Rangers lose again, important offseason inches closer

It hasn’t exactly been a quiet week for the New York Rangers.

The night after their fight-filled melee with the Washington Capitals, the Rangers played shorthanded against another East playoff team, the Bruins, and took a 4-0 loss.

With one game left, also against the Bruins, the team is clearly moving on to the offseason. There’s no clearer sign of that than the team firing president John Davidson and general manager Jeff Gorton earlier this week.

The Rangers whirlwind season hasn’t had a break, with the incident leading to defenseman Tony DeAngelo leaving the team in the winter, then Artemi Panarin‘s leave of absence, and then the Tom Wilson hit on Panarin that left their star out for the season. Then, Wilson hit Pavel Buchnevich‘s head into the ice during a scrum, and got just the $5,000 fine.

The Rangers, who were eliminated on Monday. took clear exception to the ruling. They sent out their controversial statement on Tuesday night that led to a $250,000 fine from the league. Davidson and Gorton’s departure, per multiple reports, is supposedly unrelated.

So back onto the ice, Wednesday night happened. Buchnevich earned a one-game suspension for his high stick on Capitals forward Anthony Mantha, the only player who ended up with a suspension out of all the madness with the two clubs.

Now, the Rangers go back to meekly ending their season without a playoff berth, something new president and GM Chris Drury said wasn’t the expectation anyways during his introductory presser.

But, at least Thursday night, on the ice at least, was a lot quieter, even in defeat.

Igor Shesterkin made 30 saves on 34 shots while the Rangers managed just 15 shots on Bruins goalie Jeremy Swayman. Given the game the night before, and traveling, it’s not a surprising outcome.

Gorton and Davidson’s dismissals, if it’s to be believed were for team performance, came at a bizarre time. The statement and the then-impending fights against the Capitals made them polarizing to begin with. With now one, but at the time three, games left in the regular season, it made the question fair.

Drury has said they’ll decide what’s next for head coach David Quinn once the season ends. If performance is a concern, that’s something be considered for the third-year head coach.

It’s been said the performance against the Islanders in particular was a concern; if that’s the case, perhaps the Rangers look to bulk up in the offseason against their physical state rival. Even keeping in mind players like Chris Kreider and Jacob Trouba missed the most recent Islanders contest. If no playoffs were a concern, well, at least the Bruins won’t be in their division next season.

Perhaps if the chaotic week that was never happened and the Rangers made management changes a week from now, it wouldn’t feel so messy. That hardly matters when things already happened to get to this point.

Whatever they do next, they have to take the ice just one more time first. At the pace the news is coming, though, they’ll probably be happy if they get a quiet ending.

Marisa Ingemi is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop her a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow her on Twitter @Marisa_Ingemi.

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