The New York Rangers gave up some quality pieces to land an even bigger one this past July. The Rick Nash saga ended on Broadway, as the Blueshirts acquired the scoring winger from Columbus in exchange for forwards Brandon Dubinsky and Artem Anisimov, defenseman Tim Erixon and a first-round draft pick. The reigning Atlantic Division Champions are looking to build on a 109-point performance in 2011-12 and hope that the acquisition of Nash will take them to the next level.
During training camp, Nash slotted in on the right wing next to playmaking center Brad Richards (with young speedster Carl Hagelin completing the line). Nash never had an elite center during his nine seasons in Columbus and still scored at least 30 goals in seven of those campaigns, reaching 40 twice. It's intriguing to think of what he's capable of working with an elite talent like Richards. Certainly the most important offseason transaction for the Rangers was landing Nash, but he wasn’t the only player movement in the Big Apple. Gritty winger Brandon Prust got a large raise in Montreal, while forwards Ruslan Fedotenko and John Mitchell also moved on. Also gone are defensemen Jeff Woywitka and John Scott.
General manager Glen Sather did as much as he could to replace those that departed, by signing forwards Taylor Pyatt, Jeff Halpern, Micheal Haley and former Penguin Arron Asham. Pyatt had nine goals and 19 points through 73 contests last season in Phoenix. He has been playing with big-bodied center Brian Boyle and talented sophomore Chris Kreider. A veteran center, Halpern no longer produces as many points, but is excellent on faceoffs and could be key in winning draws for the Rangers.
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Cole's Players To Watch
I know we are completely way too early in the season, but I think Geno is the best player in the NHL this season. He was on fire in the KHL and looks to be in mid-season form. While Crosby, Stammer, Giroux, and Ovy will be on his tails... I think #71 is ready to go and prove he was the best.
Another thing that is dangerous for the NHL is that he gets James Neal for another go-around. FINALLY Geno has a guy that has been his line mate that he can gain chemistry more and more each shift and know he won't be demoted to the 4th line. It's something we've dreamed about for awhile. A perfect example is the faceoff play they use where Geno puts it in a perfect spot and Neal rips it before I even finish my sip of beer. Can't wait to keep watching these two dominate.
Watching this Boston game, I can't help but to notice some guy in beast mode. Yeah.. I'm not happy to admit but Nash makes this Rangers offense scary. He was working the Boston defense and played very well. I'll keep it short and sweet - we have to watch out for him. He has legit weapons around him and is very dangerous.
Cole's Video Matchup
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Looking at the Rangers line up I was wondering how they afford that with the cap & then I realized they pay their defense nothing. McDonagh is in for a serious raise next year but Staal & Girardi have cap friendly deals.
Stephan, Hagelin, & McDonagh only have this year left on their entry levels. Might be their last real good year to make a run before they have to restructure.
Pittsburgh Penguins Vs New York Rangers, Mar 15 2012, Crosby's Second Game Back
Record vs. Rangers last year 4-2
Penguins 20 goals, Rangers 12.
They are a team to be respected, and are rightly considered to be the top contender for the cup. But we did seem to have their number last year and match up better against them than we did against the Flyers and Devils. New year, but I hope that dynamic remains so.
Actually, I hope tomorrow is Sid's coming out party. At least Geno and Neal looked somewhat dangerous today, and registered one of the goals. Sid and his line looked almost like a glorified checking line this afternoon. I'd like to see that line get on the scoreboard sooner rather than later.
Also, minor nitpick, but shouldn't the defense pairings be listed as Niskanen - Letang, and Despres - Engelland?
Eh, Torts whining about the refs is just a mind game. They're all just trying to get calls, I don't know when people are going to realize that. I think the guy is a hoot for the most part. Hockey needs a few more guys that actually emote. I think we have about 3 or 4, coaches and players combined.
I agree with Cole that Nash looked good. He can do amazing things on his own, he's not just a gunner. This will be another good game.
__________________ "It definitely wasn't a lot of fun. For that year-and-a-half, all it takes is for somebody to write an article and then you start to believe it and you think you are not playing great, and then it is not as much fun coming to the rink. That was the biggest difference. At that point, I wasn't enjoying it all. Going through what I did, I think I appreciated it more. It made me a better person and player going through that." - Paul Martin
I'm going to post a different song for each GDT with a very loose connection to the team we're playing. This one is just a Swedish band in honor of King Henrik.
“The most terrifying fact about the universe is not that it is hostile, but that it is indifferent. If we can come to terms with this indifference and accept the challenges of life within the boundaries of death, our existence as a species can have genuine meaning and fulfillment. However vast the darkness, we must supply our own light.” - Stanley Kubrick
Should be a stiff test. Rangers have a very good team and are obviously looking to bounce back from the Boston loss. Selfishly I'm glad I at least don't have to look at Dooshbinsky a handful of times a year now that he's gone from the division.