by Patrick Hoffman on 10/15/11 at 01:30 PM ET
That is a key storyline for tonight’s tilt between the New York Rangers and New York Islanders at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on Long Island.
This has been one of the league’s most storied rivalries and one that has a lot of history. Just think about all the games, playoff matches, great/memorable goals, big thundering hits, unbelievable saves and of course, the many, many fights that have taken place when these two clubs battle it out.
With that in mind, it is time for the newest Rangers to step up and show what they can bring to the rivalry. Brad Richards need to bring a certain amount of offense, artistry, and production to give the Islanders’ netminders and defense fits every time the two teams play each other.
Michael Rupp needs to be someone who can stick up for his teammates, fight when he needs to or even put in a goal here and there. This is something he did to the Blueshirts when he was a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Defenseman Tim Erixon simply needs to play his game as he is still getting used to playing in the National Hockey League. With that said, if he can keep the game simple and may be get the offense going every now and then, the rivalry might just come easy to Erixon. One must also remember that his father, Jan, took party in many Rangers/Isles games in the late 80’s and early 90’s.
While others might look at tonight’s game as just another one in the regular season, both the Rangers’ players and its fans know better. It is an opportunity to put a clear stake as New York’s No. 1 hockey team and reclaim the rivalry’s best team.
Hopefully, the newest Rangers will be up to doing just that tonight.
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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.