Jamie Lundmark scores a goal and an assist to help the Rangers defeat the
Hurricanes. He got named the game's first star for his efforts and rightfully
so. For those who have been calling for Lundmark to be given regular playing
time this was the best evidence to prove their point about the need for Lundmark
to be placed on one line and left there to sink or swim. Tonight thanks to Chris
Simon, the kid was a gold medal swimmer and hopefully Slats will reward the kid
for his hard work by keeping him where he finished the game.
Ok I admit it, I am a huge Jamie Lundmark fan and have been since even before
the Rangers drafted him in 1999 as the 9th overall pick in the Entry Draft.
Nothing made me happier than to see him get a chance last night at a regular
shift against the Canes after Simon's ejection. At times I have been feeling as
if Ranger fans had given up on him and wondered if he was going to turn into
another Manny Malhotra given how little they saw of him.
It got to be a almost daily ritual seeing a posts all over the web from
people who wondered how come Jamie looked either lost, out of sync or whatever.
Few people realized that more than anything else what Jamie really needs is
regular playing time and a defined role on the team. I guess seeing how long it
has been since a young player was actually a regular in the Ranger lineup that
people forgot what it takes to develop a young player into a steady contributor.
The answer is simple, he has play and play a lot. He isn't going to develop
and improve if he is being bounced all over the lineup, getting irregular shifts
or constantly changing linemates. In a nutshell that has been what the Rangers
have done to him last year and it has been even worse this year.
How many different lines or linemates has Jamie played on or with already
this season? He started with Holik, then to Lindros, Rheaume's and last night
moved to center his own line. After the Simon ejection he was moved onto
Messier's line to fill the hole created by the ejection. How many games have the
Rangers played this season?
The answer is just 8 games and already Lundmark has been on 5 different lines
so could someone please explain how exactly is this kid supposed to develop his
game then? Young players need ice time and plenty of it. They also would have
their development greatly enhanced if they knew what role was expected of them
and clearly that has not been the case with Lundmark.
More than anything else to me it wasn't the goal that made such a difference
but rather the combination of the crowd reaction and the resulting energy that
the team got from his goal. Heck the goal was a fluke as all Lundmark did was
what Slats has been wanting his team to do which was to get the puck on the net.
Imagine that the kid listened and did what his coach wanted him to do.
Even better was from that point in the game on you could see the Rangers had
a little extra jump in their step, there was passion and emotion from a team
that at times doesn't play with either and the Canes didn't have a chance after
that. There wasn't that all to familiar post goal letdown where the Rangers
forget to play. They kept coming after the Canes with something that hasn't been
a regular visitor to the WMFA in recent years some emotion. All this because one
kid threw the puck at the net and it went in. Not bad for a kid who at times has
no idea what role the team expects of him.
To watch the Rangers playing with passion, with emotion and with lots of fire
was a beautiful sight to watch. It was exciting hockey full of action even if at
times it got sloppy but who cares if it was. What it did was get the crowd into
the game cheering just about every play the Rangers made and you could see the
team feeding off it. Slats has wanted the fans to be more supportive of the team
then if they play with the kind of emotion and passion that will happen.
Hockey is supposed to be an emotional game and how many times have we heard
over and over how flat the Rangers were when they came out to play. Being flat
is the same thing as playing with no emotion and last night we fans got to see
plenty of it. We saw the Rangers hitting, backchecking, forechecking and even
coming to the defense of a teammate.
Perhaps Sather should keep that in mind when Lindros returns because the way
I see it, Lindros with Barnaby and Lundmark would be not only an effective line
but also a high energy line for the team to feed off of. Even if Slats isn't
smart enough to see that then what he has to see is how important playing with
emotion is and how it gets the whole team involved with the game.
Outside of a fight in practice can anyone recall the last time Dan Lacouture
dropped his gloves in a Ranger game? I know some people will say he is fighting
for his roster spot but if he is then he too showed it because he was fighting
to defend a teammate (Rucinsky) who he felt shouldn't have been checked the way
he did. When was the last time a Ranger jumped someone for running a teammate?
If the Rangers play more like this than instead of the unemotional robots
that has been all too typical of recent years then you will start to see reasons
to have hope for this season. The best way for this to start would be for Slats
to reward Lundmark for his efforts. Drop Simon back to the 4th line where he
belongs and show Lundmark what happens if he works hard by keeping him with
Messier and Barnaby. Don't make the mistake of sending Lundmark back to the 4th
line as it would say to the kid that hard work wasn't enough.
Think also about the message those kids in Hartford would get about their
chances if they actually got to see a hard working young player getting regular
shifts and ice time because he is busting his butt. If Slats doesn't reward
Lundmark for what he did against the Canes think about how well that will go
over with the kids in the system?
More than anything else the win over the Canes showed what happens when a
team plays with emotion and passion. It translates into energy that the entire
team can feed off of and when it is done at home it helps turn the crowd into a
positive weapon for the team. The Rangers have clearly been lacking both emotion
and passion and here is to hoping that the lessons learned from this game don't
And to think it was the youngest Ranger who led the way.
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