I admit that I only read one New York Ranger beat reporter's blog and that is Andrew Gross's Ranger Rants over at NorthJersey.com. I do so mainly because Gross whether I agree with his views or not writes about the team leaving his own ego at the door. See in today's sad state of journalism too often the story gets lost in the writer's attempt to get more hits at his website. Not Andrew as he tells the story and does a solid job backing it up with quotes and notes.
So here I was reading Monday's piece on Brad Richards and I have to wonder if Brad Richards believes some of the stuff he said. Richards talked alot about the amount of playoff experience that the Rangers had and how he felt it helped them except when it came to winning game 2.
“It’s the same as any team that would be going into the playoffs multiple years,” Richards added. “If you get to a conference final, it shows you a lot about how you have to win and that’s all I was meaning by that.”
Richards then adds this part to explain why he thought the Rangers lost game 2.
"Experience aside, Richards also said the Rangers did not make the necessary improvements from their Game 1 4-1 win to their 4-2 loss in Game 2."
Sorry Brad but it wasn't a failure to make improvements which cost the Rangers game 2 but rather you stopped doing the things that earned you the game 1 win and the early 2-0 lead. There wasn't any need for the Rangers to make improvements (other than cutting down on giveaways) but rather a need to keep doing all those things that were working.
Playing with composure and discipline, attacking the net, getting bodies in front of Ray Emery and keep skating. When you look at all of this it doesn't seem like anyone is asking for a whole lot now does it?
“It comes down to maybe a little execution, game plan,” Richards said. “Really, they were probably a little more desperate than we were for some reason (in Game 2). They felt like they had to win that game and I’m not saying we didn’t feel like we had to win it but for some reason, after we got up 2-0, we maybe let off a touch and that’s what we’re going to have to realize."
You mean because the Flyers did not want to return home down 2-0 in the series Brad? Sorry but I just wonder how a player with as much talent as Richards can come off not looking very bright with what he says. What is missing is that what happened is once the Rangers got that early 2-0 lead there were way too many players who thought the game was already won and put themselves on cruise control.
For a team that supposedly has all that playoff experience then Richards and his teammates should have known better about how weak a 2-0 lead can be early in a game. Those "experienced" players should have known that they needed to keep the pressure on the Flyers; heck even increase it to the point where they choked out the Flyers.
"We could have lost the game by playing a perfect game, too. It’s not about just that but the intensity level and the level of play has to keep going up and it has to jump up a lot more than it did from Game 1 to Game 2 than it did for us. That’s our main focus, it’s got to be better.”
Then may I beg of you Brad Richards to do something that I wonder if any member of the Ranger roster knows how to do? Stop talking and start leading with your own play as that is what I believe the Rangers really need. They need someone who is going to pick up the team and put them on their back and say "Follow me boys" or "Give me the puck."
Call it the Bobby Holik experience but man it gets so old reading, listening or watching a Ranger player talk about what they need to do as a team but not stand up and "walk that talk." Call me spoiled as I grew up in the age of Joe Namath, Willis Reed, Reggie Jackson, Thurman Munson and even Mark Messier.
You knew when you saw any time there was going to be a big game that they didn't talk about what needed to be done as they just went out and did it. This might be the biggest missing piece in the Ranger locker room not having a big game player.
The Rangers haven't had that big game player since the original run of Mark Messier and maybe it is why I am such a issue with Rick Nash. I see the talent and skill set but I just don't see the fire inside his belly.
To Win Game 3
Stop talking about what you think you need to do and just do it.
That was easy wasn't it? Seriously it hasn't changed from the start of this series from attacking the net, getting bodies in Emery's space and rattle him into losing his cool. Don't try to match the Flyer's desire to play a chippy physical brand of hockey as that is not how the Rangers are built.
Stay disciplined and out of the penatly box. Play a full 60 minutes of hockey from start to finish.
And someone anyone please light a fight under Rick Nash PLEASE