New York Rangers Mid Season Report
New York Rangers
5th Place in Eastern Conference
2nd Place in Atlantic
Key Injuries: Blair Betts
Point Leader: Jaromir Jagr 29 goals, 40 assists, 69 points
Current Situation: The Rangers have been one of the NHL’s biggest suprises. Mostly due to the tremendous play of Jagr, and terrific goaltending from Lundqvist, and Weekes. The Rangers have built a very nice cushion in between the final playoff spot. The Rangers have been rolling 4 lines, and have been lucky due to the lack of serious injuries this season. They also have been winning close games, something they havent done in recent seasons.
Strengths: The penalty kill, this has been a huge part of the Rangers success this season. The Rangers are currently ranked 6th in the NHL on the PK. It has slipped a bit the past few weeks, still is the backbone to the success. Not to mention the great play of rookie sensation of Lundqvist. This guy has proved himself internationally, and is now proving himself in the NHL. The defense has been solid also. Marek Malik is turning into a great acquisiton in the offseason, he is great on the PK, especially when down 2 men. Jaromir Jagr has been one of the top players in the NHL all season, if not the best. He looks like the Jagr of old, before the Capital era. Almost forgot to mention Petr Prucha, man does he have some moves. Also, the coaching is the key, Tom Renney is doing a great job…..so far in my view, its a deadlock in between Renney and Laviolette for coach of the year (at this point).
Weaknesses: The Power Play, i dont know if anyone can disagree with this. The power play is lacking that true PP QB. Another major weakness, that goes back to the PP, is over-relying on Jagr. Teams now know what the PP is all about, getting the puck to Jagr. The guys on the PP dont skate enough. The recent acquisition of Sykora is a big help. Hopefully he’ll provide a spark in the second line, which the first few games, he has.
Needs: This team desperately needs a defensman that can take control of the power play. This has hurt the rangers a lot, and its a huge disapointment to see Poti not being able to do the job at all. The man everyone would like to see fill this role, is Brian Leetch. I dont know what the odds of it are, especially the way Sather treated him, before he got traded, also in the offseason…not even calling him up. All i want is Leetch…..LEETCH COME BACK TO NY.
Expectations: For most of the season, i have doubted the Rangers, mainly because of the depth in the offense, but ever since Sykora has come to NY, i have felt my confidence for the Rangers increase. I now expect them to make the playoffs, and once theyre in the playoffs, who know what will happen. Especially if the goalie, whether its Weekes or Lundqvist is hot.
It should be fun to watch the rest of the way.