Ranger Fans Hold Off On The Gloom And Doom – Bruce’s Thought Of The Day
Hey, did you hear? The Rangers are terrible and they have been disqualified from the NHL playoffs. Not only that but John Tortorella should be fired now and trades should be made to shake this team up. Yes, all that has been gleaned from the first 17 games. That's if you listen to knucklehead Ranger fans.
These are the same fans that think every game is game 7 of the Stanley Cup and should be played as such. Yeah the same fan that when this Ranger team rallies and they will can claim later that patience is the recipe for success and they knew it all along.
No the Rangers aren't playing to the level they played last regular season. So? Tell the LA Kings that every game must be played like the playoffs and that finishing in the bottom of the top 8 isn't good enough. Last year the Rangers rolled through the regular season. The Kings didn't. The Kings won the Cup. the Rangers didn't.
No the Rangers aren't playing great hockey but they aren't playing terrible either. They are competing, playing hard, giving good effort, and coming up short. An OT loss in Ottawa and a shutout defeat in Montreal have the faithful grumbling. STOP Ranger fan. Stop now!
Here is the deal. Not 1 Ranger is playing better or even at the level from last season's regular season and yet the Rangers are 1 point back on Tampa for a playoff spot. I mean not 1 Ranger is exceeding their game and that includes the goaltender Henrik Lundqvist. They aren't blocking as many shots, scoring as many goals, and finishing as many checks. And this is the reason I am very optimistic where the Rangers find themselves today.
Anyone who follows this sport knows this team has way too much talent and a driven work ethic and will get to the post season. Sure winning virtually every game last season was nice. I like when my teams dominate. But reality being a place I visit often I know that pace is not sustainable. Look at the previous 3 Cup winners.
Last year it was the LA Kings. Right now they are out of the playoffs. Before that the Chicago Blackhawks. They played decent the following regular season. Before that the Boston Bruins. Same for them.
Here is my "worry mark". Game 30. That constitutes the stretch drive in this shortened season.. That will leave 36 points up for grabs. I like the Rangers chances down the stretch as long as they continue to compete and not allow a large gap to open between them and the final 2-3 playoff spots. Let me repeat again NOBODY on this team is playing at a higher level then last season. Some, namely Chris Kreider and Brad Richards are way off their game. I believe both will find their stride. The defense has been ok but not great. The Kings goals against is 2.28, higher then the 1.98 of last year.
So I am calling my shot. Around game 30 this team will start to hit it's stride and peak when the time is needed. Not saying it is good to play calender hockey but that is what is going to happen. There is far too much talent and will on this team to fall flat on their face. The power play needs some power.
This team will score plenty of goals. Just too much fire power, youth, professionalism, and skill.
Lastly you will not hear me whine about injuries at all, unless the goaltender goes down (perish the thought). Every team has injuries. It's a tough, physical game and the stakes are high every game so the aggression level is really high.
There are many good signs. The line of Carl Hagelin, Derek Stepan, and whomever are clicking. When Richards gets it going and Rick Nash returns the top 2 lines will sizzle.
The Rangers begin a key but not make or break 4 game home stand tonight against Winnipeg. They have the least amount of back to back games in the league with 4. Some teams are playing over their head and will come back a little, namely Montreal and Toronto and New Jersey.
So Ranger fans chill out. I realize I should grumble and whine and complain and worry but I have strong faith in this club and truly believe this team is going to be dynamite. So much so I won't even discuss the downside if I am wrong cause I won't be wrong. Keep the faith Garden creatures. The time is near when this team takes off!!!!