How learning to evaluate the Rangers can keep you focused on the positive
[Note by Jim Schmiedeberg, our good friend Eddie "The Mouth" Gieck is going to expand his duties as co-host of Blueshirt Banter Radio and contribute here on the site as well. We welcome his unique point of view, as well as his expansive knowledge of Ranger history.]
I think every Ranger fan should root as hard as they can on any given Blueshirt game night, the consummate Ranger fan should always maintain optimism that the club will be able to win a contest no matter how tough their opponent and no matter how dire the strait.
While he or she is doing that, try as a side project to gauge a Ranger performance not solely on a Win-. Loss basis but on a criteria of how well the younger players are doing.
I say this because although I wish with all my life force that the Rangers will win the Stanley Cup in 2010, the reality is they probably will not and as blasphemous as that may sound, we as Ranger fans are well aware of our teams glaring shortcomings compared to some of the more "together" elite teams in the league, and although there is always hope our teams past history doesn't show much positive surprises.
So next time the Rangers are playing, keep a mental checklist of how Brian Boyle is doing on faceoffs, How is his effectiveness on wing compared to Center? Try to gauge Enver Lisin's skill level and effort from game to game. Determine if Michael Del Zotto is indeed the real deal on both ends of the ice, Evaluate if Matt Gilroy is progressing or regressing. Ponder if Artem Anisimov's development would prosper more quickly with more ice time.
The reason I suggest this young guns type of checklist is because whether you believe it or not the Rangers in the near future will be a yearly consideration to win the Stanley Cup. I assure you down the road this team will be young and exciting and an Atlantic Division force. Unfortunately, the club is stuck with a trio of absurd long term contracts that are presently gumming up the works in epic proportion and stifling the teams overall progression even if you discount the youth..
Rangers Director of player personnel Gordie Clark has done a wonderful job drafting and the Rangers have one of the better rated prospect rankings in the entire NHL, so the next time you watch the game, instead of pulling your hair about a yet another failed clear by Michal Roszival, save yourself the aggravation and instead embrace the positive, that better days are ahead. So for now smile and give a silent cheer every time you see a 19 yr old Michael Del Zotto makes a terrific first pass out of the zone.