NY Rangers Right Themselves in Canada
I guess the third country in the month of October was the charm for the New York Rangers. After losing two overtime games in Stockholm, Sweden, to the Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks respectively, the Rangers came back to New York and lost to their rivals, the New York Islanders 4-2, until finally winning in Western Canada on Tuesday 4-0 over Vancouver. The win in Vancouver was followed up with a scintillating 3-2 OT win on Thursday in Calgary.
Due to the transformation of Madison Square Garden, the Rangers were forced to start the season with seven straight road games. If you gave the Rangers Head Coach and staff truth serum, I think they would have been happy with 8 out of 14 possible points. They are now 2-1-2 for 6 points with two games left, Saturday night in Edmonton and Monday in Winnipeg. Both games left are against very beatable competition where at least a split should be expected.
Notes from last night:
1. This one is for the John Tortorella bashers. I watch every game every night. Once hockey season starts, my TV and Internet are set to the Center Ice package on TV and Gamecenter Live on the Computer and that’s really it. My wife wants to kill me at times but she’s a waitress and works nights.
Anyway, on Torts, there is not a team in the NHL that plays more as a team than this Rangers group. Every player has to contribute for them to win and that credit goes to the Coach. Whatever you think of his personality, which as a former PR person in the NHL I found obnoxious at times, he’s a damn good coach.
I just can’t wait for 24/7 when Torts and my guy Lavy, two of the most impatient and grumpy coaches in the entire League, are surrounded by those cameras all the time.
2. A comment about some Rangers fans. There are some fans who flip every time you take a shot at one of the young guys on the team. However, these are the same people who butcher Glen Sather like he’s never saw a hockey puck before. Can’t have it both ways. Either Sather has done a good job developing this team coming out of the lockout or Sather hasn’t brought them the CUP so he’s failed and therefore you have to be realistic about this team and see their talent does not match Washington, Boston, Pittsburgh or the Flyers, especially on the back end. Yet, throwout a line that maybe a Dubinsky should be traded for a top defenseman and Rangers fans call you nuts.
I agree everything pre-lockout with Sather was a joke. Since the lockout, they haven’t done a terrible job. They developed a 7th! round goalie and turned him into a superstar! Their drafts have been good to pretty good, especially outside the first round. They found Dan Girardi who was an undrafted UFA. They corrected the Gomez signing and contract by using it to get McDonagh and Gaborik signed. The trade to acquire Prust was a steal. Jagr and Shanny being signed out of the lockout worked in turning around the franchise and placing the Rangers back in the playoffs.
Have they won a CUP? Of course not! But neither has San Jose, Philadelphia, Washington, and Vancouver who have better talent and spent just as much money. Quite honestly, whoever won the Crosby lottery out of the lockout was destined for greatness, like him or not it’s a fact!
3. I think it’s safe to say that McDonagh deserves some PP time when Staal is back and McD doesn’t have to also play 26 (5 on 5 and PK) minutes. He understands when to slip in from the point and his shot is accurate. The Rangers have needed that from a defensemen forever. He doesn’t have to be Brain Leetch, that’s not what anyone is saying, but he does need to get his shot through. They have not even had that in forever.
4. The Rangers young line of Callahan, Dubinsky and Anisimov are off to a terrible start. I can’t remember more than 1 or 2 shifts where they got into a solid offensive zone possession with a good cycle and forecheck. Yes, Dubinsky made the play on the game-winner and Thursday was his best effort so far this year, but that line all got raises in the offseason with the expectation they were going to take over this team and that has yet to happen while the Boyle-Prust-Fedentenko line was their most consistent line for the second straight game.
To hear more about the doings of the NHL (I promise not much Rangers talk) this past week including a Plus/Minus segment that will include some key milestones for special players, Phil Kessel’s impressive start, the Washington Capitals turn a corner?, can anyone stop the puck in Ottawa?, Minnesota trades finally pay off?, and final four hangover. Hear Scotty and I give our Top 5/Bottom 5 rankings. All that and more on this week’s What’s Brewin in Hockey Show starting at 10 PM EST.