Team: New York Rangers
Coming off of two straight conference final appearances and a Stanley Cup Final appearance in 2014, the Rangers were expected to do something. But they quickly fell to a 3-1 series deficit to the Penguins, and with a 2-2 tie in a crucial Game 5, they rallied to.......yeah, nah. This is what happened:
For those keeping track, this is how they handled a second period tied 2-2.
It says they lost in 5 games, but I have trouble believing that. I really don't have any recollection of the Rangers winning a playoff game last year. The Penguins must've gotten stuck in traffic or something.
The saddest part was that this is what reasonably could be considered the Rangers' "window of contention," and that closed with the fartest of noises.
Your Head Coach
Alain Vigneault; because nothing screams "track record of success" like the guy who coached a stacked team to one win away from a Cup, only to be outscored 9-2 in Games 6 and 7. To date, Vigneault has led his teams to three President's Trophies, made it to two Stanley Cup Finals.....and has a 4-8 record in Stanley Cup Final games. I don't even think we can count the Rangers 2014 run to his resume. They had no chance of winning that; the Rangers were the patsy the East put in to get crushed by the Western Conference. They were basically the Walter Mondale of the Stanley Cup Final.
Also, it is scientifically proven his favourite player in the NHL is Tanner Glass, so....have fun with that, guys.
Your Starting Goalie
By the way, Henrik Lundqvist had an .867 SV% in the playoffs last year. With the series on the line, he allowed 10 goals in 41 shots in his final two games. He got outplayed in net by a team using its third-string goalie and that prepubescent pimply-faced kid from The Simpsons.
Hard to blame him though; he's no spring chicken. Plus, the Rangers defense is basically Ryan McDonagh and five Hefty bags full of lawn clippings. He's in a bad position now. I wouldn't blame him for just calling it quits now and spending his days jamming out with John McEnroe.
New Things That Suck
Jimmy Vesey signed here, which is all the proof we need that millennials have killed free agency. Vesey, a glorified third-liner who had good numbers for a third-rate college team, decided his best play was to sign with a team just good enough to give him minimal ice time, yet just bad enough that he will never get to experience a shred of long-term success. I thought only smart people went to Harvard.
The team had a quiet and uneventful free agency. They made some little moves (literally, in Nathan Gerbe's case), and traded for Mika Zibanejad. Their biggest-name signing was a guy who last scored a goal off of his own butt. One would usually applaud the Rangers for not doing anything monumentally stupid as they usually do, but it's not like they can really afford it. They're still paying Brad Richards- who hasn't played for the team since 2014 and retired this summer- for another ten years. They just signed Derek Stepan- who has never cracked 60 points- to a long-term, $6.5MM per season deal. He'll make $8MM this season, or roughly $500,000 per goal.
Despite having a prospect cupboard as bare as a college student's refrigerator, they didn't really draft anyone this summer, seeing as they traded picks to rent Eric Staal, for some reason. He decided he'd rather play in Minnesota this year, which tells you a lot about the Rangers.
Things That Still Suck
Ahh, the beautiful New York skyline… pic.twitter.com/apErEzX7uF— NFL Insider Dinger (@atf13atf) April 23, 2016
For those keeping track, the Rangers are right up against the cap and have only an aging star goaltender and a reasonably decent 1D (who is the 5th highest-paid player on the team) to show for it. Their highest-paid forward is a 32-year old nobody wants that still has Columbus stink all over him. Their highest-paid defensemen handle the puck about as well as a drunk handles a greased-up baby. As a high payroll team, they spend, spend, spend on an overrated product that falls apart constantly. They're the Trump Hotel of hockey teams.
People like to hype this team up because it's the original New York team, much like the Yankees or Giants. The difference is that those teams have actually won something recently. The Rangers only major success came in 1994, led by a coach that decided he'd rather be in St. Louis of all places than spend another day coaching them. They're easily the worst of the three teams in the New York metro area; they lack the history of recent success of the Devils, or the future promise of the Islanders. They traded away every pick or prospect they could for rental players that are no longer here. They're now just first round cannon fodder until Henrik Lundqvist retires with chronic spinal pain from carrying this team on his back.
Why You Might Not Suck
Smoothie Boy. Also, the Metro may send five playoff teams again, and the Rangers are easily better than three (and only three) teams in their division.