Although they’ve gotten off to as slow a start as possible to the 18 game stretch run that I put on the Rangers before they dropped their game to the Sabres, it’s time to either get back to being optimistic or staying optimistic.
With 17 games to go and the season still very much so in the hands of these New York Rangers its time to start believing that they’re gonna make a strong run to the post-season.
It’s time to start taking a step back and looking at the bigger picture. The picture that includes a guy like Derek Stepan being a formidable NHLer at the ripe age of 20. Ryan McDonagh establishing himself as a top 4 dman for the Rangers and currently playing his best hockey, improving every game. Zuccarello continuing to adapt to the North American style of play. The general progression of every Ranger including the struggling ones. Look at Del Zotto, the kid who thought he had everything mapped out and a golden spot on this Rangers roster. Now he knows with his two demotions to the AHL that nothing is handed to you. Through adversity he will become a better player and the PPQB that this team lacks. However it is of utmost importance to note that Del Zotto was injured in the Connecticut Whale’s game last night. He left during the second period and did not return for the third. The plan was that he was going to see a hand specialist today, but no word has been given after DZ’s visit.
Maybe the most important aspect we’ve seen from the team this season is the emergence of the core. Dubinsky, Callahan, Anisimov, Staal, and Girardi. The possible additions of guys to the core Boyle, Sauer, Prust, and all of those mentioned above. Regardless of a playoff birth or not (they’re getting one, I know it…then again that’s what I believed last year too) this has been a productive season for the Rangers.
Productive in the fact that their GM finally realizes the value of youth. The fact that Sather didn’t deal Anisimov and Del Zotto +++ for Richards is a tell tale sign that this organization is committed to the youth.
And most impressively above all, at a current average age of 26.98 (according to NHL numbers) the Rangers sit in 7th in the conference with the ability to seal their own playoff fate.
This my fellow readers and fans is optimism at its finest. The foundation is in place, Hank is in his prime, get ready for a 4 years of incredibly competitive, blue collar, hungry, YOUNG hockey.
It all starts tonight with a big home game against Minnesota. The Rangers can no longer give points away to any team. They need to go into every game from here on out like its game 7. Every point from here on out is crucial.
Tonight gets even more important as the Sabres will be in Carolina taking on the Hurricanes, so hopefully some luck can start going the Rangers way and that game doesn’t go to OT.
But like I’ve said before, you make your own luck in this league.
17 games, 34 points, I’d say 24 of those points gets this team into the playoffs. Go out and get them.
Tonight will mark the return of Staal and Fedotenko into the lineup. Newbury was sent down in order to make room for Feds in the top 12, and HOPEFULLY Gilroy sits over Eminger tonight on the back end but word on that hasn’t come out yet, and I wouldn’t expect it until Torts meets the media at 5.
Puck drops at 7 tonight on MSG. LETS GO RANGERS
As for my excitement level for the rest of the season? Well, I’ll just let Bart Scott handle that for me…(Let’s go Giants)
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Written by Adam Gavriel