by Patrick Hoffman on 01/01/12 at 10:20 PM ET
As the New York Rangers get set to kick of 2012, it might be safe to say that these New York Rangers are for real.
Both team general manager Glen Sather and team head coach John Tortorella had a vision for this team and for once, it was the same. As such, the product on the ice has been quite successful this season so far.
The Rangers’ identity is one that is hard-working, competitive every night, has a never say die attitude and promotes team depth. Put all of these characteristics together and you have where the Rangers are today.
As of this writing, the Blueshirts are first in both the Eastern Conference and Atlantic Division with a 23-9-4 record. The team is one point ahead of the second place Boston Bruins and two points ahead of the fourth place Philadelphia Flyers.
There are several reasons why the team is having success this season. For starters, Marian Gaborik has his mojo back. The team’s sniper is second in the NHL in goals scored with 22 and is first on the Blueshirts with 33 points.
Secondly, others have helped Gaborik in the point-producing department. Guys like nine-year man Brad Richards (13-15-28), Ryan Callahan (13-15-28), Derek Stepan (8-17-25), and Artem Anisimov (7-15-22) have all produced on a consistent basis for the Blueshirts this season.
Even without all-star defenseman Marc Staal, the team has had a steady blue line all season long. Defenseman Dan Girardi (3-10-13) continues to be one of the most underrated defensemen in the NHL while 21-year-old Michael Del Zotto (5-17-22) has reemerged as one of the club’s top defensemen after he struggled last season.
Lastly, the team’s goaltending has been stellar all season long. Starting netminder Henrik Lundqvist is 16-7-4 with a 1.91 goals against average, a .937 save percentage and 3 shutouts, once again ranking him among the goaltending leaders this season.
The team’s back-up netminder, Martin Biron, has also put together a terrific season this year. In 10 games, Biron is 7-2 with a 2.08 goals against average, a .923 save percentage, 1 shutout and 2 assists.
Look out folks. This Rangers’ hockey club is for real and looks like they could be Stanley Cup contenders come April.
Filed in: | Goal Line Report | Permalink
Tags: artem+anisimov, boston+bruins, brad+richards, dan+girardi, derek+stepan, henrik+lundqvist, marc+staal, marian+gaborik, martin+biron, michael+del+zotto, new+york+rangers, philadelphia+flyers, ryan+callahan
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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.