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Rangers Soaring – Reasons for Optimism

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?

22 Responses to “Rangers Soaring – Reasons for Optimism”

  1. The Suit says:

    This my friend, is an excellent post. Silk tie for you.

  2. Spozo says:

    I watched the Ottowa game on NHL network a couple weekends ago and it was Hockey Night in Canada so I was treated to hearing the Senators announcers. They too called Richards a letdown and said that New York has been disappointed in him so far. Well I would love to know which part of New York they heard that from. I’ve never seen a more obvious case of making something out of nothing and trying to create a media craze.

    • Chris says:

      Being in the UK, a lot of feeds I rely on for Rangers games are Canadian and they do seem intent on talking down Richards. Is it bitterness he turned down the Leafs? Who knows, but I do know that they are completely inaccurate with their ‘assessments’.

  3. bob says:

    Good write up!And its nice to actually see and believe that this team is finally going in the right direction.After 40 years of watching I don’t think I have ever been able to say that without alot of skepticism.The only thing I am not sure of yet is classifying Anisiminov as a top 6.Gabs and Steps are both players that can make it easy for linemates to look better.If he can show consistency and the ability with other linemates then I will buy that.But as you said its a small sample size.But over the last two years he has shown some incredible talent in flashes.Boy,he would be one scary player if he could bring that on a consistent basis.I don’t put much weight into what TSN writes about the Rangers.Brad brings alot of intangibles that a young team cannot put a price on.Whether he gets 60 or 90 points his value to these young players is like American Express “PRICELESS”.

    • Chris says:

      thanks Bob. This team still has issues but there’s a lot to be optimistic about. Anisimov; he’s not a top 6 player yet but definitely has the look of one. He needs to continue in his recent performance and if he does; he’s a top 6 guy plain and simple. Needs a goal now though. For all the hard work, 1 in 15 isn’t reflective of his effort.

  4. pavel says:

    Girardi for Norris!

    • Scully says:

      If they ever gave the Norris out to a defensive-minded defenseman I’d buy it. At this point he’s got to be in the very early discussion.

  5. Walt says:

    The mention of the Boyle line, and their lack of sacoring at this stage of the season is an issue that concerns me. This week I stated that Prust didn’t seem the same, and that it may have been due to his off season surgery. Torts came out and stated that Prust is banged up, and that he needs rest to get himself healthy. This is the reason the line has not performed up to last seasons standards, and it makes sense.

    Now on to Richards! Brad being on the second line lets Gabbi be Gabbi, and that every team’s best shut down lines can’t due a number on our best line. You shut down one, the other takes over. Last night was a classic example of this, the GAS line doesn’t score, can’t believe that the way Gabbi played, but the Dubi-Cally line kick tail, and take no names. Let the idiots at TSN, HNC, and the rest of the Canadian press say what they want, BR is the real McCoy, just ask the Stepan kid how much he has impacted his game.

    This team is starting to remind me of the 72 Rangers, with the GAG line, great second with Tkachuk centering that line, outstanding defense, and goaltending. What more can we ask for, well maybe a cup, hell why not?????

    • bob says:

      Prust should have avoided fighting.Thats gotta be murder on his shoulder.Loved the GAG line.I was a kid and got signed autographs from those guys.We had good teams in the early 70’s,but philly was the nail in our side.Giacomin and Villemure were great.Didn’t they split the Vezina one year.Anyway I really feel like we honestly have a bright future with this team and prospects.

  6. Rob says:

    Yes, I am excited. This is a damn good team and they haven’t even played their best hockey yet. Funny, just a few weeks ago people were all over them for their play after only 7 games when they hadn’t even played one home game yet. Now, with a few home games and a return to normalcy they are starting to gel. 3 solid lines, good defense even without Stall, and great goaltending is making this team a tough team to play against.

  7. kgb16 says:

    You are wrong about BR. So far, he is a dud. I have 2 words for you, Chris Drury. Oh yeah he was great in the locker room too. We don’t need another Drury. I hope he turns it around. His work on the power play is invisible. We have nothing, and God help us if the other team rushes when he is playing point.

    • The Suit says:

      Comparing Drury to Richards already? Really?

    • Vince Rosalia says:

      Tell me it’s sarcasm I’m missing…he is second on the team in scoring, 3pts behind Gabby. Did you see his power play work the other night?

    • Vince Rosalia says:

      Also, a wise man once wrote: “With the presence of Richards, teams now must split up their top defenders (forwards and defensemen) to deal with the threat of both Ricahrds and Gaborik. Thinner defense means easier scoring opportunities. Depth is a wonderful thing.”

      • The Suit says:

        someone read our line tinkering post eh?

        • The Suit says:

          oh wait that was a Dave Shapiro quote. My bad…I’m puck hogging today

          • Vince Rosalia says:

            That quote directly, yes, however it was a theme getting bounced around on this blog in multiple posts…just the first one I saw to grab. Honestly Dave probably stole it from you. ;)

    • Dave says:

      Second on the team in scoring. Was this a serious comment?