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A Letdown

You have to worry about the Rangers. Even though the team is only a few games removed from a five-game winning streak and they still hold the division lead, it's not a bad idea to turn on the panic siren.

We hear about the flu striking the team, and sure, Kevin Weekes should not be starting for this team. Nevertheless, the Rangers have allowed a whopping 17 goals in their last three games while only scoring 6. Those numbers are made less stark by the 4-3 defeat last night at the hands of the Icelanders.

The problem with the Rangers is on some level due to a lack of depth. Young players with scoring ability, like Petr Prucha and Jarkko Immonen, are being buried on the third and fourth lines with incompetent goons like Ryan Hollweg and Colton Orr.

The Rangers team is made up of many players without a lot of scoring output. Jason Ward, who shifted for a bit with Jagr last night, has two goals and five assists on the season. Marcel Hossa has one goal and two assists. Those two combined have missed three games. Ryan Hollweg and Colton Orr, goons both, have played a bunch this season. Orr has skated in 23 games, while Hollweg has played in all 35 games this season. The two have combined for 0 points. Not one goal, not one assist. Combined they have taken 108 penalty minutes as well.

The shame in dressing these goons is that the Rangers are forced to rely on only their top two or three lines for scoring. Matt Cullen is disappointing (and now injured), and it's hard to see Immonen, as talented as he may be, stepping up to fill the void Cullen left.

If anything can tell you what's wrong with this season, it might be the following stat: penalty killer/solid faceoff man Blair Betts has notched 60 shots on goal and four of them have gone in. Lethal shooter Prucha has rarely been set up, only firing 49. Six of them have gone in.

The defensive corps is devoid of much offensive talent aside from Tyutin and Rozsival, as Marek Malik serves mostly as a physical presence. Karel Rachunek isn't all that special.

And here we stand- no Cullen or Nylander in sight, for now, and former Islander Brad Isbister and Thomas Pock are up from the minors.

PREDICTION: Rangers 3, Panthers 5
  • Weekes, starting in place of the flued-out Lundqvist, gets shelled again. Malik should be out of the lineup again, accompanying Hank, Nylander and Cullen in the press box. (source: The Blueshirts Blog)

    Merry Hanukkah, Happy Christmas, the whole thing. See you back here if there's any resolution of anything related to Zito, the Rangers, the Knicks, or the Jets.

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