Our research staff at Blog Headquarters has been up all night poring over statistics in a dimly-lit room. Or at least that’s what I’m telling people. The reality is I just came up with this in about 45 seconds over a leisurely cup of coffee:
Of the six opponents the Rangers have faced with at least 40 points, the team is now an impressive 4-2-4. Throw in the two wins over the Devils, and the Rangers are 6-2-4 against teams with at least 36 points.
Start mapping the parade route!
I kid, of course. But what it shows is that the Rangers might soon be worthy of being lumped in with the elite teams in the league. They have already proven themselves capable of skating with anyone. The next part is proving they can beat anyone over the grind of a seven-game series.
Are they there yet? No, probably not. But with their goaltending peaking, and with seven of their last eight goals coming from outside their Big Four of Jagr, Shanahan, Nylander, and Straka, it appears they’re getting closer.
OK, this concludes the rose-colored glasses portion of our program. A few more thoughts:
As expected, Jim Dolan fully endorsed the work of Glen Sather in his remarks about the team last night. What we didn’t know is that Tom Renney’s contract was quietly extended through at least next season over the summer. This is telling for a couple of reasons. If we thought some of Renney’s decisions thus far were a reflection of a coach who absolutely needed to win now, we now know he has a little more latitude. Granted, “as the coach said already”:http://rangers.lohudblogs.com/2006/12/01/renney-whatever-happens-happens/, a disappointing season is still likely to lead to his dismissal. But Renney has at least been given indication he’ll be part of the team’s future as well, and thus might not be coaching as much with his back against the wall.
In the where-there’s-smoke-there’s-fire department, “turns out the reports of the Rangers moving their farm team to Brooklyn”:http://rangers.lohudblogs.com/2006/11/07/brooklyn-bound/ weren’t so far off, after all. Only it wouldn’t be the Hartford Wolf Pack, but their East Coast Hockey League affiliate that could play out of a 2,300 rink at Floyd Bennett Field. This would give the Rangers something akin to what the Philadelphia Flyers have, with all three of the organization’s teams within a tight radius.
As I always said, once this team gets Karel Rachunek going, there’s no stopping them. OK, I never said that. But there is something to the fact that the defenseman can afford to come out of his shell a bit when he’s not paired with Sandis Ozolinsh. It’s sad to say, but it’s true, and Rachunek’s two goals last night offered at least some proof.
OK, that’s all for now. More later…