Larry Brooks at the New York Post feels that the Rangers are having an identity crisis right now…
"Everyone understood this team would be more top-heavy following an offseason in which Rick Nash came but Brandon Dubinsky, Artem Anisimov, Ruslan Fedotenko and Brandon Prust departed. Everyone could see the added skill level. But the Rangers, a guts-’n-glory team if there ever were one, seem to be grappling for an identity in this new season."
…Brooks hits the nail on the head here. While newcomers like Pyatt, Halpern and Asham are playing hard, they're just not bringing the intangibles that the guys Brooks mentions above did every night. Those guys knew how to give the team a lift whether it be through a fight, a big hit or a clutch penalty kill. And they did it with some swagger. Which is something this current group is in desperate need of.
…another concern is the drop in battle levels from holdovers of last year's team. Specifically Boyle, McDonagh, Stepan and Gaborik. If a large swatch of the core isn't buying in, why would the recent acquisitions? You have to wonder if these guys, who laid it all on the line last year are burned out by Torts' system.
…Torts needs to figure out if he's going to force Nash and others to buy into the style of hockey that made the Rangers so successful last season or open it up to allow his new Super Star player to do what he does best and get this team scoring goals again. Right now it seems like this team is caught in the middle and it's obviously not working.
…hindsite is always 20/20, but Sather deserves a bit of a hit here also for maybe doing too much of a turnover for a team that made it to the Eastern Conference Finals last year.