Rangers don’t play again until late tomorrow night, so we’ve got some time to look at some other things.
We’ll start off with some practice notes. Almost every Rangers loss this year was because of tactical issues, or execution. Though bad bounces certainly didn’t help them, the Rangers experienced a rare game in which they basically didn’t show up. Boyle stated that “that’s not us” and that they aren’t a team that “fails to come to work.” Meanwhile, Prospal states that the Rangers have no choice but to bring a “different work ethic and desire” to the game tomorrow. Both of these guys are players who constantly put in an effort, and the rest of the team depends on them to initiate a spark in all ends of the rink. It’s good to see that they have no plans to bring a lackluster effort again.
In games relevant to the Rangers, the Flyers beat the Maple Leafs in regulation last night by a score of 3-2. Not fun seeing the Flyers win, of course, but we kind of have to just hold our nose and accept that as the downside to the teams close to us in the standings losing. The bad news is that the Sabres beat the Bruins in overtime, so Buffalo is now tied with us in points and still have two games in hand. As of today, the Rangers are holding onto 8th place by a thread, with Carolina two points behind but also having two more games to play than the Rangers do.
Jess Rubenstein at Prospect Park nicely summarizes some honors for a few Rangers prospects. In the OHL’s Eastern Conference coach’s poll, last year’s second round pick, Christian Thomas, was voted as having the best shot and being the most dangerous in the goal area. He also finished second for hardest shot. Thomas, the son of former NHLer Steve Thomas, has surpassed all expectations this year, with 39 goals in 61 games. Thomas is second in the OHL in goals and 7th in points, which gives the early indication that the Rangers got a steal in drafting Thomas in the 2nd round. The fact that he is producing so much as an 18 year old in a league with players that are 19 and 20 only makes the accomplishment even better. The only real knock on Thomas is his size, but as long as that doesn’t serve as a deterrent the Rangers have a future goal scorer for the future. NCAA prospect Carl Hagelin, a former 6th round pick, is a finalist for the CCHA’s player of the year as well as defensive forward of the year. There’s a lot of reason to be optimistic about the future because of the potential of the young players on the Rangers alone, but don’t forget that we have one of the best prospect pools in the NHL. You look at Lundqvist, Callahan, Dubinsky, Stepan, Anisimov, and Sauer, and the Rangers have built a team with picks beyond the first round. Thomas and Hagelin, among others, are looking to be among the next set of successful value picks by the Rangers.
Finally, a welcome to new Blue Line Station writer James Wrabel! James has NYR blogging experience on other sites and is going to be a great addition here. Make sure to follow him on twitter.