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The Rangers have won one game in their last six attempts. They have been out scored 21-11 at even strength. John Muckler Ron Low continues to search for the proper line combinations to get something to work. They have no one going to the net at all. The defensive zone coverage is still in pre-season mode. They can't even handle a depleted Flyers team that is without the top three players on their payroll. There is no leadership, no passion, and no results. Does any of this sound familiar to anyone?

Mark Messier's 40 year old body is very easy to push around now that he can't put his stick in people's faces, and the things he was supposed to do to help this team are not working.

It seems that opposing teams are even staring to figure out the Rangers power-play. Don't chase them, and they can't beat you. The unit of Messier, Kamensky, Graves, Leetch and Fleury, started off the season so strong, but have been slowly sinking into the abyss along with the rest of the team.

As it has been since last year, the five-on-five play is simply atrocious. No Ranger drove to the net until late in the third period when Michal Grosek did it off a feed from Mike York. Messier's comments after the game were particularly enlightening when he said "They (the Flyers) wouldn't let us get to the rebounds all night." Well Mark, let us be the first to tell you that no NHL team is going to let you get to the rebounds, you have to fight like hell to get to them.

The problem seems to be the Rangers are a 1980s Smyth Division team, playing in the 2000 Atlantic Division. They have been easily handled by Tampa Bay, and Philadelphia, neither of which have what you would call stellar defensive corps. Someone better tell Sather, Low, and yes even Mr. Messier, that the trap is no longer an excuse for any other team except the Rangers.

The best line of the night for the Rangers was a line of Mike York, Grosek and Dvorak, that Low put together in the third, after realize that none of his ridiculous line combinations was working. Amazingly he was the last one to figure this out. It is also obvious that neither Messier, nor Nedved are the Rangers number one center, it is hands down Mike York. Night in and night out, he is the only Ranger with the passion and will to compete at this level. The sooner Sather and Low figure this out and get him some quicker people to skate with the better off the Rangers will be. Messier is being touted/treated as the number one guy, but playing like a number three or four. Take away the power-play points he has scored, and there is nothing there. Same could be said for Fleury.

The Flyers jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first, when the Rangers got running around yet again. Sandy McCarthy and Brian Leetch got crossed up, and neither of them picked up the Flyers defender who glided in and found the open side. Again the Rangers came out strong in the second, but were easily held to the perimeter by the Flyers defense.

Brian Boucher stopped all 32 shots the Rangers threw at him, but only a few even caused him to break a sweat. Mike Richter on the other end, made 28 saves on 30 shots, and looked super. He made some brilliant saves that were almost sure goals, and if not for him the score would have been much more lopsided.

Mike Mottau made his NHL debut, and looked solid most of the night. He and Rich Pilon got crossed up to start what would lead to the Flyers second goal. Pilon actually was caught out of position, and Mottau tried to cover for him. The problem was that Pilon never covered for Mottau but instead attempted to regain his assignment. That split second opened the door for a Flyers opportunity that ended with Messier, Kamensky and Fleury all missing their backchecking assignments. Messier was left at the side of the net with Mottau, two Rangers, one Flyer, one goal. Kamensky never even made it back to the Rangers zone, and Fleury never picked up anyone. The Flyers added an empty net goal as Ron Low pulled Richter with 2:05 remaining the third.

So the Rangers just can't win, the coach is looking for answers, and the GM has done little in the way of serious changes that have been aching to be taken care of for too long. Sather claims now that the team is in a rebuilding stage, but has yet to show one sign that any rebuild is taking place. Mike Mottau's call up was the first thing he has done that brought youth to the lineup, but if history repeats itself he will be sent down as soon as Malakhov returns from his first injury of the season.

This whole thing is shaping up to look just like last season. For those of you who think that last year's team was close enough to the playoffs for this team to get in better remember one thing. The only reason last year's team was even close to the playoffs was Mike Richter. Well even Richter is a year older, and a serious knee injury older. He can not be expected to be the best Rangers player every night. Even Patrick Roy needs help.

So tonight the Rangers will take on the Penguins at the Garden. The same Pens team that dominated them in the last meeting. The World Series is over (Congrats' to the Yanks on three straight.) and those fans who are just tuning into the Rangers season having just watched two great New York teams battle (Good show Mets) are going to be very disappointed. Changes need to be made, and they need to be made now. Neil Smith waited too long last season, and before you knew it, it was too late to make a difference. Rangers fans will not stand for another meaningless season. Missing the playoffs with a bunch of hard nosed hungry kids is one thing, but missing the playoffs with a bunch of haggard old vets for the fourth straight year is totally unacceptable.

Hey Glen, save your ass now and rebuild with tons of youth! At least then your excuse as to why we missed the playoffs will have some meaning towards the future. Do not treat us Rangers fans like fools, we are not that dumb!

Scoring Summary


Scoring: 1, Phila, Sykora 1 (Ranheim, Manderville), 7:07.

Penalties: Sykora, Phi (holding stick), 8:44; Lacroix, ny served by Graves (boarding major, game misconduct), 12:04; P White, Phi (hooking), 14:21.


Scoring: None.

Penalties: Mcgillis, Phi (tripping), 6:16; Mcgillis, Phi (interference), 8:49; Lefebvre, ny (holding), 19:25.


Scoring: 2, Philadelphia, Tocchet 2 (Fedotenko, Langkow), 5:21. 3, Philadelphia, Langkow 3 (empty net) (Desjardins), 19:40.

Penalties: Graves, ny (holding), 10:35; Fleury, ny (holding), 10:35; Tocchet, Phi (roughing), 10:35; Grosek, ny (slashing), 15:47; Delmore, Phi (holding), 16:49.

Power-play Conversions: ny - 0 of 4 Phi - 0 of 5. Goalies: ny, Richter (30 shots, 28 saves; record: 0-2-0). Philadelphia, Boucher (32, 32; record: 3-3-1).

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