by Patrick Hoffman on 10/22/10 at 03:33 PM ET
Brian Monzo was kind enough to take time out of his busy schedule of working at WFAN and NHL Live to discuss all things New York Rangers with us.
He really has a fresh and positive outlook! Make sure to follow Monzo on Twitter at BMonzoNHL660.
PH: Besides the injuries to Marian Gaborik, Chris Drury and Vinny Prospal, why are the Blueshirts struggling so much?
BM: I don’t think they are struggling, in the sense of playing bad in a midseason stretch. The team is still coming together. I think you will see a lot of tight games. The one area that needs immediate attention is special teams. Killing 75% of penalities isn’t going to get it done. But once Drury comes back, and Lundqvist gets into a groove, you will see that number hit 83/84 percent. That still isn’t dominant, but will get you into the top 15.
PH: Why do you think the team’s defense is allowing close to 35 shots a game? -What can they do to improve on that?
BM: They are still very young. Marc Staal, Michael Del Zotto, Matt Gilroy and Mike Sauer are all still growing. That will lead to some defensive breakdowns. Also, they have a taken a lot of penalties. On a good note—a lot of shots have been taken from the outside and haven’t been high quality chances. The Kris Versteeg breakaway, which Marty Biron stopped, was a rare thing it seemed.
PH: When, if ever, do you think Frolov will start to find his groove on Broadway?
BM: I don’t think Frolov is a player fans need to worry about. Over 82 games, he will score 20 goals. The Rangers have enough balance on their lines that they aren’t going to have to rely one player to score. Even though they aren’t the most talented team, they work hard and get pucks behind goalies.
PH: How much, if any, if the team’s slow start can be blamed on goaltender Henrik Lundqvist?
BM: Honestly, this has been a rough start for Hank. The good thing is that Marty Biron can play and play well and will be able to give Hank some nights off and time to work on his game. Lundqvist plays better the more he plays.
He will get it going. I predicted this year as the year he wins the Vezina. He is a model of consistency, and wins 30+ games a season and will again this season.
PH: Any other thoughts on the Rangers you’d like to pass on to readers here at Kukla’s Korner?
BM: Stay positive this season. This is the best time of the year, and there are plenty of things to be excited about. The team is younger, faster and more entertaining that I can remember.
Looking ahead, there is a lot to look forward to. Chris Kreider, Evgen Grachev, Mats Zuccarello and Dylan McIlrath all have future’s in NY and Derek Stepan looks like a semi-star in the making.
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org.