Saturday, October 31, 2009

Five Things About the Rangers/Wild Game. . .

This should be quick, because it looked not too much better - from my side at least - than Wednesday night's game versus the Isles.

* Why does it say about the Rangers team that in two back to back games the young guys called up for the first time all year net their first NHL goals? - Parenteau on Wednesday and Byers versus Minnesota last night. A case of effort and wanting to impress in their first views with the big club? A sign of how little offense there is elsewhere? Meanwhile, big props to Dane Byers for coming to play and scoring his first NHL. And he did it all with less than a half hour of prep time as he encountered travel problems getting to Minny. Glad he showed up - in both senses of the word.

* It's now sufficiently into the season and I have no compliants about Wade Redden. He is not perfect. He never was and never will be. His contract is the bane of this team and will be for the next four years beyond this. But his play on the Byers goal showed confidence that I do not think I saw from him once last season after he came back from Prague last year. Whatever he did - get in shape, get his head on straight - thank goodness for that. He deserves some credit for not being what many expected he'd be - the worst Rangers d-man.

* I really hate that Gaborik is out, because I love watching him play. But I am hating it more that his being out is showing the flaws of this team's construction (although maybe in the long run that is a good thing). A team cannot depend on one player. It simply won't work. So is Gaborik's being out showing just how clearly the talent level drops off after him? If so, that's a scary thought. As for Gaborik, it's quite clear he's a superstar in every sense. He makes his own dazzling moves, yes, but he makes the team around him better. Rangers fans are lucky to get to see two players of such talent play for their team in the last few years, first Jagr and now Gaborik.

* Anisimov may have had a slow start to the year, but he looks so much more poised in his puck carrying. And he's using his big body to move around guys, knock guys off the puck. It's wonderful to see.

* That was Minnesota's first win in regulation so far this season. Just stating the facts here. But take nothing away from them - they clearly came ready to play and to win, and that's what they did.

I'm almost afraid to see what Sunday will bring, but I hope the Rangers are able to put it together better. I really do.

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