Wednesday, April 29, 2009

History is History

Well, so much for the Rangers. Never blown a 3-1 series lead? Until last night, anyway. The Caps hadn't overcome a 3-1 deficit since 1988? Twenty-one years is just too long.

Anyway, not that I had much faith going into last night's game, but I came away even more disheartened. The Rangers played their hearts out for two periods and had exactly one goal and a tie score to show for it. It was only a matter of time until the Caps finally scored again and the Rangers -- all one shot's worth -- were utterly powerless to fight back.

Which brings me to this point: why does Glen Sather still have a job? I'm beginning to think that having Gretzky and Messier and Lowe and Coffey all on one team made Sather look good. Really good. Like Phil Jackson coaching Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen good. (Or Shaq and Kobe good -- take your pick.)

My point is that if you overlook the Edmonton portion of Sather's résumé for a moment, the results aren't all that pretty. After all, the Rangers missed the playoffs in his first four seasons as GM. Even now, with four straight playoff appearances, they've never finished the regular season better than 3rd in the division and haven't made it out of the playoffs' 2nd round. (The Rangers have a 14-17 playoff record during Sather's reign.)

The bottom line now is that the Rangers simply can't score. As great as Lundquist played in this series, without a margin for error, the team was doomed. Sather has left the team without a guy who can put the puck in the net. And I'm not talking an Ovechkin, here. There are four Capitals with more points than the Rangers' leading scorer, Nik Antropov. (Full disclosure: not only is Antropov only the 65th-best scorer in the NHL, but he tallied 43 of his 59 points for Toronto.)

And the big-money guys like Gomez and Drury can take their place alongside such high-priced, underperforming talents as Lindros, Bure and Holik who were never able to put the Rangers over the top. How long can a man live off his past success and not be held accountable for the present? If Sather can't produce that scoring threat for next season, the Rangers should begin their own search for a new leader.

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