It's about that time that I throw some grades at the Ranger players and of course their coach. This is a little later than usual, but with the hardships I fell on and the frustration I felt over this team, I felt like I needed a clear mind to hand out fair grades. Let's get right into it.
A+: Henrik Lundqvist: He deserves this more than anyone. He has cracked the All Star roster this season and is one of the league leaders in wins.
A-: Paul Mara & Marc Staal: These two have been doing it all on the defensive end for the Rangers. When these two were paired earlier in the season, they were unstoppable, which makes us ask the very same question over and over again—why were they apart in the first place?
Mara has been the true leader on the ice and in the locker room. He is the only one opening his mouth to refs and other players.
B+: Daniel Girardi & Ryan Callahan: Girardi has been all over the ice and is really stepping up his game. Callahan is also a machine on the ice and seems to be in the right spots at the right moments.
B: Michal Rozsival & Markus Naslund: I gotta say, I am not a huge fan of Rozi, but when he doesn't shy away from contact and shooting, he can be a great D-man.
Naslund, being past his prime, has played far better than how I expected him to play. But with no one setting him up (Gomez has been terrible of late), do you really expect him to score?
B-: Steve Valiquette, Petr Prucha, & Nikolai Zherdev: Vally has been solid when he gets the nod. Zherdev needs to mature and harness his game in order for us to see his full potential; the energy and intensity he shows in the beginning of the season is totally gone.
Prucha has jump-started not only his play, but others since being reinserted into this lineup in December, definitely a jolt this Rangers club needed.
C+: Lauri Korpikoski & Fredrik Sjostrom: Okay, maybe this one isn't extremely fair, but I feel when these two kids are on the ice the Rangers have a better shot of competing with faster teams.
Sjostrom does it all and I would love to see him get some time with some of the more offensive players. Korpedo will be an amazing player eventually, but his intensity now is tops.
C: Wade Redden, Dmitri Kalinin, Blair Betts, & Colton Orr: Redden started off the season very poorly but has turned it around since. However, he still isn't the player the Rangers hoped for.
Kalinin also started off the season poorly and drew the fans' ire early on, but as of late he is redeeming himself with great defensive play.
Betts and Orr have been one of the best lines with Sjostrom and have done what they have been asked to do: Be game changers and hold down the fort when the game gets out of hand.
C-: Scott Gomez, Chris Drury, Nigel Dawes, & Brandon Dubinsky: Gomez & Drury are not getting the job done. They are not superstars but are definitely reaping the financial benefits of pretending they are.
Drury needs to give up his captaincy and get back to the basics of hockey that made him a hockey immortal.
Dawes is good for a spot goal here and there (against the Devils or Isles) but other than that, he likes to crowd his own players and is too weak on the defensive side of the puck.
Dubinsky has turned himself around and will definitely be higher than a C minus by the season's end.
D: Aaron Voros: Would probably be higher if he didn't have so much time in this lineup. He had his time in the spotlight only to be nothing more than a roster spot before Prucha was inserted back into the lineup.
F: Tom Renney, Perry Pearn, & Mike Pelino: Not getting the job done. This defensive system with the players they have is a pure waste.
Renney barely shows any intensity on the bench when his team is getting man-handled and his lineups, most of the time, are very questionable. He has lost his basic knowledge of chemistry and hockey fundamentals.
Incomplete: Dan Fritsche & Patrick Rissmiller: Fritsche is being wasted not playing, he should at least be down in Hartford doing some damage while the Rangers figure out when and if they need him.
A very questionable decision by the coaching staff on this. Rissmiller was a complete waste of money.