When life throws obstacles, a majority of people wilt away, feeling sorry for themselves. Without direction, people would be like ants, running around aimlessly with no purpose.
That’s where leadership comes in. Not only is it a voice of reason, but it can reassuring. Some lead by example. Others lead by words. Most people gain it by experience. They have “been there, done that.” They have been in situations unfamiliar to them, in the past. Now, they are able to provide guidance and words of wisdom to the inexperienced.
Over the past decade, the New York Rangers have gone through a “renaissance.” For a majority of the time, a youth movement had taken place. The “build within” mentality was used to build a contender. However, a team is not successful if there is no veteran leadership to help guide and mold the youth. With the upcoming season three months away, the veterans will be looked upon to help guide the team to be successful and deal with the changing personnel from this offseason.
The 5’8 right winger showed fans and the NHL that strength comes from within. From his rookie season with the Calgary Flames to now, Martin St. Louis never gave up.
He helped the Tampa Bay Lightning to their first Stanley Cup championship in 2004. He has been a member of two Team Canada Olympic squads, capturing gold in 2014. He has had numerous accolades, which tells you how successful St. Louis has been. He has seen the highs and lows of hockey.
The “little engine that could” was brought to New York last season via trade for Ryan Callahan to the Lightning. Needless to say, the pressure placed on St. Louis’ shoulders was great. Even though he did not start out strong upon his arrival, St. Louis slowly became a part of the team.
Perhaps, his greatest example of unselfishness came during a time of sadness in his life. During the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs, he received news that his mother had passed away. Instead of staying behind and letting the team move on, he chose to return and lean on his teammates as a source of emotional healing. In game six, he opened the scoring when the puck bounced off his body into the net. With that single moment, he electrified Madison Square Garden. He showed his devotion to the team, no matter the odds.
Unfortunately, his good friend, Brad Richards, is gone. Now, Martin St. Louis must carry the torch of elder statesman and lead the young nucleus of the Rangers.
What can you say about the 33 year old center? Dominic Moore showed his true colors by re signing with the New York Rangers for another two years. He proved his worth last year, centering the fourth line and causing teams to take notice. It gave head coach Alain Vigneault confidence that he could play all four lines, making them threats on the ice.
By now you have heard of Moore’s loss of his late wife, Kate, to liver cancer. It affected him so much, that he walked away from the game of hockey during the 2012-2013 season. However, last season, he laced-up his skates and returned to the team that originally drafted him in 2000. Though, he was not a scoring machine (six goals and 12 assists), he made key contributions. One, in particular, was his goal in game six of the Eastern Conference Final against the Montreal Canadiens. His lone goal proved to be the game winner and propelled the Rangers into the Stanley Cup final against the Los Angeles Kings. That two-fisted pump when he scores a goal is unforgettable.
Having been with nine different NHL teams in 10 years, Moore has been around the block. And with that comes experience. He is more than capable of handling the load, just look at his performance in the regular season and playoffs. He has put confidence into everyone that he can help the team.
With Martin St. Louis playing the last year of his current contract and possibly his career, Moore will be counted on for his leadership to lead the up and coming Rangers, in days to come.
The newest addition to the New York Rangers roster, Dan Boyle is bringing a wealth of experience to the team. No longer an unrestricted free agent, Boyle signed a two year contract worth nine million dollars. Considered a replacement for Anton Stralman, who signed with the Tampa Bay Lightning, he will certainly bring his knowledge of the game to a Rangers blue line that is becoming one of the best in the league. Also, his power play prowess should prove valuable to the team.
As last season proved, special teams was a struggle in both the regular season and playoffs. Boyle contributed to San Jose’s power play unit with six goals and 18 points.
However, you do have to question his age. He is 37, turning 38 on July 12th. Is there still something left in the tank? Will he be able to log the minutes required of a 2nd pair defenseman with Marc Staal? Instead of shying away, Boyle has embraced the challenges. On NYDailynews.com, he was quoted as saying:
“I’m not looking to — how can I say this? — I’m not looking to go out (at the end of my career) as a guy in and out, playing a few minutes,” said Boyle, who turns 38 on Saturday. “I’m not going to go out like that. I’m going in to make a difference. I want the puck. I want to make plays. Helping younger guys goes with the territory, and I’d be happy to help. But I want to win hockey games and the ultimate goal is to win the Cup.”
Sounds like he is not done, by a long shot.
The New York Rangers still have some holes to fill, with the departure of key contributors to their success last year. However, one thing that will not be lacking is veteran leadership. These three are proven winners in their own right. Whether it be Stanley Cups, international competition, or life altering events, there is no doubts they will have a voice in the locker room for the upcoming season.
Respect your elders!