by Patrick Hoffman on 10/21/08 at 11:00 PM ET
At 6-2-1, there shouldn’t be too many things to complain about if you are a New York Rangers fan.
Sure, there will be the usual “Why doesn’t Renney juggle the lines?” or “Why isn’t this team scoring?” or even “Why does this team continue to struggle on the power play given all the talent they have up front?”
However, one question that Ranger fans are probably surprised they are asking themselves is “Where is Chris Drury and Markus Naslund?”
Believe it or not folks, Drury has played in all nine of his team’s games this season. Unfortunately, he just hasn’t been able to produce.
Despite being third on the team with 25 shots on goal, Drury has yet to score a goal and has just one assist, which came back on opening night at Madison Square Garden when his team defeated the Chicago Blackhawks 4-2.
What’s even more worrisome is that he has a +/- of -5. For someone who places such a high emphasis on playing at both ends of the ice, this statistic certainly doesn’t show it.
So what’s the matter with the captain, you ask. Well, to be honest with you, I can’t quite figure it out. He’s getting scoring chances, he’s averaging close to 20 minutes of ice time per game, he’s playing on the power play and is being given every chance to succeed. However, it’s just not happening right now.
The same can actually be said of teammate and linemate Markus Naslund. Naslund came out like a gang buster in his first two games with the team as he buzzed around the net, put shots on goal and looked comfortable. However, since returning to North America, he hasn’t looked the same.
Yes, Naslund has five points but these stats are misleading. He’s looked a step behind the play and is also reminding many Blueshirt fans of Martin Straka, someone who had the talent to put pucks in the net but looked as if he’d rather pass the puck.
Luckily, it’s still very early on in the season so they still have time to turn it around. However, if they can’t turn it around soon, head coach Tom Renney may really shake up the lines, something Ranger fans have become all too familiar with over the last three seasons.
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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.