by Patrick Hoffman on 10/29/08 at 12:50 AM ET
In his Rangers Report Blog this afternoon, Sam Weinman gave a few reasons why the Rangers are 9-2-1.
He cited the play of netminders Henrik Lundqvist and Stephen Valiquette, reporting to training camp early and in shape, a favorable schedule and unexpected contributions from guys like Aaron Voros and Fredrik Sjostrom.
These are all obvious reasons but just because they’re 9-2-1 doesn’t mean that everything is perfect.
For example, the play of Wade Redden has been below average. He hasn’t had the big impact on the power play like the coaching staff and the team’s fan thought he would and he’s been rather easy to get around. However, because of the play of the rest of the defense and Henrik’s goaltending, Redden’s shortcomings have been masked.
The team’s power play also needs to be a lot better. The team is just 9 for 62 with the man advantage, which puts them 24th in the league with a 14.5 percent conversion rate. When you have players such as Scott Gomez, Chris Drury, Markus Naslund, Nikolai Zherdev and Wade Redden, more pucks should be going in the net.
The offense in general has also been quiet. The team is 21st in the league with 31 goals in 12 games, which means they score an average of 2.58 goals per game. This is well below the average as close to half the league is averaging three goals or better. The question is will the Rangers’ attention to defense (first in the league in goals-against average) cause the team’s offense to be more quiet? Let’s hope not because more often than not, they’ll be at the other end of a one-goal game.
This is not all doom and gloom folks. Overall, the team is showing that they have depth, that they know how to play team defense, that they have tremendous goaltending and that overall, their winning hockey games. With that being said though, let’s remember that there are 70 games remaining and A LOT can happen.
For now, just enjoy the ride that the team is on and hope that the points they are accumulating now mean something come April.
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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.
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