This was the single biggest game of the season for the New York Rangers, and perhaps their biggest regular season game in the last decade. They needed this win to entertain any thought about reaching the post-season. How did they perform? Well, just look in the dictionary and a pick a word completely opposite of how they were supposed to play today.
Listless. Lethargic. Un-energetic. Careless. They come to mind.
The Rangers showed their fans today that they simply don’t care; that there is no urgency at all with the season winding down and the gap between them and the eighth place Bruins growing wider. The Rangers needed their last game versus the St. Louis Blues, but this one was ten times more important. If they won today, the edge would only be one point for Boston. It is now five.
From the opening faceoff, the Rangers played like all they had to do to win the game was tie their skate laces. The first period was uneventful, if not completely boring. The Bruins would strike first near the end of the second period when Miroslav Satan netted his fifth of the season.
But the Bruins would seal the deal midway through the third on a Dennis Wideman goal. As always, the Rangers waited until there was too little time to make a difference, when Michael Del Zotto scored his eighth, with just about four minutes to go, with assists from Avery and Girardi.
The Rangers should be absolutely ashamed of themselves, as well as the coaching staff. Tortorella continues to not take the blame for any of this. Say what you want about Glen Sather, but this roster is not so terrible that the Rangers should be playing this bad. The players aren’t playing as if they’re flat-out done, they’re playing as if they don’t care. When a team has uninspired players, it is on the shoulders of the coaching staff.
Watching John Tortorella at a press conference is like watching Hermann Goring at the Nuremberg Trials. He knows he’s beat, knows he’s done wrong, but won’t take the blame. In fact, they mirror each other in their testimony, and shift blame to anybody but themselves.
I would fire Tortorella and Sullivan right now, replace him with Schoenfeld and have Graves sit in as the assistant coach for the rest of the season. Then the Rangers can call up the kids, sit Redden and Rozsival, and give Auld the majority of playing time.
This season is over, folks. There isn’t any doubt left.