Saturday, March 5, 2011

Rangers Analysis: Could Del Zotto's Injury Be Good For Him Long Term?

Chris McGrath/Getty Images
Could the injury to Michael Del Zotto that is going to keep him out for 4-6 six weeks actually end up being a good thing for his career?  Seems like a crazy thought and before you think so, let me work out where the logic in that idea comes from.  Obviously no injury on its own is a good thing because the goal for all players, especially those in the development phase of their career is to play as much as possible.  The goal of sending Del Zotto down to the minors was for him to get major minutes in all situations, build his confidence and work on his deficiencies and that cannot be done while he is out injured. 

On the other side of that, this injury allows him a break from the ice where he has been fighting his game where he can step back and breathe again, so he can come back with a fresh mindset instead of hearing all the negative voices.  Beyond the psychological side this presents an opportunity for him as a way to help his understanding of the game and mental development in the interim.  Part of the appeal of bringing in Bryan McCabe was for his veteran experience and leadership.  Now is the perfect chance to take advantage of those things.  Since Del Zotto cannot play for the Connecticut Whale over this next month, as his finger heals, the prudent move would be for the Rangers to bring Del Zotto back to the club so that he can spend as much time watching and talking with McCabe. 

Bryan has the ability to impart the hockey knowledge he has gained over the last 15 years at the NHL level both in how to deal with the struggles and what to fix to make things better.  Initially it might be the ability to share his own struggles that helps Del Zotto who is clearly down on his own confidence after the season he has had.  After that, watching McCabe run a power play in terms of keeping the puck in the zone, walking the line to create lanes and opportunities, the willingness to fire the puck and just poise with the puck can only help Del Zotto when he returns to the ice.  The fact that after doing that he can talk to the guy about it, or break down the tape with Michael makes McCabe an invaluable resource for him right now and the Rangers should exploit while they have it.  You never want to see a player get hurt, especially a young player who is trying to get their game back together, but now the Rangers should look to do all they can to make the best of a bad situation and use all their resources to help Del Zotto for his future.