I am not quite sure what to think of the New York Rangers anymore.
At the start of the season I thought this team was going to be awful. Sure, they were competitive in a lot of games, but in the end, they always found a way to lose.
The team then went on a 9-1-1 run and my thoughts begin to change. Sure, I knew the team was still in retooling mode, but that did not mean that they could not go ahead and surprise everyone by making the playoffs.
After that 9-1-1 run, they came crashing down. They had a terrible December and struggled out of the gate in the new year, once again changing my thoughts on the team back to my original one, which was that they were going to be horrible this year and would focus on preparing for the future.
Just when I thought it could not get any more confusing, the team went out and won three straight games heading into the All-Star break. Yes, two of the three teams they beat are currently not in a playoff spot (Carolina Hurricanes and Chicago Blackhawks), but the third team they beat is one that is highly regarded and one that is supposed to be a Cup contender.
That’s right, folks. On Saturday night, January 19, the Blueshirts went out and beat the Bruins by a score of 3-2 in perhaps one of their best games of the season. The club got timely goal scoring, played sound defensively, and got excellent goaltending from Henrik Lundqvist, who is now sixth all-time in wins.
After the win, the Rangers are now 21-20-7, which gives them a winning record. Sure, it’s not by much, but nevertheless, this team is over .500, and with the victory currently sit nine points behind the second wild card spot that is currently being held by the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Nine points may sound like a lot, but in today’s NHL, it’s not unrealistic that the team could find themselves in one of those spots sooner rather than later. There is now so much parity in the league that anything can happen from here on out.
So, what exactly are the Rangers doing? Were the teams that they play the week of January 14 thinking about the All-Star break? Did the Rangers do everything they needed to do to win consistently? Does the team really think it can make the postseason?
These are questions that not only do the fans not know the answer to, but also the organization as a whole. Remember, this is a team that is thinking about selling at the deadline, which would be for the betterment of the franchise moving forward, but what if come the deadline, they are in or extremely close to having a wild card spot?
In my opinion, I think the Rangers should really focus on the future. This is a team that needs to get with the times by continuing to get younger, faster, and continue to forge an identity that is going to push this team into a new era.
With that said, it’s obviously not up to me. Rangers’ management needs to think about what is best for this franchise and right now, I am not entirely sure that they know what that is.
This is one confusing time, eh?
Photo: The Associated Press