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Thursday, February 11, 2010

N-Y-R O-U-T - So Who's Back In?

Would you buy a used defenseman from this man?

If you check the standings on the OGA home page, you'll see that the New York Rangers have suddenly turned a blood red. This indicates the sad fact that, as of Game 60, the Rangers are now at Tee Time - called OUT of the playoffs by OGA. This is an oddity, and (sadly) I'm not talking about the Rangers' elimination from playoff contention. What is odd about this situation is that New York is the eighth Tee Time call in the Eastern Conference. I'll give you a minute to do the math...

That's right, boys and girls: The OGA Boys have now called one too many teams OUT in the East. What that means is that we're acknowledging (in advance) the fact that one of our eight Tee Time calls will be a Shot Off The Post come April...but we're confident that it won't be my beloved Blueshirts. If not New York, then who could it be - Montreal? Tampa Bay? Atlanta? Florida? Time will tell. While we wait for the East to sort itself out, feel free to peruse the Rangers' 2009-10 Season Eulogy below:

The 2009-10 New York Rangers were truly blessed: While many teams struggle to develop an identity, the Rangers had two...and you never knew which one would step onto the ice each night. Would it be the team that won seven straight games after dropping their season opener, or would it be the team that lost five straight in early December? Would they score fourteen goals in two games, or one goal in three games? Oh, the mystery! Oh, the excitement!

In the end, Tex Rickard's Boys were undone by the same fatal flaw that ended their Stanley Cup dreams in the Conference Quarterfinals last season: A lack of consistent scoring. After last seasons' struggles, GM Glen Sather made several bold moves to bolster the Rangers' scoring, signing free agent sniper Marian Gaborik, 20+ goal men Vinny Prospal and Ales Kotalik, and trading for 20+ man Chris Higgins. While Gaborik has actually exceeded expectations, Higgins was horribly snakebit and Kotalik quickly found himself in Coach Tortorella's doghouse, and both are now gone. Prospal has been good, if a bit inconsistent, but is on pace for just 17 goals. In short, despite Gaborik's efforts, New York is averaging just 2.52 Goals/Game. Last season, they averaged 2.44.

Back in early December, I called the Rangers a "One-Trick Pony." Since then, they've done little to prove me wrong. In fact, the only thing the Blueshirts have proven is their unworthiness as a playoff contender. Look for more changes this summer, assuming Glen Sather is given yet another chance to find the right pieces for the agonizing puzzle that is the New York Rangers.

Take me back to On Goal Analysis.

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