The Rangers got punished on Wednesday by their coach. Tom Renney forced his players to spend most of Wednesday's practice on wind sprints and grueling exercises because his team wasn't working hard enough.
Why did Renney need to see the way they were practicing to come up with such a punishment? The last 145 minutes the Rangers have played have been some of the least inspired minutes of the season. They got blown out in the third period at Pittsburgh, shut out at Boston and then just didn't show up for the lion's share of their game with Atlanta on Tuesday night. Who's to blame for such anemic play?
The players themselves, obviously, and Glen Sather, who assembled a roster devoid of leaders and sparkplugs. But Renney himself has to take some of the heat, especially for the way the Rangers played on Tuesday night. How do you come out flat on Adam Graves night?
There's no way of knowing what Renney did or didn't say to his team, but even if he just told them to take their cues from the speeches, it should have been enough. Hearing players like Mark Messier talk about how much Graves brought to the ice through hard work and determination should have made it easy for Renney to get his team fired up.
They were the polar opposite of fired up, though. That means Renney either pushed the wrong buttons or the players have tuned him out. You could argue it was just an off night, but there have been too many of them to just write it off that easily. It's a given that the Rangers need a boost to their roster for the stretch, now the question is if they need one on the bench as well.