Break Up Day 2024 - What We've Learned from the Rangers' Exit Day Interviews

The Rangers all love each other, the coaching staff, and high-end golf caps.

Break Up Day 2024 - What We've Learned from the Rangers' Exit Day Interviews

After last week's disappointing loss to the Florida Panthers in the 2024 Eastern Conference Final, the Rangers "cleaned out their lockers" and provided access to the media today.

Before I jump into this, It's not even been a full week and Rangers' fans are damn near implosion. Demanding buy-outs, trades for any Tkachuk available, and the demolition of the team's core that has seen 2 conference finals in 3 years.

By watching all these interviews, I'm hoping to better understand not only where this team is after the loss, but where this team has been at mentally all season. Also, because so many of them wore ball caps, I'll be rating each one.

The following videos are in the order that the Rangers' YouTube account uploaded them. Notably missing; Panarin, Trouba, Brodzinsky, and Roslovic

Chris Kreider

Hat Rating: Solid Dad hat. 6/10

What We Learned: Kreider needs to raise his volume a bit, stop mumbling. Spoke to about playing "no doubters" where you leave no doubt about winning. They were apparently only 5% away from that. On the Rangers' window closing; "Whenever I do this at the end of the year I [field] that question... It's not something we consider. We have a good blend [of ages]."

Blake Wheeler

Hat Rating: Swannies golf cap looks cozy. 7/10

What We Learned: Doesn't know about playing next season, wants to spend time with kids, family. His injury didn't play into indecision.

Mika Zibanejad

Hat Rating: This guy needs a haircut already. 0/10

What We Learned: Nothing. We already knew this guy is a mush.

Filip Chytil

Hat Rating: Murdered out Jordan. Not super cool, but fine. 5/10

What We Learned: Chytil had no doubt he would return to play, it was only a matter of when. "It was hard to go through it, but I never had in my mind I would never play again. This is not how I would give up."

Erik Gustafsson

Hat Rating: A Good Good golf hat? What is he 16? 2/10

What We Learned: High praise for Schneider. Unsure about future with Rangers but "loves playing here."

Alex Wennberg

Hat Rating: Should have worn one. 0/10

What We Learned: Is interested in staying with Rangers. Looks back on the OT winner fondly. Acknowledges his production wasn't great with the Rangers.

Jonathan Quick

Hat Rating: Kind of cool. 6/10

What We Learned: Igor is a workhorse. Quick must smoke a pack a day.

K'Andre Miller

Hat Rating: Very 90s. 8/10

What We Learned: Thinks everyone could "pull 1% better."

Vincent Trocheck

Hat Rating: Nice golf hat, well worn. 9/10

What We Learned: Rangers need to get better at taking away time and space. It's obvious from this and many of the other interviews that this team was very tight knit. Told Shesterkin "he deserved better" after game 6 loss. Laffy is a "superstar in the making." Thinks this is the first year they have begun molding their identity.

Jimmy Vesey

Hat Rating: Neat hat... unsure it's a golf hat. Not a color I'd wear on my head. 6/10.

What We Learned: Injury is still healing, but no surgery is needed. It's evident that this room really bought into Laviolette. While the team is disappointed, they seem to be focusing already on finishing the job.

Alexis Lafrenière

Hat Rating: Real slick Yankees cap. 8/10

What We Learned: Playing with confidence, trusting his game, and having fun while competing was his focus this year. Wants to be a leader on this team (if he's not already).

Adam Fox

Hat Rating: 0/10

What We Learned: Mentioned 2 ECF in 3 years and doubled down on "getting over the hump."

Barclay Goodrow

Hat Rating: Nike golf hat. 3/10

What We Learned: Doesn't think that "pieces need to be added," the future is very bright.

Igor Shesterkin

Hat Rating: Heavy is the head that wears the crown.

What We Learned: A bit tough on himself. "Easy goals, give up. I will work on myself." Won't talk about contract situation.

Ryan Lindgren

Hat Rating: His locker room cap. 6/10

What We Learned: "No doubt" the pieces are here. On finishing his career as a Ranger; "it's where I want to be." Is optimistic the contract can get done. There is so much belief in this team. It's actually impressive. None of the interviews seem disingenuous.

Kaapo Kakko

Hat Rating: Yankee fitted. 10/10

What We Learned: Very self-aware of his situation not producing to expectations.

Braden Schneider

Hat Rating: Probably the most expensive hat of the bunch. 8/10

What We Learned: Feels like he's gained a ton of skills and confidence under this year's staff. Wants to get bigger, faster, and confident for next season.

Will Cuylle

Hat Rating: Wore it like trash. Also, a golf brand. 4/10.

What We Learned: Cuylle has learned a lot and wants to get "bigger, faster, stronger." Lavs taught him a lot. Had him in the office often to go over things.

Matt Rempe

Hat Rating: Yankee fitted. 10/10

What We Learned: Is planning on "working on every single part of his game." Seems like he really wants to move past the fighter label.

Peter Laviolette

Hat Rating: Still rocking the 2nd round dye job. 2/10.

What We Learned: Acknowledges the "belief" that the team and fans had that they would win it all as well as the disappointment. Next season will "pick up where we left off."

Against Florida; "We could have played better." Mentions that they needed to find 1 goal a game. Hesitant to say Florida played "better than us" opts to say they "played well against us."

On Kakko: "I didn't find it with him." Takes the responsibility for not "unleashing" him. "He can be that player. It'll be [our] job to make that happen."

On Chytil: "He's a centerman, and has played wind in the past." Injury was a major blow to his expected development and the team's plans.

On Lafrenière: "He was excellent." Has nothing but praise for Laffy.

On Trouba: "He came [back from injury] and gave us his impactful physical minutes."

On Injuries: "Guys battle through it." Makes decisions for the betterment of the team.

Parting thoughts

This team may have drank their own Kool-Aid regarding the "Team of Destiny" label. Laviolette obviously gave this team a ton of self-confidence, but that alone doesn't get you to the Stanley Cup.

There is also a lot of camaraderie in the room. These guys love each other and feel like they could win it all, maybe they just need to sharpen up their play a bit or dig a little deeper. I'm not saying I agree, but they definitely believe it.

The reality is that again, they fail to live up to their own standard when it matters most. They also have some previously bad contracts that are now actually detrimental to success (Trouba, Goodrow) and a bunch of UFAs that need resigning or, more preferably, replacing. They also have an aging core and some younger players that need new contracts that they might not deserve. This is going to be one of the more interesting off-seasons in a long time.

One note about the hats, I'm sure this is more about fashion than anything else, but seeing most of the team in golf attire of any kind on break up day is a bit telling.