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New York Rangers Fan Club

by Toby Ivey

The Missing Link
February 24, 2007

by Steven Zeltser

Twenty-One games left in the season, five points out of the 8th and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, arguably one of the best players in the league Jaromir Jagr is your captain, Henrik Lundqvist is your goaltender, playing as well as you can ask your goaltender to play, Marcel Hossa is scoring, Petr Prucha is picking it up, Hollweg, Orr, Avery are all doing their jobs. The lines are balanced. The scoring is starting to come from players other than the big 3 of Jagr, Straka and Nylander. Even without Brendan Shanahan the Rangers donít seem hungry for offense. So the question lies, what is this team missing?

Brian Leetch?

Those at the garden last night, for the final game of the Rangers/Devils season series may have heard a small group of fans cheering for the return of possibly one of the greatest offensive defenseman to ever wear a blueshirts sweater. I too get nostalgic about the Brian Leetch era in Rangers Blue, except I canít help but disagree. I greatly admire him and Iím certainly in agreement that his # 2 should in the garden, just not on the ice. Hang that sweater in the rafters and get to the business of replacing what was lost when he was traded to the Maple Leafs.

Leetch brought many great things to the blueline with his play. He was a dynamic passer. He could single handedly carry the puck to the opposing net. While his shot wasnít blazing, he was never afraid to use it. He wasnít overly physical, but he wasnít afraid to throw the body when it was necessary. His defensive zone coverage was average at best. He wasnít perfect, so what was it that made him an amazing player to watch? The answer: determination. You canít teach it. When the game is on the line Leetch was the guy who wanted the puck. He could take it from his own net and make something happen. He skated with the confidence that he could overcome any obstacle. He was almost like a superhero. He was the leader on the blueline. That is what this current Rangers team is missing.

Take a closer look at the current blueline. Marek Malik, Michal Rozsival, Karl Rachunek, Fedor Tyutin, Daniel Girardi, Aaron Ward, Thomas Pock. Where is the leader? Where is the guy you want carrying the puck our of your own end? Where is the determined defenseman who is going to light the flame when the team needs a lift? Heís not there. He may not even be in the system. Marc Staal is highly touted around the league but heís not that player. Itís fairly obvious that Thomas Pock isnít that player. Michael Sauer and Ivan Baranka do not fit the profile. If Bobby Sanguinetti is, thatís still 2-3 years away. Who is going to teach him when he is ready? Aaron Ward? While Iím sure his experience on cup winning teams makes him a valuable asset to players like Fedor Tyutinís defensive play, it will not make him into the next blueline leader for this team.

I could sit here and speculate about who is available and who I think the answer to this problem, but it would all be a waste of everyoneís time. What I know for sure is the immediate answer is not here. If I knew the answer I would be the general manager of the Rangers. One thing I know for sure is Brian Leetch is not the answer..

 


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August 19th, 2021

Earlier this year the Rangers won by a margin of nine goals as they beat the Flyers 9-0. How many times has the margin been bigger?

Answer...
  STANDINGS
  Team GP W L OT Pts  
  Panthers 82 58 18 6 122  
  Hurricanes 82 54 20 8 116  
  Maple Leafs 82 54 21 7 115  
  Rangers 82 52 24 6 110  
  Lightning 82 51 23 8 110  
  Penguins 82 46 25 11 103  
  Bruins 82 51 26 5 107  
  Capitals 82 44 26 12 100  
  Islanders 82 37 35 10 84  
  Blue Jackets 82 37 38 7 81  
  Sabres 82 32 39 11 75  
  Red Wings 82 32 40 10 74  
  Senators 82 33 42 7 73  
  Devils 82 27 46 9 63  
  Flyers 82 25 46 11 61  
  Canadiens 82 22 49 11 55  
FULL STANDINGS
  RANDOM RANGER

PETR PRUCHA
(2005-2009)
  Born: Sep 14 - 1982  
  Position: Center  
  Games Played: 237  
  Goals: 63  
  Assists: 50  
  Points: 113  
  Penalty Minutes: 100  

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