Found March 08, 2012 on Blue Seat Blogs:
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Welcome to Thursday. It’s my 6th favourite day of the week. Rangers get to mix it up with the Senators tonight. Given the mixed performances in recent games it could a tricky one for the Blueshirts. Any-hoo, let’s jump in to it shall we?

I’d be remiss not to mention him this week: Sean Avery not on the Whale Clearing day roster. He divides opinion and certainly, his on-ice play (while at times highly effective) didn’t deserve all the media attention he got but I can’t help but think he could found a better way to leave this organisation – especially given his apparent relationship with Sather. He truly does burn all his bridges doesn’t he? He’s gone from being a highly promising Ranger to an afterthought. Shame.

I can’t help but think, given the Rangers play in their own zone in recent games, that Lundqvist should start both Thursday and Friday while the team get their play in front of him back on track. Let Biron start a handful of games toward the end of the year.

Anyone else thinks Michael Del Zotto would have a little more hype around the league (as a young offensive blueliner) were it not for the ridiculous Erik Karlsson? This season has seen a number of young defensemen really solidify their reputations: Karlsson, Del Zotto, Edler, Pieterangelo and Shattenkirk and even Nick Leddy have all become quality ‘D’ this year.

  • Quietly perhaps but I can help thinking Brad Richards has been better of late. Who knows, maybe he’s gearing up towards the ‘second season’?
  • I really would love to hear the full explanation from Tortorella regarding Mitchell’s scratch because he sure hasn’t been worse than a handful of forwards I could name.

Steve Eminger and Jeff Woywitka – at this stage they really are dead weight. That said, I think one of them may have a minor role still to play. Either Dan Girardi is injured (not bruised) or he’s tiring. As Glen (who contributes on the site) and I agree, his high standards seem to have slipped recently. Have all those minutes taken their toll?

Despite a pretty unfortunate game against the Devils, Marian Gaborik has been impressive recently. There seems plenty left in his tank. His burst is still getting him past defensemen. I still think he hit’s 40 goals this year – a milestone his effort would warrant. He’s been pretty damn consistent all year even when he hasn’t scored for a stretch.

Artem Who?

So Brandon Dubinsky scraps against the Devils and has to leave the game as a consequence. Right, so with Scott, Rupp, Bickel and Prust in the line-up he feels the need to get amongst it? File this under yet more unintelligent play this year from Dubinsky. That’s taking ‘setting the tone’ too far.

Michael Del Zotto and Derek Stepan: reason alone to love the 2008 NHL draft. That said, three other Ranger draft picks have made the NHL when you factor in Weise, Grachev and Kundratek and if Steven Fogerty develops it could be a highly successful draft. Again. Hold on, it already is.

As I write this, ESPN America (in the UK) just showed a highlight reel Lundqvist save between programmes. He’s taking over the TV here too.

Question Time:

  • Who would you rather as a first round opponent: Ottawa, Winnipeg, Capitals or Jersey?
  • Who are the most dangerous team in the Eastern Conference as the playoffs loom?
  • Should the Rangers take a look at a player from the Whale before the playoffs?
  • (inc playoffs) How many games will Chris Kreider play for the Rangers this season?
  • Will Tim Erixon be Rangers property next season?

I want to give some credit to a forgotten player in the organisation: Chad Johnson. Let’s face it, he’s likely to leave in the summer to look for NHL opportunities but he’s had a pretty good bounce back year for the Whale this season. A .922% and a 2.34GAA, with 18 wins is a pretty strong season. Unfortunately for CJ the Rangers have Marty Biron.

Zuccarello who?

One final thing; despite posts about needing more skill (and going out and acquiring it) and posts about Rick Nash and him helping the Rangers I am a strong supporter at what Sather and his team have built since the lock out. The club have built patiently in exactly the right way and Sather, the scouting department and the coaching staff (in which I include Renney’s contribution) have reinvigorated what was a tarnished franchise. The difference is I believe they can help the club – whose development has been quicker than expected – get to where they want to get a little quicker with a few smart decisions this summer.

Enjoy your Thursday and Lets Go Rangers! 

THE BACKYARD
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