Beautiful American Men.
While I don't want to show my undying allegiance too much, it is time I write an article about my beloved New York Rangers. If you've watched the Rangers at all this year you've probably notice two things. One, they've been inconsistent at best and have lost a lot of winnable games. Two, Rick Nash is really good at hockey and was so worth it.
However, this article won't be about player personnel because I don't believe that is the issue. In my eyes, The Rangers just haven't looked like they're having fun and they haven't shown their personality. You need to be enjoying the game to succeed at it, in fact I can't think of a recent cup winner outside of maybe Detroit that has done so without overwhelming amounts of personality.
To draw a comparison to the current Rangers, they look like the Vancouver Canucks, a team weighed down and almost depressed by expectations. The Canucks window to win a cup is passing or has already passed, and the Rangers must asses this personality deficiency right now. The Rangers need to get back to this, the amount of smiles in this video will any Ranger fan gleeful.
Some blame Torts and his taxing system and personality for the Rangers' slow start and have even accused him of losing the room, I believe his style has lowered team morale, but I don't believe he has lost the room nor do I think he should be fired under any circumstance this year. That being said, currently the Rangers are one of the few teams in the NHL, maybe the only one, with only one assistant coach behind the bench. While Mike Sullivan is a good assistant coach and has helped the Rangers' young defenseman greatly, his voice and personality is very similar to Torts'. The Rangers need a "players coach" to fill a void behind the bench. I believe having a nice guy to compliment Tortorella's and Sullivan's harsher style would relax the room and help the Rangers ignore the expectations and just go and play hockey.
For example, let's look at the greatest American patriots, the 1980 Miracle on Ice team. Herb Brooks ruled with an iron fist to help discipline a group of a young men and turn them into winners. But do you think his players would have maintained that level of obedience if they didn't have nice guy Craig Patrick behind the bench too?
Now I understand this is a shortened season and bringing in someone halfway through the season is a risky move, but I believe I know the right guy. #2, my favorite Ranger of all time, Corpus Christi's own, Brian Leetch. Leetch knows this team, he's won a Norris, he's in the Hockey Hall of Fame, his number hangs in the rafters of MSG, and he was the Conn Smythe winner in '94. Now all of that isn't totally relevant, but I really like him so I just figured I'd include it. However, he does have something extremely unique that would help behind the bench. In 1993-94, he was Mike Keenan's favorite whipping boy. Keenan even once told Leetch directly that Chris Chelios was better than him and he would trade Leetch for Chelios in a second. Leetch knows what it's like to be pushed under a tough coach like Tortorella or Keenan. His presence, experience and knowledge would be an extremely calming presence in the locker room, one I think the Rangers would benefit greatly from.
Sorry in advance for this homer statement, but the Rangers in my eyes are a top three team in the league as far as skill goes, rivaled only by the Blackhawks and the Penguins. But due to the Rangers' age, their cup window is much smaller than that of the Hawks and Pens, so the Rangers need to win now. The Rangers know this and the expectations are killing them. They need a new voice in the room to compliment Torts' style and help bring the Stanley Cup to Broadway. I was born in 1994 and I've been waiting since them to witness a team like this, so they better not blow it. Or else.