The Rangers are the comeback kids this season. When they fall down or come out flat, they manage to claw their way back for a point or two. It’s fitting then that goaltender Henrik Lundqvist and defenseman Marc Staal get the All Star nod because without them holding down the fort, the Rangers couldn’t afford sloppy starts.
Lundqvist had an uncharacteristic shaky start to the season. But he’s gotten his act together thanks to the breaks provided by the much worthy backup Martin Biron.
He’s 18-13-3 with a 2.32 GAA and has five shutouts, second best in the league only to Bruins’ Tim Thomas. Perhaps not numbers worthy of an All Star start, especially when you consider the NHL’s goalie selections seemed to favor the Eastern Conference with only Jonas Hiller of the Ducks getting chosen from the West. Jimmy Howard, Roberto Luongo or Jonathan Quick may have been more deserving of Hank’s spot. But hey, it’s a meaningless game of fun showcase anyway. At least Martin Brodeur’s name wasn’t locked in–it’s embarassing enough the Devils’ Patrick Elias got a ticket.
Marc Staal has smoothly and quietly become the Rangers number one shutdown D-man. With Rozsival sent packing and Redden sent down, he’s protected the blueline. Staal throws hits, keeps the superstars off the score sheet and has added some offense to his game. It’s nice to see him get some recognition and the opportunity to play amongst the best like Nicklas Lidstrom, Duncan Keith and Kris Letang.
Derek Stepan will take part in the Rookie Skills Competition. The 20-year-old has fit in so well on Broadway, it’s easy to forget this is his first NHL season–except when Torts puts him on the point on the powerplay o’ course. Stepan is tied for third in most points among all rookie forwards and leads the top draft pick Taylor Hall by a point.
He told Jim Cerny of newyorkrangers.com, “It’s been a good first half for me, and this is just something that keeps snowballing — things keep adding on, in a good way. First I make it to the NHL. Then to have the opportunity to go play in an All-Star Game is something you dream about as a kid.”
Nick Kypreos Says it’s Time to Can the ASG: The Stanley Cup champ with the ’94 Rangers wrote in his Sportsnet blog: “Get rid of the all-star game. It’s meaningless as an honour for players… Not all the best players are at the game. Factor in the league’s desire to have representation from every team – be it in the main game or with the rookies – and yet again fans are stuck with guys who don’t deserve to be there. Are Edmonton’s Ales Hemsky and New Jersey’s Patrik Elias all-stars?” Right on.
Not Feeling the ASG jerseys…at least on a guy anyway. They look a little girly, but what do I know?
Who Will Be The Last Man Standing in the new ASG format that has two captains picking teams like your worst gym class nightmare?
The Fantasy Draft will take place on Friday, Jan. 28 at 8 p.m. , Superskills on Sat. Jan 29 at 7 p.m. and the ASG Sunday at 4 p.m.
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.)