- It’s mid September already and the kids are back to school and the Blueshirts are headed to camp. Another fall of great expectations is on the horizon.
Last season, the Rangers were like those students you encountered back in elementary school that never really did any assignments and never had a good excuse why.
Here are seven things that can get the Rangers in better shape this time around:
Marian Gaborik needs to renew his role as the ace and go-to sniper. He’d be the one guy in the classroom the teacher could always rely on to raise his hand with the right answer when a tricky question would get the crickets sounding. The B students around him need to start acting like A’s if this team is going to go anywhere (because lord knows Glen Sather won’t be moving anytime soon.) Hope for Prospal and Christensen to be suitable dishmasters. Frolov could become an X Factor and much needed offensive assistant… or another Higgins. Time will tell. It would be nice if people named something other than Gaborik contributed on the power play too and stopped dancing and passing around the puck so much.
Sean Avery has to play like the lovable class clown to get the blood boiling of his opponents and bring the offense to the table we know he has. Avery being Avery will make a world of difference. Just watch the Dallas Stars vs. NYR game from last January.
Henrik Lundqvist isn’t an 82 game kind of guy. His game faltered as fatigue set in the dying days of the season and the defense in front of him withered away. The veteran Martin Biron needs to be a reliable backup so that the King can really take his crown in April and beyond.
Coach John Tortorella needs to cool it with the yelling. Let the kids play and stop shuffling the lines every two shifts. Players need to develop some chemistry with each other to get some offense going. Gabby can’t do all the scoring. Or can he?
The captain needs to take command of this sinking ship. Chris Drury has to get back into Captain Clutch mode. Remember when as a Sabre, Druuuuuuuuuury killed the Rangers’ hope of advancing in the playoffs with that late third period tying goal with seven seconds to go back in 2007? That’s what Ranger fans were hoping they were getting when Sather signed him. He needs to play like The Winner and get his locker room rallied behind him.
The defense needs to lock it down. I’m talking to you Wade Redden. Ignore the boos and play your game. Or better yet, play a better game because yours isn’t cutting it. Matt Gilroy should have a sense of what the NHL is like by now. Michal Rosival needs to keep contributing some offense. Will Marc Staal become our reincarnated “Brian Leetch?” I sure hope so.
Magic. The Rangers need to play with some energy and believe they can actually go all the way. Management may be the biggest issue but since that’s not going to change, we have to work with the pieces we’ve got. Look at the undying roaches in Philly. They made the playoffs off a shootout and went all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals. The Blueshirts have to believe. Their fans do every season, even though that sinking feeling crops its way up as the months drag on.
It’s probably going to be a déjà vu of last season and the seasons before that. Maybe they’ll they slip into the playoffs, maybe they’ll finish in 10th, maybe they’ll get swept in the second round. Or maybe they’ll finish at the top of the class.
Rangers’ salute the Garden faithful after a dominating 7-2 win over the Leafs last October
Sather finally locked in Marc Staal, a young defenseman the Rangers’ need to be successful. The 5-year-deal means Staal is a green light to attend training camp which opens this Friday.
Avery and Gaborik were at the men’s final between Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic at the US Open on Sunday which eventually was postponed to Monday due to rain. (They were on line buying coffee in front of me while I was on my break!) When asked if they’d win the Cup this year, Sean replied: “I sure hope so. It all depends on how many goals this guy scores,” he said pointing at Gabby.
According to NHL.com, Henrik Lundqvist was in Arthur Ashe as well to take in some tennis on Monday but bailed when it started raining again to hit the Eminem/Jay Z concert at Yankee Stadium. He did a Q and A session at the NHL Store in NYC this afternoon. If you’re in the NY area, check http://www.nhl.com/ice/page.htm?id=26423 from time to time to see which NHLers will be hitting the store for events.
Steinerfest is set for September 25 at Iona College and will feature 14 hockey greats including Mark Messier, Brian Leetch, Adam Graves, Mike Richter, Mario Lemieux and others for autograph signings with fans. Tickets to enter cost $10. For information about buying tickets, player times and autograph prices, check out: https://www.lastlicksicecream.com/category_s/359.htm
About the Author
Written by Margaret DeJesus
I'm a recent college graduate looking for a dream job covering hockey. I've been watching the New York Rangers since my grade school days of VHS and Gordon Bombay's "ducks fly together" speech. While studying journalism at Boston University (COM '10), I wrote for the Daily Free Press, the student newspaper. I worked two summers at the Staten Island Advance, my hometown newspaper, writing city news and features. I've also written CD reviews for Music-Reviewer.com. One of my favorite gigs was interning for hockey analyst extraordinaire Stan Fischler covering the Boston Bruins and attending all their home games in the 2009-2010 season. (Yes, including the crushing defeat against the Flyers in the Eastern Conference playoffs.)