Last night on MSG, Al Trautwig asked Dave Maloney flat out whether he thought the Rangers would make the playoffs.
Maloney said that he thinks that it will go down to the final day of the season and “something funky” like Tampa Bay beating Carolina two seasons ago may need to happen for the Rangers to get into the playoffs.
Maloney also notes that 11 of the Rangers final 17 games come against teams who are in the playoffs right now:
(H) Penguins* (R) Penguins* (Home and Home)
(R) Toronto* (H) Toronto* (Home and Home)
Sports Club Stats gives the Rangers a 51.5% chance of making the playoffs and they would need a record of at least 10-7 to essentially guarantee a playoff spot.
R: Road Game
H: Home Game
**Carolina is one point behind the Rangers and has one game in hand.
Recently, Andrew Gross of The Record spoke with Rangers GM Glen Sather about the high expectations that are being thrown on this team.
Sather responded that he wants the Rangers “to be the best they can be, that’s it.”
He added, “you can put pressure on teams by saying you expect them to do this and do that but, the reality is, there’s so many unknowns when you go into a season. You expect a team to be healthy but who knows what you’re going to get.”
Wayne Gretzky is held his annual fantasy camp in Las Vegas last week and was asked by NHL.com who he thinks will win the Stanley Cup this year.
Gretzky, who correctly picked the Devils to represent the Eastern Conference last season, decided to pick one of his former teams, “I like the Rangers. The New York Rangers seem to be poised. They were a good team and got better. I think they will be a tough team to beat this year and it could be their year.”
Gretzky’s former teammate Brian Leetch was asked, by NHL.com, about the Rangers start to the season and responded by saying that the slow start is nothing to worry about,’Just relax, relax.’ They’re a good team and they’re going to be fine. There is such a feel of expectation level now.”
Leetch added, “If Lundqvist is healthy I don’t think they will have any problem. I think you can win the Stanley Cup with that kind of goaltending.”
In a chat with Steve Serby in the NY Post, Carl Hagelin was asked how hungry he is for the Stanley Cup.
Hagelin responded that he was “starving.”
Serby then asked how hungry the team was for the Stanley Cup.
Hagelin responded that the team was “starving.”
He was then asked by Serby, if this team had everything it needed to win the Stanley Cup,”I think we have all the components needed to win the Stanley Cup, and then it’s important just to get it all right at the right time, but we definitely have everything needed.”
In the NY Post, Larry Brooks spoke with Rangers captain Ryan Callahan who said that the team has put themselves into a position where, as long as they put in the work, the Rangers think the Stanley Cup is in each.
“The ultimate goal is to compete to win the Stanley Cup and I think we’ve put ourselves in position to be able to do that as long as we don’t lose sight of our day-to-day responsibility.”
Callahan said though that the team will continue to focus on one day at a time, but in the back of their mind they have loftier goals, “we need to focus on the day and game in front of us, but we’d like to win our division, we’d like to get home ice and overall we’d like to build on what we started last year, but ultimately didn’t finish.”
At ESPN NY, and throughout other interviews since the lockout ended, Henrik Lundqvist talked about how he feels this could be a special season for the Rangers, but only if they remember what made last year special.
He said, “we were working really hard every night, and even though we have some talented skill players, I think our biggest reason for success last year was the hard work. That has to continue.”
Brad Richards told the Post that the team shares the belief that they need to work even harder this season.
At ESPN.com, they ask 12 of their hockey related personalities, including Pierre LeBrun, Scott Burnside, Steve Levy, Katie Strang, Craig Custance and John Buccigross, to predict each division winner, each conference winner, the Stanley Cup winner and individual award winners.
Six of them have the Rangers winning the Atlantic Division while the other six have the Penguins winning.
Eight of them have the Ranger representing the Eastern Conference in the Stanley Cup Final.
Six of those eight have the Rangers winning the Stanley Cup.
Seven of the twelve have Henrik Lundqvist winning the Vezina Trophy for the second straight season.
Six have John Tortorella winning the Jack Adams Award.
At Newsday, Mark Herman writes that sports simulation company Strat-O-Matic has simulated the regular season and playoffs and has the Rangers winning the Stanley Cup in seven games over the Kings.
They have the Rangers going through three seven-game series before beating the Kings in seven games.
The people at Strat-O-Matic though have a track record as they correctly picked the Heat to beat the Thunder in the NBA finals last year.
Pierre LeBrun of ESPN.com picks the Rangers over St. Louis in the Stanley Cup Finals.
In his Eastern Conference preview, Down Goes Brown wrote this about the Hurricanes “Jordan and Eric Staal will finally get the chance to live out their childhood dream of experiencing the chase for the Stanley Cup together, assuming Marc can get them both tickets.”