build with youth as good as your core is. You have to go for it, take the gambles and try to win it all. Opportunities in a 30 team league with a draft and salary cap don't come along often.
We've gambled on Richards and Nash. This may not work and we may slide back for a few years (or get on a roll like LA and win a Cup). Who knows?
Last night was one of the most pitiful games I've seen for a long time and I've been a Ranger fan since the late 1950s (!), so I've seem a lot of pitiful games. I'm just frustrated and upset with this team now and I am questioning everything...my right as a fan.
Maybe it will take the games next week with the Isles and Devs to ramp up our intensity level. And they are part of the problem too. The Devs endlessly lose players but keep winning. The Isles young core seems to be coming together. Possibly falling behind our rivals is truly upsetting.
Anyway...that's my rambling rant for today. Hopefully we beat the Lightning tomorrow and the world will look better.
This is a great post and 1000% accurate. Can't be said enough. Every word. One thing that stood out to me, not necessarily as the most important concept in your post but something I whole heartedly agree with is the lack of emotion and fire on this roster. Rupp and Asham will fight, but they barely play and are not high intensity guys; fighting does not equal emotion and fire. Who were the two fieriest guys on the roster the last couple of years? Dubinsky and Prust. Losing players like that always has a deeper impact than just what they bring to the scoresheet. They were obviously well liked teammates as well, so you take away those fiery guys who brought the intensity themselves and you're also losing the guys who infected the rest of the room with that intensity from time to time. What remains? A lack of identity and passion that's showing for now. It can be found again; it just takes one or two guys to step up and bring it first, but right now it's an obvious void. The team has no personality right now.
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