Friday, December 24, 2010

Daily Recap: Rangers Fall in SO; Zuccarello-Aasen Brings Creativity; Video: Stepan, MZA goals; Ovie Hit

Scott Levy/NHLI via Getty
The final outcome of tonight’s game might leave a sour taste in the mouth of New York Rangers fans, but they should not be disappointed in the effort they saw from the team and they should be extremely hopeful for the future based on how their young players performed.  The Rangers were the better team on this night against the Lightning, but did not come up with the result and fans should know already it has happened on the flip side more than a couple times this season.  Once again missing key components of the club the other players on the team stepped in and battled and there is great pride to be taken from that.  So yes, the Rangers lost a heartbreaker in an 11 round shootout, but Stepan and Zuccarello showed the future is here and it is bright.  The full game story has details as always of the scoring plays and thoughts on who did and did not play well.

This morning I discussed how Mats Zuccarello-Aasen could add a level of creativity could add another dimension to the Rangers grinding type of game.  With the struggles of the Rangers two most creative offensive player Marian Gaborik and Michael Del Zotto the Rangers have found their identity in the grind it out type of style which has worked against most teams in the league.  The problem has been when it is not working they really have not had a Plan B, but someone like Zuccarello can help to provide that because he adds natural talent and some flare to the lineup.

A couple hours before the game started it was announced that MZA would be starting on the team’s top line for the evening.  The Norwegian Hobbit did not take long in the game to prove me right from the morning article giving a blind backhand pass from behind the net to Brandon Dubinsky in the slot for a scoring chance early in the first period.  He would keep up the solid play throughout the game and show a great combination of his creativity and skill on his sensational shootout goal.  The Rangers did send him down after the game, but I will have more to say on that Friday.

Other video from tonight’s game includes the magnificent tying goal that Derek Stepan scored when he showed the poise and patience of a ten year veteran not the nerves of 20 year old rookie as some might expect; a must watch.

The only other Rangers related piece was asking about the development of Michael Del Zotto and if the different things being asked of him by the coaching staff were negatively impacting that development and if the staff to limit certain problems is restraining Del Zotto from playing his natural game.

In events from around the NHL there was the video of Alexander Ovechkin laying the wood on Evgeni Malkin at the start of the hyped Capital Penguins game.  There was also a tremendous fight between Jarome Iginla and Jamie Benn that could well be a fight of the year candidate and took place in the Calgary-Dallas game.