Fansided Off-Season Q&A : New York Rangers

May 23, 2013; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers players celebrate on the ice after defeating the Boston Bruins 4-3 in overtime in game four of the second round of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sport

Middletown, N. J. – The editorial and writing staff here at EyesOnIsles likes to think that our scope of knowledge exists well outside of just the New York Islanders.

We respect and know full well that you come here for Islanders news and notes, tidbits, summer reading and everything else that you need to know about our boys in blue and orange.

But at the end of the day, there is only so much information out there fit to print and report on regarding just one team that was eliminated from the playoffs in the opening round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Outside of Eyes, there are tons of great sites around the Fansided network for you to get your news on just about any team you wish, even a dedicated site to general NHL news and notes on a daily basis.

With that in mind we aim to expose your mind and broaden your horizons to something outside of the Islanders and show you around our little home away from home, Fansided 3.5.

Starting today with part one of our off-season Q&A series, in which I reached out to all the other hockey sites around the network and presented them with 3 questions, either relating to their performance over the shortened 2013 season or their off-season plans for what lies ahead.

I think it makes for very interesting reading to hear from other editors and staff writers who cover these teams on a daily basis and get their take. We hope you enjoy it right along with us. Be objective and as polite as possible but feel free to comment away below the article using a variety of convenient sign in methods.

First up is the rival New York Rangers, a team that all Islanders fans love to hate but to be completely honest, have several players who I respect tremendously. Those three are Henrik Lundqvist, Ryan Callahan and Dan Girardi.

Many projected the Rangers to be in the Stanley Cup finals this season after acquiring Rick Nash but after winning a tough 7 game battle (again?) against the Washington Capitals, fell meekly to the Boston Bruins in the second round in five games.

With that the winds of change blew hard and fast, sending John Tortorella to the unemployment line after being fired by general manager Glen Sather. I can sit here and talk about all the reasons why I ‘think’ it happened or who might have influenced it one way or the other but at the end of the day, we will never know.

With Alain Vigneault looking for work, he along with Mark Messier become the leaders for the race to be New York’s next bench boss. Personally, I see Messier as assistant GM, grooming himself much like Steve Yzerman did, for a move upstairs. We shall see how it all plays out as you would think Sather wants his man in place before the NHL entry draft in Newark on June 30.

I had the chance to ask staff writer Andrew Graziano of Bluelinestation three questions about his thoughts on the Rangers as they head into the 2013 off-season and he shared his responses with me below….

  • Did the firing of John Tortorella catch you by surprise and what are your thoughts on the move to let him go after reaching the Eastern conference finals just last season?
Tortorella’s firing definitely caught me by surprise. I was not expecting it at all. With no training camp and no preseason I thought for sure they would be more lenient with him. On the other hand, strictly speaking business, I did think it was the right decision. I am not a fan of his system because it wears down the top players and creates too much pressure on the defense and goaltender. Also I think that they should NOT choose Messier as his replacement. Yes he was the greatest leader in all of sports but he does not have any coaching experience, and if he fails to have success in New York his legendary reputation could be tarnished.
  •  Which player was the biggest disappointment on the roster this season and why?
Brad Richards. This is a no-brainer. He looked slow all season, and looked even worse in the playoffs. I feel that his time in New York is up and they need to use the amnesty buyout on him not just because of his performance but they have guys like Ryan McDonagh, Carl Hagelin and Derek Stepan that are going to be restricted free agents this summer. The organization will need the money from Richard’s contract to sign those guys. Plus, they need to work out an extension for Henrik Lundqvist, who I feel is one of the main reasons of Tortorella’s firing.
  •  What is the Rangers biggest off-season need heading into the 2013-14 season?
Although the Rangers have one of the best defensive cores in the league, I feel that they need to add to that by bringing in an offensive defenseman. Someone who can quarterback the powerplay and create scoring chances for the team. Right now they have that in John Moore but he was never given a chance due to what I perceived to be Tortorella’s ignorance. If Sather can grab somebody like Mark Streit and pair him with Moore I think that their powerplay will become more successful and they will have more chances to score on a nightly basis. But after seeing what Streit demanded from the Islanders, there is no chance the Rangers commit that length and salary to a soon to be 36 year old defenseman. Right? ?

I would like to thank Andrew (fire away below, I know the questions are coming) for his responses to my questions and for taking part in our off-season Q&A. Now, I’ll be right back, I have to run up in his room and stamp an EyesOnIsles sticker on his wall above his bed to show my appreciation.  Hee-Hee

Please give their site a look if you desire and they also have a Facebook page where you can get news and notes relating to the Blueshirts.