Good morning humans. The Ducks are on tap today and after the loss in Sweden the Rangers will be more than keen to even the score, especially when you consider how little offense they mustered in that game. Anyway, it’s a musing’s day so let’s get in to it before the Rangers go duck hunting tonight.
Lauri Korpikoski has 3 goals to start the season and has 5 points in 11 games (after having 40 points last season). The Rangers gave up on the talented Fin too soon; however I’m not sure he’d have ever scored as frequently in NY. The ice time, role on the roster he has and patience level with players is a lot different in Phoenix. The Coyotes can afford to let a player have growing pains (his first year in their organisation the perfect example) whereby in a market like NY that would never be possible.
Tim Kennedy was demoted to the AHL again last night. Anyone still have complaints about his time with the Rangers? He’s a marginal NHL’er.
How frustrating is the loss to Ottawa still? Well, firstly a 5-3-2 record would look a lot better but the extra point would mean a playoff spot rather than looking in from the outside. Every point is critical in Bettman’s parity league. Hopefully the Rangers kick on and don’t end up in a playoff scramble although several teams expected to be in the playoffs have had indifferent starts, no one more so than Boston.
Chad Johnson; remember him? The Whale and Rangers player was named AHL goaltender of the month for October and thoroughly deserved it. The Whale has had a good start to the year and Johnson has been a huge part of it. Johnson has a 1.69 GAA, .942 save percentage to go with 3 wins and a shutout. He hasn’t been beaten in normal time. However, where does he fit in the organisation going forward? If Biron continues to play well he’d likely be brought back for at least another year and Johnson isn’t a young prospect anymore. His NHL window is closing; it may be closed in this organisation already.
Steve Eminger is -7 in just 10 games. He’ll be sitting as soon the team has the resources to allow a benching.
The Kids Are Alright?
The impressive win against the Sharks may have been more important for the performance of several players than the 2 points gained. Artem Anisimov and Derek Stepan played some of their best hockey of the season while Ryan Callahan played the kind of all action game that the Rangers have come to expect – and need – from their captain. Brandon Dubinsky was much improved and all of a sudden Marian Gaborik doesn’t look like he’s taking on the world on his own (offensively speaking). If the supporting cast/core can do their thing then Brad Richards and Gaborik will have much more space and opportunity to do theirs. It all bodes well.
He still doesn’t deserve his roster spot but credit where it’s due, Erik Christensen had a huge impact on the Sharks game. Two excellent assists and generally better play from EC mean the recalled Avery will watch from the stands tonight. The biggest question is can Christensen follow it up with another game tonight? Every indication is that he can’t. Otherwise he wouldn’t be such a frustrating player to watch but maybe the Avery effect will squeeze a little more production out of the skilled center. Competition for places is crucial to success so if Avery’s presence means Christensen earns a regular spot in the line-up that’s fine by me. Key word being earns.
Just a quick tip of the (Broadway) hat to Martin Biron as we close out musings for another week. He’s played in 3 games, has a miniscule 1.38GAA and a mighty .947 save percentage. They are awesome numbers. On the rare occasion the King has a night off can any team in the league be more confident in their backup than the Rangers? With his role clearly defined (he could string together 6 shutout wins and there’d still be no goalie controversy) Biron is comfortable on this team and it shows. His play is a big reason why the Rangers have had a decent start to the year given the issues they have faced. Kudos Marty.