It’s been a while since I’ve penned one of the musings posts. Generally these are done by Chris, and Suit fills in when he can’t. But today it’s my turn. Enjoy.
- I don’t get all this hate of James Dolan saying the Rangers are nearly contenders for the Cup. It’s not like he guaranteed anything, he just said what we all know: The Rangers are a very good team, and appear to be a piece or two away from making a run. He didn’t pull a Rex Ryan. He didn’t say anything about how they will win this year. He said “close,” which means any time within the next 2-3 years. I’ve been saying 2013-2014 for a while now, am I a jinx too?
- Another thing about the Dolan hate: Why do people think he’s a terrible owner? Sure, he’s an absentee owner and turned a blind eye to the pre-lockout doings of Glen Sather, but he continually opens his checkbook without hesitation to make sure the Rangers get what the Rangers need. Would another owner have signed Brad Richards after seeing what happened with Scott Gomez, Chris Drury, and Wade Redden? Doubtful. To those clamoring for a new owner: How do you know a new owner would still open that checkbook? Sometimes the evil you know is better than the evil you don’t.
- When you take a step back and look at what the Rangers have accomplished this season, it really is something. No Marc Staal? No problem. No Mike Sauer? No problem. Can’t score one night? No problem, just shut them down. Sean Avery a distraction? No problem. No powerplay? No problem. Ok, slight problem. This team has been through it all, and that is what builds character for championship runs.
- Despite all that, John Tortorella still has just an “outside shot” at winning the Jack Adams. After watching 24/7, which changed many people’s opinions about him, the world realized that this team will skate through a brick wall for their coach, and for each other. The team wants to win for him. And the coach has made slight adjustments in games and between games to make them believers. He should be a finalist.
- Speaking of award finalists, this should be the year that Henrik Lundqvist wins the Vezina, if he can keep up with these numbers. If he does win, he should buy Martin Biron dinner for a month. It’s because Biron has been spectacular as a backup that Lundqvist can get enough rest to stay sharp. Really want to ensure he wins the Vezina? Stop playing him against the Canadiens.
- Those Canadiens, and the Leafs, pose potentially dangerous first round matchups for the Rangers. They really have a hard time beating both teams, and both could slide into the playoffs as the #7 or #8 seed. With the Rangers and the Bruins fighting for the top seed in the East, there is a distinct possibility that the Rangers will need to face one of them in the first round of the playoffs.
- Those Bruins await the Rangers in Boston this Saturday, and it is going to be the biggest game of the year. The Rangers are a poor-man’s Bruins at this point, with home grown grit and toughness and some free agent skill to compliment that. The difference between the clubs? Zdeno Chara. He’s the Norris Trophy contender that makes their powerplay work. He is the only player that the Bruins have that the Rangers don’t.
- Another reason why the Rangers are a year or two away from a Cup: The defense is not mature enough. They have the veteran leadership down pat, but more time for Ryan McDonagh and Michael Del Zotto to develop into puck moving defensemen can’t hurt. We know what McDonagh is, but MDZ has shown this year that he has the potential to be a legitimate powerplay quarterback and puck moving defenseman. He’s not there yet, but he will be.
- A win against Nashville on Tuesday. Beating the Penguins tonight would be huge for the Rangers. Beating the Bruins on Saturday would be enormous. Git ‘ir done.