6:34PM: Darren Dreger said on TSN Drive, “this Rangers team has not played well at all on home ice. It’s a frustrated organization and one that is directionally challenged I would say. Goaltending hasn’t been great given the monstrous contract that Henrik Lundqvist just signed. When I say directionally challenged, management is still trying to figure out, not whether they want to blow it up or embrace significant change change things up front, play a more aggressive grinding game that Alain Vigneault likes to play but maybe doesn’t have the bodies to do that. I am not predicting that their will be wholesale changes in the new year but I know that there is an appetite for a high level of change.”
5:04PM: Bob McKenzie said on TSN Drive, “I thought they might be spinning their wheels a bit but I didn’t know it would be to the extent that it would be. Henrik Lundqvist would continue to stand on his head, they would have a tough time scoring goals, they have to stay healthy and they haven’t. I didn’t anticipate that Lundqvist would be this shaky and inconsistent, not starting back to backs on a couple of occasions. That could be a factor and has taken me back a bit. It could be problematic in the bigger picture for them if he doesn’t get his game back.”
On making moves, “They are capped out and have huge financial concerns next year. They gotta sign Girardi, Brassard and Ryan Callahan is unrestricted. Their captain and one of their top three D need new contracts and if they both ask for absolute market value they can’t keep both. They have money tied up, the money will go up but not as fast as the Rangers would like it.”
On Brad Richards, “gotta buy him out. I think so. Unless he comes back and plays like a legit number one center and you have reason to think he will continue down that road. Flashes of being pretty good won’t be good enough. I think they will have no choice but to use the compliance buyout and free up some cap space.”
3:34PM: Pierre McGuire was on TSN 1050 in Toronto this morning in his regular time slot and spoke about the the Rangers as they face the Maple Leafs tonight.
Pierre said that the Rangers had a “bad first period and then they woke up. Matt Cooke put a huge hit on Mats Zuccarello and that got the Rangers going. That was the tail end of the first period and that is when the Rangers started to go offensively. Even Alain Vigneault said after the game that it was probably the best that they played all year in terms of a four-line attack and a 6 D attack. They won 4-1 but the thing for the Rangers is that when they have a four line game going they can keep everyone fresh and they attack and put pressure on the defense and they did that to Minnesota last night.”
Pierre added, “one of the reasons why the Rangers season has been disjointed is that it’s been inconsistent play from some of their better players. Whether it’s Rick Nash, some is due to injury and some is due to performance, Derek Stepan, some of which is what I think is injury that isn’t being reported and some of it is do inconsistency just from how he is playing. Brad Richards who is in tremendous conditioning, the best he is ever been in but for some reason there is a disconnect from one nigh to the next. those are the key players that need to play better. If those guys play well then the Rangers are a real tough team to play against.”