The New York Rangers returned home Monday evening, a team clearly at the crossroads of their thus far underachieving season. Following back to back shutout losses, a controversial tweet that set the organization into spin mode, and with the trade deadline just days away, General Manager Glen Sather has to decide quickly what is needed to repair this fragile hockey club, or if 2013 is already beyond saving.
At the time, last Tuesday night’s 5-2 win in Philadelphia seemed like a cure-all for the goal-starved team. There were smiles in the locker room, talk about regaining confidence and the victory being a springboard for the stretch run. The era of good feeling lasted exactly two days, before they were blanked in Ottawa. They followed that with another obligatory whitewash in Montreal, and once again the Blueshirts are in free fall mode, barely hanging on to the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. As New York limped off the Bell Centre ice, the heat seemed to be turned up significantly on Head Coach John Tortorella, but a social message from a familiar polarizing figure soon became the top story on Broadway.
Sean Avery posted a message on his Twitter page, essentially calling for Ranger brass to fire his long time nemesis because the team has quit playing. The Rangers immediately issued a statement from Captain Ryan Callahan, disputing Avery’s assessment and placing a face of solidarity on the franchise. It was, without a doubt, the quickest and most assertive response from the Rangers this year. With no indication the front office is going to make a coaching change (and how can they now after Avery’s ill advised State of the Union), the only shakeups possible lie within the roster.
With just two days to go before the trade deadline, and with Winnipeg at the Garden tonight and a home and home with the Pittsburgh Penguins looming later in the week, Sather has to figure out if the Rangers are one or two pieces from finding themselves or if dealing prospects and picks to place a band aid over a mortally wounded club is truly worth it. Is there anyone available who could jump start this team? Jaromir Jagr is the most intriguing name, though there has been noise coming from Dallas that the former Ranger captain is quite happy in Big D, and the feeling is mutual. Still, the Stars could be tempted with prospects and a pick, and number 68 would help alleviate the pressure balloon building inside the head of Marian Gaborik. Another way to go would be San Jose’s Ryane Clowe, a tough as nails winger with skill. Think a heavyweight version of Brandon Prust. The Rangers obvious and glaring lack of toughness would be addressed, though the lack of scoring would still be an issue. Decisions, decisions.
The clock is ticking on Sather and his team. Does he make a bold move, tweak the lineup with a role player, or stand pat and hope the passing of the deadline allows his team to take a deep breath. The biggest question may be will the Rangers still be breathing at week’s end.
Filed Under: Rangers
Leave a Reply
You must be logged in to post a comment.