Falling To Pieces

The Rangers’ woes at the Bell Centre continued Saturday night, as Carey Price and the Montreal Canadiens shut them out 3-0. All the Habs needed was Michael Ryder’s goal 47 seconds into the first period.

The loss extends their winless streak in Montreal to four straight seasons, but the immediate crisis is far greater as it was yet another opportunity to keep the Devils and seventh place in 2-point reach as well as push themselves 2 points up on the Islanders. Instead, they remain owning a tentative hold on the eighth spot. If the site sportsclubstats.com is to be believed, the Blueshirts’ chances of making the playoffs is at 42.4%.

Not long after the final buzzer, a polarizing figure whom we all know has a bit of a grudge against John Tortorella, came out with this on Twitter:

Already upset with the night’s results, the former Rangers’ remarks set the fanbase in the Twitterverse buzzing. Some were in total agreement with him, others just took it as Avery being his agitating self, kicking a guy with whom he didn’t have the sunniest relationship with while he’s down. And not surprisingly, Avery, always the self-promoter, followed up this tweet with one linking to a New York Times article from December about his post-hockey life.

Looking at the tweet again this morning, I’m wondering how much of it is Avery being Avery, just spouting off, or how much of it is based in reality? After all, he and Henrik Lundqvist are business partners in a TriBeCa restaurant. Could he be getting the true pulse of the room that no one will reveal publicly?

If Tortorella has in fact lost the key cogs of the team, then his fate is sealed and it becomes not a matter of if, but when he gets the boot. But the problems go far deeper than coaching, and firing him right now will not suddenly make things better. It starts at the top and goes down to the ice. Glen Sather signed players like Arron Asham, Taylor Pyatt and the since-departed Jeff Halpern to plug holes left by the departures of guys like Ruslan Fedotenko, Brandon Prust and John Mitchell. They’ve come nowhere close to replicating what those guys provided offensively and defensively last year, a major miscalculation on management’s part.

Losing the guys they did might explain things like the penalty kill woes and the lack of depth that’s led to an inability to consistently roll four lines. It doesn’t explain away the the struggles of the players expected to power the offense. Lundqvist has a 2.19 goals against average – better than that of Price, Marc-Andre Fleury, Tomas Vokoun, Viktor Fasth and James Reimer, just to name a few goaltenders of teams with better records than the Rangers.  Difference is, their teams are fifth, first, sixth and fourth, respectively in goals per game average. Lundqvist hasn’t been his Vezina self, but what he and Martin Biron have given them would be adequate if they weren’t dead last in the goals department.

The Rangers have one more game before the trade deadline, Monday night against the Winnipeg Jets, who are looking to sweep the season series as the Ottawa Senators and Canadiens did last week. No matter what they may or may not do by 3pm Wednesday, it would be nice to see some passion, pride and intensity during the last month of the season even if they no longer want to do that for their coach.

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About the Author: Likes: Hockey, the New York Rangers, King Henrik, singing the Rangers goal song, "The Save", the sound skates make against ice, heckling Marty Brodeur. Dislikes: 3-point games, front-office mismanagement, Denis Potvin, overpriced arena beer. Interested? Follow me on Twitter: @CC_927

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