Remember the trade deadline? Rick Nash rumors swirled around the Rangers, and there were two very divided camps. One side didn’t want the Rangers to give up anything for him, and the other was willing to give up the farm. Then there were a few people in between, like me, who were O.K. with it matter who was going the other way.
In the end, the rumored deal that the Blue Jackets required was just too much and it was a good thing the Rangers didn’t make the deal at that time. It would have cut out too much of the current team.
So many fans seemed hung up on trading Brandon Dubinsky, but the real problem with the deal with Chris Kreider. Would you really want to be without Kreider now? Kreider has more playoff goals than Nash in just a handful of games, two of them game winners.
There’s lots of ifs that led to Kreider being in the place he is now. If they get Nash, he’s not here. If Carl Hagelin doesn’t get suspended, he doesn’t play. If Brian Boyle doesn’t get hurt, he doesn’t stay in the line-up. And while those things seem like major points against the Rangers, they turned into a major positive too.
I have friends who were whining during the Senators series how they wish Nash was a Ranger, before Kreider made his debut. I wonder how they feel now.
* * *
It feels like when there is any sort of debate between fans about the Rangers, it’s always black and white. There is no in between. You’re either for or against. You’re either team negative or team positive. You’re either a basher or an apologist.
Marian Gaborik’s play seems to be the latest iteration of that, especially since my piece asking if he is a choker last week. Some said I was calling him a choker when I never actually said that. I was just raising the question.
Since then there are the people who are making excuses for him. The Senators defense was all over him and he couldn’t do anything (something I don’t disagree with to some degree, by the way). He’s still doing things like blocking shots and defense (the man is paid to score goals, folks). He’s playing injured (where’s the proof on this one?). These people find no fault in anything Gaborik is doing.
And then there is the other side with people calling him lazy and worthless. Some even say he’s not even trying, which annoys me to no end. How is he not trying? Don’t you think John Tortorella of all people would bench him if that were true? And these are the people who somewhat blame Gaborik for losing Game 2.
The reality of the situation is somewhere between. It’s a shade of gray rather than black or white.
I thought Gaborik played better against the Capitals in Game 2. He showed what he is capable of offensively on the assist on the Brad Richards goal. He is still doing things to concern me, especially since he only has one goal in nine games thus far, but I’m hoping (and even expecting) a strong offensive game is coming from Gaborik. It just feels like some of his issues are more mental at this point than anything else.
* * *
I have harped on faceoffs being important for years. It’s actually one of the things I used to defend Chris Drury’s play (not his contract) when people would attack. If you win a faceoff, you have the puck. If you have the puck, you can score (and, more importantly, prevent the other team from scoring).
The Capitals proved just that last night on the game winner for Alex Ovechkin. Washington won the faceoff, and it led almost immediately to the goal.
The Rangers were awful on faceoffs during the Senators series, but they’ve improved slightly this series. They won as many faceoffs as they lost. But last night’s game winner proves the Rangers need to continue to improve on the faceoff.
Filed Under: Rangers
Leave a Reply
You must be logged in to post a comment.