Found October 01, 2011 on Blue Seat Blogs:

The Rangers, on paper, are a pretty solid team.  They have elite talent on the top line, they have great forward depth to back it up, they have an elite goaltender, and a shut down defenseman.  They have a great penalty kill, a solid clubhouse with some leaders, and a team seemingly willing to do whatever it takes to win.  Hockey, however, is not played on paper.  A lot of things need to go right for the Rangers to go far this year, but there are five things that are crucial to the overall success of the Bluehirts this year.

Stay Healthy: This one goes without saying, but health is already something that is hurting the Rangers.  Marc Staal, the best defenseman on the team, is out indefinitely with post concussion symptoms.  Mike Sauer just sprained his shoulder.  Those two injuries alone decimate the Rangers defensive unit, and there isn’t much in terms of top four defensemen ready to fill in if one is out long term.  Ryan Callahan is good for one injury a year with his style of play.  Marian Gaborik’s groin is always a concern, as is Brad Richards’ head.  Staying healthy is the biggest concern for the Rangers.

The Powerplay: The powerplay last year was atrocious.  They didn’t move, they didn’t shoot, they didn’t crash the net, they didn’t have someone to move the puck around, and they didn’t finish.  This year, everything changes with Richards in the fold.  There is a lot of pressure on Richards to get the powerplay moving.  The Rangers will only go as far as their powerplay will take them.

Scoring Depth: We all know what Richards and Gaborik are capable of.  Aside from them, the Rangers have a lot of question marks regarding their depth.  Can The Pack line of Callahan, Brandon Dubinsky, and Artem Anisimov repeat their success? What can Wojtek Wolski contribute on the top line? Can Derek Stepan avoid a sophomore slump? Can Brian Boyle prove last year wasn’t a fluke? What do they have in Mats Zuccarello?  That’s a lot of questions.

Martin Biron: Biron needs to play at least 20 games this year, and he needs to be solid in net.  A fresh Henrik Lundqvist is crucial to a playoff run, and playing 70 games a year has left him tired come April.  A healthy and effective Biron keeps The King fresh.

The Bottom Defense Pairing: The top four defensemen, when healthy, is one of the best young top four in the league.  It’s that bottom pairing that is a question mark.  Between Steve Eminger, Michael Del Zotto, Tim Erixon, and Brendan Bell, there is plenty of competition, but only Eminger seems able to take on full time bottom pairing duties.  He was effective last year, and hopefully it continues this year.  As for the other three, it’s a crap shoot.  One rookie, one 21 year old with holes, or a guy who hasn’t played in the NHL in two years.  If you throw enough at the wall, something is bound to stick.



Rangers Win and Post Game Thoughts

The Rangers kicked off their European trip with a solid 2-0 victory over Prague. Aided by second period goals from Artem Anisimov and Ruslan Fedotenko, the team was led by the strong play of Martin Biron who played very well in earning a shutout victory. According to beat writer Jim Cerny Biron made several impressive saves throughout. Given the lack of TV coverage that is the shortest...

Preseason Game 5: Rangers at Frolunda

OPPONENT: Frolunda Indians (HC Frounda) of the SEL NOTABLE NHLers: Christian Backman (ex-Ranger), Joel Lundqvist (The King’s brother) RANGERS LINEUP: Forwards: Sean Avery, Brian Boyle, Carl Hagelin, Dale Weise, Ryan Bourque, Kris Newbury, John Mitchell, Wojtek Wolski, Mats Zuccarello, Mike Rupp, Erik Christensen, Brandon Prust Defense: Brendan Bell, Stu Bickel, Tim Erixon, Michael...

Henrik Lundqvist Wearing The “A” On His Jersey For Today’s Game

… what a classy move by John Tortorella making Lundqvist an alternate captain for today’s game AND getting the “A” on his jersey.  Can’t wait to see him rocking his jersey today in net. 

Photo: Marian Gaborik Has His Own Energy Drink In Slovakia

… gotta start selling them at The Garden. Picture courtesy of Dan Near

Rangers remain unbeaten in Europe, best Bratislava

Artem Anisimov continued his fine preseason by scoring a goal as the New York Rangers remained undefeated on their European tour with a 4-1 triumph over HC Slovan Bratislava on Sunday in Bratislava, Slovakia. Mats Zuccarello scored on a 5-on-3 power play and Brian Boyle and Ryan McDonagh also tallied. The Rangers have won their first three contests in Europe, posting a 2-0 win...

Rangers win 4-1 in preseason game at Bratislava

Mats Zuccarrelo started a string of four unanswered goals and the New York Rangers rallied for a 4-1 victory over Slovan Bratislava on Sunday for their third straight preseason win in Europe. Slovan took a 1-0 lead on Ivan Svarny's slap shot during a first-period power play, but Zuccarrelo tied it during a 5-3 advantage in the second and goals from Brian Boyle and Artem Anisimov...

Will Sean Avery survive final New York Rangers’ cuts?

The New York Rangers have to trim their roster down to 24 players by Wednesday, and there's going to be a significant amount of drama in Coach John Tortorella's decision. When Sean Avery's involved, when isn't there drama? From Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News: The team must cut down to 24 players by Wednesday, and John Tortorella said in a conference call from...

Rangers vs. Frolunda Review: Hank Shines, Rangers Sloppy But Win

The Rangers improved to 3-1-1 in the preseason with their win over Frolunda this afternoon.  The game was highlighted by Henrik Lundqvist’s return to his old SEL team, and what an ovation it was.  Henke is loved in Sweden, and is a bit of a national hero there.  The opening ceremony included a standing ovation from the crowd as he stood at center ice.  After the ceremony, there...

Sunday Link Dump: Youth Infusion On Hold?

It’s Sunday, so it’s time for today’s link dump. Steve Zipay at Newsday thinks that the Rangers youth movement is on hold because the Rangers cut Carl Hagelin and Ryan Bourque yesterday.  I am inclined to disagree here.  There is a ton of youth on the team already, and you don’t just put youth on the team just to do it.  The Rangers are adding Mats Zuccarello full time...

Post-game notes

From the Rangers: NEW YORK RANGERS POST-GAME NOTES New York Rangers 4, Frolunda Indians 2 (Preseason Game No. 5, Away No. 4) -The Rangers defeated the Frolunda Indians of the Swedish Elite League, 4-2, tonight at Scandinavium Arena in Gothenburg, Sweden, to improve to 3-1-1 in preseason action. -Henrik Lundqvist stopped 32 of 34 shots in the win, while facing his former SEL team...

Rangers defeat Lundqvist's former Swedish team

GOTEBORG, Sweden -- Henrik Lundqvist helped the Rangers beat his former Swedish club Frolunda 4-2 Friday in a preseason homecoming game that pitted him against twin brother Joel. Lundqvist received a long standing ovation from the sellout crowd at Scandinavium Arena before the game. He responded by blanking his former...

Rangers-Frolunda in review

(Editor’s note: Anybody interested in doing reviews of the Sunday or Monday games? If so, e-mail me at Another round of cuts coming today for John Tortorella. As I’ve said all along, there really aren’t a lot of spots available for new guys. The Rangers still need to keep some extra bodies around with two more preseason games and the season opening in...

Whale meet again, Rangers tell Staal

Marc Staal, whose training camp has been disrupted by intermittent headaches, will skate today for the first time since early last week -- but in Connecticut with the AHL Whale rather than in Europe with the Rangers. Management had hoped Staal would have been able to join the Blueshirts in...


For Slovak Marian Gaborik and Swede Henrik Lundqvist, the Rangers' current 12-day European trek, which culminates with the first two regular-season games of 2011-12, is a bit of a homecoming. Still, the team needs no reminders that the preseason is far from over. "We have to remember we're still in training camp," said Lundqvist, who on Friday will start against...

Rangers @ HC Slovan Post Game Thoughts

This is one you have to chalk up to the Rangers hectic travel schedule. Clearly the team was gassed to start the game, as they were unable to generate any sort of foot speed, and looked lethargic out there to a man. As the game wore on, the Rangers seemed to get their energy levels up to respectable levels, and were able to pull of a win, albeit an unimpressive win considering...
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