That the Rangers are two wins away from the Stanley Cup final is down to the impressive work rate, team ethic and application of the roster and the coaching staff. That the team is almost running on empty and may perhaps fall short of the Finals is because of the way the team plays, the style and energy required to play that way. That said, whatever happens the rest of the season it has been a hugely successful one. More importantly, the way the Rangers play promises so much for the future.
Teams can be blessed with skill and can fall short because of a lack of heart, character or work ethic. It’s hard to acquire those traits. It’s easier to acquire talent. The Rangers have gone about it the right way and that is why this team should be a contender for the foreseeable future.
That the team (currently) struggle to score goals consistently is down to the fact the club has a lack of in their prime skill players – Gaborik and Richards aside. Players like Stepan and Anisimov, Kreider and Hagelin are still developing. This is one of the youngest clubs in the entire league. Players such as Ryan Callahan need to be complemented with skill. It’s this combination of youth however that should develop in to quality scorers even if it’s not happening just yet.
Marian Gaborik has struggled to hit the net, in part because the rest of the club has also done so. Next year, where Hagelin, Kreider and Stepan are that much more engrained, more experienced and more confident in their own abilities they should step forward and contribute more. Then we shall see more space for Gaborik and the others.
Given what Chris Kreider is already doing, when you couple that ability with the clubs work rate it promises so much. Teams like the Capitals had to change their entire DNA to find a way to go deep in the playoffs. The Rangers already have that DNA and need ‘only’ grow in to the players they can become. That’s what is so exciting. For every Ranger fan it should be hugely exciting that a season that may include a trip to the Cup finals can be seen as a bonus.
Sather, Tortorella, Gordie Clark and the rest of the Rangers brass have built this team the right way. The foundation is there in both talent and mentality. This isn’t a bunch of Alex Semin’s. This is a team of Ryan Callahan’s. That’s why the Rangers will win the Cup in the near future. Exciting times thanks to a Black and Blue core.