41 Down, 41 to Go

Thursday, January 6, 2011

With a stirring 2-1 OT win over the Carolina Hurricanes thanks to Mats Zucarrello Aason’s 1st NHL goal in front the of the home crowd at MSG last night the New York Rangers have hit the half way point of their schedule. 41 games in the Rangers have placed themselves nicely with a 23-15-3 record- that’s good for 49 points and 7th place in the Eastern Conference. Not bad…Not bad at all.

Let’s face it Ranger fans, you have to be more than pleased with the current state of Boys in Blue. No one in their wildest dreams could have or would have expected this kind of progress so quick and so fast. You have to start by giving the players most of the credit. They have done the job on a fairly consistent basis most of the season so far. This team is tough on the road (Lead the NHL with road 13 wins) and getting better at home. John Tortorella and his staff deserves some of the credit as well in getting the Rangers to play a hard nosed, bring it in your face style of Hockey. That folks is the identity of this team. Injuries have not held this team back. When one goes down someone has stepped in and done the job and that shows how much more the cupboard is full these days depth-wise. Although I certainly would like to see Ryan Callahan back as soon as possible. There’s 41 more games to go and where the Rangers need help obviously is in the scoring department. That’s a big question mark in my opinion. Sure would be nice to see one more proven goal scorer in the lineup along with Gaborik. Unfortunately it’s not that easy to find one. All the top teams have at least two major threats, some even more.

Now the Rangers head out on the road for a couple of tough games with Dallas and St. Louis. If they show up and work hard they should be okay.

Okay, now I’d like to talk a little about the Michael Del Zotto demotion. First off let’s not get too crazy and in an uproar over this. MDZ is a big part of the picture for the New York Rangers. Obviously he’s had a tough go of it this year, no offensive production and defensively he’s struggled at times. This demotion or send down to the CT Whale should be a wake up call to MDZ that it’s not that easy to play in the National Hockey League or stay in it either. MDZ has loads of talent, but needs to work on his deficiencies and the key word is ‘work’! The coaching staff has let him know what he needs to do and hopefully he understands that it’s up to him to regain his form.

World Jr’s are now over after a stunning comeback by the Russians over Canada. Canada led 3-0 heading into the 3rd period in the Gold medal game, When the Russians blitzed the Canadians with 5 straight goals to secure the gold. You have to give credit where it’s due. The Russians were the “Comeback kids” of this tourney (They did it 3 times) and congratulations is in order. As for Canada and the US it was a major disappointment in my opinion. Silver and Bronze respectively not exactly what both teams had in mind.

Last thing on my mind. I think it’s time that the Winter Classic involves the New York Rangers. Don’t you think? Yankee Stadium would be a nice fit… I’m Just saying. Happy belated New Year everyone over and out!


Tony V said...

Totally accurate post. I agree with you about MDZ. He needs a change of scenery to get some focus. It did wonders for Gilroy.

Teams are starting to jam up in 6th through 10th slots (as usual) so the Rangers' ability to win on the road is even more important.

Kotsy's Korner said...

Tony V, It's a tough thing to take being sent down. We all have to realize MDZ is only 20 yrs old with his future clearly ahead of him. Just needs to settle down and play his game.

Yes it seems normal for the East to bunch up and jockey for playoff spots. This year though I think the East is stronger than it's been in than the past few yrs. Points are a priceless commodity LOL.

Tony V said...

I agree -- and as you know, defensemen develop later (mentally). Like you said, MDZ is only. In some ways, because of Gilroy's late start, he is very immature in terms of being a defenseman.

There are few positions in sports where you are hung out to dry so openly when you make a mistake. And each team has 200 or more of them a season.

Kotsy's Korner said...

Tony V, Exactly...You sound like you played a little D in your day LOL.

The hardest position to play in the NHL is defense. You are the one people remember when a mistake is made and the opposition scores a goal.

GENO said...

Hi Chris, well our boy's have surpassed my expectations in the 1st half. I believe they have an identity of a legit blue collar hard working team. They MUST play a full 60mins game after game to be successful. When they don't, the outcome usually results in a loss. They are playing a complete team game, from their fore checking, back checking, blocking shots, board work, and most surprising is their in your face team toughness, which is why they are the BEST ROAD TEAM. For the 2nd half, they must find a center for Gaborik. It is a MUST for him to start scoring goals on a consistent basis. Getting Prospal back will help, depending on what condition that knee is in, and having Callahan return from the broken hand. If the boys continue the 2nd half play as they did in the 1st half, this should be a very surprising year!!
As for MDZ demotion, I believe he deserved the demotion. I think that he was given too much too soon, and got spoiled. I also believe that Tort's demoted him for a wake up call, and to find and refine his game. I kinda felt that he was putting a size 8 1/2" head into a 7 1/4" helmet, if you catch my drift. Hopefully at 20yrs old he will learn. ...... Geno

Joe Tucc said...

Huge win, and great to see the new kid get what I thought was a goal scorers goal.

Props to the Hobbit.
Props to Staal. Had one hell of a game
Props to Gilroy. Slowly climbing out of the doghouse.
Lastly, big props to Dubi. From an outsider looking it, it appears that this is becoming his team. Of course, that is only judging from the stands. No idea what goes on behind closed doors.

"Sure would be nice to see one more proven goal scorer in the lineup along with Gaborik. Unfortunately it’s not that easy to find one. All the top teams have at least two major threats, some even more."

I couldn't agree more Kotsy. The team is finding ways to win without Cally and now Fedotenko which is great too see but...I think the top 6 is lacking a scorer. Was hoping to see Frolov convert more. While he ins't exactly lighting the lamp, I don't think he has been a liability either.

Kotsy's Korner said...

Geno, these are good times for the Rangers. Things are starting to change in a good way. I agree they have an identity now and teams they play know it. Still like to see a scorer...Oh well I can dream.

As for MDZ he'll bounce back eventually. He has the talent.

Kotsy's Korner said...

Joe Tucc, Joe where you been? Long time no hear. Props is order for plenty of players on this team and the coaching staff as well.

I said it awhile back. People are screaming for a center, But I feel a natural goal scorer is more important. I repeat all the top teams have more than one. Nice hearing from you Joe.

Wrath of Sanity said...

Good win the other night... great win last night!

This team is running into a little problem with scoring... they are getting great chances, but these goalies are standing on their head (most recently: Ward & Lehtonen). Hopefully this stops soon and they can continue their streak into St. Louis tonight.

MDZ is still only 20, not too late for some fine tuning. He's got so much skill it would be sad to see it go untapped. I'm sure he'll learn from this and come back better later in the season.

Kotsy's Korner said...

Wrath, The Rangers are having trouble scoring that's why I believe they need to acquire another pure scorer type player. Easier said than done though LOL.

MDZ will be alright, just needs to learn all aspects of playing D in the NHL.

Leatherneck said...

Wow...Roszi got traded...wow...How did Sather manage that is beyond me...No idea who Wojtek Wolski really is...I just knew his name. I think we are gonna go after Stamkos in the off season..Its tough not to get excited for this Rangers team...and the future is bright, lets try and pry Braden Schenn from LA as well

Kotsy's Korner said...

Leatherneck, In the end Rozival did not live up to what was expected of him after signing the big contract. While he didn't hurt the team with his play, he also didn't do anything of significance in my opinion either.

As for Wolski, Could be a great trade if can get back to scoring on a consistent basis. He's young too! Slat's has turned the corner and made the Rangers a youthful hockey club.

Stamkos? Schenn?...If only LOL.

greg m said...

i feel like im following the wrong team, there winning games they seem to be out of, there GM seems to have his ear to the rest of the league, with the Rozi deal(i dont think that just fell in his lap) there using there farm system, call it what you want a demotion or just conditioning, i like conditioning, and a goalie thats hot.every night it seems different guys are steping up its always fun to watch when there contenders,i some some jinx blogs out there tonight with that cup talk shit, a little premature if you ask me!....

Kotsy's Korner said...

greg m, What you are witnessing is the resurgence of the New York Rangers. I think all Ranger fans are pleasantly surprised at how quickly it's coming together for this team.

Glen Sather and John Tortorella have quietly built a young, hard working energized hockey club. You have to give them the proper credit for the work they have done as a staff.

The future is looking real good for the Boys in Blue. I'm pretty sure the playoffs are in front of them. Stanley Cup? That might be a little too optimistic. One things for sure if you get in the playoffs you never know? Do you? LOL.

greg m said...

the fire sather t-shirts and protests out side the garden seemed to be quelled for the time being, some of these moves are long over do, but its refreshing to see hes still not resting on his laurels and made a youth movement for the future.you asked a while back what was needed to take it a step further, and i still think its a hard hitting go in the corner D-man, that is feared by all , when he takes the body the whole wall, glass and all shakes.Beukeboom ish.and your right get in the playoffs and its a whole new ball game.
i agree that Yankee stadium is over due for the winter classic,against who tho, Devils? Canadians maybe?

Kotsy's Korner said...

greg m, Sather deserves credit here for making this team younger, faster and hard team to play against. All GM's have had trouble adjusting to the "Cap System" the league lives by now. Sather has certainly showed he has figuring it out.

A crease clearing, crushing type D man is something I've been talking about for years. Unfortunately the way the game is played today there aren't that many who play that way. Where do you go to get one?

Yankee Stadium or any where they could put it on in NY city would suit me fine for the Winter Classic. It's time the NHL did the city and it's people right.

Leatherneck said...

Hey Chris....Whats your opinion of our young D and the team in general?...wow...is mine...McDonagh and Sauer have just simply amazed me...Gilroy too...in the pipe line...McIlrath and Del Zotto...WOW

Question, Gaborik and Gilroy for Brayden Schenn, Derek Forbort and a 1st and 2nd...would you do it?...think LA would do it?

Kotsy's Korner said...

Leatherneck, You have to be very happy with D. The oldest player is 27 years old (Eminger). They as a whole have done their jobs.

Again, You got to figure out cap implications before you can make any moves these days. Not sure the Kings would go for it.

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