Remember those days when you would go out on your first date with that special someone and they brought you home to meet the family or you were the one who brought that person home?
Remember how Mom would do that totally evil thing by breaking out the family album and show those pictures of you when you were young? Hey who are we not to be evil as we were going though our old pictures of the Ranger rookies when we first covered them for the Blueshirt Bulletin.
First Up is Ryan Callahan when he was playing for the Guelph Storm and setting all sorts of scoring records. Ryan is the all-time leading goal scorer for the Storm with 138.
Here is Brandon Dubinsky from 2005 when he was a member of the Portland Winterhawks when he was the 17th best scorer in the WHL that season. We knew then that he would be a Ranger because he told us so both with his words and his game.
Now the better news, if you liked Brandon this year then wait until next season as we know Brandon will do like he has done every single year and that is take the lessons he has learned during that season and improve upon himself as a player.
That is who you think it is, one Nigel Dawes from his days with the Kootenay Ice. Now this picture is very special to us because during the season that this picture is from, Nigel showed us just how special a human being he was by getting a hair cut at center ice to help raise money to fight Cancer.
We will further embarrass him by saying that was just one of the hundreds of kind giving of himself that Nigel did while he was a member of the Kootenay Ice.
Whether it was visiting schools, hospitals or any where, Nigel taught us that the legacy of Adam Graves as a Ranger is in excellent hands.
AH but wait we got the best for last as we are pretty sure the hero of Game 4 is not going like seeing this picture of him from the 2007 World Junior Championships.
Our favorite future Ranger Captain (and we are dead serious here) sitting on Santa's lap, Marc Staal but this is before he went out and won his second gold medal as a member of Team Canada.
Sure we will tease him about his baby face looks and how it might take him years for him to grow a playoff stubble but we will not tease the player who was voted Best Defenseman in the 2006 WJC.
Part of why we did this was to send Ranger fans a message about how far these young men have come during their journey to become Rangers.
They are not kids really anymore as they have proven to anyone who dares question their ability that they belong on the Rangers and even better what you folks are seeing this season is just the tip of the iceberg.
When we say that these young players are only going to get better it is because we have been following them for several years now. We are dead serious that these 4 are going to form the core of a new Ranger franchise that will only being getting better in the next few years.
With these 4 at the front there will not be a 54 year wait between Stanley Cups, they will make sure of it. What did you think Staal was asking Santa for?
But wait before we move on how about some other Ranger pictures say like Fedor Tyutin, Dan Girardi, and Ryan Hollweg. Just don't tell them where you saw them OK?
Just Finish Them Off
Screw the cutesy sayings, the heck with the catchy slogans or cheers, the message is clear the Rangers have a chance to finish off the Devils come Friday night and that is exactly what they must do. The only corny saying that makes any real sense here is: When you have them on life support do not give them a chance to think they can live.
Jump on them, stay on them and just get the job done anyway possible, it doesn't have to be pretty or a textbook win as in the end nobody really will care. All that will matter is for the Rangers to simply come out and run the Devils out of the series so they can rest up, heal up and get ready for whoever they face in the second round.
While Ranger fans have enjoyed the coming out party of the youngsters, Game 5 is where the veterans need to become teachers once again. Game 5 needs to be the Jagr/Straka/Drury/Shanahan/Gomez show as they need to teach the youngsters how to finish of an opponent at the NHL level.
Sure the kids have won at their previous stops but this is the top of the list, the NHL and here getting that 4th win in a playoff series can be the hardest of tasks. The lessons that the youngsters do not need to learn right now is how to second guess themselves which losing a possible series ending game causes.
Nobody is saying that the veterans have not done their fair share in the first 4 games but now is the time that these "greybeards" have been though and despite their maturity the Ranger kids are still inexperienced when it comes to finishing off an NHL team.
Not to mention the message that the Rangers will send to the rest of the teams still in the playoffs if Jagr or any of the other veterans pick the playoff clinching game to have a monster game.
Finish the Devils off because unless the Boston Bruins can pull off a miracle and defeat the Canadians then the Rangers are heading for a series with a Pittsburgh Penguin team that is already resting have finished off the Ottawa Senators in 4 games.
The Rangers do not want to be a tired team when they advance so let them get rid of the Devils once and for all so they can move on.
Back to Work
OK so we have a selfish reason why we want to see the Rangers finish off the Devils as come Saturday evening we are back to our day job of covering Ranger prospects. Ryan Hillier and his Halifax Moosehead begin their QMJHL semi-final series against the Gatineau Olympiques and at the same time we are a bit disappointed because had David Kveton returned to North America this year we would have gotten to see him matched up against Hillier.
Tomorrow we will break down this series as it will be a lot tougher for the Mooseheads than they have had it so far in the playoffs.
(Picture Credits: Ryan Callahan/Guelph Storm, Brandon Dubinsky/Portland Winterhawks, Nigel Dawes/Kootenay Ice, Marc Staal/Hockey Canada)
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