Wednesday, February 3, 2010
The New York Rangers are now heading home to face the Washington Ovechkins this Thursday night at MSG. Talk about going right into the belly of the beast (the Caps are now on an 11 game winning streak)!
The Rangers must regroup after a less-than-stellar west coast trip which ended with 1 win and 2 losses. Once again, the effort overall was there… but the lack of scoring and offensive creation was a huge factor in this trip. Let’s face it folks- 6 goals in 3 games is not going to cut it in the NHL or any other level of hockey.
I’ve got one observation that I’d like to make from the road trip. The poor officiating once again reared its ugly head (Example: Prucha’s nice acting job at the end of the Phoenix loss). Sorry, but this is what was bound to happen and believe me it will continue to grow as long as the NHL continues to play games with changing the rules of this great game. Trust me, there’s more that I could talk about… but I think the fans have picked this up and are disgusted as well.
Now that I have strayed from talking about the Blueshirts, let’s get back to them. First, Gaborik has been a monster again for the Rangers. He’s done everything that a Rangers fan can ask for. However, the scoring has to come from others! That’s where Olli Jokinen comes in. You do know that the Rangers made a trade, didn’t you? Just kidding! GM Glen Sather made what I feel was an excellent trade. He was able to unload Ales Kotalik and Christopher Higgins for Olli Jokinen and Brandon Prust. It’s a win/win situation for the Rangers. Kotalik and Higgins (I’ll be nice) underachieved in New York- period. Kotalik was brought in to boost the PP and unfortunately, all he ever did was make loud sounds when his shots hit the boards. One question that I have is: how does a player the caliber of Kotalik warrant a partial no-trade clause? On to Christopher Higgins… it was a nice story. He was coming home to New York and all that. In his case… yes, he worked hard and played many minutes. But in the end production is what counts and Higgins simply did not produce, it’s as simple as that.
The recently acquired players made their Rangers debut last night against the Los Angeles Kings. Going forward, Olli Jokinen should be able to give the Rangers a major lift in the scoring department. Yes, he has struggled for a while but he is going to get every opportunity to shine with the Rangers. Also remember that he’s also playing out his contract… if it works, it works. If it doesn’t work, then the Rangers can clear some cap space which is a big thing for this team. Now I would like to talk a little bit about Brandon Prust. If you want physical play, energy, toughness, and a player willing to fight for his team- then you’ve got the right guy. Prust is by no means a heavy weight, but he sure plays like one. I believe Rangers fans will love Prust. I know one thing for sure. The opponents of the Rangers, especially the defenseman, will know where he is and that’s a good thing!
Let’s hope the Rangers can fire it up against the Capitals on Thursday night. They have no other choice. Over and out!