A couple of thoughts as we close out the year…
Thanks to Josh for filling in admirably the last few days. You’ll probably be hearing from him more as the season goes on, especially if the Rangers manage to make a respectable playoff run, and there’s enough work for two of us. Or Josh could just commandeer the blog outright as my wife enters what feels like her 12th month of pregnancy (and that’s just what it feels like to me. Imagine how she feels).
Are 84 points for Jagr suddenly reachable? As a matter of fact, they are. Consider that after a pretty dismal start to the season, the Captain now has a respectable — albeit still substandard — 34 points through 39 games. This means he would need to score 50 points over the final 43 games and have the Rangers win a round in the playoffs to trigger the option year on his contract. With Jagr, Scott Gomez, and Martin Straka, all playing as well as they have been, that no longer seems far-fetched.
Update: And speaking of the Big Fella, Jagr was just named one of the NHL’s three stars of the week alongside Alexander Ovechkin and Evgeni Nabokov. He had seven points in three games.
Meanwhile, there’s Chris Drury. I said it last week that the Rangers center looked like he needed a couple of days off to dig himself out of a rut, and sure enough, he’s now scored two crucial third period game-tying goals in the last three outings. I forget, didn’t this guy score a big game-tying goal last year, too?
The Rangers are off altogether today, practice tomorrow, then head west to Calgary immediately afterward. Unless nature intervenes, I’ll be at practice tomorrow, and will also be keeping a close eye on the big game in Buffalo. I’m looking forward to that, if for no other reason than it means the end of the countless e-mails I’ve been getting from the league promoting it.
In the meantime, Happy New Year to everyone out there. Be safe. Keep your heads up, and we’ll see you all in ’08….