Rangers preview Part I: Keys to the season


Keys to the Rangers season

1) Marian Gaborik. He has one of the top playmaking centers in the NHL now, with Brad Richards. The Rangers must get around 40 goals, or more, from Gaborik, who would also then make a previously pathetic power play go if he’s back on his game. So in many ways, this key is about Richards, as well.

2) Health. The Rangers had a bunch of injuries to key people last year, including Ryan Callahan, Brandon Dubinsky, Gaborik and Martin Biron. These are players the Rangers can’t afford to be without, and they will at least start the season minus their best defenseman, Marc Staal, who has post-concussion-like symptoms.

3) Captain Callahan. The leadership changeover from Chris Drury to Callahan, an ever-improving, home-grown kid who embodies the identity of his team and whose all-out play is inspirational, ought to be a big plus for the Rangers.

4) King Henrik Lundqvist. There may still be plenty of nights when the Rangers don’t score much, and they will count on their goalie to continue to steal games. Lundqvist has become an absolute weapon in shootouts, where the Rangers have racked up points in the past.

5) The very young defense. Staal’s health, obviously, is critical, but the Rangers need to determine their third pair, hoping that Michael Del Zotto has a bounce back season (and can play the power play point with Richards) as the No. 5, and the No. 6 spot is still a big question.

Next: Part II, position by position.


This from the Rangers:


Event from 11am-1pm at Madison Square Garden to Feature Appearances by Rangers Alumni Pete Stemkowski and Nick Fotiu, Opportunity for Fans to Shoot to Win Rangers Autographed Merchandise

Fan Viewing Party for Rangers Season Opener at Local West at 1pm

WHO:             PETE STEMKOWSKI,  NICK FOTIU, Rangers Alumni, Rangers Fans



The Rangers and Volkswagen are hosting an interactive event for fans to celebrate the start of the 2011-12 season. Fans will have the chance to show off their hockey skills and shoot on an NHL regulation goal to win autographed Rangers merchandise. Rangers alumni Pete Stemkowski and Nick Fotiu will be signing autographs and providing tips to Rangers fans on their shots. For the second year the “Shoot. Score. Drive.“ Challenge will offer Blueshirt faithful the opportunity to win 10 different Volkswagen vehicles throughout the season, including the all-new 2012 Passat. Following the event fans can go across the street to Local West to watch the Rangers first regular season game against the Los Angeles Kings in Stockholm starting at 1pm. Rangers alumni will be on hand and fans will also have the opportunity to win a variety of Rangers prizes during the game.


11:00AM – 1:00 PM: Interactive Fan Event at Madison Square Garden

1:00PM: Fan Viewing Party at Local West


Corner of 33rd Street and 8th Avenue

(Fan Viewing Party is across the street at Local West)

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  1. Hank, I believe, will have an outstanding season.

    On dfefense- Erixon may just surprise us. I’m more worried about MDZ. Can he really regain his confidence?

  2. Hey, just noticed that mama landed safely in Sweden. Good to hear. Have fun, young lady!

  3. 4generations 4 cups on

    I cant believe the season starts tomorrow. I remember the very last goal the Rangers scored against the Craps in the playoffs (it was Wolski if you dont remember). So glad that it’s now the time of year where we can look forward to ‘It’s Go Time!’ posts and hockey news/ranger panic and fervor. Cant wait for tomorrow afternoon :D

  4. Defense ..Defense …Defense.
    Will be a long year for Hank, if the question marks on D turn sour.

    btw.. LGR!

  5. keys to the season:

    1. get rid of Christensen and Eminger.
    2. call up Mitchell and Bell to be 13th forward and 7th defenseman
    3. put Wolski back on the top line.
    4. have the idiot coach stop line shuffling and stick to the lines that work.

  6. 2. call up Mitchell and Bell to be 13th forward and 7th defenseman

    Carp, you probably wasted your time doing a 2 part season preview. This says it all right here.

  7. bob – Bell is still on the team.

    Speaking of which, why do they feel the need to keep both Bickell and Bell? Is it because of Sauer’s potential injury? And is Stajcer technically part of the roster or not right now? I know they get an extra spot for a third goalie while in Europe.

    Glad to see Betts still in the NHL. He deserves it.

  8. Must be a different Bell from the one who’s currently on the roster as the 7th defenseman.

    I have also landed in Swedopansyland armed with my 200ft Fire Torts banner.

  9. billybleedsblue on

    lol LW, enjoy the festivities, man. Wish I was there. Swedopansyland is amazing (yes, I’ve been there). Stop and see the changing of the guard and check out the royal family jewels. The Vasa museum is totally worth it too, although you will probably be too drunk with Boyle before the game to do any sight-seeing.

    The Swedopansies were really really close to taking over the world in the early 17th century if not for their warship Vasa sinking on her maiden voyage, oops! No wonder the Finns make fun of the Swedes like we make fun of the Poles.

  10. They speak of defense and sound worried. Well why not.

    It’s all up for grabs, and no one can give a really sound
    and specific statement about who will and who won’t and who can and who can’t. I still remain adamant about not letting Callahan block shots…he’s way too valuable for that. Make EC an offer he can’t refuse…he want’s to stay in the bigs? He’s gotta block shots. Cruel?….I try not to be, but this is the big time right? The City That Never Sleeps, right? Well wake up NY Rangers…do the right thing…for a change. I still have visions of Gilroy in the last year;s games against the Caps..he was like a crazed proton all over everywhere making hits, getting good shots on goal, and energizing the defense. And he was always mis used. He may still be odd man out with the Bolts, but we will have to wait and see. Last year Rangers went for a creaky McCabe, when a Mara would have been a far better risk. Wait…and see……the watchword of the Ranger mystique.

  11. fran,

    Paul Mara couldn’t crack a lineup that lost half its defenseman for large portions of the year (Markov, Spacek and Gorges). He’s not that good.

  12. billybleedsblue on

    Fran, you’re the best. “Make EC an offer he can’t refuse…” Oh man, trust me, I’m not laughing at this one… I know you’re serious.

  13. Does anyone know if the Kings and Ducks have been in Europe playing practice games like the Rangers have been, or did they just recently fly to Sweden?

    If they recently arrived, the Rangers should have a slight edge in that they are already adapted to the time difference. In the case of the Kings and Ducks, the time difference is 9 hours.

  14. “Must be a different Bell from the one who’s currently on the roster as the 7th defenseman.”

    Could be, but they’re dead ringers.

  15. Question: Does anybody know anywhere on the web where I can listen to the game tomorrow? I’m so bummed that the season opener is on during work hours :( If I can’t listen, I am going to DVR and stay away from the internet/social sites all together.

  16. Greetings from Sweden and blogmama. (who’s napping right now after a long flight.) I’m sure she’ll check in later. Can’t wait for the game tomorrow. ;) LGR!

  17. The Kings, Sabres and Ducks only played one pre-season game each in Europansyland, all on Tuesday, in Finland or Germany.

    The Kings must be here already (apart from Mike Richards, who’s face down in some bar in Hamburg), the Ducks are playing the Sabres in Helsinki tomorrow before coming to Stockholm.

  18. Boyle, Prust and Rupp. This is the listed fourth line as of today’s practice. Is there a better fourth line in the NHL?

  19. As young and inexperienced as Erixon is, I’d still take him over Bell or Mara or Bickel. And Bell over Eminger? Hey, I’m no Eminger fan. But he’s better than Bell hands down. He got off to a slow start last year, and then actually played really well from basically November on.

    You’re right about Crusher. He belongs on the waiver wire.

  20. wicky© (Our D is a bunch of poussins and belongs in MAMBY PAMBY LAND!!!!) on

    morning ILB and all!!

    Mama, LW, and Krisy have fun!!

    I didn’t see avery in the starting lineup (sorry mama), you must have forgot him!

    I’d rather see bickel than mdz and the “first pair” of mcdonut and OPG scares the crap out of me!!


  21. lol nice LW

    I don’t consider them a fourth line. It’s just a label anyway.

    In baseball, say the Yankees bring in Mariano Rivera after the starter and 2 middle relievers, does that make him the fourth best pitcher. They’ve also started many games and log significant minutes. They’re the left ventricle in the heart of this team.

  22. Anybody liking my nickname for Gaborik’s hands? “The Ten Commandments” since they are made of stone…

    He won’t need to stick handle though since Richards can handle that.

  23. They’re the left ventricle in the heart of this team.


    Unless you have Transposition and a Mustard Procedure to correct it. Then they are the Right Ventricle.

  24. Stranger Nation on

    Kings seems like horrible match up starting out – hopefully jet lagged. Thought last year’s game was among the most entertaining all season when they came to MSG.

    While Gils would be helpful now, he was out of options – would take him back for a mid-level prospect – definitely played better in last third of season.

  25. Noah, Associate Alternative Assistant Captain on

    Any of the chosen people out there sense any irony that the Rangers open their season during the time when we are supposed to repent for our sins?

  26. Boom Boom Bathgate on

    In addition to that other glaring negative – acting antsy when it’s his turn to carry or pass the puck out from behind the net, Paul Mara has the hockey I.Q. of a peanut. Being a big man is just that, being big, it does not automatically translate into being a talented or an intelligent man.

  27. finally the season upon us. games tonight rangers tom. hello my name is eric and i am a hockey addict. god my wife hates me this time every year.

    it wouldnt be me if i didnt say that it is vital to come home with 2 out of 4 pts in europe.

    how many people besides me would take 7 of 14 pts out of there first 7 games on the road to start season. just curious.

    a winning road trip could put this team in position as season goes on.

  28. I am fine with 7 points. Obviously I would prefer somewhere in the ‘hood of 10 but you know…

  29. Great quote from Tortles re: Zucca:

    “I just think he has grown up. He’s very coachable. I think he has handled himself the right way in trying to become a better player. It really falls on his shoulders in accepting that responsibility and he has done that.”

    source: Adam Rotter at SNY

    ^Hobbit Wizard^ will shine this season!!

  30. CT, it’s four parts actually.

    Lowell, most people make the mistake of calling that the fourth line. But that line will play the third-most minutes, and you can take that to the bank. It’s the third line, but even those who watch the team every day up close haven’t figured that out.

    Krisy!!!!!! Good to see you, kid. Have fun.

    I prefer a mayonnaise procedure.

    Good morning, Sally!

  31. Did you guys see the tweet from Brooksie re: Aves? Apparently, Slats said he could work his way back up to NYR after some time in CT with the Whale! LOL!

  32. I am fine with Avery not being on the team but he is really being treated poorly in the media.

  33. Hate the matchup with the Kings and Ducks, two very physical, very talented teams.This could easily come out an 0-2 start to the season, which would suck even more because they’d have a whole week to lament about it before seeing the upstart Islanders. But I guess it’s trial-by-fire as usual for the Rangers. Where would this team(and we as fans) be if they weren’t facing some sort of gut-wrenching adversity.

    I mean, imagine if we were Bruins fans right now. Think of the horror of starting out with essentially the same exact team that won a cup last season with no real injuries, a second-overall pick who looks to be ready to do what Stamkos did a few years back and the best goaltending tandem in the league. Carp would go out of business!

  34. Just walking around town a bit wearing a Rangers cap and someone asked whether I was playing tomorrow. I hope the depth on D hasn’t quite become *that* bad.

  35. NYR_FAN – I’ll eat my Ranger jersey if Avery is recalled to New York. The only way he comes back is if Tortorella gets booted.

  36. Noah, Associate Alternative Assistant Captain on

    Anyone know when Winter Classic tickets are going on sale?

  37. Doodie Machetto on

    To those in the Carped 4 Life fantasy league, it was nice drafting with you all last night. I hope to crush you all soon.

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