The Blue Line: Rangers Ready for Playoffs?
It took head coach, Tom Renney, quite a while to get the lines perfect after the teams' rearrangement.
Now, with the perfect mix of new, energetic players like Brandon Dubinsky and Ryan Callahan, who showed his true blue colors last season, with a blend of the older, experience needed on an all-star team like Brenden Shanahan and Jaromir Jagr, well, Shanahan at least.
While rumors always run rampant during trade time, one in particular scared fans. It was the rumor that Glenn Sather was going to send Jagr off to Detroit. But, as we all know, that might have crossed his mind, but it didn't cross the paper.
The best addition to the team by far has to be Nigel Dawes who has more points than half the veteran players on the team. Dawes was pulled up from Hartford Wolfpack early this season.
He played his last game with the pack in Syracuse, N.Y. against the Syracuse Crunch. I had the pleasure of speaking to him before the bus departed about his thoughts on the Rangers.
I also had a chance to speak with Darius Kasparaitus, as it was also his last game before he went off to Russia. They both seemed confident on the Rangers making it to the playoffs. While in Russia, once a Ranger, always a Ranger. Kasparaitus is definitely True Blue.
The other player who has been looking more and more like Brian Leetch is our own, Sean Avery. Yeah, he's punk, but it doesn't mean he isn't a great player. (Did anyone else notice the black nail polish at that video conference after the game?)
Avery isn't just an enforcer anymore, he's a scorer. It's been amazing watching what he can really do lately. Fans are so used to watching him watch the players backs at the games, but he's been adding in some extra flair when he's not on his throne in the penalty box. He now has more points than team captain Jagr. Sadly, so does Dubinsky.
That mad-dashing Irishman possibly also has been our greatest leading veteran. Frankly, I think on St. Patrick's day, Shanny should be named captain.
I know Jagr has had a good run of it, but I just don't see him pulling his weight here any longer. Unfortunately, that other nasty rumor going around is that our dear Irishman is thinking about retiring after this season. Maybe headed to his Falcone in Ireland for a little Sax. (If you're not laughing, look it up on YouTube!)
The Rangers are now in sixth place. Ahead of us are the Montreal Canadiens.
After so long of watching Renney play with the lines, and watching the blue shirts fall behind in the ranks, the Garden Faithful have not let go of the dream of that cup. The team didn't give up, and Renney didn't disappoint us. The blue shirts have been raising their sticks high these past few weeks, and I hope to keep seeing that.
This is a team who wants the cup. More than some others. Now, heading into the playoffs at what looks to be sixth place in the Eastern Conference, the Rangers are ready for a fight.
Don't let a couple losses get you down though, because this year, it's going to be a blue-shirt special. We'll see Jagr holding that cup high and the entire city of New York will shake. No, it's not an earthquake, those are true-blue fans.
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