Lifeless Rangers Need a Spark

Watching the Rangers lose 1-0 in Boston on Saturday afternoon was a frustrating experience. The team got a strong performance from Henrik Lundqvist and a good outing from the defense, but their offensive attack existed in name only. They hit a couple of posts in the third period, but they never forced the issue, never took the game to the Bruins and, ultimately, played not to lose.

That's happening all too often this season, and Larry Brooks of the Post points to a lack of personality. Leadership is probably a better word, because you can be personable as hell and still lose more often than you win. His points are strong, though, no matter which word you choose.

Where is the color? Where is the edge to their game? Where is the player who can be expected to step up his game in the tournament? Where is the player with the capability of inspiring his teammates? Where is the player an opponent is going to have to worry about stopping in a best-of-seven?

Nowhere to be found, which is quite damning to the team's two highest profile players. Chris Drury and Scott Gomez have moments of individual brilliance, but they haven't done much to make the players around them better. They don't seem to inspire the extra effort from their teammates, either, which is why they should pay attention on Tuesday night.

Adam Graves is getting his jersey sent to the Garden's rafters because he did everything that Brooks mentioned during his Ranger career. His jersey is getting retired because of the way he inspired others with his effort, he personified grit and heart and he always seemed to come up with big goals when his team needed them in the 1994 push to the Stanley Cup.

Graves isn't coming back through the door, obviously, but the Rangers need the next best thing. Bland, lifeless hockey is barely getting the job done right now, there's little chance it will work come the playoffs.

Copyright FREEL - NBC Local Media
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