"Seventy percent of success in life is showing up." Woody Allen
Leave it to one of the all-time great comedians to offer his own unique perspective on achievement.
If it were only that easy, Woody.
The New York Rangers would love to show up, as would the 29 other teams in the National Hockey League. However, due to the hockey-related ridiculousness (my take on lockout-related HRR) which continues to keep the game off the radar screen, that's not happening.
But unlike the 29 other teams currently in the deep freeze, the Blueshirts have the best shot of winning the Stanley Cup once play resumes. This team made tremendous strides last season, which included:
- Fifty-one wins
- One hundred and nine points
- First place overall in the Eastern Conference
But, they lost out to the New Jersey Devils in a hard-fought Eastern Conference Finals.
So why is this team now ready to finish the job?
Read on to find out what separates them from the pack—at least on paper.
It will take a multitude of royal performances from The King if the Rangers are to hoist the holy grail for the first time since 1994. And, with 252 regular season wins, 43 shutouts and a 2.27 career goals against average to his credit, there's no doubt that number 30 is more than capable of putting up even better numbers.
Heading into his eighth NHL season, Lundqvist is at the top of his game. And that's why the Rangers have a great chance to win it all.
When it comes to on-ice leadership, the Rangers are undoubtedly in good hands. Ryan Callahan, entering his second campaign as captain, is the epitome of what this team has become. He's relentless, resourceful and respected by every single player on the squad. He can be counted on in all situations and leads by example, whether its going hard to the net for a rebound, or throwing his body at opposing players and 100 mile per hour slap shots.
To build a house worthy of showcasing the Cup, you need to have a rock-solid foundation in place. The Rangers certainly have that—as you'd be hard pressed to find a better supporting cast on Broadway.
For instance, in addition to captain Callahan and his 29 goal performance from a season ago, they bring plenty of speed and skill up front, including:
On the back line, the Rangers boast a wealth of talent. Their top two defensive pairings match up with any in the NHL:
At the epicenter of all the Rangers talent is a man who is never in the lineup, but has won the Stanley Cup before. John Tortorella is the ideal bench boss for this team. He's brash and bold like The Big Apple itself. Plus, he possesses the requisite determination to take his team to the top.
There is a caveat to this story however, that must be told.
Tortorella is concerned that his troops may lose their physical and mental edge the longer the lockout drags on.
"There's a mindset from this group, a mindset from the New York Rangers that defines us and factors into everything we do," the coach told Larry Brooks in a recent New York Post article. "And I know the guys are trying their best to stay at it, but it worries me that they've lost that mindset."
From Brooks' article, Tortorella also remarked emphatically, "we're going to have to address that as a group because we've come too far and have too much in front of us to allow this situation to get in the way of where we want to go."
Where they want to go, is the summit of Mt. Stanley. And they've got what it takes to get there.
At least on paper.
Let me know your thoughts.
And check out the Blueshirts Bonus Links:
Nearly 6,000 miles from home, a Ranger finds Hockey and more
Former Rangers head coach Mike Keenan - a Stanley Cup winner himself with the Blueshirts in '94, says the entire season is in danger
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