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How do the Rangers Get Back on Track?

The New York Rangers began their season with two straight wins. First, the Rangers outscored the Winnipeg Jets in their home opener. Then the Blueshirts beat the Senators on the road. Since then, the Rangers have gone 1-4-1, what can the Blueshirts do to get back on track?

Over the last five games the Rangers have gone 0-4-1. The New York club lost two straight blowouts to the New Jersey Devils and Washington Capitals. That was enough disappointment for one week, but then came the Vancouver Canucks.

However, the Rangers came home last Sunday against a beatable Vancouver Canucks team. The Blueshirts had a bad start and gave up three goals in the first period alone.

 The Rangers stormed back in the second and third periods with goals from Jesper Fast and Artemi Panarin. However, the Rangers only seemed to play hard in the final minute of the third period, which makes one think, where was this intensity for the rest of the game? Ryan Strome received a pass with an open net in the final minute, but could not score in the final minute of the third period.

Regardless of where most people think the team will finish this season, it is frustrating to watch your team start poorly in five-straight games. The Rangers may be a young team that is rebuilding, but I think they can be much better.

For this young Blueshirts franchise, this is the hurdle they need to climb. The Rangers should commit themselves to starting each game with intensity and attention to detail. I get it, their defense is very young. However, Anthony DeAngelo is one of their youngest d-men and he had two goals Tuesday night against Arizona. Brady Skjei and Jacob Trouba played poorly and they have more experience under their belt.

The issue is, that they have not been playing like they want to win.

Bill Parcells was a National Football League (NFL) Coach who is in the NFL Hall of Fame and won two super bowls. Here is what Parcells says about how he evaluates winning players and losing players.

“You can easily separate ‘team guys’ from ‘me guys’ by how they accept coaching. The guys who accept it are about winning.”

There are certain players, like Brady Skjei and Pavel Buchnevich who have had an adverse response to being benched in the past. Coach Quinn benched Brendan Lemieux Tuesday night. One thing I like about Quinn is that, he does not coddle his players. If they are playing poorly, he benches them and makes them earn their way back into the line up.

The Rangers will play three of the best teams in the NHL in their next three home games. Those games include games against the Sabres tonight, the Boston Bruins, and the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Sabres have the best record in the NHL. While the Bolts and Bruins look like contenders.

The late great Olympic Gold-Medal-winning U.S.A. Hockey coach Herb Brooks once said, “You don’t have enough talent to win on talent alone.” Brooks also said this about what he looks for when he builds a team.

 “My recruiting key—I look for PEOPLE first, ATHLETES second. I wanted people with a sound value system as you cannot buy values. You’re only as good as your values. I’ve learned early on that you do not put greatness in to people…but somehow try to pull it out.”

The season will not get any easier from here on out. The key to the Rangers turn around needs to be hustle and hard work. The Rangers will begin a tough stretch at Madison Square Garden Thursday. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 PM.

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Anthony has been a sportswriter at In The Zone since Sept. 2019. He graduated from Montclair State, where he was assistant Editor of the student newspaper's sports section. He also co-hosts a sports-themed radio show on the campus station, WMSC 90.3 FM, which was recently named #1 college radio station in the nation.
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