BOSTON – After a while it just seems like piling on when talking about one more Ranger loss in the playoffs. Especially this post season.
In the post game press conference, Rangers head coach John Tortorella said, “There was never a lack of effort.”
That assessment is difficult to comprehend in light of a 4-1 series loss to the Bruins. On paper, there is little difference in the talent levels. Indeed, the Rangers were a “trendy” pick in the preseason to go to the Final. But in reality and on the ice, this Rangers team was an imposter in a New York sweater. The last few minutes of game five saw the Rangers playing stick-n-puck in their own zone looking for a way up the ice to attack. There was no sense of urgency as the clock ticked away the seconds in their season.
‘No lack of effort’? The Rangers avoided the embarrassment of being swept away from the second round with a quality OT win on home ice in game four. But they fell right back to what many expected of them of late, poor passing critical defensive breakdowns leading to goals, and a skating style reminiscent of running on the Jersey shore in mukluks.
No speed, no life, no urgency, no commitment, and no desire. Tortorella can see it as he wants and he is far more critical than this writer but as with Vancouver in the West, the Rangers need to blown up and rebuilt. Start with heart and desire and commitment and maybe there will be a chance of winning.
“The last two games, we gave ourselves a chance to win,” Henrik Lundqvist said on NHL.com. “But it took us a couple of games to get there.
“I expected more from us,” he said. “Last year, a lot of things went our way. This was a different season. We have to learn from this.”
Many expected more of this team prior to the season’s start. At the very least a complete 60-minute effort was expected, demanded, in this match.
“There’s no worse feeling than this,” Rangers captain Ryan Callahan said on NHL.com. “We had a good team this year. It’s frustrating.”
Frustrating indeed. Dan Girardi got New York on the board in the first with a one-timer on the power play that blew past Tuukka Rask. But that was it. Nothing even close for the remainder of a must-win game.
Gregory Campbell iced the win for Boston with an empty-netter on a delayed hooking penalty. His score made the final 3-1. But his thoughts were on the next round.
“We learned that two years ago, that depth comes into play,” Campbell said. “The further you go, the better the teams are and the higher the level [of play] is and the more you have to rely on everybody.
“Going forward, playing Pittsburgh, they’re a heck of a team. They’re four lines deep too, and they use everybody. We have a lot of respect for them, and we’ll use everybody as well.”
The real message here was between the lines and the unmentioned impressions of the New York Rangers.