Saturday, February 21, 2009

Tom’s Jerry: What Tom Renney and the Rangers Need to Chase

Nope, Tom, the Cup isn’t up in the stars

“Get him out, get him out!” Well, what a surprise, New York fans are calling for another coach to be fired. Except this time…………’s a hockey coach! Even I didn’t see this day coming.

Following Michel Therrien’s firing last Sunday, it was obvious that another NHL team this year was heading down the road of change. And then, the unexpected occurred, speculation about the security of Tom Renney’s job with the Rangers was all over the place.

Newsday blogger Steve Zipay argued that Renney should be booted if the Rangers fall to the Blues. Well, they did, in a tight 2-1 showing, and Renney still donned the suit on Wednesday, when the Rangers got a much needed victory in the Garden against the somewhat revitalized Islanders. But the Renney bashing goes back before the Blues game. Prior to the Therrien firing, Renney was criticized by Larry Brooks of the Sunday Post for a number of mismatches, including the placement of defenseman Wade Redden on the power play line.

However, Newsday’s Mark Kermann probably sums up the Renney situation most accurately, saying that, “the current group is just not very flammable. It is a low-key bunch that wouldn’t have the bite of terriers if John Tortorella, Mike Keenan or the Wizard of Oz were coaching.”

Unlike, Michel Therrien, Tom Renney is admired and extremely respected by his players. Why they are “tuning him” out at the moment is beyond me, but I do know that Chris Drury’s lack of leadership, Scottie Gomez’s own zone turnovers, and Wade Redden’s lack of scoring activity are problems that Renney cannot handle. My NHL 2K9/BTR Network colleague summed it up perfectly when he said, “If their (the team’s) strategy worked once before, for the first half of the season, then it is bound to work again, it’s not Renney's fault and the only people that could be blamed are really the players. They need to work around this.” But how exactly can the Blueshirts work around this?

I firmly believe that the most important thing to do in this situation is to go back to the fundamentals, as cliché as that sounds. Look, when Islanders coach Scott Gordon was asked during the early Isles’ debacle whether he would change his coaching approach, he answered with a stern “no.” Tom Renney should follow the same approach, and, just like our troublesome economy, the team will eventually come out of this slide. Maybe it’ll get worse before it gets better, but in that case, Rangers’ fans will have to quit complaining and pointing the finger at one man, and start examining the sorry six on the ice. And if naïve Rangers’ fans think that constant firings work for an organization, they should take a close look at the early decade before Renney’s tenure. Maybe then they’ll get off the Kool-Aid they’ve been drinking for far too long.

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