Note: I was attempting to put together a coherent article focused around one or two topics, but it's too nice out and all I am focused on at the moment is the USA Soccer World Cup Qualifier in Mexico tomorrow (4 PM EST). So instead I will pull somewhat of a Jim and just write my thoughts down; rangers related or not.
Ø In my first visit to HFBoards.com in over a month, I see the most recent topic is the THN article saying the Rangers will finish 13th in the East this season (a little premature for predictions, no?). Their reasoning:
"Why: This is a max-spending team with just one skater worthy of max money - and Marian Gaborik can't stay healthy. The Rangers' best player is their goalie, a good thing, but their No. 1 center is Brandon Dubinsky and the suspect defense is expensive, two bad things. The Rangers are a rebuilding team, but refuse to admit it."
That's one opinion, I guess. But it did confirm a topic I have been thinking about a lot lately, and that is how balanced this team could be. But how can balanced be bad? Well, let's just remember last February and March, where no one on the Rangers seemed like they could step it up and carry the team, besides that Vezina-caliber goaltender we stumbled upon years ago. It is one thing I am worried about early on in the season, because if things don't click relatively quickly we could possibly see a Ranger fan backlash at some of the decisions this offseason, including the coaching decision from last season.
Also, Dubinsky is not our number one center, THN and others. The captain, Chris Drury, is. I love how everyone is writing Drury off this season, and I really hope that he has a big year like I think he will. Dubinsky may end up playing on the "first" line, but that does not mean he is our number one center, that is two different things. A number one center is the player who gets thrown out with one minute left to win an important faceoff in either zone. Dubinsky will get a shot at that a handful of times this season, but most of the time you will see number 23 skating out from the Ranger bench in those situations. Drury still has excellent vision and a wrist shot to match, and I am expecting a comeback year for our Captain.
Ø If Zherdev ends up going to the KHL (RDS reporting as I type that he has signed with Salavat Yulayev Ufa), I will laugh. I think it makes the Rangers look smart, and at the same time it really says something about his character that no other NHL team truly wanted him. Talent can only take you so far; you have to have the character to match to really be great in anything.
Ø Glad to see my Red Sox bounce back last night. As for the weekend, I am glad I didn't watch most of the games, to say the least.
Ø And to finish up I will talk some footie. I just really became a big soccer guy this summer, and for the most part I mainly support the US team and the Red Bulls of MLS. The US, as I mentioned above, have a great shot to end their winless streak in Mexico Wednesday, and if it happens it will have to be a repeat performance of the Confederations cup when they took down Spain and pushed Brazil pretty hard. If they can get out of the first fifteen minutes of each half, I like their chances to at least draw or sneak out a one goal win. I am going to say 2-1 US, Donovan and my boy Michael Bradley with the goals. For those of you wondering, the game is on MUN2, as ESPN doesn't have the rights to the game. If you have digital cable, MUN2 will be available all day on Wednesday for free, as US soccer fans really put pressure on NBC to make it so (I signed the petition). The Yanks are Comin' !