Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Buckling on the Rally Helmet

Ryan Callahan's broken ankle is a terrible blow to the Rangers playoff chances. But is it a death blow? The Rangers have shown that they can win without Callahan.

Cally broke his hand on December 15th, and missed 19 games. He came back from that injury on February 1st. The Rangers went 10-9 during his absence. They defeated Vancouver (1-0), Washington (2-1 SO), Dallas (3-2 SO), and Carolina (2-1 OT) during the month of January. Please note the low scores in those victories.

Many are asking who will step-up their game to fill Cally's void. Can Gaborik get hot? I think it all comes back to Lundqvist and the defense locking down opponents. If they can hold opponents to a goal or two, and then grind for their dirty goal or two, they give themselves a chance. They can win if they get their 18 or more blocked shots (BS) per game, and if Lundqvist is sharp. Every game will be tight, and it would be a bonus if Gabby or someone pots a pretty one, that will clinch it.

Adding Gilroy as a forward certainly firms up the defensive focus of the team for the final run. He provides more fresh meat to block shots. The "not playing defense is not an option" mindset is here for the duration, like it or not.

Here is a brief round-up of some other views on Callahan's injury and the Rangers' outlook.

The Rangers Tribune:
Rangers Must Find a Way Without Callahan --

Every Cinderella story consists of an underdog finding success by overcoming a critical loss of some sort, doesn't it? A loss that, when overcome, makes for an even more dramatic story in the end? If so, then the Rangers have a tremendous opportunity to make 2010-11 into a Cinderella season.
Carp / Ranger Report Blog:
Bad day, bad night for the Rangers --
I was talking to Sean Mayer—who, by the way, I want to thank for pinch-hitting on the Ryan Callahan news yesterday while I was unavailable—and came to the realization that losing a key player isn’t necessarily fatal in the playoffs. In fact, teams often rally around the adversity. Some quick examples ....
Bleeding All Blue:
Rangers Way Forward Without Callahan Is As A Unit --
It will take a collective effort to rise to this challenge and there is nothing the Rangers have done better this season than play collectively. They will need more from the Boyle, Prust, Fedotenko, Stepan, Anisimov for sure, but the four guys who really need to rise to the offensive challenge are Gaborik, Dubinsky, Prospal and Wolski. Wolski might be the most surprising player in that group, but he is also one of the most offensively talented forwards on the team and his skill level was critical to the comeback win against Boston. Dubinsky and Prospal are crucial both for their production but also for their ability to lead the team in their own ways. Each has a very good feel for the emotional pulse of this team and have the ability to lift this team with that energy and fire when they play at the top of their game. ...
Will Chris Drury be a factor? I'm not holding my breath.

Blue Seat Blogs:
Drury’s Chance --
With the news Ryan Callahan is out long term a unique opportunity at redemption(?) may have come about for the current captain Chris Drury...
Hockey Suit:
...Drury One Last Chance At Glory --
Yes folks, that leaves Captain America himself...

The Aaron Boone moments of sports happen because of a coach's trust. And in sports, as in the real world, people can succeed when they are put in a position to do so. When you have a coach's trust, that moment is there for the taking.

Nice shot blocking clinic.

Chris Botta / Slap Shot blog:
Blocking Chara Shots, Rangers Boost Playoff Chances --
Coach John Tortorella: “It goes back to September in training camp. If you look at teams that go far in the playoffs, shot-blocking is a must. I haven’t talked about the need to block shots since…

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