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New York Rangers Fan Club

by Toby Ivey

You Betts!
January 10, 2006

The news this week that Blair Betts will be sidelined for 6-8 weeks with a sprained MCL in his left knee, was pretty much met with silence from both the media and the Blueshirt faithful.  Perhaps not all that surprising when you consider that Betts has scored just 4 goals (a career high) and one solitary assist in 42 appearances for the Rangers this year, but focusing on the offensive side of the ice would do both Betts and Renney's Rangers some injustice.

Surprisingly, the Rangers are in the midst of the playoff hunt with half the season already in the books.  They've managed to accomplish this through opportunistic scoring, effective coaching and ultimately a team defense and penalty kill that is ranked amongst the best in the league...an area that the former second round draft choice of the Calgary Flames has excelled in.

Betts has struggled with injuries to his shoulder early in his career and was limited to just 16 appearances for the Hartford Wolf Pack last year, the third consecutive year in which he had sustained such an injury.  The lack of playing time in the previous three years (just 64 games between the AHL and NHL) has lead to a reduced salary this season, after the Rangers decided to provide a qualifying offer, but thought enough of him to work out a contract anyway.  You could say the gamble has paid off so far for New York.

Statistically, the most significant number that describes his contribution to the team is probably the 55.7% win rate in the face-off circle, good enough for 15th in the league amongst those who've taken 250 face-offs or more this year.  He leads the Rangers in this category, and is the only regular face-off forward to be over the .500 mark, with the closest three Prucha 54.6, Hollweg 53.6 and Ward 50.0 all considered second choices on their respective lines for the most part.

Perhaps more importantly, Betts won many of those face-offs whilst the Rangers were a man or two short.  The 24 year old forward (25 in February) was fourth on the team in shorthanded ice time (second amongst forwards, trailing Dominic Moore by approximately 4 minutes), and formed an effective penalty killing pair with Jason Ward, another surprise contributor this season.  Add in his aggressive forechecking at even strength, and his quick shifts (39.4 seconds on average) and you have the perfect example of a what the role-players have been contributing to this team's success.

With the addition of Petr Sykora this week, the Rangers of course were seeking to bring additional to an offense that was clearly weighted towards role-players and second tier players.  But while Sykora will likely produce the offense that Blair Betts can clearly not provide, it remains to be seen whether the Rangers will be able to maintain their penalty killing and defensive prowess with one of their key role-players side-lined for the next two months.

 

 

 

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September 29th, 2017

How many rostered players were on the ice for opening night 2016-17

Answer...
  STANDINGS
  Team GP W L OT Pts  
  Lightning 82 62 16 4 128  
  Bruins 82 49 24 9 107  
  Capitals 82 48 26 8 104  
  Islanders 82 48 27 7 103  
  Maple Leafs 82 46 28 8 100  
  Penguins 82 44 26 12 100  
  Hurricanes 82 46 29 7 99  
  Blue Jackets 82 47 31 4 98  
  Canadiens 82 44 30 8 96  
  Panthers 82 36 32 14 86  
  Flyers 82 37 37 8 82  
  Rangers 82 32 36 14 78  
  Sabres 82 33 39 10 76  
  Red Wings 82 32 40 10 74  
  Devils 82 31 41 10 72  
  Senators 82 29 47 6 64  
FULL STANDINGS
  RANDOM RANGER

MATT BELESKEY
(2017-2019)
  Born: Jun 7 - 1988  
  Pos: Left Wing  
  GP: 5  
  G: 1  
  A: 0  
  Pts: 1  
  PIMs: 9  

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