Reenergizing the GardenNovember 10, 2009
These are not your typical Rangers of years past. Besides their recent success over the last few seasons, the Rangers are changing their demeanor as a hockey club.
Coach John Tortorella is a fiery coach; the complete antithesis of former Ranger coach Tom Renney. We all remember during the Washington series Tortorella attempting to hop over into the stands with a stick in his hand going after an obnoxious fan. Yes, this may have been too much, and he was reprimanded for his actions; however, this is exactly the kind of intensity that his players need to bring to the ice every night.
The Rangers over these first 18 games are mean, physical, and constantly pushing the action in turn creating turnovers and scoring opportunities. Dictate the tempo! By doing this, the opposing team will play on their toes and this is exactly what creates opportunities.
Fans don’t get excited for ‘reaction’. Good teams act, and force the opposition to react. As fundamental as it sounds, it is a trait that is overlooked and why teams such as the Red Wings are in the playoff picture year after year. When you play in Detroit, the fans are amped for hockey because they know their team is going to come out and perform, and perform well. You can’t say the same for the Rangers in the place once referred to as ‘Mecca’.
What happened to when opposing teams feared coming into the Garden when players like Anthony Mason for the most part ran sh*t?
One factor that is extremely neglected in many arguments pertaining to why our New York Teams that call Madison Square Garden home are a constant disappointment year in and year out is the fact the Garden is not an intimidating place to play; but rather a place for teams to come and embarrass our beloved teams and showcase themselves on the world’s biggest sporting stage (cough, Lebron, cough) . Why can’t GM’s realize that this is New York, and regardless of what Mayor Giuliani did to clean up the streets of New York, we need to bring back the ‘nasty’ that those competitive teams had that drove fear into their opponents every time they dared to step foot into the garden. Truthfully, I think New York has lost it’s ‘gangsterness’ if you will. The hardest state in the US should have the badest nastiest dudes playing for us. Like Bart Scott, Antonio Pierce and David Lee. Wait, David Lee is the toughest dude on the Knicks.
Thats a problem.
A recent list came out talking about the most hated people in pro sports. Sean Avery was at the top of the list. Granted the list was alphabetical, but it is fair to say that if it wasn’t that he would be in the top 10. Sean Avery is the kind of guy that can even annoy his own teammates (a reason why after his “sloppy seconds” comment got him shipped out of Dallas before he returned from his suspension). But having Avery on the ice represents something. It tells the opposing team that you will be in for night of hard-hitting, taunting, and aggravation whenever he is on the ice. This psychological factor will some nights simply force teams to not play their style of play and stray from whatever their game plan was on that particular night.
So if the Rangers come out and play hard everynight and show heart, the crowd will respond and the Garden can become a factor again. With the additions of Avery and Donald Brashear, there will be a ton of physicality. Brashear guarantees one punch to be thrown during the night and Avery increases those odds even more giving the fans something they can go apeshit over.
In more Rangers team news, x-rays came back positive for RW Brandon Dubinsky indicating that he in fact had suffered a broken hand that will sideline him for 4 to 6 weeks. This is disappointing after a lengthy offseason back and forth with Rangers management about contract negotiations. After a promising start, Dubinsky will not be able to show he is worth the money he demanded.
Over the next few days, it is imperative that the Rangers take advantage of the elongated time off between games because in the following week, the Rangers starting Saturday play five games in seven nights. Albeit these games are against mediocre teams, playing that amount of hockey in a short period of time can cause trouble.
The Rangers next game is Thursday at the Garden versus the Atlanta Thrashers. After a disappointing 3-1 loss to Calgary, the Rangers need to turn it around. The Rangers will be able to do this with aggressive play and with the help of the Ranger faithful.
Free Pick: Under 5 1/2 Flames/Canadians