The Opossum-Palooza

It's okay. We don't know what the name means either.

9.11.2006

NHL Preview: New York Rangers

Today brings the eight installment of our series previewing the fast approaching NHL season. Today, DefDude gives you the skinny on the New York Rangers and does an astoundingly good job of containing his scathing vitriol towards Jaromir Jagr. (Me? Not so much, apparently.)

Well, that was shocking, to say the least. After dumping the high-priced free agent approach that led to 8 consecutive seasons of missing the playoffs, the Rangers were poised to fall to the very bottom of the barrel in 2005-06. With a questionable-at-best goaltending situation and a shallow, one-man offense, most experts were picking the Rangers to be comparable only to the Washington Capitals for season long futility. Then Henrik Lundqvist decided “Yea, I’m a rookie, but I’m also Swedish, so the rules obviously don’t apply to me,” and decided to go become not only the best goaltender in the Rangers organization, but one of the top five goaltenders in the league, and the Rangers suddenly went from a crappy young team to a halfway decent young team. Then something really crazy happened: Jaromir Jagr, completely surrounded by fellow Czechs, forgot that he was playing for an NHL franchise and not his home country, so he figured it’d be ok if he actually skated hard and gave a shit every, ya know, third shift or so, and then the Rangers went from being a halfway decent young team to the surprisingly good Czech National Veteran-Led team that won the Atlantic division…and then Jagr realized he was in the NHL, refused to show up for the playoffs, and the Rangers were steamrolled by the Devils in one of the most pathetic showings by a 3rd seed in the history of the current playoff format. (Biff's Note: Nothing compared to the 2nd seeded '99-'00 Capitals. Not that I'm bitter about that or anything.)

So where does that leave the Rangers for this year? Well, Lundqvist should only be better, and the addition of 40-goal scorer Brendan Shanahan gives the Rangers a suddenly potent second line that will make it much more difficult for opponents to key in merely on Jagr’s line (Not that that tactic worked out so well for opponents last season). But in the end, this team’s fortunes will depend on which Jagr decides to show up for opening night and beyond: The motivated, dominating vintage version who barely missed out on the Art Ross and Hart trophies as the NHL’s leading scorer and MVP, respectively, or the lazy, disinterested one who played two seasons for Washington and one playoff series for the Rangers lasts season. If it’s the former, you can expect another uncontested Atlantic division title, and depending on how well the defense comes along, a distinctly possible ECF berth. If it is the latter, however, Rangers fans can expect to see something eerily similar to that which they were accustomed before the lockout……a putting green come May.

To follow all the exciting developments on the isle of Manhattan, check out Blueshirts on Broadway or Broadway Blue (they're creative up there in the Big Apple, no?).

Labels: ,

1 Comments:

At 4:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Rangers were the 6 seed in the playoffs last year, and Jagr was hurt in the first game of the series against the Devils....Once you get your facts straight maybe people can take your previews seriously.

 

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home