LAS VEGAS, NV - JUNE 20: Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers poses after winning the Vezina Trophy during the 2012 NHL Awards at the Encore Theater at the Wynn Las Vegas on June 20, 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
- This is a segment I've wanted to do consistently for a long time. I often find that bullet-point-driven stories are a great way to talk about a range of different subjects to incite debate, especially during off days and the dragging days of the offseason. I tried this a little after the playoff games and I think it worked. So I think I might bring Bantering Point back to talk about some of the different things that's going on for the New York Rangers. This edition is kind of special because ...
- For the first time in site history, Blueshirt Banter got over 500,000 page views in a month. The month of July was the single best month the Banter has ever had in every statistical category -- except for biggest single day in site history, that honor still goes to the day of the trade deadline. It's a huge accomplishment, and a huge testament to the staff here at Blueshirt Banter and all of you who keep coming day in and day out. So thank you. I know it might not seem like a big deal to you guys, but this is an operation that needs daily maintenance to make sure things run smoothly. And when we're validated by the numbers, well, it just feels good. So again, thanks.
Join me after the jump for more.
- I should probably thank Rick Nash as well. Thanks, Rick!
- If you all haven't read it yet, I suggest you take a look at Aaron Portzline's 61 thoughts. It gives a ton of analysis about the Rangers' newest sniper, including a prediction that Nash will come back to the 40-goal plateau this season. Either way, there's a lot to see there and a lot to learn about Nash.
- I'll touch on a few of his subjects here. But to hear that some fans actually cried when Nash was traded tells me two things: Boy did Columbus love Nash, and the Rangers got a hell of a person along with a hell of a player in this deal. Apparently there were times when the media found out about some of his charities and he asked them not to report it (I wonder if the New York media would do the same?) because he didn't do it for attention. That means something to me, I like to see that kind of stuff.
- The story talks about how Nash was simply on a different level. He was the best hockey player in the room by a mile, and a superstar in Columbus. Which got me to thinking: Where does he stand in New York? I'd have to say Henrik Lundqvist, Marian Gaborik and Ryan Callahan are bigger names to Rangers fans (simply because they have already made a difference for the team), and I would say that there's more anticipation about Chris Kreider because of his playoffs. In terms of talent, Nash and Gaborik and Lundqvist are huge names in the NHL, but Nash is no longer the best guys in the room by a mile.
- Away from Nash, I'm really, really glad Martin Biron is back. I think what he did last season is exactly what the Rangers want to see out of him again. There is no doubting that he kept Lundqvist fresh for the playoffs and his willingness to give Lundqvist his space is vital.
- Would anyone be surprised if Derek Stepan had a breakout year this season? He's either going to be paired with Nash or Gaborik and then will have either Kreider or Callahan on his other wing. It should be a big year for a guy who the Rangers deemed untouchable -- as did I.
- I'm still expecting another move. I'm not expecting Shan Doan. I think the Rangers will go for a third-line guy to help shore up the bottom six (Jason Arnott, anyone?) and call it an offseason.
- Then again, if Doan is willing to take a two-year deal with a "chance-at-a-Cup-discount" I don't think the Rangers could, would or should turn him down.
- I really like this feature, not too sure why I stopped doing it. What do you guys think about all this stuff?