by Patrick Hoffman on 06/01/11 at 10:00 AM ET
PH: For starters, describe the Rangers’ season in a nutshell.
BM: The season was exciting, frustrating and everything in between. They battled injuries all year long, and found ways to win games. Unfortunately, their season may have ended too early because of Ryan Callahan’s ankle.
PH: What did the team do well with this season
BM: Played as a unit. Despite the injuries, they found ways to get it done. No excuses from anyone. I also thought their goaltending was strong all season long—but what else is new there. Their young defense was especially solid with guys like Ryan McDonagh and Michael Sauer becoming regulars.
PH: What did the team struggle with this season?
BM: They struggled scoring and on the power-play, which is nothing new. All the more reason why this offseason will be a big one.
PH: In your opinion, what do you think the Rangers need to do to improve between now and the off-season?
BM: First thing they need to do is figure out what they are going to do at the draft. My assumption is they are drafting a forward. From there it is free agency time. Let’s move to the next question…
PH: If you are Rangers’ general manager Glen Sather, do you go after Brad Richards? If so, what are you prepared to offer him?
BM: Yes, big time. I wouldn’t be surprised if they try to attain his rights a few days before July 1st by sending a 2nd or 3rd round pick to Dallas. He is the center they need to play with Marian Gaborik—and who knows, maybe Chris Kreider.
PH: Staying in the Sather character, what do you do with the likes of Chris Drury, Vinny Prospal, and Sean Avery?
BM: I know it isn’t in the Rangers norm to buy out players, but I wouldn’t be shocked if they look to buy out Drury. It wouldn’t be personal, but his money is killing the cap. I’d be shocked if Prospal is back and I think Sean Avery stays. He had a solid postseason, and if he doesn’t play in NY, I am not sure his NHL career continues. He also needs to re-up guys like Ryan Callahan and Brandon Dubinsky.
PH: If you are head coach John Tortorella, what do you do to stick the team’s newly formed identity for next season?
BM: He just needs to keep doing what he does, and forces the Rangers to be a tough team to play. It is a work in progress, and I think everyone sees that progress, but next season, I think a Conference Final is needed to prove the Rangers are going to a force.
PH: Anything else you’d like to share with Kukla’s Korner readers?
BM: It is has been another great season. Personally, I am glad to see Winnipeg getting a team next year, though it is sad for fans for fans of the Thrashers. The season is not over yet, and we should have a hell of Cup Finals ahead of us.
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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.