Rangers are really having a tough time on defense. Marc Staal isn’t who he was last year, that’s for sure. Girardi and Mcdonagh are definitely cooling off. Their making mistakes, although that’s expected this time of year. Del Zotto has definitely stepped up, but he’s not solid enough in the Rangers zone to play for over 25 minutes a night.
Michael Sauer is done for the season pretty much. There was a glimmer of hope before the all-star break Sauer could return because he started skating again. Well I’m going to assume he suffered a set back because I haven’t heard a peep about him since. He’s had injury issues before and I only hope his career isn’t in jeopardy.
Sauer is a stabilizing force on the blue line, who can fight, and do all the dirty work in the defensive zone. Stu Bickel’s replaced him and his role and it’s worked with so-so effect. Bickel is a poor man’s Sauer, and you expect defects when you get something that’s a replica. Like against the Avalanche on Saturday night. Bickel got completely undressed by a guy who was a healthy scratch for the better part of this year. To save some time, Bickel looked like Janne Niinimaa trying to D up Darren Mccarty in the 1997 Stanley Cup Finals.
Ok I’m done taking out some of my frustration on Bickel, but Sauer would have dumped Hunwick and i’ll leave it at that. When Sauer is in he’s a rock who can eat up big minutes and make very few mistakes. Sure his offensive game isn’t there, but the Rangers as a whole don’t have a lot of offensive pop from their blue line.