Whether the Rangers are really the best team in the NHL, or even worthy of being in the conversation, is not something I’m ready to tackle. But I do know they have the league’s best record.
How do you explain it? On this off day for your favorite hockey team, let’s break out the chalk and go by point-by-point:
Throw in the two solid showings by Stephen (“If I’m a minor leaguer, what are you?”) Valiquette, and you can make a strong argument the Rangers have the best one-two tandem in the league right now.
The other part to consider is that because of their off-season work, the Rangers are one of the best conditioned teams in the league, and have been able to wear down their opponents late in games.
And it hasn’t just been the quality of their opponent that has helped the Rangers. What could easily have been a detriment to the team—a compressed October schedule—has worked to its advantage. If the Rangers are figuring out ways to win games early, it only helps to keep playing.
Which brings up my next point…
If success begets success, the opposite is true, too.
The question remains whether the Rangers’ attention to defense comes at the expense of a more potent attack, because I’m sure the team will come out on the wrong end of another 2-1 game and everyone will begin lamenting the lack of serious punch up front. But right now, the Rangers are winning games because they’re on the same page more than the teams they’re facing.
So there you have it, one man’s take on the first dozen games, which would be worth celebrating if not for the small detail that there are still 70 games still left to play.
Chances are the ride at times won’t be as smooth as it is now, so you might as well enjoy it while you can.