Saturday, July 30, 2011

Video: Stepan, Sauer Have a Blast At Youth Hockey Camp

One of the best things about the present/future of the New York Rangers is the character of the players that are on the roster.  Derek Stepan and Michael Sauer participated on July 22nd in the youth hockey camps at the training facility and Blueshirts United put out a video of their day with the kids.  Watching Stepan have as much fun as the kids participating reminds you of how young some of the Rangers core players are, but watching both interact with the kids shows you the quality of people the Rangers are building around.

Video via Blueshirts United:

Lundqvist Ranked Third Best NHL Goaltender

Puck Daddy's look at the top 25 players by position concluded with a look at the goaltenders around the NHL and Sam McCaig ranked the Rangers Henrik Lundqvist #3 behind only Tim Thomas and Pekka Rinne.
3. Henrik Lundqvist, New York Rangers: Give Captain Shutout a goal, and he gives you a victory.
The order that McCraig has here is exactly how the Vezina order should have been for the 2010-11 season and there is no arguing with that being the order heading into next year.  Rinne had a year that most any other year would have easily won him the Vezina and there is no reason to expect him to come down from that level next season.  There is nothing else to be said about the year Tim Thomas had and coming off that year, you cannot place him anywhere but at the head of the list.

The goaltending position is the one in the NHL in which there is the most variation from year to year in how players seem to perform.  The New York Rangers and their fans have been spoiled because in his six seasons in the league Henrik Lundqvist has consistently been near the top of the list at his position.  Lundqvist has yet to be deemed the best goaltender in a given season, but it is hard to argue that over his six years he has not been the best overall because of his consistent performance year in and year out.

The Rangers have slowly built up the talent around Lundqvist and this is the year where between the defense in front of him, offense to help get him more wins and the rest Martin Biron can give him that Lundqvist can take home the Vezina and be fresh enough to carry the team in the playoffs.

Gorton, Not Messier Should Be Rangers Next GM

With the tremendous work the New York Rangers front office has done this summer the calls for Sather to go now have quelled, but that does not mean the need to figure out the potential successor is has diminished.  For the past few years that has been an implied assumption amongst followers of the Rangers that Mark Messier was the man being groomed to replace GM Glen Sather.  To his credit Messier has been putting in the work to learn the management side of the game whether it be as GM for Team Canada at the 2010 IIHF World Hockey Championship or in his current role as special adviser to Glen Sather the past few years.  Mark Messier could have convinced some team, New York or otherwise, to hire him as their general manager just on his name and reputation, but he has decided not to go that route and earn the job, which speaks to his desire to not only be a GM, but be a very good one.  However, that should not happen in New York.

The resistance to Messier being the next GM of the Rangers is not about the fact that he has never been one at this level before or that he has learned at the side of Glen Sather and could have picked up bad traits from him.  The resistance is not about Messier at all.  The simple fact is, at least right now, the Rangers have a better candidate in the organization with Assistant GM Jeff Gorton.