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The Rangers winning “meaningless” late season games might not be the worst thing
By Chris Yackel
The Rangers are 5-2-2 since the trade deadline purge which saw many key players traded away for what General Manager Jeff Gorton hopes is a bright future. Many thought what happened at the deadline meant that for the present, the tank for a top draft pick was on as the Rangers would dip to the bottom of the standings. However, this has not been the case at all as the Rangers new young talent has been impressive and in return helping the team get good results. Many fans are not thrilled by this as the Rangers recent play hurts the team’s chances of getting a top pick in the draft this June. The reality however is the Rangers winning so called, “meaningless” games is exactly what the organization needs to do.
The reason is the young players that are getting increased ice time or are now in the lineup need to grow in a culture where losing or tanking isn’t acceptable. In a rebuild losing games is going to happen. That’s just the way re-builds work. However, being an embarrassment to the league doesn’t have to happen in a rebuild. It creates a culture of losing and makes life miserable for fans and players alike.
That isn’t a culture that helps young players develop at all. A culture of winning does. For the young players that are apart of the Rangers future plans for eventual success again, building good habits of winning now will do nothing but help down the road when this rebuild is over. Players like Neal Pionk, John Gilmour, Pavel Buchnevich, Anthony DeAngelo, Brady Skjei and Jimmy Vesey will all benefit in the future by continuing to play hard and win games now.
A great example of this was last Wednesday’s 4-3 Overtime victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Rangers were down 2-0 after the end of 2 periods. They looked like a team that would just bow out to the defending two-time Stanley Cup champions. Instead the Rangers showed heart and character as they were able to tie the game at 2. The Rangers again looked finished as the gave up another goal with less than 5 minutes left in regulation. Again they were able to tie the game 3 a piece.
The Rangers looked dead in the water again after Evgeni Malkin was awarded a penalty shot in the dying seconds of regulation. Alex Georgiev the 22-year-old goaltending prospect who was only in his sixth NHL start showed a ton of guts and was able to stare his fellow countrymen in the face and stop him to send the game to overtime. It was in overtime the Rangers were able to secure an impressive gutsy win.
A game like this goes a long way in building a winning culture and never say die attitude for the young players on this team. Fans may not be happy about winning games now, but in the future they’ll be glad these young Rangers did, because when the games are no longer, “meaningless” these young Rangers will know exactly what to do.
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