Just when you though the New York Rangers couldn’t get any worse, they manage to sink to lower depths.  Apparently, the team did not heed coach Tom Renney’s warnings of how time slipping away and the need for more defensive play.  Granted there were some bad goals allowed and some weird bounces that did not go the Rangers way, but the way the Rangers just stopped competing is a major concern.

Losing is one thing, but playing listless and almost disinterested hockey is another.

As expected, fans were once again quick to get the daggers out for Renney’s head.  Maybe he has lost the team.  I wish it were only that simple a fix.  The Rangers are now a team that appears rudderless, and it goes beyond just coaching.  Players who were expected to carry this team are not doing so.

Henrik Lundqvist’s poor play of late can be attributed to the health problems his father has been having, but the King has had an on-again/off-again season from the outset.

Jaromir Jagr has pouted since Michael Nylander has left and his indifferent play at times has shown.

Chris Drury, who was brought in with the promise of big plays in big plays, has not lived up to that billing.

Sean Avery, Brendan Shanahan and Martin Straka have been struggling with health concerns for better part of the season

The team’s most consistent line has been the HBO line of Ryan Hollweg, Blair Betts and Colton Orr – and if that doesn’t speak volumes about what is wrong with this team than nothing ever will.

Outside of the HBO Line, Dan Girardi and Marc Staal are the only two other players who have played at or above their expected level.

Frankly, there are 20 or so players who need to look deep within themselves and come to the same conclusion that Renney did following the Flyers debacle.  The following quote comes from the “Journal News” January 10, 2008 blog entry of Sam Weinman.

“‘The games are starting to diminish. They start to fade away pretty fast,’ Tom Renney said. ‘So we can not sit here and feel sorry for ourselves. I’m not happy with our play. I’m not happy with the way we’ve been unable to deal with this. But clearly I’ve got to do a better job, too. It’s time for me to step up. What we’ve got to do is recognize this is a situation that is staring us right in the face. Our season is probably somewhere in the next couple of weeks.’”

So far President/GM Glen Sather has resisted the urge to try and trade the Rangers out of their doldrums.  However, it might be time for him to do a little fine tuning.  Normally, I am the type of person who wants to make trades for the sake of making trades but it appears the team needs a spark.

As we near the NHL trade deadline, the rumor wires are beginning to heat up.  Chris Kuc of the “Chicago Tribune” writes that Blackhawks GM Dale Tallon is close to making a deal for a defenseman.  Jeremy Rutherford of the “St. Louis Post-Dispatch” writes the same thing about the Blues.

Is it possible the answer to the Rangers problems could lie with a couple of former Ranger employees in St. Louis?

Would John Davidson and Larry Pleau be interested one of the Rangers UFA blueliners: Marek Malik or Paul Mara?

Rutherford reports that St. Louis is facing the prospect of losing Barret Jackman and/or Bryce Salvador as UFA at the end of the season.  Would the Blues be willing to engage in a swap of UFA defensemen?  The other alternative, according to Rutherford, is to deal Christian Backman who was one more season at $3.4 million.

Sather can’t afford to take on additional salary for next year given all of the decisions he will have to make in regards to the Rangers corps of UFAs.  However, Jackman (at $2.2 million) does fit – especially if Malik or Mara went west.

Jackman is an ideal fit for the rangers.  The former Calder Trophy winner packs an aggressive and physical style of play into his 6-foot and 213 pound body.  Jackman will be only 27 comes March so he still has some room to develop if the Rangers were interested in re-signing him.  Jackman’s best attribute is that he is a leader – something the Rangers blue line can use.  The one negative on him is that he does have a history of injuries and has just recovered from a concussion.

The problem with making this type of deal is that St. Louis is going to require something besides Malik or Mara to sweeten the deal.  The question is should the Rangers trade off one of their prospects in order to acquire Jackman.  The Rangers do have some depth in Hartford – especially among their forwards.  It is a matter of deciding whether or not it would be worth moving a Nigel Dawes or a Greg Moore in order to get rid of a Malik in order to acquire a Jackman.

On The Fly 1: Congratulations are in order for Scott Gomez who was named as the Rangers representative to the NHL All-Star game.

On The Fly 2: Former Rangers center Dominic Moore was placed on waivers by the Minnesota Wild and was claimed by the Toronto Maple Leafs.

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