Sunday, September 16, 2007

2007-08 Preseason Foreplay: New York Rangers

It's always funny when Mark Messier screams like a little girl.
Quick hits
  • The Rangers and Sean Avery have been contractually obligated to like each other by an arbitrator.
  • It's so much fun to pick on Mark Messier.
  • Even after all these years, Brian Leetch is still the classiest mothafucka around.
  • The Rangers won the Atlantic Division in the first year of it's existence (1993-94) and have not won it again since.
  • During the 2005-06 season, Jaromir Jagr set five team scoring records including the records for most goals, points and game winning goals in a single season.
  • Joe Micheletti is, in my opinion, arguably the best color commentator in the NHL today. That's coming from an Islander fan, by the way.
Odds for the folks at gambler's anonymous

17 to 1: Henrik Lundqvist continues his vendetta against ice girls, this time by setting upland mines around his crease.

5 to 1: It will take about two weeks for the New York media to call Glen Sather's job into question.

Obligatory serious analysis

Full disclosure: I've been an avid Islander fan for as long as I can remember, but I'm going to do my best to be unbiased during the rest of this post.

The Rangers grabbed the most media attention this off season by making a huge and previously inconceivable splash on the first day of free agency, by snapping up both Scott Gomez and Chris Drury. Combined, their deals total 12 years of service for the hefty sum of $86.75 million. If history is any indicator, these two could be the players that put the Rangers over the top.

While the additions of Gomez and Drury are enormous to the Rangers, the signings put them in a very precarious position. Not only did they not address any of the team's defensive needs, they also are now unbelievable close to the salary cap. Down the road, this could cause major issues in regards to re-signing young talent. We got a glimpse of that from the Sean Avery Fiasco earlier in the summer, and if things turn out for the worse, that may not be the last we will be seeing of those types of issues surrounding the Rangers. The team has a nice allotment of young talent, most notably netminder Henrik Lundqvist and forward Petr Prucha. It will be interesting to see how much of that young talent they will be able to hold onto in the coming years.

The other major issue that the team is facing this season is related to it's defense. The Rangers gave up the second fewest goals in the Eastern Conference last season, but a lot of that success can be credited to Lundqvist who started 69 games and had an outstanding GAA of 2.34. He went on to start all 10 of the team's playoff games and posted a ridiculous 2.07 GAA and .924 save percentage. The team lost Karl Rachunek to New Jersey and outside of Marek Malik and Michal Rozsival, there's not a whole lot of stars to talk about on the blueline.

Let's not focus too much on the negative, though. There's no doubt that the Rangers will make a heck of a run at the division title this year, and if Lundqvist is stellar yet again, they'll be right there in the race for the conference title as well. On paper, their offense looks like it is arguably the best in the East, right alongside Ottawa and Pittsburgh. For any other team, the loss of Nylander would hurt considerably, but due to the Rangers' off season additions, it's a non-factor. The team is returning Jagr, Shanny and Straka to go along with Gomez and Drury. Make no mistake, that's one of the best top fives in the league. If Prucha and some of the other kids can improve, along with a full season of Sean Avery, this should be a scary team in the attacking zone.

Prediction: I have said before that it's going to be a dog fight between the Rangers and Penguins for the top spot in the Atlantic, and I'm sticking to my guns. In the end, I think the Pens will take the title, leaving the Rangers with the 4th spot in the east.

The best looking ice girls in the Big Apple
The Rangers don't have ice girls, but the Knicks, who by the way still exist, have dancers.

Previous Editions of Preseason Foreplay

1 comment:

  1. Just for additional information, the Rangers had ice girls -- the City Skaters -- but a sexual harassment suit ended that. I was named fan of the game one time and they brought me down by the glass to pose for the in-house camera with the lil' vixens, lol.

    While I don't have any pictures of myself with them, I did find their 'team' photo. Enjoy.