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Callahan: Rangers ‘have to respond’ after bad start to record-long homestand

Dec 9, 2013, 4:25 PM EDT

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This was supposed to be the part of the season where the Rangers made up lost ground.

So far, though, it hasn’t happened.

The Rangers — in the midst of a franchise record nine-game homestand (the Blueshirts play 20 of 30 at MSG leading up to the Olympic break) — have started with a thud, dropping a 4-3 OT decision to New Jersey on Saturday followed by a dismal 4-1 defeat to Washington on Sunday.

Following the Caps loss, New York held a players-only meeting to try and make sense of its 5-7-1 record at MSG this season. Captain Ryan Callahan said things had to change — starting ASAP.

“We have to respond,” Callahan said, as per the Bergen Record. “It’s not good enough at home. This is a long home stand and now it takes the guys in here to respond and be better. It starts Tuesday night and that’s how we are looking at this.

“We have a challenge in front of us and now we have to answer it.”

The Rangers will host Nashville on Tuesday and know how crucial a victory is. The Rangers head into tonight’s action on the outside of the playoff picture (15-15-1, 31 points) and that has much to do with their poor start to the season — the Blueshirts opened 3-7-0, which included a grueling nine-game road swing while MSG was being renovated.

And that’s what makes this homestand so important. The schedule allows for few opportunities moving forward — New York won’t have anything longer than a four-game home set for the rest of the season — and, when the slate was first released, everybody looked at this stretch as the time when New York would surge forward.

Problem is, it’s just not happening.

“We’re pretty frustrated,” Ryan McDonagh said. “We may think we’re doing some good things out there but it’s not nearly at the consistent level it needs to be in order for us to be a hard team to play against and the team we know we’re capable of being.”

  1. johnstone17 - Dec 9, 2013 at 4:37 PM

    Same people making the same mistakes. Unacceptable.

  2. stakex - Dec 9, 2013 at 5:35 PM

    We keep hearing the players taking about how unacceptable their play is, or how frustrated they are…. yet they proceed to go out and play lackluster hockey. Obviously the players talking about how much better they need to play isn’t making them play better.

    I blame AV for this. When was the last time a top player on this team not named Del Zotto was benched? We see horrible play after horrible play from top players on the Rangers roster, yet there is no accountability aside from some whining to the media afterwards. Torts might have been a hard ass, but this team play mistake free disciplined hockey under him if for no other reason that fear of riding the pine. With AV, that fear doesn’t exist because he is a wimp when it comes to his own players.

    I also think Sather needs to get off his dead ass and make a big, bold move. The entire 3rd and 4th line needs to be blown up and replaced (including Boyle) because they aren’t doing a damn thing, and even some of the Rangers top players should be moved. Callahan, Girardi, Del Zotto, Stepan, Hagelin, JT Miller, and Zuccarella should all be on the table. I know most Rangers fans would freak at the idea of any of these guys being traded (aside from DZ) but with an offense that’s near dead last in the NHL…. its time for change. These guys as a whole are not good enough, and as such the heart of the Rangers roster needs a change.

  3. jaybyrd99 - Dec 9, 2013 at 5:59 PM

    I’m frustrated too. This organization has put only 1 decent product on the ice since 1997. That is Unacceptable !

  4. 950003cups - Dec 9, 2013 at 6:46 PM

    We’re all at the .500 mark doing garbage.

    • johnstone17 - Dec 9, 2013 at 7:24 PM

      Your team responds when challenged, right now the Rangers do not.

  5. homieshome - Dec 10, 2013 at 12:44 AM

    A trade definitely needs to take place but it doesn’t have to be some huge blockbuster deal. They can do alot without even effecting the current Rangers team. Possibly with Calgary, Del Zotto & a future 1st & 2nd round draft pick could get us Glencross & Stempniak and i would take that right now because it wouldn’t effect this current team. Then i’d bring up Mcilrath to replace MDZ.
    My other point is Hank, his cap hit is 8.5 million, i’m sorry but he is not worth it and even Stamkos doesnt make that much. He can make crazy saves but he also lets in some pretty weak goals almost every game. He’s a good goalie, just not worth that much, now it prevents us from doing alot come free agency, which makes a trade even more important. We have holes that need filling

  6. 950003cups - Dec 9, 2013 at 8:00 PM

    I agree! They should do away with all those big money contracts.

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