With the Rangers fighting for their playoff lives, it doesn’t seem like many players are looking beyond their next game, but that’s not how it works for everyone.
Erik Christensen is a good example; you can be sure he’s focused on each and every game, but he isn’t just fighting for a playoff spot, he’s also fighting for a job for next season.
Larry Brooks of the NY Post has the full story , but I thought I’d give you some quotes from Christensen:
Christensen on His Current Mind Set
“I’m trying to do everything I can to help the team make the playoffs. That’s the most important thing, but I have to admit I’m also worrying about playing next year,” said Christensen. “You have to work and eat next year, so it’s definitely on my mind.”
On Feeling Comfortable
“With the way my career has gone, I don’t think I’m ever going to feel comfortable,” said the 26-year-old Christensen. “I think I’m always going to have to fight for my opportunities."
On Fulfilling Potential
“I have to show a little more initiative,” he said. “This is definitely the place I’ve gotten the most opportunity to become a top-two centerman, which is how I envision myself. I’m kind of figuring out what I need to do to get those kinds of minutes beyond putting up points.
“I need to be play defensively in our own end, I need to finish checks, I need to do the little things that add up to being able to do the job that a top-line player is expected to do.”
On Living Up to Expectations
“I’ve liked my attitude and approach since declaring this as my last chance,” said Christensen, who has recorded 22 points (six goals, 16 assists) in 43 games with the Rangers. “Whether other people have that same thought, I don’t know, but I think people are always going to doubt me.
“People are accustomed to seeing young players thrive early, so I think I probably haven’t lived up to expectations that people had for me back in 2002,” he said. “But everyone isn’t the same. Sometimes it takes time.”
Christensen has played well since coming over from the Rangers, scoring six goals and 22 points in 43 games, so he shouldn’t be worried too much about playing time next year.
I can see why he’s worried though. He’s 26-years-old and has already played for the Penguins, Thrashers, Ducks, and now the Rangers. The Rangers like him, but he’ll possibly be playing for his fifth team next year as they will certainly be looking to upgrade their top center position.
He’s got four points in the last four games, all assists, and he’ll need to keep that up if he wants the Rangers to bring him back. Personally, I think it's certainly possible that he’ll be back on Broadway next year, but at the current moment, I doubt he’s going to be a top priority.
What do you think? Will Christensen be back in 2010-11?