Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Rangers' Five Rookies New Face of Franchise

I still pinch myself every time I realize that the New York Rangers are playing with five rookies (Marc Staal, Dan Girardi, Nigel Dawes, Brandon Dubinsky and Ryan Callahan) in their lineup. The five all played vital roles in the Blueshirts first round win over the Devils.

Ironically enough, one of the Devils’ defenseman, Mike Mottau was a former Rangers’ draft pick that for some reason was never able to crack the lineup. Mottau represents the old days when rookies in the Rangers' organization were regularly passed over for players that were more of a "household name." By the way, I wonder if the former Hobey Baker winner is taking any solace in his alma matar, the Boston College Eagles, winning the NCAA hockey championship?

I suppose I have to give G.M. Glen ”The Savior” Sather and Head Coach Tom Renney a great deal of credit for changing the face of this franchise. They've shown patience in grooming a promising crop of fresh faces. The five rookies all play with poise and a great deal of heart, nicely illustrated by Ryan Callahan and Nigel Dawes driving to the net against Martin Brodeur in the picture above.

Callahan is going to be a special player in time. He can score, he fights, drives to the net and kills penalties. He plays on a line with Chris Drury and the aforementioned Dawes. Hopefully, some of the magic that Drury is able to create in key situations rubs off on young Callahan.

The face of the franchise has once again changed. The Rangers now have guys on the team that work hard and make the organization proud. So much so that although it's been a while since I was even remotely inclined to purchase a sports jersey, these new Rangers have changed all of that. I only own one Rangers’ jersey – a Mark Messier – but am tempted to get a Ryan Callahan “sweater.” The only thing is that I am over 30 and according to Jay-Z, that disqualifies me from being allowed to wear a sports jersey.

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