Hey boneheads, I have to first say thanks to Carp for letting me do a guest post. I also wanna say congrats to all the guys who posted so far. you all have done a great job. it’s been a fun 2 weeks and training camp is right around the corner. There has been so much discussed this offseason between the draft, the trades, new players, old players, line changes, megan fox, josh thomson’s eternal youth and so on. I think something that hasn’t been talked about that much is the competition we will be facing in the league and especially our division. With all the new players we have, and having a game breaker in Gaborik, we have that go-to guy that was missed last season. I personally think he will have an outstanding year especially seeing how he did on the Wild in the last few weeks of last season. Now, he has the oppurtunity to play a fast paced forechecking style and he could very well help keep us in contention with the top teams in the east. If he stays healthy.
The other 4 teams in our division are going to be very tough again this year to play against. The pens still have 2 of the top 3 players in the league, and their goaltender marc andre fleury certainly has become much more consistent and much more focused and experienced especially the way he played to help the pens win the cup. I think the pens will be the top team to beat in the division again. they added jay mckee, a good (big) d man who can add some toughness on the back end. a few changes along with him, but the big part is that they really didnt lose anybody from last years team, and with the confidence of winning the cup, should be very tough (as usual) to play against.
Now the other 3 teams are another story. We all know Philly got much tougher physically and that scares me. Even if we beat them you know each and every one of us will be praying that our superstar is still in 1 piece after the game. I think they will be tough to play but there goaltending hasn’t gotten better. i think Biron was good, but not good enough, and Emery doesn’t seem to be a good enough replacement especially his attitude and could be bad in the lockerroom. Pronger is a good addition but he’s gettin up there in age, pretty damn expensive, and in my opinion, won’t be the guy who can help them past the 2nd round. lappy is tough but he’s an old fart too. i think they got bigger and tougher, but we still have the better goaltending and if boyle can play to his size, along with brash and aves, we should be alright.
That leaves our 2 favorite teams besides the Rangers!! Now, we all know the Devs lost some offense with Gionta and losing Mike Rupp to the Pens and Madden to Chicago, while adding all star goalie Yann Danis and d man Cory Murphy, along with retaining the petrified human fossil Shannysaurus erectus. With Brodiva another year older, I really think they could miss the playoffs this year. Although you can never discount the Devils and they could still add a few players by trade. Marleau’s name has come up recently and I’m sure they will add somebody before the season begins or shortly after.
Finally, the goofiest team in the league, our red headed stepchildren out east. I shall leave them nameless because they could be gone soon anyway. With the loss of Sillinger, they will lose a grizzled vet who’s a good faceoff man and tough customer. I really think Tavares will be great for them, but even without him, that team has always given us trouble. You know they always get heated up for this rivalry, and sometimes we didnt take them seriously enough. With Torts as our coach, I feel this wont be a problem anymore. But they added 2 vet goalies, both pretty good. Roloson is still good, even at his age, and Biron will be too. I think a big problem for us will be Okposo. that guy is good and will be great with Tavares. They will be better than last year, but I dont think they have enough depth to do much this season.
The division will always be tough and every game is a 4pt game. If I had to predict the final standings I’d have us right in the middle behind the pens and philly, and ahead of the devs and isles. If Gabby stays healthy I can definitely see us in 2nd just behind the pens.
Ok, i know moves will be made and anything can happen in hockey. I really think we will see the Rangers not only be more competitive this season, but I think we will see guys like Anisimov, Grachev, his twins Grabachev and Grachez, Del Zotto, Stepan, Kreider, Werek, Gilroy, really become good, if not great players for this franchise. I’m happy with the direction this team is going for the first time in a while. With good players like Cally, Higgins, Duby, Staal, Gabby, Lisin and Hank, I think we have a great core and as long as Slatipuss Maximus keeps going with youth instead of overpaid mercs, Torts getting the underacheiving overpaid vets to step up their game, and with some luck along the way, hopefully, this could be the start of a new era in Rangers hockey. Maybe I’m a little too optimistic, I don’t care. I am sure i will be the first one ranting when they lose. I still love this team, as do all of you.
Here’s to a great upcoming season and I’d like to thank Carp once again for letting me do this, and to all the boneheads for makin’ this blog a great place to come to and talk about the greatest sport on earth (not just on ice)!! I know i didnt get into each team as much as I wanted to, but I figured you guys will, and correct me if I’m wrong. One last thing. Who do you think will center the first line?? Just kiddin guys!
Hey, it’s Carp here again.
Just wanted to update you, because I forgot to put out the rest of the schedule. But in the next two days we will have posts from UES Blueshirt and from Buster. Just wondering if anybody wants to volunteer to do the final post for Sunday? (if so, e-mail me at rcarpini@LoHud.com; I’ll need your post by Saturday night).
Then I’m back on Monday, but I have at least one or two more weeks of vacation coming, and at least one of those later this month. So if you didn’t get a chance to post these two weeks, more opportunties are coming.
Thanks again, everybody. Great job, Mike.