The end of the road for selfish DeAngelo, who may have played his final NHL game

Following up the shocking news of the Rangers placing Tony DeAngelo on waivers, I wanted to post my final thoughts on what happened. If you’re interested in hearing what I have to say, please refer to my Pushing Buttons podcast on DeAngelo and the Rangers above. I’ll be doing more of them moving forward.

Apparently, DeAngelo reacted very poorly to the 5-4 overtime loss to the Penguins on Saturday night. After being caught on for Sidney Crosby’s overtime winner along with a worn out Artemi Panarin and Mika Zibanejad, DeAngelo was upset with goalie Alex Georgiev due to a miscommunication during the extended shift.

The important details are that an enraged DeAngelo got into an altercation with Georgiev. From what’s been reported by multiple sources including veteran beat writer Rick Carpiniello of The Athletic, it was very ugly. The less said about it, the better.

As I referenced in an earlier post I put up while I was out with friends who visited from Brooklyn, certain behavior can’t be tolerated. What DeAngelo did is unacceptable. It was detrimental to the team and just cause for the Rangers organization to find a reason to sever ties with the controversial 25-year old defenseman.

They had no choice. In subtracting DeAngelo, who a year ago set career bests in goals (15), assists (38) and points (53) over 68 games, the Rangers won’t be able to replace the offense the troubled player brought. His ice time isn’t easy to replace either. Especially playing one of the points on the power play. That now falls solely on Adam Fox, who must be signed long-term.

Who David Quinn decides to also use on the power play remains to be seen. He can opt for four forwards and one defenseman like he had with success last season. But will Jacob Trouba continue to be the defenseman on the second unit? Or maybe promising rookie K’Andre Miller should get a look if they realize his potential. He seems capable of handling it.

The top four will remain intact. You’ll have Miller with Trouba and Fox working with Ryan Lindgren. The third pair becomes sketchy with the choices of Jack Johnson or Brendan Smith with veteran Anthony Bitetto, who’s expected to get an opportunity in Monday’s rematch versus the Pens.

Will we ever see Libor Hajek again, or is he a bust? Have they given up on him completely? If so, they better hope they can sign Nils Lundkvist. Another small offensive right defenseman, hopefully he can help replace DeAngelo in the near future.

I have higher hopes for Braden Schneider, who looks like the big physical right skating defenseman this team hasn’t had. He will get experience in the AHL. Matthew Robertson and Tarmo Reunanen are the other D prospects to keep an eye on.

In closing the chapter on DeAngelo, he had a checkered past. The organization knew that and tried their best to work with him. He got every chance. Just when it seemed he was on his way to having a successful NHL career with the team reluctantly giving him a two-year contract worth an average cap hit of $4.8 million, he goes and pulls this crap.

This isn’t about the political commentary other misinformed fan bloggers think it is. This was due to the player not keeping his head. It’s not anything to celebrate or be happy about. It’s an embarrassing day for the Rangers, who must now move forward.

Maybe one less distraction can be a positive. The team is a mess. DeAngelo was far from the only problem. Zibanejad being a serious concern given how out of sorts he’s looked at the start. Is it due to Covid or just a lack of timing? He hasn’t been anywhere near the lights out number one center we saw last year.

Then, you have Quinn’s indecisiveness over Georgiev and Igor Shestyorkin, which is hurting the team. In net, you need stability. Alternating them doesn’t allow either to gain confidence or get into a rhythm. It should be Shestyorkin’s net to lose. If he plays well tomorrow, he must be in for the next start.

There also is the injury to sparkplug Colin Blackwell. It couldn’t have come at a worse time. He was playing so well that Quinn had him on the second line with Panarin and Ryan Strome, who seems to be coming out of it. Combined with the loss of third center Filip Chytil, it’s not a good situation. Center depth remains an area of concern.

One final thing. If he doesn’t play another hockey game in the NHL, DeAngelo has no one to blame but himself. Given some information I know through an anonymous source regarding his off ice issues, he really needs to seek help. It isn’t healthy to carry around the anger he has. Whatever he does, that should be top priority.

The hockey continues for the Blueshirts tomorrow night. Hopefully, it won’t be A Mad Mad World.

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 Hudson administrator and chief editor can be followed below on Twitter and Facebook.
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