New York Rangers: High-Firing Ready to Cruise into Playoff Battle

Dan BrunoContributor IMarch 6, 2009

And so it begins—the John Tortorella era. After Rangers management—specifically, Glen Sather—agreed on signing "Torts" on Feb. 24, 2009, he went through what was rumored to be a "training camp-like atmosphere."

Now, 10 days later, he has a system in place that the team can follow. And the team has followed. He has fixed the sails on the ship and given them a destination point—the playoffs. Now it's up to the players, and they've delivered. So far.

Time will tell if the famously inconsistent Ranger club can keep their head above water, where sealevel is the .500 mark of yielding success.

The trade deadline moves by Glen Sather have thrusted the team into playoff contention for sure, with Nikolai Antropov adding size to the wing (at 6'6", 230 lbs., and a leaning tower on the ice), Derek Morris at 6'0", 221 lbs., and grit in the return of the ever-famous Sean Avery.

The Rangers finally have a top six. The Rangers top guns—Scott Gomez, Chris Drury, Nikolai Zherdev, and Markus Naslund—have all scored in consecutive games. It is a very good sign for a team that two weeks ago showed no life at all, and was on the verge on sinking completely.

Now, it's time for Henrik Lundqvist to shine. He has to shine for Zherdev to break 25 goals, for Naslund to break 30, for Avery to energize, for Dubinsky to develop a hot streak.

Because waiting is no longer an option.