by Patrick Hoffman on 02/14/12 at 11:00 AM ET
Monzo was kind enough to take some time out of his busy schedule to give us his thoughts on all things Blueshirts:
PH: What are your general thoughts on the play of the New York Rangers this season?
BM: I mean, there aren’t too many bad things you can say. They just keep winning every game. What is most impressive is that fact that when they do lose a game, or even two, that’s it. They have yet to go on a prolonged losing streak.
PH: In your opinion, what are just a few reasons why the Rangers have been successful this season?
BM: As usual, it starts in net. Henrik Lundqvist at this point is not only the leader for the Vezina Trophy, but there needs to be serious consideration for him being he MVP of the league. There are many games that he wins on his own. Marian Gaborik being healthy has been enormous and the play of their young defenseman (Girardi, Del Zotto and McDonagh) has propelled them to tops in the East.
PH: Why do you think Marian Gaborik has had such a turnaround season this year?
BM: He is healthy. Everyone seems to forget last season that he had a long-term shoulder and a concussion. I also do not believe his shoulder was 100% healthy at any point last season. He is playing now with players like Derek Stepan and Artem Anisimov who find ways to get him the puck in position to score goals as well.
PH: Do you think that this will finally be the year that goaltender Henrik Lundqvist wins the Vezina Trophy? Why or why not?
BM: I would be shocked if it wasn’t. He may not have the most wins the league, but he is getting the chance to sit a little more this season, keeping him fresh towards the end of the season. He already has 6 shutouts, and a GAA under 1.90. He is giving up very few weak goals, and seems more confident now then he has at all throughout his career.
PH: What do the Rangers need to do to continue to have success this season?
BM: They aren’t the most talented team, and I think they and the entire league knows this. But they outwork everyone. They block shots, hit everyone that moves and win the important one-on-one battles. They find ways to win close games and it appears they play as if they never think they are going to lose. Watching them this weekend, it did not appear at any point they would lose to the Flyers or the Caps. This is not something we have seen the last few seasons. They get contributions from everyone on the team, on both ends of the ice. 15 players have scored 10 or more points this season. It’s about a collective team that wants to win, and accepts nothing less.
PH: Any other thoughts you’d like to share with readers?
BM: Every team is competitive for the most part, and one of the most exciting days is coming up: the NHL trade deadline. For hockey fans, the deadline (along with July 1st) is like Christmas day. It should be exciting to see what teams make the most moves.
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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.