Lindros Debut as a Ranger; Blackburn is Burning Hot; Richter Surprises
The Big E impressed some Rangers fans, while Blackburned burned the Devils youngsters, and Richter is making a huge surprise, no…not Mike Richter, Martin Richter.What did I expect from Eric Lindros in his first game as a Ranger? Not much, just a point or so. Rangers had a better chance of winning the game against the Devils since Elias, Arnott, Sykora, and Brylin were not on the ice. I don’t give too much credit for the Rangers’ offense, i give a lot of credit to the Rangers forechecking, defense, and goaltending.
Lindros skated really well, he kept the game simple, and all he did was show the Rangers fans that he is a competative player. He started that of by checking Scotty Niedermayer against the boards, creating a little noise. The most important thing about Lindros is that he skated well, and he is getting along with his teammates, especially Fleury. Besides his offensive work, Lindros played pretty well on the PK, and he blocked a couple of shots. Lindros scored 1 goal against the Devils.
This Blackburn kid is really starting to impress me. He has good reflexes, he positions himself well, although sometimes a little off balance, but what is most impressive about this 18 year old goalie is his calm. When you see an 18 year old rookie playing, you usually notice that he is nervous, shaky, and doesn’t know what to do at times. Blackburn has not shown that against the Red Wings, and against the Devils. He focuses really well on the game, and has made almost zero mistakes. He stopped 14 shots out of 15. Scoring the goal was Bobby Holik who found the puck infront of him after it bounced through sometraffic on the left side of Blackburn, a goal that was easy to score, a goal that was very hard to save, maybe Hasek might have saved it. He made some great glove saves and kept control of the game. If he plays like this constantly, then his chances of making the team as back up are high.
The 3rd period was played by another Rangers rookie by the name of Johan Holmqvist. Although he was barely tested, he has a very good glove, and because of his size, 6’2 200 lbs, he plays a good butterfly style. Does he have a chance to make it? Well, I have yet to see this 23 year old kid play more, but he too has a high chance.
Where did this Martin Richter come from? I have not found when he was drafted, possibly in 1999-2000, but he only played one game last season as a Hartford Wolfpack defenseman. This 23 year old kid has been probably the top three young defensemen of the Rangers since training camp, and pre-season. Richter scored his 2nd goal of the pre-season tonight, registring an assist as well. Is he just another offensive defensemen? Not at all, he has not scored many goals in his European career. He is a very good skater, he works very hard in his zone, and pinches in when he has a chance to make a play or score, as he did twice. He is 6’1 and weighs 196 lbs. Average size, yet very strong. I see a huge battle to grab a spot on the Rangers for these young defensemen, and so far, Smrek and Richter have been my top choices.
What’s the big difference this season? What has Sather done that makes the Rangers have a brighter future? Well, almost all of the players who are, and will be cut from the Rangers, will join the Hartford Wolfpack. As ridicilous as it sounds, Neil Smith had a veteran Wolfpack team going on with players like Bob Errey on the roster. Now, the Rangers have a bunch of talented youngsters battling to make the NHL. It’s a big change that he has done. I still have yet to see the real Rangers team with Nedved back on the ice.