Monday, October 12, 2009

Marian Gaborik and The New Look Blue Shirts

The New York Rangers began the 2009-10 campaign with nine new players on the roster. How things would play out for at least the first few months of the season was certainly a popular topic across the NHL this past off-season. After General Manager Glen Sather overhauled his hockey club on the ice, it was inevitable that this might take some time to come together.

With the additions of Marian Gaborik, Vaclav Prospal, Envir Lisin, Ales Kotalik amongst others, and the departures of Scott Gomez, Marcus Naslund, Nik Antropov and Nikolai Zherdev, the writing was on the wall that Head Coach John Tortorella had his hands full with quickly trying to establish a club identity before the 2009-10 season arrived. The emergence of Russian youngster Artem Anisimov and defensemen Michael Del Zotto and Matthew Gilroy allowed Tortorella’s Rangers to become younger over night. The demands were in place from the hard nosed head coach from day one of camp, and sure enough, the New York Rangers were piecing together a lineup that most media members in the NHL would have to use a program for.

For the Rangers to be successful, superstar forward Marian Gaborik must stay healthy. He's an elite talent that doesn't get recognized as such due to his recurring stints on the IR year after year. After missing the first few days of camp with a strained groin, it's been so far so good for the former Minnesota Wild, collecting 4 goals and 2 assists through Sunday’s afternoon showdown with the west’s Anaheim Ducks. A healthy Marian Gaborik equals Rangers success in the Big Apple - something overpaid former Rangers center Scott Gomez was never able to do.

Youngster blueliners Michael Del Zotto and Matthew Gilroy have already found the back of the net, which has created plenty of excitement early on at MSG. Could this quite possibly rejuvenate overpaid veteran defenseman Wade Redden? Whatever the case shall be, Glen Sather and John Tortorella took the road of getting younger on the blueline which varies from the March trade deadline approach of unloading young talent for high-priced rental Derek Morris. It has worked for the time being, and should only get better as the season progresses and the youngsters get more experience.

Recently, head coach John Tortorella called a timeout early on against the New Jersey Devils, responding to the lack of just-about-everything on the ice for the Blue Shirts. His stern lecture for the entire length of the timeout was followed by a character-building 3-2 victory. If the New York Rangers, especially the newcomers, were not on the same page with “Torts” to start the season, I have a feeling they are now.

Things are looking pretty good early on for the New York Rangers and will continue to improve, even in a tough Atlantic division. No matter how you look at it though, Marian Gaborik must be a part of it.

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