I miss Connor Hall. He's a character player.
His season ending injury has put a strain on the Rangers because no one can fill his role. He has an edge to him on the ice. He's tough, but not a goon. He doesn't have to fight because the threat of him dropping his gloves is enough to make another player think twice. He makes being in front of the Rangers net or down his side of the ice uncomfortable for the opposition. His presence says if you mess with one of my team mates, I'm coming to deal with you. This allows his team mates to play with a bit more confidence.
He also makes good first passes and at the time of his injury his shot from the point was hard, accurate and able to be deflected by forwards. His effort is always strong and he his attitude shows that hates losing. The sixth goal London scored after their empty net goal would not have happened with Hall out there.
These last few games have been tough to watch. I have to think that a healthy Connor Hall would have made these games a little closer or at least harder for the other teams to get their points. I imagine he speaks up in the dressing room when needed too.
I hope that character, the type we've seen in players like Mike Richards, Matt Pepe, David Clarkson, Mike Duco type players returns.
We also need a few forwards who can carry the team on their back with their skill and character when needed like Jeff Skinner, Justin Azevedo, Michael Catenacci, Derek Roy, Gabriel Landeskog. Matt Halischuk, Nick Spaling, etc. We have some skilled players but seem to be missing that player who can elevate the level of play of those around them.
There was a time when the attitude was, we expect to win. It's shifted more to we hope we win. Add a few more character players and we can get back to we expect to win. London has done a lot of things right, but one thing that stands out is always having a few players that bring that extra bit of character to the mix.