Sunday, November 12, 2006

Rangers Playing Better But...

The New York Rangers fell 3-1 last night to the Washington Capitals after winning in Atlanta on Friday night. The Rangers ran into a hot goalie in Olaf"Olie The Goalie"Kolzig, who ended the Blueshirts four game road winning streak.

The Rangers return home to face off against the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday night in a matchup between the Atlantic division's two best teams.

The good news about New York last season was that they had a bunch of players who were either rookies or in their first full season. That also means a bunch of these guys are eligible for the "sophomore slump." That's what I think Henrik Lundqvist is kind of going through right now. Although last night's loss was not entirely his fault, he wasn't all-world as he was last year.

Head Coach Tom Renney has to have a better understanding of the pulse of his goalies. Last night would have been a perfect opportunity to start Kevin Weekes to keep him fresh.

Rangers play back-to-back Tuesday and Wednesday, the aforementioned game against the Devs and then on the road against Carolina. Lundqvist is a fan favorite at home so he should get the nod against Jersey, while Weekes seems to be more of a road warrior, so I would have him in between the pipes in Carolina.

The forwards are fine at this point. I am more concerned about the guys on the blueline going forward. Fedor Tyutin who is not in a sophomore slump is rounding into a top four d-man, Aaron Ward brings experience and is pretty steady, but I think the Blueshirts either need to promote someone from Hartford or make a deal. Marek Malik at this point seems to be a step too slow for the new NHL. I'm not sure what he would fetch in a deal, maybe a fifth or sixth round draft pick. I would not mind seeing him traded away to maybe free up some space under the salary cap. This would more importantly allow Thomas Pock to play on a regular basis, so the young blueliner can get some valuable experience and confidence. It makes absolutely no sense to have Pock going in and out of the lineup. I don't believe it does anything in terms of his development.

Ivan Baranka is a possible promotion from the Wolf Pack to play on the Blueline, but might still be a year away.

Ryan Callahan has nine goals in 12 games for the Pack. I wouldn't be surprised to see him or the all-around good player, Dwight Helminen taking an Amtrak from Hartford to The Garden.

Elsewhere, don't be surprised to see Tampa trade Martin St. Louis to a western conference team this week.

Stay Onsides!

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