Ruslan Fedotenko is one of three active New York Rangers that has lifted the Stanley Cup. For some of you that means he has valuable experience and can provide poise and steady play in the postseason, for the rest of you it is meaningless. I like the fact that Fedotenko has some playoff experience, I think it is also worth noting that he has a lot of playoff experience with Torts as his coach. It is hard to overlook Fedotenko’s underwhelming point production this year, but he has been a hard-working two-way player that has been a big part on the very effective Boyle line both this season and last season. Let’s take a look at a smart hockey play Fedotenko where he shows us that he is good for more than just taking sticks to the face.
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When Fedotenko is playing his best he is working the cycle on the Rangers third line, getting the puck in deep and doing the dirty work in the corners. Fedo also has a knack for drawing penalties (1.1 per 60 minutes). He ranks fifth on the team in creating the man advantage (not including players who have played fifteen games or less). Another testament to his work ethic and two-way play is his 57 blocked shots in 73 games this season. The only forwards who have stepped in front of the puck more this year are Ryan Callahan and Brian Boyle, not bad company to have.
Fedotenko is ineffective when he isn’t taking the body. Despite being on the team’s most physical line he averages only slightly better than a hit a game. Brian Boyle had nearly three times the hits that Fedo had this year, which is a pretty large margin considering that Boyle only gets three more shifts per game than Fedo does. I think we will all be looking for Fedotenko to draw penalties, take the body, do the nasty work in the corners, and find a few goals in the postseason.
Fedotenko goes by many names on the Banter: Rusty, F-Tank, Fedo, and a whole slew of others that I can’t remember. No one knows why his moon-like face is perpetually blushing. My theory on his rosy cheeks is that they are gin blossoms or makeup… totally a toss-up between those two things. In 2010 Fedo came to New York on a try-out basis and earned a roster spot because of work ethic and solid-two play, winning a Stanley Cup with Torts probably didn’t hurt his chances of getting signed either. He signed a one-year, $1 million contract with the Rangers October 4th, 2010 and was re-signed July 1, 2011 for another one year deal for $1.4 million. Playing for a future not only in the New York Rangers’ lineup, but in the NHL, Fedotenko should be poised to make a positive impact for the Rangers in the playoffs.
The Boyle line’s play could be crucial for the Rangers’ success against the speedy Senators. The physicality and puck possession that has been the staple of the third line is going to be counted on to clip the wings of the Senators and bruise a lot of bodies. Let’s hope we see Fedotenko’s best play this year in the playoffs, I know I will be looking for him to take the body, keep the puck in Ottawa’s zone, and avoid taking so many sticks to the face.