Bantering Points: Saturday Morning Snowstorm Musings
Some notes for you all to enjoy on this fine snow-covered Saturday.
- First of all, hopefully you're all safe and with power. Well, if you're reading this you have power, so hopefully you're safe. Stay warm, stay inside and be smart.
- Dan Girardi seems like a good place to start. Girardi skated at Friday's practice and shook off any questions about his health. This has a lot of Rangers fans concerned, but the team's elusiveness in giving an answer about Girardi's injury isn't shocking. He's skated the past couple of days, and obviously has a banged up ankle. It is what it is. It isn't anything serious -- like many believe it is since he's not talking about it -- if he was he wouldn't be skating. It will be nice to get him back, though. Really nice.
- So J.T. Miller is just two games into his NHL career and people are demanding he stay up. I agree, he's looked really good the past two games. But there's the catch right there, it's only been two games. I'm not saying he isn't a quality hockey player -- he's obviously a special talent -- but there is more to this equation than just where he should learn his game. My guess? The Rangers keep him up. But I wouldn't be shocked if they sent him back down. It's a big risk to keep him pas the five-game mark.
- Anyone else notice a real difference in Chris Kreider's game since his injury? A lot of how a player develops has to do with their mindset when things aren't going their way. Kreider jumps out to a slow start, sits in the press box for a game before the team realizes he is injured so they sit him out and he gets to watch more from up high. Kreider is a skilled player in many different facets of his game, but something they loved about him in college was his mentality. He used the time in the box to learn and it's shown. I loved his game the past two games (and he has two points to boot).
- I still don't think we see Brian Boyle on Sunday.
- Want to know which forward leads the Rangers in average time on ice in each game? Rick Nash. I think that speaks to his abilities in all three zones. Him, Brad Richards and marian Gaborik are the only forwards over 20 minutes a game.
- As we always seem to talk about, defenseman time on the ice. Girardi leads everyone with nearly 26 minutes a game. Ryan McDonagh is right behind him at nearly 25 minutes. Michael Del Zotto (23:46) and Marc Staal (23:43) come in after that. The next closest defenseman? Anton Stralman at 15:20. Then Matt Gilroy at 10:04. That's an issue the Rangers need to deal with. They need that fifth defenseman to play around 15-17 minutes a night to bring Girardi and McDonagh down a few minutes. Probably won't happen this year, though.
- Quick prospect update: Michael St. Croix has 66 points in 56 WHL games so far this year. Freshman Cristoval Nieves has 21 points in 28 games for Michigan. Oscar Lindberg has 36 points in 46 SEL games (we're going to have more on him shortly). And finally Jesper Fast has 30 points in 38 SEL games. Lots of guys to keep an eye on for sure.