Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Playoff Primer: New York Rangers

I always liked this logo

(If you're wondering why there are no Oilers blogs, try watching some of their games. Aside from Nugent-God-Hopkins and Eberle, as well as some inspired moments by Devan "Ohh" Dubnyk, there's close to nothing redeeming about the team. I'll have another off-season primer or two, plus a draft day analysis after the lottery)

I'm starting a series of 16 posts that detail the goods of each playoff bound team, and where I expect them to finish.

New York is one of three teams with a chance at the President's Trophy, and they've been at that pinnacle for most of the season. A team that played in the Winter Classic, celebrated a full adulthood since their last cup championship, and has been playing at a level that doesn't seem to correlate to the play of the superstars present on this team.

Depth, like no other team, and a willingness to work harder than any other organization in the playoffs right now. Nobody's scared of the hands that Callahan has, they have Gaborik for that. What they are scared of is his willingness to go to the tough corners, the front of the net, take a beating, score a goal and shove it in your face. These Rangers are oxen that don't give up. They just don't. And that's scary.

Also - it can't hurt that your goaltender is the unsung Henrik Lundqvist, who should win the Vezina almost every year prior for making this team competitive. Now that the coaching is preaching a blue-collar game, Lundqvist is having a career year. The irony is he may yet have the Vezina stolen from him by Quick.

I've got to come up with a better name for this section.

If anything is bad about this team, it is because it is plain. They signed Brad Richards to a massive contract. They expected him to rip up the league, play with Marion Gaborik and overall destroy this league like he did in Dallas last year. He hasn't. Gaborik has been deadly, but you put defenders on those two and this team is, well, plain.

Simply put, they lack the star-pedigree of Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Vancouver and Los Angeles (Heh. Hollywood).

Time will tell whether that's a good thing or a bad thing.

Will win the Stanley Cup if...
The hard work they bring comes up in spades. Heh.
Lundqvist can be better than any other goaltender in the league. Richards and Gaborik could be the most dominant pair in the playoffs. Dubinsky and Callahan can pace, check and score better than other teams.
Can they beat Crosby/Malkin/Staal or Giroux/Hartnell/Jagr? Erm...

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