The Rangers have quietly won two of their last three, picking up five of a possible six points, and it’s been done quietly because the much-maligned Tony DeAngelo was waived by the team this week.
Here are 10 thoughts on the Rangers.
1. The Tony DeAngelo saga has come to an end and that end is that “he will not play another game for the Rangers” as Jeff Gorton said during Monday night’s press conference. I didn’t want the Rangers to sign DeAngelo in the offseason and now I’m sure they wish they hadn’t either. Gorton seems to think the Rangers might be able to find a team willing to trade for DeAngelo, but which team is going to do that? As a 25-year-old defenseman coming off a 53-point season in 68 games no team wanted to trade for him in the offseason. No team wanted to claim him off waivers. Now with another blemish on his resume, which is full of a wide range of disciplinary issues, why would any team want to pay anything close to his full salary or give up something in return to get him even if that something is a case of half-used rolls of clear tape?
2. DeAngelo had problems in the OHL. He had issues in the AHL. The Lightning moved on from him before he ever played for them despite being a first-round pick. The Coyotes were willing to give him to the Rangers. The Lightning were dumb to draft him as high as they did. The Coyotes were dumb enough to trade for him, and so were the Rangers. Now the Rangers are going to need to find another team dumb enough to think they can be the one’s to fix DeAngelo, even though it’s clear he can’t be fixed. It won’t be easy, and it will likely be near impossible. DeAngelo’s owed money will be the latest dead money for a team that can never clear their dead money.
3. DeAngelo was scratched in the second game of the season for taking an unnecessary penalty and an unsportsmanlike penalty on top of the unnecessary penalty in the first game of the season. After the Rangers dominated the Islanders with DeAngelo scratched, David Quinn kept the same lineup for the third game of the season. The Rangers lost, and DeAngelo was back in the lineup for the fourth game. According to Gorton, DeAngelo was so upset by being scratched in back-to-back games that he couldn’t get past it. What does that mean? Would he make daily remarks to Quinn? Was he being disruptive in the locker room and to his teammates? Gorton said he told DeAngelo he had one strike left as a Ranger. Then came the “altercation” after Saturday night’s loss and now DeAngelo is sitting at home and no longer a part of the team.
4. There’s more to this story. There has to be. I know Gorton and John Davidson did their best to keep their press conference answers to clichés and vague responses, but the entire timeline doesn’t add up. The Rangers gave DeAngelo a two-year deal, then two games into the two-year deal the Rangers became unhappy that DeAngelo was unhappy with being scratched (as any player would be), and then they kicked him off the team following the “altercation” with Alexandar Georgiev.
5. Teammates fight. It happens and it’s usually resolved. Very rarely does it end with a player being removed from the team. For this situation to end with the extreme of DeAngelo being waived, either the altercation was much more serious than anyone is leading on, or DeAngelo had more serious issues this season than just being upset about being scratched. The Rangers are trying to make it out to be that DeAngelo was unhappy with being scratched and then made a comment to Georgiev following a frustrating loss, so they removed him from the team. It doesn’t add up. There’s definitely more to the story.
6. DeAngelo is at times very good offensively. I don’t want to refer to him as an offensive defenseman because that would insinuate that he plays defense. He’s a liability in his own zone, and the Rangers’ organizational defensive depth is a strength, making DeAngelo expendable. He was expendable in the offseason as well, but they foolishly brought him back. He’s not good enough to justify his on- and off-ice issues, and with three organizations having already given up on him in less than five years, it’s not unreasonable to think he has played his last game in the NHL.
7. The Rangers are undefeated in the post-DeAngelo era. They finally broke through against the Penguins with a 3-1 win after losing their first three games to their East rival. Not only did the Rangers lose their first three game this season against the Penguins, they did so in excruciating fashion, blowing third-period leads in all three games. The Rangers could easily have eight points from games against the Penguins, and instead they only picked up four.
8. With wins in two or their last three games and having earned five of aa possible six points, the Rangers appear to be headed fin the right direction. They still have a lot of work to do to erase their awful 1-4-1 start, but at least their season isn’t buried the way it would have been if these last three games had gone differently.
9. Quinn recently said he would rotate Igor Shesterkin and Alexendar Georgiev each game in what it one of the most ill-advised decisions from the head coach who has made countless ill-advised decisions during his Rangers tenure. This isn’t youth hockey. You can’t be setting the lineup days or weeks in advance. If Quinn sticks with his plan, that means Shesterkin (who looked like Henrik Lundqvist in his prime on Monday night) would back up Georgiev (who allowed five goals on Saturday and has allowed 12 goals in his last three starts) on Thursday. That can’t happen. If Georgiev stats on Thursday against Washington, it would be the most egregious decision Quinn has made as Rangers head coach, and he’s only a little over a week removed from pairing DeAngelo with Jack Johnson in a game.
10. Despite the last three games, the Rangers are still at the bottom of the East with eight points in nine games. They are 2.8 points off the needed 1.2 points-per-game pace likely needed to reach the postseason. They will get somewhat a break after Thursday’s game against the Capitals because the Devils’ season has been momentarily paused. That means Thursday’s game against the Capitals will be the only game the Rangers play in a week. There can’t be a letdown performance.
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