by Patrick Hoffman on 11/08/11 at 12:18 PM ET
Monzo was kind enough to give us his thoughts on this year’s team as well as who has been playing well, who has been a disappointment, and more.
PH: What are some of your general thoughts on the Blueshirts just past the 10-game mark?
BM: I think the Rangers really had to adjust to their travels. Now that they have found a consistent routine, they are playing better. It was hard to form an opinion of their play for the first seven games. I think they weren’t setting any kind of tempo to the games and were just adjusting to the style of their opponents. Since they’ve been back in NYC, they have been the pacesetters.
PH: Tell us which players you think are off to a good start this season and why.
BM: Marian Gaborik and Ryan McDonagh have stuck out the most. McDonagh has been given more ice time, and more responsibility with the injury to Marc Staal. He also has been playing with much more offense this season. I simply think that is because he knows his team needs to score more and is taking some action. Gaborik is healthy. Last season he had shoulder and concussion issues. He was never 100%. This season he is healthy and is noticeable on every shift.
PH: Have any players disappointed you thus far this season? Why?
BM: I am not really sure anyone has been “disappointing,’’ so far. You’d like to see Brandon Dubinsky get on the scoreboard, but his overall play has been OK. Brian Boyle has been held off the score-sheet pretty much all season, but again, his play isn’t hurting the team. Even guys like Erik Christensen and Wojtek Wolski have played OK. Mats Zuccarello is a disappointment, overall, and his being sent to CT was a relief. Also disappointing are the injuries the Rangers have been dealt early (as well as Marc Staal) such as Mike Rupp and Wolski being out for long periods of time.
PH: Why do you think Marian Gaborik has been playing so well so far?
BM: We mentioned earlier, I think Gaborik’s health is a huge part of his turnaround. Also, I think there is less pressure on him to produce with a guy like Brad Richards on the team. Also, Ryan Callahan, to me, is the Rangers third best point guy, and can score 30 goals this season. Mentally, if Gaborik knows the guys behind him are going to score, I think he will play better, and he has so far.
PH: What kind of impact do you expect Sean Avery to have on the Blueshirts when he is in the lineup?
BM: We haven’t been able to really get too much of Sean Avery is in first two games back in the Rangers lineup. However, one thing is for sure, the Rangers are better with Avery in the lineup, as shown the last few seasons. In his two games this season, they are 2-0-0. Is that a coincidence? Maybe ...maybe not..
PH: Where can readers find your work these days?
BM: I write columns twice a week on WFAN.com as well as a weekly podcast on WFAN.com on Thursdays with the great Neil Keefe. I also Tweet quite a bit (@BMonzoWFAN).
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Patrick has a tremendous passion for hockey. Besides covering the Rangers and the NHL for Kukla's Korner, you can also find Patrick's work over at Sportsnet.ca, The Red Light District Hockey Blog, NHL Home Ice, and Liam Maguire's Ultimate Hockey web site.
Prior to writing for the above mentioned outlets, you could find Patrick's musings at hockey web sites/outlets such as TheHockeyNews.com, TheFourthPeriod.com, Spector's Hockey, Hokeja Vestnesis, Blueshirt Bulletin, SNYRangersBlog.com and many more.
For questions, comments and hip checks, feel free to e-mail Patrick at email@example.com.