Rangers Soaring – Reasons for OptimismNovember 12, 2011, by
This streak is why Rangers fans have reason to be excited. The Rangers are getting better every game. They are doing the little things right and the confidence levels are only going one way; up. If the Rangers continue to play this way the next three games are all very winnable. All of a sudden we’re talking about a nine game winning streak and a huge dose of momentum to carry the team forward. A few thoughts after 15 games:
- Marian Gaborik probably won’t win the Hart or Richard trophies but if he carries on playing like he has thus far and the Rangers grab a top 5 spot I think he’s a Hart candidate. Early to say that I know but that’s the kind of level he’s playing at right now and he’s simply dominating games. He may not have scored last night but my word he was all over the ice. This is the Gaborik of ‘old’ and what the Rangers signed up for. E.L.I.T.E
- I’m often critical of Anisimov (only because he’s so talented) but he’s really maturing this season and looks a bona fide top 6 forward even if the sample size is so small. I said a while back that Stepan and Anisimov, in one regard, are fighting each other for prominent roles long term and they are really pushing each other to better and better performances. Both kids are looking good right now.
- Ryan McDonagh is a perfect example of what I said at the start of this post. Coupled with his huge talent and maturity is his growing confidence. The kid is going forward, looking to be involved at every opportunity. What excites the most is the fact his hockey intelligence is off the charts.
- Rangers D: everywhere you look (if you include Marc Staal) the Rangers are blessed with intelligence on the blueline. Girardi, Staal, Sauer, McDonagh; all four process the game very well and that is very exciting as they mature (and hopefully get better).
- Mike Rupp may regret the day he got injured. Based solely on last night’s game, where do you slot him in when he returns? Obviously the team will have slumps, losing streaks and loss of form but right now you wouldn’t change a thing and that could make Rupp an expensive spectator.
- If Boyle-Prust-Fedotenko can find the form (as a trio, not individually) of last year this team suddenly looks stacked.
- Did TSN really call Brad Richards a flop so far? Even if you base it purely on numbers he’s on course for close to 30 goals and 65+ points. That’s hardly a flop even if the numbers would be slightly down from previous years. Throw in the influence he’s clearly having on some of the younger players and it’s still nothing but a successful acquisition. If Richards hits his stride (obviously not in top form yet) and the Rangers keep him and Gaborik on separate lines, the Rangers have two elite players and two strong scoring lines. It’s funny how one addition can really help emphasise balance and depth.
- Read all the above and remember that next season you have Chris Kreider and many, many more close to or ready for the NHL…
- All of this and there was no need to boast about the best goaltending tandem in the league. Excited yet?