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04-12-2011, 04:51 PM
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First, im really glad the Rangers are in the dance. They deserve it. With all the bad bounces during that one stretch in February, they really could have won 46 or thereabouts. They got a really big bounce at the end from the Lightning - good to see.

Secondly, im really excited to see how some of the youngsters acquit themselves during playoff hockey.

Ansimov had a small taste, and I think theres another level to his game he can surprise people with. He's got that shot and if he can rachet up his competition level and use those legs he can quietly be a force this series. Theyll need that if they want to get through.

MCDonaugh has got a ton of raw talent and has stepped up big time down the stretch. If he doesnt try to do too much, and stay with his intelligent game, he should be fine.

I'm excited to see how Sauer reacts. I think well see another level of nastiness from this kid. Same goes for him, just do what you did during the season - quite possibly the most underrated rookie performance in the entire NHL this year on defense.

For me, the most exciting rookie (and player for that matter) to watch is Derek Stepan. I just think this kid has clutch written all over him. There were moments throughout the year when i thought he was bar none the best player on the ice for the Rangers, and played well at key times during the year. And this is a kid who's coming from college, not juniors.

When i watched him in the World Juniors he just took over the games with his leadership, poise, awareness and anticipation of everything around him. That was as pressure packed as a NHL playoff atmosphere. I think the sky is the limit for this kid, and i think he shines when the **** hits the fan.

I know it may have been insignificant to some, but when he sealed the deal against Boston during that comeback, i really knew this kid was for real. It took major balls to make a move at center ice around 2 Bruins with less than a minute left to ice the game. To make that move and then finish the play was special. Kids got ice water in his veins. I expect him to surprise people big time. Maybe not this playoffs but definitely in the future. But i wouldnt rule out some dramatics this year either.

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