Rangers Suffer 6th Concussion, Can They Tie With Lindros' 7th Concussion
Winless in their last six, losing one in OT, is not what the Rangers are supposed to do. Sather, Low, and the Rangers suffered their “sixth straight concussion” losing to the Philadelphia Flyers Saturday afternoon. It was a fine game, although hearing the fans boo at their former team captain Lindros and seeing Roenick’s cocky personality on the ice was pretty annoying. So what is the big deal? Is the big deal the fact that the Rangers lost 4-2 against the Flyers? Well, only a fool would make that such a big deal since the series is tied one a piece. The big deal here is the 6th straight loss for the Rangers. Now, the Rangers are third in the Atlantic Division trailing the Islanders by just one point. What is the exact problem though? Defense? Offense? Goaltending!? There are two problems with this team. One problem, surprisingly, is the offense. Dvorak has started to score goals but the key to the offense is the 2nd line. The FLY line is on a slump just like any line on any team would be on a slump (i.e. “A-Line”). In this case, it is time to swap some players. The player who stepped up his game is Manny Malhotra. Manny is starting to hustle more, make body checks, and do good fore-checking with the Swedish players. The problem with the FLY line is that it does get too fancy, especially Fleury. Fleury has the puck, and tries to do too much with it. The FLY line needs to be broken up until their next shift brings their chemistry back. This links to the 2nd line. Nedved faded away in some shifts and Dvorak is not scoring as much as he should be. The best way to go right now is to swap the players. The reason why Dvorak scored 31 goals last season with the Czech Line was the way he played. Dvorak would find himself open or look for the loose rebounds. It was Nedved and Hlavac who played the magical fancy style of game. Nedved needs that fancy skating talent that Hlavac had. Dvorak does not skate fancily; he is extremely fast and would be good on loose rebounds.
Where to swap the players? Well, since Fleury and his fanciness are not working with Lindros and York, he could be moved with Nedved as his left wing. Fleury-Nedved-Dvorak line might work. Fleury could be a good replacement of Hlavac. They both skate with their legs wide and are talented. Would Barnaby be moved up with Lindros and York? No way, I don’t see how any coach would use a 4th, possibly 3rd, line aggressive player on the top two lines. Why not give Malhotra a chance with Lindros? As surprising as this sounds, Dvorak is not the fastest skater on the Rangers (has great acceleration), but Manny Malhotra is. Malhotra should become a power forward and with Lindros, he could. Give the kid a chance to play with the talented players, since he never got a chance. Malhotra-Lindros-York line would not look so bad judging how each player plays. If Malhotra does not work, the Lindros line still needs a powerful LW, and the only way to find a good power forward on the Lindros line would be to make a trade. Do I hear Shane Doan’s name as a possibility? Hopefully.
So what if that doesn’t work? The 2nd line is still the main problem. How about playing Malhotra-Nedved-Fleury? Yes, Malhotra again. This kid is not a bust yet because not once did he play on a top line, not even a full period. I won’t say Malhotra is a bust until he plays full two periods with a top line, including a practice before the game with that top line. If that doesn’t work then my best guess would be for the Rangers to land Selanne. Dvorak-Nedved-Selanne would be great for both Dvorak and Nedved. Every time I saw Selanne on ESPN he looked good when the puck was on his stick, I don’t see how he is not scoring. Selanne is just not fitting in with the Sharks just as Hlavac didn’t fit with the Flyers. Who to trade for Selanne? Well, Selanne cannot be worth much when looking at the facts. He is a UFA, he has a high salary (9$ million), and his numbers are below average for a pure scorer like Selanne. Who would the Sharks want? The Sharks expressed their interest twice in McCarthy last season, and this season a source mentioned the Sharks being interested in McCarthy. Would McCarthy fit well with the Sharks? Absolutely, but he is not worth Selanne. The funny thing is that Sather is not willing to part with McCarthy, unless it is a desperate move. The only time Sather would trade McCarthy would on the trading deadline. I personally think McCarthy needs to go. He has shown his toughness, but if the team wants nastiness and physical play, I would rather see Purinton playing on McCarthy’s spot. Do not forget, Purinton played as a right-winger for many years. McCarthy has no offensive abilities and in this case it is worthwhile trading him. McCarthy and ______ for Selanne. Dvorak is out of the question because he is not worth a UFA. Kloucek? He is a possible chance but no way on earth is he worth a UFA. Ulanov? Ulanov is not even worth a 10th round pick, but maybe the Sharks would give it a shot. Here is a wild one for you, Fleury for Selanne. Both UFA’s but the problem is that Fleury might react negatively to the trade, in his personal life, however, he would be playing on a western team with a gritty fast paced style hockey, talking to old teammate Adam Graves. What about the Lindros line? Who will substitute Fleury? Lindros needs a power forward, not an enforcer. Again, take a shot with Malhotra or even Messier. If Low is crazy enough to try a McCarthy-Lindros-McKenna line (never understood why he played that line after their 2nd shift), then he could be crazy enough to throw in a rough yet great hand passer Messier. Messier still remains the bully on the ice as no one dares to start up anything with him, and Messier still has a great passer’s touch, but lost his scoring touch.
Second problem is plain simple. Special Teams are useless for this team. Rangers always allow a PP goal or more against them in games and that kills them. The even strength defense is not as terrible as last season, and I would say that almost half of the GA on the Rangers are PP goals. Their own PP doesn’t work either, but I like the new unit with McKenna in front of the goalie. Lindros has such a rocket that it would be very useful on the point to cause loose rebounds. Selanne would be a huge help on that PP unit now wouldn’t he?
This is how I look at the Rangers major problems and reasons why they suffered their “sixth straight concussion”. Do not expect any teams to make an important trade until the All-Star game. The Rangers cannot afford to play around with their affiliate team the Hartford Wolfpack. After watching the Devils lose Pierre Dagenais on waivers, I would not want to see the Rangers stupidly lose any players from waiver pick-ups.
*POST GAME ON RANGERS v FLYERS*
Series now tied 1-1 and both games finished 4-2. It was fair, and the referees did a decent job. It was funny to watch Roenick score the goal that tied it 1-1, it looked like he scored his 1,000th point. It was pathetic to watch Roenick punch Dvorak for no good reason without wearing a glove. It was great to see Berard be a part of the game by pinning Roenick down after punching Dvorak. Roenick was lucky that Purinton was not on the ice. I like Roenick when showing his talents and great goals, but all I can say is that he has an “L” on his forehead for “Loser”. It was great watching Johnsson score a beautiful goal with the help of a Flyer player (forgot who) interfering Karpa and getting him off balance, but the goal was a beauty. Both teams played a great game, but if the Rangers had generated their usual offense I would say they could have come out with a win. The linesman needed a better whistle than that, but I heard it and I was confused when I saw the puck still in play as I saw Richter relax and all the sudden get back in “focus mode”, however it does not matter because the Flyers were still off-sides. I don’t think the “coming back to Philly” was the reason why Lindros did not play as well. I think the fact that it was his 3rd game since his concussion and also being careful with hitting opponents. It was pretty pathetic to hear so many fans booing at Lindros. The Lindros saga was both Clarke’s and Lindros’ fault, except Lindros turned the Flyers into an amazing team in the past 5 years before he was dealt. So instead of hearing fans whine about him with their boos, I would rather hear them being quiet about it and accept the fact that Lindros made their team a lot better and all those points he held as a Flyer. Great game though.