Saturday, November 20, 2010

I Need More Time, Captain!

Hello NY and everywhere else, I'm Bird and be glad you're not.

OK, it seems like any time I get a thought to post, one of my other duties comes into play. There's not enough time to address the work and family obligations in any day. I feel like Scotty on the USS Enterprise given the imposible task with no time to get it done. It gets old after a while, trust me. There are days when one wants to tell Kirk to shove it up his.....well, you know. I sure could use some of that Romulan Ale.

I have been watching the games. I have to say that at this point, I'm plesantly surprised. The kids it seems, are all right. Opening the season and losing three "key" players is not condusive to a good start. Gabby was our only source of goals last year and I expected more of the same. Turns out that might not be the case. Frolov was an interesting addition with his talent and one year deal, he could be the sniper needed to add to Gaborik. With Gabby missing as many as twelve games one expected the Rangers to hold firmly onto last place. Neither one of those thought turned out to be valid.

The Stephan hat trick would be the last goals for the kid until last night. Frolov has rarly made the scoresheet and yet, the sky didn't fall. Why not? The kids. Our kids. Our home grown guys who are getting better, more confident and perhaps even cocky. Dubi (or Moose as I call him) has stepped up with his linemates in a way that suggests he could be ready for that next level. Cally is all heart and his legs must move in his sleep. Even Arti has shown improvement. Boyle, the occational Avery antics and the kids prevented a free fall to last place by giving Henke a chance to win. They and he did just that. Win. Who woulda thunk it?

Torts, thats who. They are a team now. Under his leadership, the Rangers are standing up for each other, playing for each other. It's as if Torts has them buying into an "US vs. "THEM" theme. In fact, I'm convinced of that. As an example, remember the blowout against Edmonton? All the guys stood up for one another. The following night against the Ice Chickens provided a completely different example of the same thing. Folks, we have a team here. Sure, the guys are the ones pulling it off but don't underestimate the power and influence of the coach. I watched him do this in Tampa Bay and it looks like it's taking place here. It doesn't happen fast nor without hard work and setbacks.....but if the course is set to forward, it does happen.

OK, I'm not planning a parade route just yet. However, you might wanna start thinking about next year. We're getting close. Another big, crease clearing D man and a solid goal scorer and this team could have all the pieces. Even better, those missing pieces may be here, just not developed fully yet.

As a team of forward lines, we can finally send out three lines who can pop a goal. Dubi's line when on gives opponents fits with their size and grit. Gaborik with Frolov and Stephan could be a very productive line. Give it some time to gel. The third line has been mix and match but you gotta love Boyle and his career high season goal total. Fedotenko can pop one every so often as well. All three need to be more consistent to have any shot at a high playoff seed but for now I'm suggesting that there's light at the end of the tunnel and this time it's NOT a train.

Sure, we have to improve the play from the blue line. But the kids.....our kids are getting better. Staal and Girardi are now as solid as they come. MDZ may have a rough one this season but defensemen always need more time to really develop at the NHL level.

Remember, the Henke window is not open ended. Having world class talent in goal is a must for any team looking for a berth in the finals (OK, some teams last season got away with less). In order to take advantage of having the King, we'll need to take our shot soon.

Recent Observations:

Avery is only worth the roster spot when he's on the edge. Since the Edmonton game he's kinda disappeared. "Sucker punch"? Maybe. The target on him couldn't possibly get any bigger so I say just go for it Sean. You want your name on a cup? Go for it.

Getting Gabby back allows for the other two, Stephan and Frolov to get the ice time and chances needed to get their respective games going. I honestly expect them to gel into our 1st line threat. Hell, I could score a few playing with Marion.

The Colorado game was uninspired at best. Even Henke looked out of it. No excuses, two points lost. They will have to limit those types of outings to get anywhere this season. The Rangers are only good when there are hard to play against. If they don't bring it....they become exposed and ripe for the picking. It's in your face or down in defeat. Not enough talent to coast to wins here.

There are games when Dubi, Cally and Arti look slower. I wonder if Dubi and/or Cally have an undisclosed boo boo. Neither looked good last night. And MDZ is keeping the sophomore jinx alive and well. Let's hope those trends don't continue.

Nice to get a chance to post and say hello.....I'll try and pop in when I can. Enjoy the games and watch this team learn and progress.

----}- Bird
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