Rant: Paging the Rangers

This is going to be different. Rather than recap a disturbing loss to the lowly Senators, I’m just gonna rant instead.

If you can’t be bothered to play a complete game against the freaking Senators, you deserve what you get. It may have been Game 31. But these are the ones you have to win because if you don’t, those lost points could be the difference between making the playoffs and missing entirely.

Coming off a horrid performance in which they barely competed for two periods with backup Ondrej Pavelec earning them a brownie point in a ugly shootout loss to the Stars, this was unacceptable. You can’t allow a struggling team like Ottawa think they have a chance. The Rangers allowed the Sens to gain confidence and of course helped Bobby Ryan snap out of a huge scoring slump to fall behind.

Right there, I concluded it’s going to be one of those games. With Kevin Hayes somehow failing to get a shot on a breakaway, you could only shake your head in disbelief. When asked about it during intermission by MSG’s John Giannone, Hayes said he felt that Erik Karlsson would catch him from behind due to the moves he was making. I can get that part but there’s no reason not to get a shot on Craig Anderson and test him. Of course, Anderson turned back the clock to last May and played well.

Sometimes, this team just needs to have a different mentality. It can’t always be pass, pass, pass. Unless you make a terrific pass like Mats Zuccarello did to set up Michael Grabner’s 15th in the second period. Zuccarello is turning around his season and again proving why he’s one of the team leaders. There aren’t enough words to describe what he means.

If only they didn’t have lapses in concentration. It’s been happening a lot lately. They’ve been giving up way too many shots and attempts while turning over pucks all over the ice. Eventually, it catches up.

Kevin Shattenkirk had a nightmare game with partner Brady Skjei. Shattenkirk is a high risk, reward player. At times, he can make bad reads like the awful pass right to Ottawa that led to Ryan’s goal. He also is scary in his own end when shifts are extended. If he’s not contributing offensively, it’s a negative.

Ever since Mika Zibanejad went down with a concussion, the Rangers have slumped badly on the power play. They entered yesterday three for the last 33. Nothing changed Wednesday. Zibanejad continues to skate on his own without contact. They miss him. You can only go so long without your top center. David Desharnais deserves credit for doing a admirable job slotting in.

Brendan Smith continues to puzzle. He has good games and bad where you wonder how he got a contract that pays him $4 million. He had a horrific shift where he fell down leading directly to Matt Duchene skating around like it was pond hockey before calmly passing for a wide open Cody Ceci, who beat Henrik Lundqvist.

The Rangers didn’t tie the game again. Instead, they gave up one of those despicable goals in the first minute of a period. It happened to be the third. Skjei and Shattenkirk got caught napping. At that point, I had it. I turned the game off deciding I didn’t need to watch this crap.

Of course, Pavel Buchnevich scored to make it a one goal game on a great rush and pass from Chris Kreider. Maybe that will get Kreider going. He is now six straight games without a goal. The next will be his 100th. At times he dominates shifts showing the capability while at others, you hardly notice him. If only he could find consistency.

Of course, they sucked me back into watching the final tiresome six minutes. A boring display where Ottawa trapped them to death. Just awful.

That’s all there’s is to say. I’m disgusted. You should be too.

About Derek Felix

Derek Felix is sports blogger whose previous experience included separate stints at ESPN as a stat researcher for NHL and WNBA telecasts. The Staten Island native also interned for or hockey historian Stan Fischler and worked behind the scenes for MSG as a production assistant on New Jersey Devil telecasts. An avid New York sports fan who enjoys covering events, writing, concerts, movies and the outdoors, Derek has covered consecutive Staten Island Yankees NY Penn League championships in '05 and '06. He also scored Berkeley Carroll high school basketball games from '06-14 and provided an outlet for the Park Slope school's student athletes. Hitting Back gives them the publicity they deserve. In his free time, he also attends Ranger games and is a loyal St. John's alum with a sports management degree. The Battle Of New York administrator and chief editor can be followed below on Twitter and Facebook.
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