The Rangers have had a great start to this season and have many to thank for it. First you have to give great credit to Glen Sather and Tom Renney. Sather has stood by Renney who has brought the Rangers to two straight second round appearances in the playoffs. Sather even got rid of some of the stars that brought Ranger hockey back to respectability, Jagr, Straka, Shanahan and Nylander. Those guys worked hard and had some good years has Rangers but that was just the start of the process for Renney. He brought in players that would lead and now its time for him to continue his process. And is master plan is starting to look better and better as the season goes on.
The second biggest part of the Rangers strong start is obviously the goaltending. Henrik Lundqvist has been unbelievable as of late and Ranger fans have to hope he will continue that the whole season. Sure their will be some nights hes' off or the other team is just better. But if this season is going to go the way the coaching staff and organization believes it will then it will be up to Lundqvist to be the King all year long.
The final reason these guys are playing hot are because of the off-season acquisitions. Nikolai Zherdev and Aaron Voros have been awesome most nights. Markus Naslund also seems to be finding his game with currently riding a 4 game point streak. Also the young guys from last year have pitched in too, Brandon Dubinsky is simply a leader on the ice for this team and Ryan Callahan hasn't stopped hustling yet. Daniel Girardi and Marc Staal have been solid and are still learning and progressing.
The weakness of this team has been the too many quiet nights from stars like Gomez, Drury, Redden and Rozsival. Naslund was in this group to, but he has turned it on as of late. But if this team is going to keep it up all year, they will need their Veterans to step up and help lead this team with Lundqvist, Dubinksy and Callahan. Guys like Petr Prucha, Nigel Dawes and Dan Fritsche have to start producing due to great play by Fredrik Sjostrom and Colton Orr, then these guys are going to be replaceable by guys in the minors to find the right mix.
This team will hit a rough spot at some point, history and logic just tells you that their schedule has been really tough with flights and games in back to back nights. And you never go perfect an entire season, but its how the Rangers rebound from their first couple bumps in the road that you will see what this team is truly made of. I do believe they are the top team in the East, or defiantly have the potential to play with Montreal, Pittsburgh and New Jersey. But that doesn't matter right now, its where they end that matters, and I Believe, in the end of Tom Renneys' process this year, that Chris Drury will be shaking Gary Bettman's Hand and taking the cup around the Garden ice to celebrate with the fans. But that's only this writers dream, the still need to make it a reality.
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