Sunday, February 09, 2014

On To Sochi

The Rangers quickly righted the ship with a big win in Pittsburgh and now leave for Sochi or their homes or vacation sites firmly in second place in the Metropolitan. One night after a loss to the bottom feeder Oilers they rebounded with a big 4-3 shootout win over the elite, top of the East Penguins. In one night they went from pretenders to contenders.

Ranger management now will have two weeks to decide what to do with Callahan and Girardi both free agents after the end of this season. Resign them and risk long term contracts with lots of dough and certainly risk. Trade them and risk the chemistry and the consistency they brought to the team. Not an easy decision.

Is this the team to challenge for a cup or to go for broke in trying to trade for the Cup? Remember 1994 and Mike Keenan who traded big names to get role players. The role players delivered and the Rangers won the Cup. Bring in another scorer and who do you give up?

Right now the Rangers are playing as well as they have all year. Lundqvist is on top of his game and the defense anchored by Girardi, Staal and McDonagh has been solid. The four lines have all been productive and playing consistent hockey. And that is the key, consistent. The reason? Say what you want about the coach, AV, but he has basically stayed with four basic lines with the same personnel on each line. The result? Offense has come from all four lines and if one player slumps another, on a different, line picks him up.

Look at Friday's game. Nash is in a mini slump, Callahan missed a couple of gimmees and Pouliot scores two, one a PP, Girardi chips in with a PP goal and Richards and Zuccarello score shootout goals while Lundqvist stops Crosby and it's two points for the Rangers.

So enjoy the Olympics. I'm not sure Rangers management will. They need to make big decisions on the future of this year's team. It will decide this year's record and maybe the record of future Ranger teams. All is not always lost on the ice.

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