by Patrick Hoffman on 10/17/10 at 09:10 PM ET
After losing both Chris Drury and Marian Gaborik to injury in Friday night’s home opener against the Toronto Maple Leafs, I pondered over at RLD Hockey which New York Rangers’ players would step up and provide offense and all-around solid play in their absence.
I will now share it with you:
Normally, home openers in the National Hockey League are suppossed to be ones where the home team comes out on top by playing a terrific brand of hockey.
Unfortunately for the New York Rangers on Friday night against the Toronto Maple Leafs, the home opener was anything but that. The team not only lost to the Leafs 4-3 in overtime, but also ended up losing forwards Marian Gaborik (seperated shoulder, 2-4 weeks) and Chris Drury (broken finger, 6 weeks) for extended periods of time.
While team captain Drury brings hard work, a super shot blocking ability and a timely goal here and there, it is the loss of Gaborik’s offense, particularly his goal-scoring, that will hurt the Rangers the most.
It was obvious that Gaborik was the Rangers’ offense last season. He finished with 42 goals and accounted for between 20 and 25 percent of the team’s goals. While he has yet to score a goal in the early going, it was only a matter of time before Gaborik started putting it together.
So who will step up for the New York Rangers amid these injuries? In my mind, it has to be the following players:
- Alexander Frolov: Playing on the same line with Gaborik through the club’s first three games, Frolov has yet to score a goal. With Gaborik now out of the lineup for the next five games or so, Frolov needs to prove to his new team that he can contribute offensively and that he has the ability to put the puck in the net.
- Brandon Dubinsky: Dubinsky is already off to a quick start this season with 3 goals and 4 points in his club’s first three games. Dubinsky has the potential to score 30 goals with his size, nose for the net and hard-working style of play.
- Artem Anisimov: The second-year Ranger has an abundance of offensive talent, despite the fact that the team and its fans has yet to see it. It’s time for him to start using his abilities to contribute offensively and through the team’s first three games, he has 3 points. The team needs him to start being consistent.
While five games may not seem like a lot, it could be a potential loss of 10 points if the Blueshirts don’t play smart. With that in mind, the whole team needs to step up and get it done while two of their key players are out of the lineup.
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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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