After tonights big win in Washington, I have to say this is by far the best Rangers team I've seen in a long time to grace the ice at MSG. I'm not saying were perfect by any stretch of my imagination, but this team has given me hope in a lot of games this year and they have not let me down.
I currently live in Oak Harbor Washington but I grew up in New Jersey where I was raised to be a die hard Rangers fan. This is the first time I've been able to afford a cable hockey package and It's been worth every penny of it. I have watched every game since Dec. 4th when I got the package and I've only missed ONE game. I am so impressed and excited about this season that even my wife is watching games with me. Sure she asks from time to time "What's Icing" or "Who the hell is Zackarallo" (I know it's spelled wrong, but I have to emphasize on how she pronounced it the first time) but it's well worth it.
At times it's been difficult to watch with the passed chances at taking shots or the terrible power play but watching this team gets me excited about the playoffs and how this team will look in the future. They have one of the best defenses in the game and the youngest. If that means I have to see a rookie mistake every now and then than so be it because this will be a very difficult team to score on with constant shot blocking and checking. I wouldn't mind seeing a more offensive minded defensmen, you know, someone who could help on the PP, but I'll cope with it. Let me ask you this, can you seriously be mad at a few mistake after the way Sauer, McDonagh and Gilroy have stepped up this year. Maybe not offensively, but they've done a terrific job at shutting down rushes, isolating the puck and helping out Lundqvist and Biron.
With every offensive player we lose to injury, I always end up closing my eyes in pain and wondering how the team till react. One word says it all... resilient. The Rangers have lost Boogard (whatever...) Prospal, Callahan, Dubinsky, Fedetenko and Christensen. Aside from Boogard, those other five are the toughest, most determined and strangely are biggest offensive threats and the Rangers have still managed to pick themselves up and keep on fighting. Zuccarello has stepped in and shown he is capable of adapting to the NHL. Grachev, although he was shaky at first, has progressed and I think he'll be playing at the NHL level next season but not because of injuries. Kolarik has shown some flashes of NHL readiness but I don't think he quite there yet, I think another season of AHL would do him some good. Lucky for us, the All-Star break is coming up, and we should have everyone back (except Boogard...whatever) within a week or two of February 1st.
This season has been a surprise for the fans, the other NHL teams and even the critics. The Rangers may still be shaky in some areas of the game but are showing determination, grit and seem to have finally grasped John Tortorellas system. They could use some more offensive pop and some help on the PP, but I think they have shown a better overall display of skill then the past 2 years. I may be pulling this from the 1986 New York Mets, but after what I've seen this season coming out of MSG, You've Gotta Believe!!!!