If you lived through 1991-1992 and 1993-1994, you can distinctively recall the swagger of a franchise expected to win just about every game handily. The roster was well-stocked with threats three lines deep. And whilst you cannot really replicate that architecture in a salary-capped era, my point is that an ensemble which is a contender is something you know when you see it.
Leslie Treff says that right now “the team just doesn’t have enough to win consistently.”
I sort of agree with this. I don’t go into games and think that the Rangers are gonna dominate the way that I think the Red Wings, Penguins, Capitals or the Canucks might in a game in game out basis. The Rangers are good and a playoff team but there is still space between them and the top four teams in the east. As I have said before, this season had three goals to me, a winning record at home, clinching a playoff spot before the end of the season and winning a round in the playoffs. If the Rangers accomplish all of that and see players progress, I will consider that a successful season and something that the team can build towards for next year.
He said that he felt good about playing fewer games last season and he feels like he is in good shape right now. He expects to play in 3 preseason games.
Hank has expressed his thoughts on higher expectations before and also said that he had to adjust to playing in fewer games last season.
Leslie Treff says that this is the most upbeat she has seen Hank since his rookie year of 2005.
Hank is a pressure player and has on dozens of occasions been the only reason that the Rangers have won games. The team is finally built up enough around him that the talk can be of contending for higher spots in the playoffs and not “if” they will make them. He is a rock that won an Olympic Gold Medal at 23 years old. He knows how to deal with pressure and expectations and is truly the Rangers leader in the locker room. Hank is the greatest example of a player who leads without having a letter on his jersey.
“I think that every year that we’ve improved. We’ve got a good group of young guys. Every year in training camp there’s an optimism about the coming year. We’re always excited and this year’s no different,” Staal said.
“We definitely (are looking forward) to the opportunity and the challenge of trying to win the Stanley Cup, and hopefully we can do it.”
Marc Staal to TB News
In The Record, Henrik Lundqvist says that the Rangers are a better team this season than they were last season and because of that the expectations around the team should be higher.
Hank says that adding Brad Richards brings more “edge” and skill to the lineup.
Hank wants the pressure. He wants the expectations. He is a money guy and plays his best when the Rangers need him the most. With a bit more rest this season, hopefully a healthy one from Marty Biron, Hank should be fresh and ready to lead the Rangers in the playoffs. The team has been built around him and the overall talent level is finally starting to reach his own.
I think that Hank is probably happy with all the additions and takes the most joy out of seeing the young kids play well. He is the unofficial captain of the team and knows that the best chances for him to win the Stanley Cup are coming soon.
They have balance across the lineup and especially at the top and bottom. Every line will have some grit and some scoring to it. Some will have a little more of one than the other, with the Pack Line fitting in nicely both ways, but this is how good teams are constructed. Balance is the key.
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Everyone Wants to Win…Not Everyone Is Willing To Prepare To Win