Ever since the NHL finally got its act together and started the season, we've been saying that the Rangers didn't look enough like they did last season.
It wasn't supposed to be a criticism. Acquiring Rick Nash and having the young Chris Kreider for the whole season was supposed to add needed scoring punch to a team that wound up losing to the Devils in the Eastern Conference Finals because they didn't have nearly enough of it.
As it turns out, though, the Rangers still couldn't score and they now had too little of the sandpaper that they used to grind out wins all of last season until the magic ran out against Jersey. Perhaps a full 82-game season would have given time for the Rangers to find that identity on their own, but it's a short season and the Rangers are trying to hang onto a playoff spot so change came thundering to the team on Wednesday.
Marian Gaborik, who has scored 40 goals twice for the Rangers, was sent to Columbus for center Derick Brassard, defenseman John Moore and tough guy Derek Dorsett in a move that seems counter-intuitive for a team that is scoring less often than any other club in the NHL. It had become clear, though, that John Tortorella and Gaborik were never going to work in harmony and that the coach wanted his team to go a different route the rest of the way.
General manager Glen Sather complied, dealing for forward Ryane Clowe as well in an effort to remake the team into something closer to last year's club. The first look at that team couldn't have gone any better.
Clowe, who hadn't scored a goal all year for the Sharks, scored twice, Brassard added a goal and Moore scored as well as the Rangers plowed through the Penguins for a 6-1 win. No word was immediately available on whether Sather and Tortorella immediately ran out to buy a bunch of lottery tickets, but it wouldn't have been a bad idea.
There's no question that an ideal Rangers team needs more offensive help up front. There's also no question that the Rangers team as previously constructed was going nowhere fast, however, and there are worse decisions than to give Tortorella a team he wants for a sprint to the finish line.
The first night was a rousing success and now it will be up to Tortorella to prove that he can do more with this group than he could manage with the initial roster despite having a lot less time to work with them.
It would help if Brad Richards and Brian Boyle broke out of their long funks, but the onus is going to be on the newcomers to provide what went out the door when the Rangers changed courses during the offseason.
It might not be successful, but it certainly isn't going to be boring the rest of the way.