Excitement and ExpectancyJanuary 5, 2011, by
In a few days I’ll be making my latest pilgrimage to New York and I couldn’t be more excited. I’ll be getting to go to the Canucks and Canadiens games and they’ll be my personal Christmas ! I’ll also be using the Rangers to help me forget about the Giants dismal end to 2010 but that’s a different discussion….. Before the Rangers entertain me next week they have three games coming up starting tonight against the Canes and including games versus St Louis and the Stars (hello Mr Richards…). The Rangers have played poor hockey the last 3 games and haven’t clicked offensively. Injuries can be blamed but so can poor decision making and an inconsistent, ineffective fore-check. A few changes and improved play would help. This is what I want to see happen before my trip to NYC;
Gaborik becomes Ovechkin; Gaborik needs to shoot and shoot as much as possible. He doesn’t need to necessarily look for the corner every shot but he does need to skate hard and hit the net as much as possible. He needs to do what AO does and just launch the puck at net as much as he can. Gaborik is currently on course for nearly 100 shots less than last year (obviously injuries factored in). With Stepan getting him the puck and if Dubinsky can crash the net there should be success to be had. With guys like Callahan and Prospal out, Gaborik now needs to be the offensive leader the he should be anyway.
Gilroy; now he has the promise of an extended stretch of hockey it’s time we see Gilroy use the offensive skills he’s got. He needs to take it up a notch and not just be a member of the top 6 but become an offensive contributor. He needs to become a legitimate option on the power play. He has a lot of talent but as of right now he still hasn’t earnt the deal he got off the Rangers two summers ago. If he wants to better that deal it’s time to step up his solid yet unspectacular play.
Ryan McDonagh; He represents the future and Steve Eminger does not. Assuming the drills and ‘look’ from the coaches goes well the coaching staff should give McDonagh some game time to give him a taste of what he can expect. No need to rush him but it would do McDonagh a lot of good to see what the pace of the NHL looks like. It should be Eminger that sits, not just because his play has slipped but, because of the depth behind him, he’s unlikely to return next season.
Zuccarello gets on the board; With the Rangers offense sputtering and with injuries taking its toll this team would benefit massively from Zuccarello showing he truly is NHL ready rather than ‘just’ continuing to flash his undoubted ability. At times he has shown his promise – in the few games he has played so far – but he needs to score and become an offensive contributor. No one is expecting him to become a go-to scorer straight away but while he is with the big club any offense would be welcome; while an ideal situation would be if his impact could be big straight away.