Did Kaleta Hit Finally Turn Rangers Into a ‘Team’?

One of my favorite aspects of last year's Rangers team was the closeness of the players. They seemed like a group that generally cared for each other and it showed on the ice as they always had each other's back.

This year has been a different story. Time and time again I've been left disappointed with the Rangers lack of response to an opponent taking liberties with a teammate. The 2013 version of the Rangers have seemed more like a collection of individuals than a 'team.'

But that all changed with one dirty, disgusting hit from behind by Patrick Kaleta on Brad Richards…

In that instant, while watching one their leaders fallen on the ice, the Rangers became one. From that point on this team played with passion and emotion for the first time this season. They wanted to make Kaleta and Buffalo pay and nothing was going to stop them. It was amazing to see.

Neill called it a possible turning point of the season during his recap last night, similar to the Joe Thornton "soft" comment last year, and he might be right. I've been waiting for the Rangers to find something to rally around all year and by judging from the players' reaction after the game that might have been it.

And while the Rangers weren't able to get physical retribution on Kaleta due to his game misconduct, the Blueshirts still play the Sabres two more times this season, so you can be assured payback is inevitable.

Oh yeah, and I'm glad to see Richards was ok. Although the Rangers looked much better on the power play when he was being tended to in the locker room. Too soon?

Here's John Tortorella…

"It's probably one of the most dangerous hits I've seen. Same guys. It's ridiculous. I'm glad we made them pay. It's disgusting. It's a lack of respect. Yeah, each team wants to beat the other team, but you need to respect what's going on, on the ice."

Here's full video of Torts…

Here's Marc Staal (via Blueshirts United)…

“It was a cheap hit. The biggest thing is that you want to hurt hem and we were able to get two (goals). It doesn't do that hit any kind of justice, but it was nice to score on the power play.”

More player reaction…

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