Never mind what the Rangers can be. That part we all have down pat.
We know they can be a relentless forechecking team that “can get offense from different segments of its lineup”:http://www.lohud.com/article/20081113/SPORTS01/811130480/-1/SPORTS. We know they can be gritty enough to be an unpleasant opponent. We know Michal Rozsival can actually shoot the puck.
What we don’t know, and probably won’t know for some time, is if the Rangers can be that team over any sustained period of time.
What makes hockey so endlessly intriguing to me is how a team can be so good one night, and so disjointed the next. It’s obviously up to players and coaches to ensure a level of consistency. But let’s not forget there is another team out there that is intent on knocking it opponent out of sync. I’m as guilty as anyone else of thinking that the Rangers win and lose games on their own, as if the guys in the other jerseys are just extras who get paid by the hour.
But the reality is the Rangers have been at their best when they’ve been the proactive team — getting pucks deep, creating chances on the forecheck — and at their worst when they’ve become mere spectators. They were guilty of the latter at the start of each of their last two games, but at least have found a way to snap back to life.
If they can find a way to avoid such dips in their intensity, maybe we can stop talking about what they can be and simply talk about what they are.
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The team is off today, and so am I. In between household errands, expenses, and child-rearing, I’m thinking about a rare double session of hockey — first at lunchtime at WSA and then again late tonight. It’s the least I could do after setting a world record for potato chip consumption last night at the Rock.
I’ve already chimed in “once on the naked guy in the ad to the right”:http://rangers.lohudblogs.com/2008/11/12/from-the-rock-gomez-out-against-devils/ (although he appears to be missing right now). On whole, ads are a good thing, so I’m not in a position to complain. But seriously, I’m about a day away from outright nightmares.
Courtesy of Yahoo’s addictive “Puck Daddy blog”:http://sports.yahoo.com/nhl/blog/puck_daddy, here’s a video of some Rangers fans and Devils fans stirring it up last night at Rock. We could hear, but not quite see, the ruckus beneath the press box. All this time I thought it was Patrick Rissmiller objecting to his conditioning assignment in Hartford.
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Lastly, stay tuned on Brendan Shanahan news. Supposedly a signing could come as early as today, with the likely destination the City of Brotherly Love.