Found December 12, 2011 on
Blue Seat Blogs:
Michael Del Zotto is ninth in the entire NHL in plus/minus. While many people don’t place much stock in the statistic (after all Marek Malik did lead the league in plus/minus one season) it does provide some indication how the young blue liner has begun to turn his game back around this season.
Del Zotto could have been forgiven for stalling in recent times when Mike Sauer was lost to injury and even before, as the Rangers blue line has had to accommodate journeymen pros such as Woywitka, Eminger and now Anton Stralman. However Del Zotto has continued to grow in confidence, more often than not make the smart play and above all begin to show some defensive consistency.
The dominant 6-1 victory over the Panthers on Sunday included a +4 evening from Del Zotto. Del Zotto impressed in the victory showing poise as he made smart plays in his own zone while he displayed a level of patience on the puck that wasn’t there even when he burst in to the league as a rookie. In short, Del Zotto is growing up.
What’s worth noting is that the extra emphasis and effort Del Zotto is putting in to his defensive game isn’t sacrificing his offensive instincts. Yes, the spectacular passes and rushes are less frequent but with solid play in his own zone and better decision making, the foundations are being set for the offense to be more impactful and less ad hoc. Simply put, Del Zotto is creating offense and being part of the offense in different ways than he was before.
The young blueliner is on course for 42 points which would eclipse his rookie efforts. The difference is that the rookie was a liability, this version is not. Del Zotto is playing the game more physically as evidenced by the 185 hits he is on course for this season. There’s not much the defenseman isn’t doing better this time around. With Sauer and Staal to return Del Zotto would likely slide down to the third pair in the short term but all that does is make the Rangers more dangerous.
If the Rangers can continue to nurture Del Zotto they could have the makings of an excellent offensive defenseman but one that may have an unexpected defensive ability. For sure, he’s far from a finished article and a quarter of a season’s solid play is not enough to declare Del Zotto a sure fire success but credit also has to be given with regard to how he has bounced back from a truly dreadful second year. All the failure, injuries, media criticism and demotion could have ruined him mentally but Del Zotto has shown a resolve to get back to the Rangers and make a positive impact.
What next? Del Zotto needs to work on his shot, and shot selection. It may be his ability to be a scoring threat himself that takes him to the next level. If penalty kills and opposing goaltenders don’t respect his shot and his ability to score then he may find his ceiling capped. If Del Zotto can become more accurate with his shot the Rangers could have a lethal power play; it’s not only Del Zotto personally that stands to benefit from his development.
BEST OF MAXIM
As part of New York Magazine's "Reasons to Love New York 2011", Will Leitch points to Sean Avery moonlighting as a fashion maven and gay-rights activist the 13th biggest reason..."It's more than a little ironic, then, that the most despised person in a sport full of despicable people has, amazingly, become one of the most progressive athletes in all of professional...
The Rangers tallied two shorthanded goals in the second period of last night’s game at Buffalo, from Carl Hagelin at 11:34 and Ryan Callahan at 18:51. It was Hagelin’s first career shorthanded goal/point, and Callahan’s first shorthanded goal/point of the season (third shorthanded goal of his career). The last time the Rangers tallied two shorthanded [...]
For those who credit the recall of Sean Avery to the New York
Rangers with the team turning around their slow start this season to be 17-6-4
through 27 games there should be cause for concern that Avery might be sent
away again. Coach John Tortorella
scratched Avery for last night’s game, replacing him with Erik Christensen, but
more than the scratch itself, the
Updated, 11:18 a.m.:The Rangers have announced that Michael Sauer (concussion) will not accompany the Blueshirts on their up-coming trip to St. Louis and Phoenix....ugh.Torts also hasn't ruled out Rupp being able to play in those games.Finally, Andrew Gross says that Staal's skate this morning was the first time he's been on the ice with a full Rangers squad since the...
After Derek Stepan and the New York Rangers put on one of their most impressive offensive displays of the season, all they could do was tout their defense, grit and hustle.
Stepan scored twice, including a pretty coast-to-coast goal just after the Rangers killed a penalty, and New York beat the Florida Panthers 6-1 on Sunday night for as comprehensive-looking a win as New York has...
Adam Kimelman at NHL.com fills out his roster of the greatest U.S. players ever, which includes former Rangers Brian Leetch, Mike Richter, Mike Knuble, Pat LaFontaine, Chris Drury and Kevin Stevens.Here's what Kimelman had to say about Leetch..."The first U.S.-born player to win the Conn Smythe Trophy, he led the League in playoff scoring in 1994 with 34 points in 23 games...
Not going to get all wrapped up in who did what on a lopsided scoresheet, though I’m sure you all enjoyed the heck out of it, and you should have.
Instead, how about numbers?: 17-6-4, second best record in the improving East and fewest regulation losses in the NHL; 8-2-2 at home. Points in 16 of 19. 24-8-3 in second of back-to-backs since 2009-10. 38 points in 27 games, the...
Standings: Panthers (16-8-5), Rangers (16-6-4)
Leading Scorer: Kris Versteeg (13-17-30)
Goaltender: Jose Theodore(2.17 GAA, .930 SV%)
Rangers Lines (probable):
Artem Anisimov-Derek Stepan-Marian Gaborik
Ruslan Fedotenko-Brad Richards-Ryan Callahan
Carl Hagelin-Brian Boyle-John Mitchell
Brandon Dubinsky-Erik Christensen-Brandon Prust
Ryan McDonagh-Dan Girardi
Michael Del Zotto...
Since winning games in bunches like they have for the past month and a half became common, one thing the New York Rangers have done very well is bouncing back after losses. Earlier in the week, the Blueshirts lost two close games to the Toronto Maple Leafs and Tampa Bay Lightning, but rebounded this weekend with back-to-back complete defeats of the Buffalo Sabres and Florida Panthers...
By Christopher Decker (@HockeyGuy_Chris)
(Photo by Scott Levy/NHLI via Getty Images)
There have not been many big-name free-agent signings that worked out well for the Rangers in the past 10 years or so. But the biggest and brightest signings that have brought the Rangers organization back to its feet and rejuvenated an entire fan base were the signings of Jaromir Jagr (who has...
The Rangers must feel nervous that they aren't going to wind up making good television when they make their HBO debut this week.
As we all know, good drama requires conflict or obstacles to overcome with great difficulty and the Rangers haven't had much of either recently.
They crushed the Panthers 6-1 at the Garden on Sunday night, completing a weekend sweep in grand...
Set to begin the eastern part of their five-game road trip, the Dallas Stars will visit a familiar face tonight as they visit Brad Richards and the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.
That is the kind of attitude the New York Rangers should take after beating the Buffalo Sabres and Florida Panthers over the weekend by a combined score of 10-1.
The team is clicking on all cylinders as they are supplying the offense, solid defense and getting timely goaltending from both Henrik Lundqvist by Martin Biron. Put that all together and you have part of the winning formula...
Dallas Stars (16-11-1, 33 pts. – T1st in Pacific Division)
at New York Rangers (16-4-4, 36 pts. –2...
Derek Stepan scored twice, including a pretty coast-to-coast goal just after the Rangers killed a penalty, and New York beat the Florida Panthers 6-1 on Sunday night.