''Hockey is truly a passion here, where they expect a championship-caliber team." Rick Nash
The newest power forward for the New York Rangers couldn't have said it any better. Expectations are extremely high for this team, as they are now true Stanley Cup contenders.
And part of maintaining such elite status means the boys from Broadway must have a balanced scoring attack. Players who can light the lamp with regularity. Particularly at those times when crucial goals are needed.
Rick Nash is certainly going to be counted on as one of those players, as he is fully expected to dent the twine.
The Rangers thankfully, have other players who are capable of doing some serious damage themselves.
And there are three Blueshirts in particular who have a chance of tallying more times than number 61 this season, or whenever the HRR (hockey-related ridiculousness) finally ends.
Read on to find out who they are:
A two-time 40-goal scorer for the Rangers (41 last season), Marian Gaborik is one of the speediest and most skilled players in the National Hockey League. And now that Mr. Nash is in town, the sniper from Slovakia won't be the primary focus of opposing shut-down forwards and defensemen. Plus, for all the negativity associated with the lockout, Gaborik is benefiting from the extra time off, as he continues to rehab from off-season surgery for a torn labrum.
The captain and heart and soul of the Rangers, Ryan Callahan will be counted on by head coach John Tortorella to play and excel in all situations. And Callahan will be up to the challenge, as usual. What makes him such a threat to outscore Nash and the rest of his teammates? He likes to go to the "dirty" areas of the ice (the front of the net in particular) and has an effective shot, especially from inside the faceoff circles. Last season, he put the biscuit in the basket 29 times. But he's more than capable of hitting the 35 plus mark.
Could a rookie lead the Rangers in goals? This choice may be going off the board just a bit. But Chris Kreider has all the makings of a legit goal scorer at the NHL level. His five tallies in 18 playoff games last season showed that he has the knack for getting the job done in the clutch. And just like Gaborik, he will benefit from Nash being marked closely by the opposition's best defensive players.
So those are my three choices.
How about yours?
But before you weigh in, check out the bonus links:
Rick Nash will benefit from playing in Europe.
Here's Marian Gaborik's Facebook Fan Page.
Ryan Callahan is one of the Rangers most important players heading into the new season.