Rangers Still In No Man’s Land

If you are a New York Rangers’ fan like myself, you are probably somewhat frustrated with the way this season has gone.

While you probably did not expect this club to make the postseason, you were given false hope back around Thanksgiving. At that point in the season, the team was actually first in the Metropolitan Division and were exceeding expectations by a mile.

Then in December through a good chunk of January, the team played like we all thought they would. They were horrendous in every facet of the game and looked like they were headed towards rock bottom.

Before the All-Star break, however, they put together a little winning streak. They beat two solid teams and showed that they could play with the best of them to surprisingly good results.

This leads us to now. As of this writing, the team is nine points out of the second Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference.

While nine points is certainly a decent amount of points to try and catch up to, it is certainly not insurmountable. Heck, look at what teams like the St. Louis Blues, Chicago Blackhawks the Philadelphia Flyers have done. These teams were close to the bottom of the league and are all now winning hockey games with regularity, especially the Blues and the Blackhawks.

The team even has a winning record at 26-25-8. Twenty of the team’s win have come in regulation so just imagine if they had won those eight games that they lost in overtime.

If that happened, we would be talking about a team that would be in a playoff spot with 34 regulation wins. Heck, they could be at even more wins had they not blown so many leads and lost so many one-goal games.

This is exactly why the Rangers are stuck in the middle. They are certainly not a bad hockey team by any means, but they are clearly not a great one either.

When you put these things together, you have one heck of a confusing hockey team that is tough for fans to get a grip on. Because of this, there are a probably a few questions that come to the team’s fans respective minds:

  • Does this team think they can make the playoffs?
  • Does the team’s management think they can make the postseason
  • Does the team’s management secretly hope that the club starts going downhill so that they can get a high draft pick?

These are all questions that the team’s fans do not have an answer to. These are also all questions that the franchise needs to figure out so that they can put a solid plan in place for the future.

One thing that I know is that the team’s head coach, David Quinn, is not going to let them tank. Under Quinn, this hockey club has been competitive all season long and like I said earlier, had they not let so many points slip away, we’d be talking about a playoff hockey team.

On the other hand, I also know that the team’s management still wants to be in a rebuilding phase. They want to develop their prospects, get younger and faster, and move in a direction of ensuring the team’s success moving forward.

I guess we just have to accept that this team is stuck in the middle.


Photo: Alamy

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