April 30, 2012
Doing Things Right In New York
In New York there is a hockey team that has been stockpiling great young hockey talent, creating an atmosphere to develop these players into a promising young team, and are now reaping the rewards.
Sorry Islanders fans, I'm not talking about your long suffering team that has been trying to accomplish exactly that since the days of David Volek. There is some promising talent on Long Island, too, but for the forseeable future John Tavares is a one armed man in a row boat. No matter how hard he tries, the organization is going nowhere fast.
No, I am talking about the New York Rangers. The team has finally committed to doing things right. They spent their massive resources on scouting and development. They brought in players whose forte is speed and skill, generally with a lot of size. And at this time they might just be the favorite to win the Stanley Cup.
Derek Stepan trails only veteran all star Brad Richards in scoring so far this post season. Carl Hagelin has impressed with his speed and skill. Brian Boyle emerged out of nowhere to be a force in the post season, at least until his concussion late in the Ottawa series. Artem Anisimov is a deceptively talented player. Ryan Callahan is the heart and soul. On defense Michael Del Zotto, Dan Girardi and Marc Staal look to anchor the Blue Shirts for the next decade.
The newest Ranger phenom is Chris Kreider, the Boston College grad who joined the team at the beginning of the playoffs. He has quickly gained the trust of coach John Tortorella, and is increasingly playing a starring role. It has gotten to the point now where he is already becoming the face of the Rangers. Kreider Craze is replacing Linsanity in the New York sport scene.
Glen Sather has not gotten enough credit for the turn around in New York. He has been much maligned for his many years of throwing out giant contracts and getting nowhere. The reality of the situation is Slats is like his many predecessors in Manhattan. He was following ownership's orders, relying on star appeal rather than success to steal headlines.
Somehow Sather convinced ownership to change their ways and do things the right way. He assembled a team to find the young talent. He created an atmosphere to let that young talent develop properly. He insulated them with a great goaltending in Henrik Lundqvist and a few star players in their prime like Brad Richards and Marian Gaborik. He found the right coach to get the most out of all of them, although they will need more offense from Richards and Gaborik in particular.
It has been years since Slats has been recognized for his hockey brilliance. It is time to start recognizing it again. The New York Rangers are for real, and it would be a great story if they won the Stanley Cup.