The calendar year sure has brought a mixed bag, hasn’t it? Through 2010, the Rangers went 41-30-8 (which is actually 41-38), fell apart late last January, rallied in late-March and early April, didn’t make the playoffs, and now have had this impressive first half.
They have had guys who were jettisoned: Donald Brashear, Wade Redden, Olli Jokinen, Ales Kotalik, Christopher Higgins, Enver Lisin, Aaron Voros, Jody Shelley, P.A. Parenteau, Steve Valiquette, Ocho Cinco, Todd White to name a few.
And guys who arrived and surprised and reversed everything about this team: Derek Stepan, Brandon Prust, Brian Boyle, Mike Sauer, Steve Eminger, Martin Biron, Ruslan Fedotenko, Mats Zuccarello, Dale Weise (withholding judgment on Derek Boogaard and Alex Frolov).
Oh, and a new coach. Well, the same coach, only with a different persona (he’s once again the guy we knew when he was an assistant and then an interim head coach for four games in 2000), and one who is doing a much, much, much better job, and the driving force behind the get-young movement and the patience that movement requires.
It’s night and day, isn’t it?
The Rangers don’t hit the halfway mark until Wednesday, when they play their only home game in a six-game stretch (against Carolina). So I won’t get into my mid-term grading just yet. But 2010 sure has been two different years.
The NHL hasn’t promoted it much, so here’s a reminder: The Winter Classic is tomorrow. I think Sidney Crosby is playing Alex Ovechkin, from what little I’ve seen and read about it.
Me? I’ll turn it on for a while on New Year’s Day, but I will be at the very least sharing my attention with The Honeymooners marathon, and then your boys in Tampa at 7, the first of 2011 back-to-backs in the Sunshine State.
Forgot to mention yesterday that Crosby’s point streak ended at 25 games. So I guess we can surmise that he’s almost half as good as The Great One. Almost. And we can hope that hideous caterpiller is shaved from above his northern lip in time for his game against Ovechkin.
Behave yourselves tonight. It’s Amateur Night, you know, so be careful.