by Patrick Hoffman on 12/13/10 at 11:00 AM ET
At this point in the season, it is great to see that the New York Rangers are in the thick of the Eastern Conference early season playoff race and are getting solid performances spread throughout the season.
In this installment of “Blueshirts Week Ahead”, I’d like for you folks to keep an eye on several players as well as give you a look at who the team will be facing off against this week.
Players to Keep An Eye on
- Michael Del Zotto
It will be interesting to see how Del Zotto performs after being scratched last week in the team’s 5-3 win over the Ottawa Senators. Team head coach John Tortorella gave him a homework assignment to see how the club’s power play performed along with what he should be doing on defense.
Remember, Del Zotto is only in his second season and at the age of 20, still has a lot to learn.
- Alex Frolov
It is obvious that 2010 free agent signing Alex Frolov has been a complete disappointment this season. In 31 games, Frolov has just 11 points (5 goals and 6 assists).
Even as Tortorella has given him different linemates to try and succeed with, Frolov just has not been able to get the job done.
- Michael Sauer
Rangers’ rookie defenseman Michael Sauer has been one of the more steadier defensemen on the team’s backline this season. He makes smart plays and decisions, he provides great coverage in the defensive zone and is getting plenty of ice time under Tortorella.
One has to hope that he continues to play this way so that the team’s defensive corps can shape up even more with the likes of Marc Staal, Dan Girardi, Michal Rozsival, Michael Del Zotto and Steve Eminger.Games of the Week
- Wednesday, December 15: Pittsburgh Penguins
Things have been pretty physical when these two teams meet and one would have to expect that things will be just like this on Wednesday night in Pittsburgh.
It will also be interesting to see if the Penguins will be on a 13-game winning streak by Wednesday.
- Thursday, December 16: Phoenix Coyotes
Luckily, the Coyotes will have a nice crowd to play in front of this Thursday night at Madison Square Garden.
Hopefully for the Rangers, their crowd will see their team pick up two big points for a victory on home ice.
- Saturday, December 18: Philadelphia Flyers
This game will be a big test for the Blueshirts to see where they stand when it comes to playing top teams in the Conference.
If the Rangers can come out of it with a victory, those n the hockey world might think that the team is legitimate this season.
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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.