The Good Old New York Rangers Are Still There

New York Rangers' Ryan McDonagh (27), Derick Brassard (16), Chris Kreider (20) and Chris Kreider (20) celebrate with Mats Zuccarello after Zuccarello scored a goal during the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Buffalo Sabres Monday, Jan. 25, 2016, in New York. The Rangers won 6-3. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Every team has its slumps, but if you’re on the New York Ragners, you realize that this isn’t just your typical losing skid. This is a breakdown. Seriously, everything is blowing up in their faces.

Though the trade deadline is lurking in the shadows, that is not the answer for this Rangers team. The Blue Shirts — the ones who won the President’s Trophy just a year ago — are still there. They just need to be awakened.

Since the season started, the Rags have looked… well, lazy. Their play has declined; Rick Nash isn’t performing up to his potential, and no one is really remaining positive. Maybe it was the disappointing loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning in last year’s Eastern Conference Final that caused this funk, or maybe it’s just the result of a meltdown. Throughout these past years, the Rangers have been mentally drained.

Now, they must go one without Rick Nash; while he has been underperforming, he has been one of the only positive voices in the locker room. And the rest of the Rangers’ team realizes this is a huge loss, considering their struggles already.

“Good teams — great teams — find ways to have guys step up into roles,” Derek Stepan said. “We have to find the way to fill a big hole up front.”

Meanwhile, on the backend, Keith Yandle isn’t living up to potential, and Henrik Lundqvist isn’t living like a “King” this season. Thanks to the defense that leaves him out to dry, he has lost a shot at a Vezina run this year, and if the team can’t turn around quickly, he’ll lose a shot at a Stanley Cup playoff run, too.

Despite the teams’ all-around woes, they cannot pick up phones on Feb. 29 and trade away everything they have. With this much time in the season, is it really worth it to start rebuilding right now. In my opinion, it is not worth the price… unless of course they a) get a huge return for Yandle, or b) Figure out how to land Steven Stamkos. No, Jonathan Drouin is not worth it at this point in time.

he only way this team makes the playoffs is if every player in the locker room takes it upon themselves to give it their all and lead their team to a win.

Captain Ryan McDonagh realizes that the team will get a new start heading into play post All-Star break, and that in order to do that, they must start from scratch and take what they’ve learned from their recent struggles.

“We went in a little slump there, but it taught us a good lesson in what it takes every night to win games,” McDonagh said. “We’ve really been competing hard, battling hard, coming up with loose pucks on the wall, winning those battles and that helps everybody.”

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