Sure, the Rangers’ season might be over, but there’s still hockey for us to follow. Obviously, we’ll root for whoever is playing the Flyers until they are finally eliminated, but we also can muster up some excitement for the World Championships. Most of us the Rangers fanbase is American, so we’ll root for our country, but there’s also the extra incentive to follow them now that they’ve officially added Derek Stepan and Ryan McDonagh to the roster. To be honest, I’m not completely thrilled. Obviously, it’s a good opportunity for them to represent our country and maybe toy with some different things on the ice, but can their bodies handle it? Stepan and Mcdonagh were of course both playing for Wisconsin in the NCAA prior to this season, and the college season usually lasts anywhere between 40-45 games, depending on how deep each team goes in the playoffs. Compare that to the 83-87 games that McDonagh and Stepan played this season, and that’s already double what they are used to. You could see that they were both experiencing conditioning and stamina problems towards the end of the season and during the playoffs, so I’m not sure I’m happy that they’re going to be playing even MORE games now. Still, if the Rangers coaches and training staff were that concerned I’m sure they would have told them not to play.
Rangers prospect Chris Kreider was added to the roster a while back, so that puts three of the most important Rangers youngsters on the USA roster. Both Stepan and McDonagh committed to returning to Wisconsin last year only to change their mind and sign with the Rangers; Stepan in June and McDonagh in September. Both of them certainly had great years with the Rangers and I’m sure they are glad they made the decision to sign. Perhaps they’ll convince Kreider, who as of now has committed to returning to Boston College, to also change his mind and sign with the Rangers much like those two did.