The Rangers have been a gritty team with flashes of skill and a world class goalie for the past few years. Torts, in an effort to get the most out of a group of somewhat soft players with few legitimate scoring threats got the team fore-checking hard and playing a gritty style of hockey. We came out of it with the "Pack Line", and Boyle, Prust and Feds, getting the puck deep, playing on the boards and behind the net, getting the dirty goals that we've been looking for. Two things have altered the Rangers style of play this year and left them, at times, looking like they were torn between being a team of grit or a team of skill. The first was the officiating. The early season slew of penalties taken by gritty guys like Dubi and Prust, taken mostly in the offensive zone, may have sparked a change that could benefit our Rangers over the long haul. How many times did you see Dubi and Cally called for roughing or boarding penalties for what looked like the simple finishing of a hit. Adjusting by carrying the puck into the o. zone and finding ways to apply pressure without taking penalties has the potential to boost our offense. Combined with the second major change, Brad Richard's influence on the entire team in terms of passing and composure with the puck, we have the potential to be a dangerous offensive squad.
So, the question is, how do we keep our grittiness while becoming more dangerous offensively. We will have some line up issues to deal with, especially when Wolski returns and if Avery plays well consistently.
Assuming Dubi is back on track and we can keep Cally, Dubi and Richards together, are Boyle, Prust and Feds a good enough 3rd line? Will we have a throwaway 4th line of mismatched parts getting 5 minutes of ice-time per game? How can we get the most out of Avery and Wolski? Do we need a big body like Rupp or Devaux in the lineup regularly? Is there a piece missing to this puzzle and will a move be made?
What do you think?
By the way, although I've been following the Rangers since 1988, this is my first post of any kind, so I apologize for any mistakes in advance.