It’s been a long and slow four months since the New York Rangers season ended. I’ve been inpatient, tormented and nervous over the last few months. Soon I can put away all of those emotions in exchange for some new ones like anxiety, anger and at times a down right animal-like lust to kill. Get ready to start sweating because in ten days the Rangers begin their first step to the new season with the opening of training camp.
The Rangers had a disappointing end to their season last year with a 7th overall finish in the Eastern Conference and then bowed out in the first round of the playoffs. Not to mention that they blew a 3 to 1 lead they held over the Washington Capitals. Questions swirled around the franchise and their players. Will they be able to sign a top goal scorer? Will they have enough money to bring the right players back? Will Scott Gomez be staying? What will happen with the defense?
Now that the team is preparing to enter into it’s 83rd season they have answered all of these questions except for one. The Rangers got their top goal scorer with the acquisition of Marion Gaborik. As well as adding key players like Ales Kotalik, Christopher Higgins, Vinny Prospal and Envir Lisin who can all help score or move the puck up the ice. Plus they’ve add tough guy Donald Brashear to help keep players out of Henrik Lundqvist way.
With the departures of Scott Gomez (who was traded to Montreal for Higgins and defenseman Ryan McDonagh) the release of Nikolai Zherdev, Markus Naslunds retirement and the departure of Nik Antropov (signed with Atlanta) it allowed the cap space to make these moves possible. Also leaving New York were Colton Orr (signed with Toronto), Fredrik Sjostrom (signed with Calgary), Greg Moore (signed with the Islanders), Derek Morris (signed with Boston), and Lauri Korpikoski (traded to Phoenix for Lisin.)
The defense still has some concerns since the team looks to be starting the year with two rookies but no one knows for sure who it will be. It’s a guarantee that four of the six spots are taken by Wade Redden (and I’m not going to even bother with that fiasco), Michal Rozsival, Marc Staal and Dan Girardi. The last two available spots will be a battle between top prospects Corey Potter, Michael Del Zotto, Bob Sanguinetti and Matt Gilroy. Gilroy is a bit of a hopeful in my book as I’m sure he is to other fans as well.
In his senior year in 2008’09, he was named team captain of the Boston University Terriers and recorded a college career-high 36 points in 43 games, first among Hockey East defensemen and third in the NCAA. He went on to lead the Terriers to their third Beanpot championship in four years en route to the Frozen Four Tournament. On April 10, 2009, Gilroy was announced as the winner of the 2009 Hobey Baker Award. Tell me that doesn’t excite you seeing a player like that who I might also add was only a walk-on.
But the last concern that still remains is the resigning of Brandon Dubinsky. I don’t believe any of the trade rumors that I’ve seen and I know he’s going to resign but don’t you think Glen Sather might be cutting it a tad close. I recently read an excerpt from an interview done with Dubinsky yesterday by Steve Zipay, a reporter for the Newsday newspaper. I found the piece on BlueshirtBanter.com, here’s a quick excerpt’
“I want to be a Ranger,” said Dubinsky, 23, still an unsigned, restricted free agent. “The Rangers want me here; something’s gonna get done real quick and this will all be an afterthought. I’m in here working hard, getting ready for the season, not worrying about that; everything falls into place eventually, so I’m not losing any sleep over it. Obviously there’s been a lot of speculation and stuff, but I know where we’re at and where we’re gonna be’It might be 12 days away from camp, but 12 days is a long time, you can have a lot of conversations in 12 days, it only takes one.”
During the summer, Dubinsky trained in his home state of Alaska and in New York recently and changed his routine a bit. “I shot a lot of pucks; I passed on too many opportunities last season,” he said.
To me it seems to be boiled down to how much for how long and just coming to an agreement. Dubinsky is going to resign and I’m sure glad that Steve was able to get an interview to put my nerves at ease.
The Rangers have answered a lot of questions and changed this team into an almost polar opposite of last year’s scheme. You’re going to see more scoring and more speed. You can also expect to see new faces on both sides of the blue line what with the battle for the two remaining defensive spots and at center.
Artem Anisimov is looking to be starting this year at the NHL level but will have to keep a close eye on Brian Boyle who is looking for redemption after a dismal year with the LA Kings. Another player to watch is Tyler Arnason who was acquired from Colorado as a free agent. He’s not the type of player you’ll see burning goaltenders or turning heads but he does have potential and a strong work ethic. All of this will be determined over It’s only a matter of time before that puck is dropped to start the regular season and I’ll have to start taking my meds all over again. But it’s worth it and I can’t wait for it to happen. LETS GO RANGERS!
In Avery We Trust