Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 04/01/13 at 09:00 AM ET
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
There has been no edge and no resolve from the Rangers, who don’t even resemble distant cousins from last year’s Black-and-Blueshirts who spit out nails and pucks on their way to storming to the East’s regular season championship before being stopped in the conference finals.
The team that led the NHL with 65 fighting majors last season is currently in a four-way tie for 26th/29th in that category with 12 in 34 games, and just four in the last 29 matches.
Moreover, players who engaged in eight of those bouts are no longer on the roster. Only Arron Asham (three), who was a puzzling scratch in Montreal, and Brian Boyle (one), who well could be gone by Wednesday’s trade deadline, remain on the squad.
It is true that taking a hit to make a play equates to hockey toughness every bit as much as dropping the gloves, but the absence of pugilists in the lineup — was Micheal Haley really so bad that he had to be demoted to the Whale following a neutral zone blunder against the Devils? — has become a void as obvious as the absence of battle-level in front of both nets and in the one-on-ones that decide games and seasons.
There is no evidence ownership or upper management has given the slightest thought to dismissing Tortorella, who got the most out of his players last year but without a training camp in which to establish a mindset, has not been able to duplicate that accomplishment.
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