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Next Man Up

Posted By Eric O'Connell On Mar 6 2013 @ 3:38 pm In New York Rangers | No Comments

While I went on my Spring Break and took a break from posting, I did not expect the Rangers to also take a break from playing hockey. But then they dropped four in a row in an ugly fashion. They were pushed around, out grinded, and looked generally lost on the ice. Basically, the complete opposite of how last years team played. Just when it looked like the Rangers were done for, they pulled it together and have gone into a three game win streak. Nash returned and they dominated Tampa Bay, they persevered with Buffalo and then came back against the Flyers. However, even this win streak has had it’s low points. During the Buffalo game Patrick Kaleta sent Brad Richards head first into the boards.

While Richards was able to return later in the game, he had to sit out against the Flyers. Kaleta was given a five game suspension and I’m sure somebody on the Rangers will take a run at him next  time they play. Hopefully Richards is ok and it pleased me to see Callahan and Del Zotto go stick up for him. Last years Rangers wouldn’t have tolerated that at all and thankfully somebody stuck up for a teammate after nobody did anything for Mcdonagh after he was hit against Montreal. A scarier situation however was waiting for the Rangers last night against Philadelphia. The puck was deflected and caught Marc Staal in the eye in what has to be one of the scariest injuries I’ve seen. To see Staal immediately fall to the ice and flail around let’s you know that he was in some serious pain. He was not taken to a hospital which is good, but the Rangers have had no update on his condition since then. Hopefully he is ok.

With some Rangers going down, the onus shifts to other players to step up. After returning from his injury Rick Nash looks like the player the Rangers traded for. J.T. Miller played well as the second line center in Richards absence last night and Lundqvist has been stellar in net recently. Additionally the Rangers are trying to make some depth moves . GM Glen Sather is meeting with representatives from Mats Zuccerello to see if they can sign him and they claimed defenseman Roman Hamrilik off waivers today. While playing in the KHL Zuccarello contributed 28 points in 36 games which definitely respectable. Hamrilik is 38 years old now so his production isn’t what it was during most of his career. However, he is likely a better option than Bickel or Gilroy as a 6th defense man and his big shot could be useful on the power play. The Rangers will try and continue the winning ways as they enter a particularly grueling section of their schedule with almost no off days. The Rangers currently hold the 8th playoff spot by only one point. The Blue Shirts next three games are against the Islanders, Ottawa, and Washington.

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