The Rangers didn't break down tonight. Ottawa broke through. There's a BIG difference. Sure it's early in the season. Sure there are a lot of positives to take out of tonight's game. But those things can't be used as excuses for the Coach. The bottom line is that it's Renney's job to give his team its best chance to win every night. Thus far, Renney hasn't done that. Renney is annoyingly stubborn when it comes to certain players. Most notably, Malik and Hossa. Keenan used to have a thing for certain players as well. Remember guys like Doug Lidster and Brian Noonan?!?! At least those guys didn't hurt the team. Renney's use (or should I say gross over use) of Malik and Hossa is hurting the team.
Malik shouldn't be in the lineup. Period. He contributed to two of Ottawa's three explosive goals. These were the latest in a long list of Malik inspired debacles stretching back to last season. The Rangers can no longer afford to waste a roster spot and $2.5m in cap space on Malik. Malik MUST be traded or waived. At the very least, it would be addition by subtraction.
Then there's Hossa. This one is really starting to bother me. I can see why Renney's intrigued by the kid. He does have a tremendous combination of size and skill. He does have a super-star brother. But so what? He clearly can't put it all together. Any player who only plays inspired hockey while playing on the top line does not deserve a roster spot. That kind of an attitude shows an utter lack of professionalism. It's disrespectful to his other teammates, it's disrespectful to the organ-eye-zation, and worst of all it's disrespectful to the fans.
If the Rangers had no other options, I could understand the need to continue to dress Hossa. However, the Rangers do have other options. In fact, continuing to play Hossa on the top line is actually hurting the team. Prucha should get that spot. The Rangers desperately need a finisher on their top lines. Prucha is the closest thing the Rangers have to a pure goal scorer. You would think that with Avery out of the lineup, Prucha would move up the depth chart and get a shot on one of the top two lines. You'd be wrong! Not with Tom Renney running the bench. In the third period of tonight's game, Prucha got half a shift with Gomez and Jagr. Not only did he almost score, he helped draw a power play that ultimately led to a 5 on 3 advantage for the Blueshirts. In half a shift with the top line, Prucha accomplished more than Hossa has all season! Did Renney take notice? Did he give Prucha another shift with the big boys? Nope.
There's a fine line between patience and stubbornness. There's an even finer line between stubbornness and stupidity. It's time for Tom to wake up and stop being so