Welcome to the Musings. It’s a case of back to the future tonight as two rivals clash seemingly for the first time since time began. The boys have broken down the match up in depth and there’s not much you don’t know so I’m going to muse with you about non-Bruins/Rangers matters. Jump on in
Rant I: I’m beginning this week’s musings with a rant. Derek Stepan isn’t getting the due that he deserves. THN run a nice annual piece of alternative hockey awards and one category is ‘breakout player’. Stepan finished 8th, behind winner Nazeem Kadri, Voracek, Taylor Hall and Chris Kunitz among others. All the players had strong years but as they note, Kadri cooled considerably in April whereas Stepan got better as the games for the Rangers got more meaningful. Kunitz – while impressive – constantly had world class line mates while Voracek couldn’t help his team even get to the playoffs and Taylor Hall surely broke out a while ago.
Stepan would have been close to an 80 point season this year, was a league leader in game winners and plus minus all the while on a low scoring team without – for the large part – elite line mates and he’s twenty two. I think Stepan deserves more credit from league sources, but hey – maybe a Stanley Cup may help his rep. Rant over.
Rant II: Some franchises distinguish themselves with class and dignity and that’s why they get respect; the Red Wings, the Sharks, Nashville etc. Then you have teams who bitch and moan like the Canucks or the Capitals. So, you don’t like the refereeing standards? (Which were atrocious both ways by the way). People get on Ovechkin’s back for his lack of playoff pedigree and in part it’s because recently he’s always bemoaning something. For his first couple of seasons Pavel Datsyuk didn’t do much post-April but he handled himself the right way. Take note Ovie.
Is there any doubt right now that Henrik Lundqvist is the best goaltender in the league? Plenty of quality netminders for sure but when you add up his CV, his form over a prolonged period of time, the goal support (or lack of) and even aspects such as the media market he has to play in, the King is the King for a reason, no?
Ranger games at Yankee stadium? Better check airline prices again. You have to love that the Rangers are officially the visiting team twice; they get the benefits and appeal of the outdoor games and keep the advantage of the Garden in tact.
Right from the beginning I was excited for – and talked up – Derick Brassard. I think injuries considered 47 and 41 point seasons – both in 74 games – as a young man (on dismal Columbus teams) were enough to underline his talent. All he’s doing now is taking full advantage of the opportunity given to him to display his ability on a larger stage. Sometimes you have to be patient with young players (Kreider anyone?). The Rangers are benefitting from the Blue Jackets lack of patience with Brassard and John Moore. Thank you Ohio.
I talk about it quite often but you have to love Glen Sather’s moves in recent years. He’s been a great general manager for a sustained period now. Has he fully redeemed himself yet or does he need a Cup to be truly embraced as Rangers GM?
Quiet performer: Silently Michael Del Zotto has been pretty damn good this playoffs. He’s been needed with Staal out, a little bit more offensive production and he’d be getting some real kudos.
- Is Brian Boyle’s playoff form making his roster spot for next year safe or increasing his trade value?
- Does Ryan Callahan need to contribute more offense or is his performance level acceptable?
- How much – and how long – should the Rangers offer Mats Zuccarello in the summer?
- Carl Hagelin – maddeningly inconsistent or contributor of unexpected offense?
- Who is the most underrated performer on the Rangers in these playoffs?
- Do the Rangers need Ryane Clowe next season?
Hands up who’s excited for game one? It should be an absolute stormer. I’m predicting 3-2 Rangers in overtime; redemption is N-A-S-H.