Monday, June 20, 2011

We Can Dream Can't We?

Good evening Ranger fans and welcome to another exciting year of New York Ranger's Hockey on MSG Network. As the Rangers enter the 2013-2014 there is great reason to hope for great things from this year's team.

The Rangers are looking to build on last season's team which for the first time since 1997 made the conference finals. The Rangers took the Bruins to seven games but their 4th place finish during the regular season was also their best in years.

Coach John Tortorella is looking for some big things out of his lineup this season and he has great reason to. The Rangers bring a younger team once again but this one now has more experience to it.

Chris Kreider is coming off his Calder Trophy rookie season as he once again teams up with Derek Stepan to form the first line. The Rangers were able to move the disgruntled Marian Gaborik during the off-season which has opened the door for 2011 first round pick Tyler Biggs.

Biggs the 6'2 220 right wing from Miami of Ohio has developed an instant chemistry with linemates Kreider and Stepan. The "Made In the USA" line has become instant fan favorites among Ranger fans.

Brandon Dubinsky is back centering the 2nd line as he has Carl Hagelin on the left side with Ryan Callahan on the right. The only line to remain together for the last 2 seasons is coming off a great playoff run and looking to do more this season.

Ryan Bourque is going to play with Brian Boyle and Brandon Prust as the Ranger's energy/checking line. The Rangers enjoyed the NHL's best penalty kill last season thanks in large part by the hard work of this trio.

John Tortorella said that this year he is going to ask a lot more from the 4th line so he is going to carry 2 extra forwards so he can mix and match depending on the opposition. Jason Wilson is going to be asked to take on some of the enforcing duties to help keep Prust fresher and hopefully a lot less banged up.

Evgeny Grachev finally made it as a full time Ranger but progress has been slow and rookie Christian Thomas made it clear with his play that Grachev better produce or Thomas will take his roster spot.

Oscar Lindberg is going to be the center on the 4th line as he continues his strong playoff from his rookie season. Lindberg's fast development made Artem Anisimov expendable as the Rangers traded Anisimov as part of the Gaborik deal.

Jesper Fasth it was decided to have him start the season with the CT Whale so he could get heavy minutes so Dale Weise starts the season as a Ranger as does John Mitchell to give the Ranger some experience off the 4th line.

On defense, Tim Erixon and Marc Staal form the first pair despite both being left handed shots. The two return for their 3rd season together as Erixon who joined the Rangers back in 2011-12 is starting to show All-Star potential.

Marc Staal continues to be the most consistent Ranger defender as he enters his 7th season with the Rangers. It is hard to believe that Staal is just 27 but he remains the leader on the blueline.

Ryan McDonagh and Michael Sauer form the "Black and Blue" duo as the twin shut down defenders continued to make life tough for those who want to set up shop in the crease. McDonagh is coming off a career high 10 goals as he has proved to be a surprise on the offensive side.

Then the pair who have been called the future of the Rangers, Michael Del Zotto and Dylan McIlrath are back together for their 2nd season as a pair. Del Zotto has finally shown the potential that was expected from the 2008 first round pick.

Del Zotto is getting better as his partner 2010 first round pick Dylan McIlrath matures and adjusts to life in the NHL. The pair spent training camp working with the newest member of the Ranger coaching staff assistant coach Jeff Beukeboom and it has paid dividends already.

McIlrath is living up to his billing as the "Truck" turning the crease area in a wrecking yard while giving Del Zotto the freedom to go on the attack. The duo are making the Ranger power play one of the best in the NHL as Del Zotto's speed and McIlrath's cannon of a point shot have made the Ranger power play woes a thing of the past.

John Tortorella calls his blueline corp one of the best in the NHL as he asks what other team can put 5 first round picks on their blueline? You can not blame Tortorella for getting excited about his defense.

Henrik Lundqvist is entering the final year of his contract finally got his due earning both All-Star recognition as well as the Vezina Trophy that has eluded in his Ranger career. At 32, Lundqvist shows no sign of slowing down in a large part due to his back up Scott Stajcer.

Stajcer is back for his 2nd season as Lundqvist's back up as his play impressed John Tortorella allowing Lundqvist more rest than in previous seasons.  Stajcer according to Ranger goalie coach Benoit Allaire is improving with every passing day which even Lundqvists acknowledges is forcing him to stay sharp every night.

Tortorella who signed a new 3 year deal as one of Glen Sather's final acts as Ranger's General Manager promises that attack hockey is back in New York and wants to send Glen Sather out with a Stanley Cup.

Sather has turned over the General Manager's duties to Jim Schoenfeld as newly promoted Asst General Manager Mark Messier takes on Schoenfeld's duties of running the CT Whale. Sather who remains as team president has said that 2013-14 will be his last with the Rangers.

Make sure you catch all the action on MSG as Kenny Albert does the play by play with former Ranger Kevin Weekes on commentary.

(Required advisory-Sleeping writer has got his loyal dog standing between him and those who wish to ruin his dream. Please think of dog as his version of the Truck and attempt to wake at own risk.

After all what good is a dream if someone wakes you from it?)

Kreider image courtesy of Dennis Peace


Jay said...

The best part of the article is Kevin Weeks replacing Clueless Joe Micheletti in the TV booth.

Jess Rubenstein said...

Jay there is growing number of wondering why NBC or VS has not hired Weeks. Want to improve NHL coverage replace Milbury with Weekes

Ethan Kaiser said...

My addition: "Welcome to another year of Ranger hockey here in 2014 on MSG! The Rangers had a strong season last year, but eventually were beat in the playoffs by the Islanders, who led by studs Tavares, Grabner, Hamonic, Niederreiter, and Dougie Hamilton, brought the Stanley Cup back to Long Island! Their slow and steady rebuild finally paid off, as their fanbase is stronger than ever, and their brand new, state of the art arena, is expected to be full to capacity for every game this season!"

Sometimes, dreams are all we have!

NJACO1215 said...

now if only this dream could come true

Leatherneck said...

ok...who did we get for Gabby and AA? have them being dealt this line up as is:
Dubi AA Thomas , Gabby Stepan Cally , Avery Christensen Wolski , Prust Boyle Prust staal and Girard, McDonagh and Sauer and Erixon and Emninger....McIlrath and Del Zotto in Hartford

my hope for this year is:
Dubi Laich Thomas
Gabby Stepan Zherdev
Grachev AA Cally
Prust Boyle Wiese
Staal and Girardi, Sauer and McDonagh and Erixon and Eminger

in 2014:
Krieder Stepan Biggs
Dubi Laich Thomas
Grachev McNeill Cally
Prust Boyle Weise
Staal and Erixon, McDonagh and Sauer, McIlrath and Del Zotto

Jess Rubenstein said...


If you are going to dream then add in Anders Lee as I see him as becoming a monster for the Islanders


If the dream does not come true I am going to blame whoever woke me up.


In this it is whoever you want as it is your version of the dream.

Leatherneck said... dream team for 2014

Dubinsky / Schenn / Thomas

Kreider / Stepan / Biggs

Laich / McNeill / Callahan

Prust / Boyle / Weise

Wilson and Grachev

Staal / Girardi

McDonagh / Sauer

Erixon / McIlrath

Del Zotto




Jess Rubenstein said...

LOL Leatherneck the article was my dream team

NoahT said...

again though, who do we get for Gabby? You make no mention of anything in return for him and fill out your dream team with all prospects and current Rangers. I would hope if they do trade Gabby, the return is pretty solid.