Saturday, December 25, 2010

Video: Boston Bruins Atlanta Thrashers Brawl 12/23

It is Christmas night and hopefully all had a safe and healthy holiday this year no matter what holiday you celebrate, but in one not in the joy mode comes a crazy brawl late in the third period of the Boston Bruins vs Atlanta Thrashers game. The took place Thursday night following a clear head hunting hit by Freddy Meyer which Andrew Ference took exception to and lead to the fisticuffs. There were multiple scraps of note, but the one that puzzles me the most is Marc Savard with his concussion issues squaring off to fight anyone. I can appreciate the toughness, but frankly it is a stupid move on Savard's part and has absolutely no positive outcome for his team.

Are The Rangers A Better Team Without Marian Gaborik?

Abelimages/Getty Images 
One of the biggest reasons for the New York Rangers success this season has been the formation of a team identity not only in the style of play but in the mental toughness of the club.  The team has overcome injuries to various key personnel and taken on the approach of “next man up” in terms of every one has to pick things up when someone is out.  It is the kind of mentality that say no matter the names on the back of the jersey everyone with Rangers on the front will do whatever it takes on that given night to try and get the win.  It is the definition of what has made this year’s club different from some of the recent past and why win or lose they have been enjoyable to watch most nights.

Few teams would be able to post a 20-14-2 record when they lost their leading scorer from last season for 14 games; their second leading scoring the whole season; their captain for 29 games and the heart and soul of their club for the four and another six weeks in all likelihood.  The Rangers have and they are to be commended for it.  Watching the club with each guy out you see different scenarios where that particular player could have made a difference, but what I have also seen is that there a few players in particular, but the team as a whole seems to play harder and with more of an edge when Gaborik is missing.  Obviously you cannot truly blame Gaborik for that fact because he is not telling them to play with less intensity, less aggression, but his presence seems to change the mentality of others in the lineup.  It leads me to ask, Are the Rangers a better team without Marian Gaborik?