|New York Rangers|
|Friday, 26 August 2011 21:45|
The NHL schedule-maker did the Rangers no favors for the month of October. The team opens up in Sweden with two games, flies back to New York for a game at the Islanders and then travels out west for a handful of games before having their home opener on October 27 against the Maple Leafs.
With a few new faces sprinkled onto the roster, including the prize of the 2011 free agency class, Brad Richard, perhaps “team bonding” right out of the gate isn’t such a bad thing. Remember, last year the Boston Bruins were one of the teams in Europe at the start of the season, which ultimately ended in mid-June in Vancouver.
Former team captain Chris Drury was bought out of his contract and his successor, likely to be named during training camp, could be a telling sign as to how management views its roster. Do they give the captaincy to an in-house veteran like Ryan Callahan or Marc Staal or do they make a statement by tabbing newcomer Richards who certainly has the cachet for such an honor? TheO6.com says it’s time to shake things up a bit at Madison Square Garden and make Richards the face of the franchise.
The Rangers have the components in place for a very successful 2011-12 season. Coaching? A proven winner in Tortorella, albeit one with a short shelf life due to his persona. Goaltending? One of the five best goalies in the league with Lundqvist. Defense? Perhaps the weakest area of the roster with minimal depth but soild building blocks in Dan Girardi and Staal. Players like Michael Sauer and Ryan McDonough must improve this season for the Rangers to make a long postseason run. Offense? Won’t be an issue, especially if Gaborik stays relatively healthy and has Richards feeding him the puck. Add in the talents of Brandon Dubinsky, Brian Boyle and Callahan and finding the back of the opponents net will not be overly challenging. TheO6.com likes the promise of center Artem Anisimov and predicts a breakout season for the youngster.
If The Rangers can add a solid defenseman by the trade deadline, they are capable of securing the second seed in the East and advancing, at a minimum, to the Conference Finals.
|Last Updated on Tuesday, 19 March 2013 18:29|