Sunday, December 16, 2007

Zero heart, effort, determination and passion

"Tonight we play with honor, passion. Tonight we play with heart, effort and
determination. Tonight we play for New York."

So says Ranger coach Tom Renney in each annoying pregame around the three minute mark of the superhyped Blueshirt highlight package. Apparently, his pathetic team forgot what those words mean because there was no heart, effort or determination in tonight's humiliating 5-1 home defeat before a predictably dead and sparse MSG crowd (thanks NHL schedule makers).

How weak was it? Well, by the time former Ranger Wayne Gretzky's much harder working Coyotes showed New York how it's supposed to be done with textbook passing for recall Joel Perreault's second of the night, it was Phoenix by five with fans including yours truly headed for the exits.

Hey. If they don't want to put out the effort, why should we? This team has been dogging it for a while. I wonder if those same idiot fans I argued with about our great fearless captain still feel the same way about him and this team. Might want to drink up.

Let's be honest. The mantra of Renney isn't being done anymore. The majority of our players are just showing up to cash a paycheck and have stopped working. Instead, it's the Rangers' opponents who come to the ice ready to put in solid shift after solid shift. And what's most troubling is that our coach who I admire doesn't hold anyone accountable.

Want proof people? Here it is:

J. Jagr


M. Malik

M. Straka


M. Rozsival


By not making some of the star players accountable for another game where an opponent dominated scoring more than three, something which wasn't common a couple of weeks prior, Renney also must take some criticism here. He is good at identifying the problems during the postgame press conferences. However, it's time for him to make an example out of a star, especially if they aren't doing what's expected every shift.

I know it would never happen because the coach doesn't want to ruin his relationships with the players, especially the moody Jagr.

But here's something which begs a question:

Jagr- 7 goals
Fredrik Sjostrom- 8 goals

Want me to start naming more players who have scored better than No.68?

Radim Vrbata- 12 goals
Todd White- 8 goals
Chuck Kobasew- 12 goals
Ales Kotalik- 9 goals
Matt Cullen- 8 goals
Patrick Sharp- 14 goals (5 SHG)
Nikolai Zherdev- 12 goals
Marek Svatos- 10 goals
Niklas Hagman- 11 goals
Daniel Cleary- 10 goals
David Booth- 8 goals
Dustin Brown- 14 goals
Radek Bonk- 10 goals
Jay Pandolfo- 8 goals (one more despite missing the last 8 games)
John Madden- 10 goals
Josef Vasicek- 10 goals
Joffrey Lupul- 12 goals
Ryan Malone- 9 goals
Steve Bernier- 8 goals
Brad Boyes- 18 goals
Matt Stajan- 8 goals
Ryan Kesler- 8 goals
Mike Green- 8 goals

There are a few good players on the list but do any have the physical skills that Jagr possesses?

You know the answer to it.

Until he starts performing, the Rangers will continue to struggle. Scott Gomez (6-19-25) is doing his part as is Brendan Shanahan (11-12-23). When does the same hold true for Jagr (7-15-22), one of the most talented stars in the game? He was without a point again today making it no goals and only one assist with a minus-seven rating in his last half dozen contests.

One word comes to mind (Jagr homers cringe). Pathetic!

And to the fans who mocked poor backup Steven Valiquette in his first home start. You should boo yourselves. Sure. He wasn't sharp. But this was a total team effort. The kind this team has deserved for a while.

Maybe this is rock bottom and the light switch finally is flipped. We'll have to wait and see.

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