VIEW FROM THE TOP: New York Rangers

As the self-appointed spokesmen/woman of the Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks, we are using the idea of "To the victors go the spoils" quite seriously. What we will do between now and the night the Stanley Cup banner is raised in the United Center is point out the shortcomings of all the teams that won't have four crisp new banners in their rafters. We continue this series with the New York Rangers.

When the New York Rangers won the Stanley Cup in 1994, play-by-play man Sam Rosen declared, "This one will last a lifetime!"

Sam wasn't just shitting us. Since then, the Broadway Blueshirts have made it to the Eastern Conference Final twice, in 1996 and 2012. Both times their coach was gone shortly thereafter. Colin Campbell was replaced by John Muckler during the 1996-97 season to prove the Peter Principle by reaching his level of incompetence in the NHL offices. This time John Tortorella and Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault wound up swapping jobs.

Now Tortorella seemed like the perfect coach for the Rangers. A tough Cup winner, he actually managed to call the shots with the New York media. No mean feat. Vigneault comes in with a reputation for...well...uh...let's just say you can expect one of the $25 Louis Vuitton bags you buy from an African dude on 7th Avenue to hold together better than Vigneault. He'll cry more than Mark Messier at a press conference. Speaking of Messier, after getting tired of waiting for GM Glen Sather to retire or die, he threw his hat in the ring for the coaching job. After getting passed over for Vigneault, he left the organization. Sather then asked for more pudding.

So aside from Vigneault, how do the Rangers look on the ice?

FORWARDS:

When you've got guys up front like Derek Stepan, Rick Nash and Brad Richards and you wind up in the middle of the pack in scoring, that really isn't good. Of course, when your big trade deadline pickup is Ryane Clowe (since departed), it didn't seem like scoring was all that big a priority. With Vigneault behind the bench, you can look for the Rangers to not only move up the ranks in scoring, but also in sprawling on the ice as if they were picked off by snipers, which will go great with their craptastic power play. Chris Krieder was electrifying during the 2012 playoffs, but spent last year wearing out I-95 between New York and Hartford. Ryan Callahan and Carl Hagelin are both question marks to start the season, and that's 33% of your Top 6, so...yay? Every time I see Brian Boyle play, I keep wondering why he isn't a better hockey player. Which is like wondering why water isn't drier.

DEFENSE:

Ryan McDonough is really good. So is Dan Girardi. Chicagoan John Moore went from a -4 to a +5 on the season simply by trading his Columbus sweater for a Rangers one. If Marc Staal's eye hasn't completely healed, well...Carolina will give Sather something for him. Michael Del Zotto sucks. And Aaron Johnson is right.

GOALTENDING:

This is where the Rangers' fortunes lie. Henrik Lundqvist is a good-looking goalie looking for a butt-ugly contract. He's in his UFA year, and I'm sure he'd love to get Sather by his snow-white pubes. It's up to the rest of the Rangers to ride his coattails.

MUNDANE FACT:

There has been some mention of members of this franchise from two decades ago on the Puckcast.

ARE THEY BETTER THAN THE CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS?:


No way Jose. But King Henrik can be a game changer. Still, it's not as important as being able to show me in a Rangers sweater (Rangers Legend Marcel Dionne, natch), my buddy Lar & Al Lewis - Grandpa Motherfuckin' Munster - hanging out.




 

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