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Musings; Gaborik’s return to form crucial to Rangers

Gaborik needs to step up, the Rangers need him.

Gaborik needs to step up, the Rangers need him.

I almost didn’t want to write this post out of protest at losing valuable sleep having to watch the Montreal game Tuesday night. That said, it probably should have sent me to sleep. Anyway, it’s another musings on another game day. Let’s get at it.

Brad Richards and Marian Gaborik need to be much, much better. Inconsistent at best, invisible at worst these guys should be difference makers in turgid affairs like the one on Tuesday.

Gaborik: I’m a huge fan, one of my favourite Rangers. That said, he’s started to play more on the perimeter again and is getting away from what makes him successful when he’s been scoring as a Ranger. We need to see him in open ice, yes. However, we also need to see him around the net, looking for rebounds, looking to sneak behind defensemen. Gaborik needs to step up.

The Rangers did not lose to Montreal because of Rick Nash’s absence. They lost because they created no traffic, because they played conservatively and because generally, team wide execution of the basics was at best, poor. Nash obviously helps when he’s in the line-up but blaming the loss on his absence is too easy.

Unless you’re name is Carl Hagelin, right now, no Ranger forward is exempt from criticism.

I still think (even with Nash out) Chris Kreider should be in the AHL logging big minutes.

For those of you worrying about the standings – do you really think Anaheim is a 12-2-1 team? Do you think the Canadiens can continue to win on such minimal offensive displays? Do you really think Washington is the worst team in the East? Do you really think Chicago won’t lose a single game in regulation all year? At the end of the day, it’s still early. Even in a 48 game season.

Back to Gaborik; how do you get him back on track, playing with more consistency – does it lie in his linemates or does he need a large dose of the Tortorella treatment?

As much as I love the (usual) application and effort of Ryan Callahan, I also think he needs to be contributing more offensively. Just because he’s always giving 100% effort (and is immensely popular) doesn’t mean he’s immune to needing to up his game.

The Rangers may be struggling for offensive consistency but they can get away with it for now, because Lundqvist is back to playing at a high level and the defense, generally speaking, is playing well in front of him.

Hagelin’s form begs two questions; do we need to re-evaluate his offensive upside? Or do we assume his form is mainly the product of being Rick Nash’s line mate? Personally, I think his talent and intelligence were underrated when he was turning pro. Draft bargain.

Question Time:

  • Will Hagelin reach 20 goals this season?
  • Who will score more from the blueline?
  • Will Nash score 15 goals?
  • What is your biggest area of concern when assessing the Rangers?
  • Should the Rangers use their remaining compliance buy-out in the summer? And if so, who do you target?
  • Will Lundqvist be a Vezina candidate this year?
  • Who has most disappointed you on the Rangers this season so far?

7 Responses to “Musings; Gaborik’s return to form crucial to Rangers”

  1. Leatherneckinlv says:

    Hags..20 goals…yes
    Girardi
    Nash…yes
    Inconsistency and driving the net and ofcourse the Powerplay
    No…the team is set for runs at the cup
    Lundqvuist… sadly no
    Richards and Halpren…though Halpren is starting to win face offs again

    • Chris says:

      I’d love to see Hagelin make 20 goals this year. He’s on pace for 19 after his recent form. It’d be a nice way to underline that he never got enough credit for his skill as well as his speed and work rate.

  2. Steve D says:

    On Gaborik, I was meaning to stop by and talk about his effort against Montreal. Thanks for bringing this up!

    Away from the puck: little effort, standing there at times waiting for the puck to come to him.

    When he had the puck, he was struggling with keeping it on his stick versus making things happen.

    He needs to play with the fire he had in game 2 of the Boston Series. He needs like you mention to get to the front of the net.,Keep his wheels moving.

    Richards I’m afraid has lost a step. I don’t think he is as fast, and I’ve never seen him make so many bad passes and/or decisions in the defensive zone. His effort and results need to match his contract, which is far apart right now.

    On you questions:
    Haglin: 23 goals

    I like Stralman, but Girardi will score most

    They have the ability to dominate when they feel like it – need to be consistent with focus and energy – all 60 minutes of every game.

    No need

    I hope so with the King, but he needs a very hot hand the rest of the way

    Richards, Asham’s fighting ability(he gets killed every time), Biron’s shootout effort

  3. nyr1579 says:

    hags 20 goals
    stralman
    nash over 15 yes
    powerplay
    depends on who (gabby? richards? crazy to consider) so no for now
    lundquist…too early but for now no
    richards. thought year two comfort level would be big

  4. ranger17 says:

    HAGS 15 NASH 15 GABBY 18 BR 10 Cally 10 Boyle 5 Miller 7 Pyatt 7 Halpern 4 Ashem 3 Stepan 11 Kreider 6 MDZ 6 Staal 6 Stralman 5 Girardi 6 McD 5 They will need more than this from everyone to go far .

  5. Walt says:

    Hags should reach 20 goals this season skating with Nash, with his hussle!

    McD, crazy, but I believe his offensive capability is much higher than what we’ve seen.

    If healthy, Nash should exceed 15, and he has been slow to start, but will start getting lucky, he is due!

    PP, but then again, why kick a dead horse, you get no results.

    If Richards doesn’t get off his duff soon, buy him out. I believe that he has lost a step, and an edge.

    Hank won’t win again this year, sorry to say.

    Richards, Richards, Richards! Am I repeating myself?

    As for Gabby, he has always been a streak scorer, and when he is hot, he burns you, when he’s cold, he becomes invisible. Wake up dude, start earning your pay!

  6. Pas44 says:

    I am starting to be upset with our coaches.
    powerplay?

    where are the RANGERS!

    LETS GO!!!!!!!!!!!!