DISCLAIMER: I’m an avid New York Rangers fan and I am aware that we’re only 4 games into the season. Everything said in this may very well be a bit premature but I need to get this off my chest.
Boy oh boy I did not see this coming. Personally I thought the moves the Rangers made in the offseason were awesome. The Rangers traded Derek Stepan, a man who has no wheels in a speed speed speed NHL with a heavy contract, and Anti Rantaa, a man who was not going to stay with New York, to Arizona for a right handed puck moving defenseman with an edge in Anthony DeAngelo and a HIGH first round pick. The Rangers also added another right handed defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk who is a power play wizard, a man who can even perhaps fix a power play run by an incompetent Scott Arniel. They added center David Desharnais, resigned Defenseman Brendan Smith and had some holes to fill up front with young talented players itching for a shot at the NHL. The Rangers even hired my boy Lindy Ruff to help with the defense and, in my mind at least, put AV on the hot seat for the INCREDIBLY STUPID DECISIONS MADE IN THE OTTAWA SERIES. Before camp started I thought this potentially could be something very special.
Even after training camp I was incredibly optimistic. The Rangers have some of the best depth on the wing, a decent defense and a goalie looking to bounce back from a non king like 2016 campaign. Rookies Filip Chytil and Lias Andersson looked great and continued to push the fact that the Rangers future actually looked promising. Yes, I knew center would be the Rangers Achilles heel but I was hoping a young player would be able to help fill that void and give the Rangers a young burst of energy and a certain swagger they’ve been lacking since ’94. I can’t tell you how many times I wrote down different lineups to myself and thought, “Damn, we’re going to be young but holy shit we are going to be exciting. Win or lose, this is a team I can get behind.” As a Rangers fan, we’ve been very blessed the last few years with playoff contending teams and I was on board with the concept of building on the fly. Yes, we may not be contenders, but watching some young guns play with a fixed defense would be worth watching. Four games in and I’ve never been or felt more wrong in my life. I’m now going to break down the reasons why I’m depressed in watching this team play the best sport in the world.
Henrik Lundqvist is in a no win situation. Why? Because he was literally the best player on the ice for the Rangers for YEARS and it wasn’t even close. Us Ranger fans got so used to the King being able to bail them out that we have unrealistic expectations. Is Hank still capable? 100% Henrik Lundqvist is still a tremendous goalie and on a team like Chicago, St. Louis or Pittsburgh he would still shine. The problem now? He’s older and cannot be counted on to win games that the Rangers have no reason being in. He cannot be expected to be the Hank he once was and I think Rangers fans still hold him to that standard. Last years defense was a joke and mostly the reason why Henrik didn’t put up King like numbers that he normally does year in and year out. Think Dominic Hasek. One of the best goalies of all time with the Sabres but never won anything because the Sabres are, well, the Sabres. His play declined but then went to Nicklas Lidstroms Red Wings and was revitalized, ending up winning the cup. Hence, this was the reason why I was so excited to get two quality right handed defenseman that would be able to steer the Rangers in the right direction and allow Hank to relax a bit and just stop the puck. It was all a perfect plan until suddenly
Listen guys, I knew Marc Staal was going to play. He makes 5.7 million dollars and was not going to be glued to the bench. I knew AV hates any sort of ‘fuck you’ type play so I knew Anthony DeAngelo wasn’t going to play all 82 games. Having said this, I don’t think anyone in the world was ready for this.
Last game Marc Staal was playing first line minutes with Ryan McDonagh. In 2017. In the National Hockey League. Kevin Shattenkirk was playing with Brady Skjei (Okay I’ll let that one slide) and STEVEN FUCKING KAMPFER WAS PLAYING WITH NICK FUCKING HOLDEN. This is like a bad episode of the god damn Twilight Zone. How in the world is Marc Staal playing first line minutes? Well, looking at it now, it’s incredibly obvious– The Dan Girardi Effect. AV is a genius. I’m actually the dumb one in not seeing this a mile away. Let’s put our absolute worst player with our best player and let them play 25 minutes a night. Joe Micheletti, if I have to hear you give Marc Staal another dry hand job on MSG I will lose my shit. Steven Kampfer deadass couldn’t make my beer league team. He’s a terrible player and has a very questionable background. Nick Holden? Bud, you got cucked out of wearing your own hockey number and lost me the Ottawa Series. GET OUT OF MY FACE. Instead of going with a normal:
DeAngelo- Staal (BARF)
We decide to just get real messy with it and put the WORST combinations on the ice instead of the best. Why not us, am I right?
Like I said, I knew the center position would be our Achilles heel, but I also thought maybe our head coach would give a kid a chance to play, develop, learn and become more skilled. AV did it! Chytil made the team! Wait what? He’s only played 18 seconds in the first three games? I don’t even know why I’m not surprised. There are literally 3 forwards on this team that you can count on, night in and night out, to play their game. Zuccarello, love you bro, Zibanejad, spin that shit, and Rick Nash, 8 million dollars for a GREAT defensive forward. Yes, Rick maybe grossly overpaid but we are guaranteed 4 chips out of the zone and one spinorama a game. Clockwork. The rest? Dogshit. I love Michael Grabner, but can you imagine if he scored on breakaways? He’d have 5,000 goals. JT Miller? Like him a lot but AV has ruined his mind. With AV being much like a revenge filled ex-gf, JT has no idea what is around the corner. Kevin Hayes? Most heart that guys ever shown is when he got suspended for a few games in college for shitting in a hallway. Chris Kreider could be one of the best forwards IN THE LEAGUE but has a hockey IQ of negative 4,000 which is actually funny because he speaks about 10 different languages. Love the fact that you can jump out of a pool though– that’ll get us a cup. Buchnevich- keep playing this way and you’ll find yourself glued to the bench. AV doesn’t like any young player who plays well, so take a shift off every now and then and you should be fine. The list goes on and on. I’m getting a little tired that Zuccarello has to be the guy wearing the big boy pants on this team filled with guys who are about a foot taller. Someone sack up and actually do something? Thanks.
This brings me to my last subject.
You done did it AV. I finally hate someone more than I hate Marc Staal. I feel like you actually have to try to be this bad at your job. I would think, as a coach, the number one thing you have to do is put out the players that will help you win games. Along with this duty, you put these players with other players to allow them to excel and grow. Someone tell me one thing AV has done in these 4 games that justify him being an NHL coach. Other than Kreider-Zib-Buch, what has he done coaching wise to make the Rangers a better team? The Rangers finally have pieces to a puzzle in which they can put out a fun, young, exciting NHL team and what does AV do with it? He pulls down his pants and takes a giant shit on all of my hopes and dreams.
Again, we’re only 4 games into the season and I’m a million percent being over dramatic. Why? Because I care. I take time out of my day to watch my favorite team in all of sports embarrass themselves night in and night out (times 4 times). Also, I have the worst luck of all time so if there’s any sort of pattern, once I hit submit on this blog the Rangers will win the remaining 78 games, go 16-0 and lift the cup. You’re all welcome.