New York Rangers: Quinn’s comments reveal Blueshirts big need

Henrik Lundqvist, New York Rangers. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Henrik Lundqvist, New York Rangers. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

The New York Rangers were embarrassed by the Carolina Hurricanes yesterday in front of some VIPs. Both the players and coach admitted a lack of urgency, but something else is missing.

It was a tough loss for the New York Rangers last night at Madison Square Garden. In front of the 1994 Stanley Cup championship team, the 2018-19 rebuilding version of the Blueshirts laid a huge goose egg in a 3-0 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes. That’s was bad enough, but both the players and head coach David Quinn acknowledged that there was a lack of urgency on the ice.

That part of Quinn’s post-game press conference is at the end of the article (courtesy of MSG Network). What those remarks tell me is that there is a much bigger problem than urgency. There is a serious lack of leadership among the players.

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Five equals zero

The old hockey adage, if you have two number one goalies, you don’t have a number one goalie is playing out in a slightly different form. After last season’s trade of then captain Ryan McDonagh to the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Rangers decided not to replace him as captain. They followed that pattern this season by announcing five alternate captains, Mats Zuccarello, Mika Zibanejad, Chris Kreider, Jesper Fast, and Marc Staal all get to where the “A” on their sweater. No one has a “C”

I’m not calling for the second coming of Mark Messier. Someone, however, has to be a clear leader in the locker room and on the ice. A guy to get his teammates to fall in line and stay focused if necessary. It’s what this young group lacks.

More Change

There are going to be several trades in the next few weeks that will strip the Blueshirts of more veterans. Zuccarello and Kevin Hayes are pending unrestricted free agents so general manager Jeff Gorton will want to get something in return via trade rather than letting them walk for nothing this summer. Additionally, Staal (if someone will take him), Kreider, Kevin Shattenkirk (see Staal), Vladislav Namestnikov, and Jimmy Vesey have all been part of the rumor mill in recent months.

The youth movement is in full swing, which is fine because that’s what New York Rangers management said they would do. While the team is going young, it would be wise to have a veteran leader, who has won in the past to show the kids how it’s done. Whether that player comes in a trade or signs as a free agent in the offseason, he must be there from the start of training camp next September.

Next. New York Rangers: Welcome to the Mika Zibanejad show. dark

The value of a good leader isn’t always measured by on-ice production (although it helps), its measured by how well he keeps his team together. Hopefully, he’s coming soon.