Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes!
Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey!
Some true Rangers fans probably stopped reading after the “Yes” part and I completely understand.
As the Rangers watch the remainder of the playoffs from a golf course on Pebble Beach or Sweden or wherever the hell they are, it must be painful to watch their arch nemesis have great success thus far. Yes, it’s the first time the Islanders have won a playoff series since 1993, and yes I’m also aware the Rangers won the Stanley Cup the year after that, but I wouldn’t get your hopes up for a Rangers run in 2016-2017.
I’m sure many fans, players, and coaches are wondering what the Islanders have that the Rangers don’t. The answer is John Tavares. Not specifically JT, but a player who can carry a team through a series. A player who can put the team on his back, play big minutes, and make clutch plays. Through seven games in the playoffs this year, Tavares has 6 goals and 5 assists, with a double-overtime game winning, series-clinching goal in game six. Now that’s what I call clutch.
The Rangers lack a player who can take complete control of a game (of course excluding Hank standing on his head almost every game). There isn’t a forward on the current roster that I would confidently say “I want the puck on his stick”. That is a major problem. Every playoff team has that guy. The Blues have Tarasenko, the Hawks have Kane, Tampa had Stamkos, the Pens have Crosby, the Caps have Ovi, the Sharks have Pavelski, the Stars have Benn. The Rangers have who? Nash? Stepan? Zucc? Brassard? You get the point.
The current roster would suggest Nash could be that guy for the Rangers. However on a team struggling to find its offensive touch, this wasn’t the case. The rest of the top 6 have proven to think pass-first, which isn’t the mentality of any of the men listed above. Aside from chants of “Zuuuuucccc” at the Garden, the second most common thing heard is “Shoot” or “Shoot the f-ing puck”.
The bottom line is we don’t have a single big game player on our roster. Yes we have experience in the playoffs, but experience isn’t everything. Confidence to shoot the puck, and knowing you can score goals is of utmost importance, and the Rangers lacked this all year. This problem can’t be fixed over night but here’s to hoping that Buchnevich can become our next big game goal scorer.
Also, today the NYR can officially sign Buchnevich, let’s hope everything works out!