New York Hockey: Report Card
Analysis: The Rangers finished among the top eight teams in the league, so there's that. But they failed to live up to expectations after a lengthy run last spring. With the exception of goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, everyone from the coach on down was responsible for what ultimately added up to an underwhelming performance in 2013.
Analysis: The team's most maddening failure came by way of its top offensive talent -- stars who didn't step up when needed. Brad Richards, whose painfully poor performance ultimately resulted in him serving as a healthy scratch the last two games of the season, just plain deteriorated. Rick Nash was invisible at times during the playoffs. Even Ryan Callahan wasn't as effective as necessary. Bottom line: None of those players were good enough come crunch time.
Analysis: Give the Rangers' blue line credit -- they did a lot with very little, especially toward the end of the season. Losing their anchor on the back end in Marc Staal, who missed more than half of the regular season and all but one game during the playoffs with an eye injury, was a crushing blow. And missing Anton Stralman was another big loss in the final pair of games in the Rangers' second-round series against the Bruins. Top shutdown pair Ryan McDonagh and Dan Girardi did all the heavy lifting while depth defensemen John Moore and Steve Eminger ably stepped in to take on more minutes once injuries began piling up.
Analysis: The Rangers' power play (4-for-44, 9.1 percent) was atrocious, especially in the playoffs -- a glaring Achilles' heel that must be rectified by next season. The team lacks a true power-play quarterback and often seemed paralyzed by its own ineptitude. Don't let the last two games fool you. The unit is a big problem that needs to be fixed. During the playoffs, the penalty kill wasn't much better. The Rangers were third-worst among playoff teams with only a 75 percent success rate in the postseason.
Analysis: If there was one person who deserved to be frustrated with the season, it was Henrik Lundqvist. The reigning Vezina Trophy winner was undoubtedly the team's most consistent performer, both in the regular season and the playoffs. Had it not been for his efforts in 12 postseason games, the Rangers would have had no business making it to the second round. Lundqvist, whose strong regular season earned him a place among the three finalists for the 2013 Vezina, posted a 2.14 goals against average and .934 save percentage in the playoffs.
Analysis: It's hard to hand out a failing grade to a coach that advanced to the second round for the second straight season. But John Tortorella is certainly culpable for some of the team's shortcomings. He didn't get enough out of his star players (that much he admitted after Saturday's season-ending loss), he did nothing to turn around an anemic power play and he didn't loosen the reigns enough to spur any type of offensive creativity. Tortorella's hard-nosed, grinding style of play worked last season, but it just didn't take with this group. If the team wants to bounce back next season, he'll have to temper his approach.