It's not just the media, even the head coach is looking for words.
“I'm running out of things to say, to describe what we have to do,” said Kitchener Rangers head coach Chris Dennis after yet another loss – their seventh in a row. “At some point, this thing is going to turn around. It's just how long is this going to take, until we figure it out.”
Patience and time are really two things the Rangers don't have, unfortunately. That is, if they want home ice advantage in the playoffs. After Game 35, they're sitting in ninth place, outside of the playoffs.
Former Ranger Joseph Serpa and the Oshawa Generals smacked the Rangers 5-2 Friday, in front of over 7,000 fans at The Aud.
While running out of words to describe how his team's playing, Dennis knows his role in turning things around.
“I have to get them to understand, and simplify, what we need to do, to be good,” said the head coach. “Everybody keeps talking about how much talent we have; It's what I talked to them about before the game. If we don't work, we will get beat. Hard work beats talent, when talent doesn't work (...) They outworked us in the second, and that ended up turning around the game.”
The Gens were on their heels early, still looking for the first shot on net almost 10 minutes into the game. But, they still managed to jump out to a 2-0 lead.
“Where we're at, with our group, we didn’t respond the right way... again,” said Dennis.
He pointed to missed power-play opportunities, early, that bled into his team's five-on-five play.
Kitchener came into the game with the league's fifth ranked power play, despite going just 3-for-20 in their last three games. They were 1-for-7 against Oshawa.
“I'm seeing poor decisions. I’m seeing sloppy play. I’m seeing individual plays that I really don’t care for,” said Dennis. “Then these guys come off, and they’re our top players that should be feeling good about themselves and trying to score, and they’re getting tight because of that.”
The power-play goal against the Gens came from the second unit, off the stick of overager Reid Valade, his first point in four games. At times, Dennis marched out a lethal power play of Carson Rehkopf, Danny Zhilkin, Francesco Arcuri, Francesco Pinelli, and Filip Mesar.
“If you look at our lineup on paper, we should be amazing,” said former Generals captain turned Rangers rearguard, Lleyton Moore. “But, I just don’t think the chemistry is there right now. It’s going to come, because the trade deadline was just a couple days ago. We’re going to get it going soon. Our leadership group has to step up a little more and hold guys accountable, and we have to go from there.”
Going from there begins with a trip to Saginaw to see the Spirit Sunday.
The Harris Law Pregame Show begins at 5:00 p.m. with Mike Farwell and Chris Pope.