NEW YORK NY - JANUARY 13: Winning goaltender Henrik Lundqvist #30 of the New York Rangers salutes the fans after being named the first star of the game after shuting out the Vancouver Canucks at Madison Square Garden on January 13 2011 in New York City. The Rangers defeated the Canucks 1-0. (Photo by Andy Marlin/Getty Images)
A few things to talk about on an off day:
I haven't seen anything from Ryan McDonagh that tells me he isn't ready to play in the NHL. I know its only been four games, but I would argue that three of those four games (Dallas, St. Louis, Vancouver) are some of their best defensive efforts of the year. Not saying it's all McDonagh, but he has definitely been a part of it. In my opinion, the Rangers should be in no hurry to make any deals for a veteran defenseman. Let the next three or four weeks play themselves out, and unless someone on the roster proves to be a liability, play the kids. The experience of a playoff race will be invaluable.
I think Mats Zuccarello is here to stay. Whenever he is on the ice, something exciting seems to happen. He isn't afraid to work the corners, and moves the puck about as well as anyone on the team.
With the addition of Wojtek Wolski, the power play problems are going to work themselves out. Matt Gilroy on the point is going to help as well. My biggest concern in the second half is face-offs. Artem Anisimov and Derek Stepan have just been abysmal, and Brian Boyle hasn't been much better of late.
Henrik Lundqvist is averaging a shutout for every 5.66 starts, by far his career best average. His season best for shutouts is the ten he had in 2007-08, and its within reach at his current pace.
The Rangers are 26-16-3. They did not hit 26 wins last year until February 6th.
After Crosby slew-footed Ryan Callahan, Subban slew-footed Brandon Dubinsky, and Marc Staal took one in the jewels last night, with no calls on any of them, it would be difficult to argue with anyone who says the Rangers don't get a fair shake from the officials. I definitely look for the Rangers to administer their own justice on Subban in Montreal on Saturday night.
I'm guessing Martin Biron starts in Montreal on Saturday night, with Hank playing Sunday at home against Philadelphia. Biron's only played four times since the beginning of December, and with the Rangers headed into a stretch of five games in seven nights, Saturday night is probably the perfect time to get Biron some work.
Anybody miss Rozsival yet?
I can't say enough about Brandon Dubinsky this year. With apologies to Ryan Callahan, is Dubi the Rangers most complete player now? Tough argument, and probably has no right or wrong answer.
You guys are doing an awesome job in the game threads, and I've come to find out that a lot of people come in and read the game threads after the games are over just to see the conversations. Give yourselves a stick salute, you deserve it.
Jesse Spector from the NY Daily News is going to join us Monday night on Blueshirt Banter Radio.
Going to ask a favor of you guys: If you are on Twitter, put your Twitter name in your signature, this way I can make sure I am following all of you. I'm @blueshirtbanter so make sure you follow me for all site updates and other randomness.
How great is that picture of Henrik saluting the fans last night?
Have a great weekend everyone, see you all in the threads.