Thank You, Hockey News

September 1, 2011, by

This is as much of an open letter to the ignorant writers at the Hockey News as it is a normal post. Recently the Hockey News continued their pre season rankings by placing the Rangers 7th in the East. All I have to say to that is thank you – and all Rangers fans should be saying the same. There is no better motivation for a team than to be disrespected and/or to have the burden of pressure or expectation reduced from their shoulders.

Seventh wouldn’t be a disaster for this Rangers team, far from it; it gets them in to the post season after all. However, in many people’s eyes this Rangers team has the potential for more in both the regular season and once (if?) they get beyond it. This is a team that has filled several holes this summer – for the long term – through retention (the kids), recruitment (Richards, Erixon, Rupp) and health (Biron). This team benefits from depth all over the roster and in my humble opinion; the biggest uncertainty surrounding the Rangers is internal development.

However to those worried about internal development; While every single player cannot be expected to develop as hoped, it can be reasonably expected several of those players will improve with age and ice time and if that happens (thanks to the aforementioned depth) then this Rangers team has several weapons at its disposal.

Looking at those ahead of the Rangers in the THN predictions; the immediate teams in front of NYR are Tampa and Buffalo. While Tampa has a bit more top end talent they have more question marks on their roster (in goal, defensive depth etc) despite their playoff run this past season. While Ryan Miller aside, I have a hard time being in love with the Sabres and don’t share the enthusiasm with some people over their (overpaid) additions.

While THN do praise the Rangers in their synopsis, they do finish by saying this:

The Rangers can’t be worse after improving their greatest need, but also won’t jump too far ahead of where they were a year ago.

Why not? Personally I don’t believe THN are accounting for the large amount of young talent on the Rangers squad, the injuries the Rangers had to tolerate last year and the potential upside that is there. They allow for ifs and buts for the likes of Tampa and Buffalo but not the Rangers? It’s hard to agree with THN but I will say thank you; thank you THN, for keeping expectancy low in regards to Manhattan’s hockey team. Here’s hoping they prove THN wrong.


  1. Matt J says:

    I don’t think any hockey players read hockey news.

    For the Rangers though best case scenario is the finish 4th or if they are riddled by injuries or have other problems 8th.

    The way I look at it as we got 93 points without Richards and a terrible Gaborik. Our defense is one year older. 9 people on this team didn’t play 75 games last year because of injury.

    No reason the Rangers can’t make a run at the Atlantic. Do we win it? Unless Crosby has trouble coming back, and the Pens are injured again or something I don’t think the Atlantic is up for grabs. I’m really not afraid of the Flyers at this point. Devils eh, they could put up a few fights here and there but that team has some issues on defense and in goal. They need to score a lot more goals also even with Parise back.

  2. pavel says:

    THN hates the Rangers so I never even pay attention to their assesments. They could win the Stanley Cup(fingers crossed) and THN would find a way to make the Rangers look bad. But whatever, we know what to expect from the Rangers this year and that’s all that matters.

    • Jess Rubenstein (@TheProspectpark) says:

      Still waiting for the day where someone will actually write a fair and balanced article on the Rangers.
      I have a better chance winning the lottery

  3. Chris in MA says:

    I think a lot of people are failing to look at what is going on with the other teams within the Atlantic Division when doing these predictions.

    Now, my immediate reaction is that the Rangers are middle of the pack for the Atlantic. But take a closer look…

    Pitt – We know they can hold their own without Crosby/Malkin. They did if for almost the entire 2nd half last year. But how long can they keep it up without their 2 superstars? Chances are both will be back… but thats not guaranteed. Nor is their sustained health if they do come back.

    Philly – Big shake-up that could go either way. They could mesh quite nicely and blow away the rest of the Atlantic… or they can flounder and sink like a rock.

    Devils – They rebounded late last season… but again, Marty is aging. Kovalchuk has to rebound and we’ve yet to see how Parise will come back after his injury… plus Zajac is out for some time. We could easily see another bad year for the Devils.

    Islanders – They will likely stay right around par for the course.

    When you look at all the question marks surrounding 4 of 5 teams in the Atlantic, trying to predict the standings is such a toss-up. The entire division is likely to be a shitshow.

    I truly think the Rangers have just as much of a chance at leading the Atlantic as they do missing the playoffs.

    • Chris in MA says:

      BTW: My prediction for the Atlantic is as follows:

      Pitt – Crosby comes back but has a less than average year, but not a bad one by any means. Malkin comes back and is his usual self… they take the Atlantic fairly easily.

      NYR – Stay the course while getting some production from Ruchards and Gabby

      Philly – They have an up/down season trying to work out the kinks

      NJD – Right behind Philly with an up/down season as well

      NYI – No surprise here… young team with still a long way to go.

  4. Zen says:

    The Rangers will finish higher than 7th, but not that much higher. I honestly don’t get all of the love for the Flyers. Not have Carter’s goals could be replaced, but losing Mike Richards is going to be a dagger to that team IMO. Great talent, but I see them more at the bottom of the playoff picture in the East.

  5. Walt says:

    First of all “Who Cares what THN says in the first place.

    Philli is getting old, and say what you want, Pronger will not be the force he has been in the past. The goal tending is questionable, I’m not that sure Bryz is as good as they claim he is, look at the play-offs last year! Without Richards, and Carter, they will need two kids to pick up the scoring big time, Giourox, and Van Reems Dyke (spelling?), that a lot of pressure on them.

    I’m not certain that Crosby will be as effective as years past, and Malkin has to prove himself again after having re-constructive surgery. They also lost some key guys, one being Talbot who is highly under rated, the other being Rupp. Big question mark there!

    The Rangers will be at least second in their division, and if the Richards & Gabby line click we could be first, assuming no injuries. This is going to be a fun year, with gradual improvement over the season, with the youth, I have high hopes for us.

  6. John Merrigan says:

    My gut tells me the Devils will flop this season. The magic has to wear off sometime and even though Parise and Kovalchuk are a nasty one two punch, the roster is very underwhelming thereafter. Marty is 39 and he’s finally begun to regress. It’s going to get worse for the Devils before it gets better.

    As for the Islanders, I think they will surprise people this year. They’re finally healthy and if they find any stability in goal they COULD make a little run to the playoffs. Although they will more than likely fall short.

    The Flyers are the biggest question mark. I don’t think anyone knows what exactly will happen, but they’re putting their money with their mouth is giving JVR 6 years. That’s a big deal for a guy who had 15 great games. How can you lose Mike Richards and Jeff Carter and be better??

    F the Penguins.

    Double F THN.

  7. Jess Rubenstein (@TheProspectpark) says:

    The Ranger fans are not part of the THN considers their core audience so one has to expect them to trash the NYR whenever they can.

    Let them say what they want since 90% of the time their predictions wind up wrong.

    The Rangers and their fans need to worry about the Rangers as they have no control over what is said, written or done with other teams.

    Want to say the Rangers are going to suck then great there is no pressure on the Rangers. Better for them worse for you.

    It has been a very long time since I have seen a NYR roster that offers actual hope for a season. Cup winners no but showing forward progress toward the cup a huge hell yea

  8. The Suit says:

    THN is composed of former Canadiens and Maple Leaf beat writers. They are bred to hate us. You will never see a quality analysis of our franchise in that publication or any for that matter that is derived north of the border.

  9. Marty K says:

    I fear recriminations for the blasphemous words I am about to write but I agree with the THN this time round. My only question marks in their rankings are the Sabres and the Devils.
    We are all throwing what ifs out there about the rest of the Atlantic but what about the Rangers?
    What if Gabby doesn’t pick it up?
    What if BR plays ok but not great?
    What if we get a double dose of sophomore slumps on the blue line?
    What if Hank has an off year? (isn’t he due one some time?)
    What if we get more key injuries?
    I know I’m being a devil’s advocate but I am comfortable with the THN ranking because we can only surprise a few people and overachieve. To do the opposite would be a disaster no one here is prepared to accept.