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:
NEW YORK RANGERS INVITE FANS TO HELP KICKOFF THE 2011-12 SEASON ON FRIDAY, OCTOBER 7 BEGINNING AT 11AM
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
WHAT: NEW YORK RANGERS CELEBRATE 2011-12 SEASON &
LAUNCH OF VOLKSWAGEN “SHOOT. SCORE. DRIVE.” CHALLENGE
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.
WHEN: FRIDAY, OCTOBER 7
11:00AM – 1:00 PM: Interactive Fan Event at Madison Square Garden
1:00PM: Fan Viewing Party at Local West
WHERE: MADISON SQUARE GARDEN
Corner of 33rd Street and 8th Avenue
(Fan Viewing Party is across the street at Local West)