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John Muckler


C - Wayne Gretzky, Manny Malhotra, Petr Nedved, Sean Pronger, Marc Savard. LW - Brent Fedyk, Adam Graves, Darren Langdon, Kevin Stevens, Esa Tikkanen. RW - Todd Harvey, Mike Knuble, John MacLean, Niklas Sundstrom. D - Jeff Beukeboom, Brian Leetch, Stan Neckar, Peter Popovic, Ulf Samuelsson, Mathieu Schneider, Geoff Smith, Chris Tamer. G - Mike Richter, Dan Cloutier.




Claimed Rumun Ndur, D, from Buffalo.


12/09 Colorado      L 2-1
12/11 at Buffalo    L 2-0
12/14 Calgary       W 5-2
12/16 at New Jersey L 6-3
12/19 at Toronto    L 7-4


Atlantic Division   GP   W   L   T   PTS   GF   GA 
  New Jersey        30  18   8   4    40   90   76 
  Philadelphia      31  14   9   8    36   86   70   
  Pittsburgh        29  13   9   7    33   83   80   
  NY Rangers        31  11  13   7    29   84   86  
  NY Islanders      32  12  19   1    25   79   93


by Alex Frias, New York Rangers Correspondent

Seems like only yesterday that the Rangers were riding high on what seemed like a franchise-record five-game winning streak, but then again just yesterday Bill Clinton was impeached.

Looks like the Blueshirts are truly feeling Wild Bill's pain or at least that's the way they're playing. After a demolishing 7-4 loss at the hands of Toronto, the Rangers had rung up four losses in five games, with only the ever-dangerous Calgary Flames conquered in that stretch.

The trouble lies in the defense. The third pairing of newcomers Stan Neckar and Chris Tamer has been nothing short of horrendous. In the loss in Toronto, three shifts, three goals against. Tamer totaled five shifts for the game and gave up four goals. Neckar had nine shifts for the same outcome. Now you know why Pittsburgh was so willing to throw in Tamer in the Petr Nedved-Alexei Kovalev deal.

And the forwards aren't helping out either. Todd Harvey has been hampered by a severely bruised thumb, but other than Adam Graves and Mike Knuble, there hasn't been much forechecking or backchecking.

Together with the fact that Mike Richter, understandably and inevitably, succumbed to the weight of having to erase so many mistakes in front of him, and you can see why they've lost four out of five.

Coach John Muckler has screamed, yelled, and drilled them in practice but has yet to see results. The day after the big loss in Toronto he made them do sprints for 45 minutes without pucks.

"I just about died," Harvey said. "I think it was a little wake- up call. We didn't talk about it much. We knew what was coming."

And dropping in the standings a mere two weeks after you were climbing them.

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