Found February 18, 2012 on Blue Seat Blogs:
Naturally, after the prolonged absence through concussion Marc Staal needed some time to get back in to game shape and find his rhythm on the ice once more. Recently, there has been some signs Staal is getting back to being the quality defenseman that he is, however progress has been slow. Staal isn’t playing as physically as normal, isn’t taking shots when the opportunity arises and isn’t using the puck effectively. Staal’s passing ability in previous seasons, while not elite, was underrated. Above all though, Staal has been tentative, particularly along the boards and his decision making hasn’t been as sharp as we have grown accustomed to. How long is long enough to ease your way back? Is 20 games an expected time frame? It goes without saying that a Rangers team with Marc Staal in his All Star form is a scary animal for any team in the East playoffs. Staal makes it a team with effectively three quality shutdown defenseman (alongside Girardi and McDonagh) and that isn’t factoring in the possible return of Mike Sauer. With Staal in form, with the Vezina winning Lundqvist behind him, this team has the stingy and deep defense to go very, very far. Even with a sputtering powerplay and inconsistent offense. Recent signs have started to show progress however. We’ve seen aggression come out of Staal recently that isn’t normally his calling card. Usually a cool customer, Staal seems to be gaining an edge which, full form allowing, could make him an even better player. The past couple of games have seen Staal improve and with a career low average ice time you have to assume there is plenty of gas in the tank for Staal – and room for improvement. Staal should be the Rangers biggest addition during the stretch. Yes, he’s already here but the Staal that routinely shutdown the likes of Alex Ovechkin is not quite. Staal’s return to prominence is why Rangers fans should be excited about this team’s chances come April. In the coming games Tortorella should begin to throw Staal into more and more pressure situations and give him more ice time. He may make the odd mistake but it’s the best way for him to get back to his old level. You want another benefit of Staal being given more by Tortorella? Dan Girardi and Ryan McDonagh should by default get less ice time which should help keep them fresh(er) for the playoffs. Imagine a top four of Staal – Girardi – McDonagh and Sauer in the playoffs; all healthy, all fresh, all in form. That’s a scary thought for any team to consider.

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly: Rangers Trade Edition

While I’m not 100% convinced that the Rangers NEED to make a trade, I’m trying to keep an open mind as the trade deadline approaches.  Now, I’m sure many of you have seen you Twitter and Facebook timelines explode with ridiculous trade rumours, suggestions and speculations. We’ve also seen some that make sense. I’ve put [...]

Rangers coach never thought of pulling Biron

When the Blackhawks put their third goal in the first four minutes past backup goalie Martin Biron last night, the chants for Henrik Lundqvist came raining down from the Garden faithful. But Rangers coach John Tortorella stuck with Biron, even after he gave up a fourth goal 9:38 into...

Rangers' Dubinsky not dwelling on trade rumor

New York Rangers forward Brandon Dubinsky has heard his name involved in recent trade rumors but knows there is nothing he can do leading up to Monday's trade deadline besides focus on his play.

Rangers/Blue Jackets recap

The Rangers avoided the dreaded “trap” game tonight, beating the last-place Blue Jackets 3-2 in overtime at the Garden.  This one had a little bit of everything; beautiful passing plays, some good saves, refereeing controversy and a Rick Nash goal.  Let’s get to the bullets… What I was looking for in a rebound from the Chicago game was a defensively responsible performance...

Time for Another New Winning Streak

With the New York Rangers having missed a chance to extend their winning streak to five games with a loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday night, the team will look to start a new one from the Columbus Blue Jackets tonight (8:00 p.m.) at Madison Square Garden. The Blue Jackets, the worst team in the National Hockey League, is coming off a 6-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks...

Former GM: Rangers’ roster gamble paid off in ’94, but no need to trade now

It’s risky business, breaking up a league-leading team to chase the Stanley Cup. The general manager who did it with the Rangers nearly 18 years ago says dealing Brandon Dubinsky and other regulars for Rick Nash would be even more of a gamble than the roulette he played in...

Stepan's OT goal lifts Rangers over Blue Jackets

Derek Stepan scored 22 seconds into overtime, and the New York Rangers overcame a late tying goal by Columbus and one disallowed on their side in a 3-2 victory over the Blue Jackets on Sunday night. Stepan took a pass from Michael Del Zotto, who faked a shot and scored...

Stepan's OT goal lifts Rangers over Blue Jackets

Derek Stepan scored 22 seconds into overtime, and the New York Rangers overcame a late tying goal by Columbus and one disallowed on their side in a 3-2 victory over the Blue Jackets on Sunday night.
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