Flashback to July 1, 2007: By the close of business the Rangers were anointed "winners" of the 2007 free agency derby. Having signed Scott Gomez AND Chris Drury the Rangers had turned themselves into instant Cup contenders. Make no mistake, the goal for this season was to win it all. When viewed from that perspective, this afternoon's disappointing game capped off a season of failure for the Blueshirts.
I'm sure that in the coming days and months, some pundits will lament the rash of key injuries suffered by important members of the team. Some will decry the horrible officiating (how could all the on ice officials miss the stick to Drury's face?!?!).
The bottom line, however, is that with the notable exception of Jaromir Jagr, the Rangers' best players simply did not play their best hockey.
Gomez's turn-overs set up more plays for Pittsburgh than his passes did for New York. Drury disappeared long before he injured his ribs. Actually, I'm not really sure Drury ever appeared this post-season. If I hear another person talking about how well Drury does the "little things" I think I'll puke! Drury was NOT signed to his monstrous contract (complete with a "no-movement" clause) in order to do the "little things". Drury was signed in order to score those huge franchise defining playoff goals. You know the type...think "Matteau...Matteau". Blair Betts wins face-offs and kills penalties too.
Management has some huge and difficult decisions to make in the coming months. A number of the teams top players are heading into free agency. We'll get into all of that in due time. For now, though, the Rangers go bust.