Katie Strang lists Ryan McDonagh as the Rangers “most important player” and says that he is the one they can “ill-afford to lose” this season. (ESPN.com)
She notes that usually Henrik Lundqvist receives this title but the Rangers team has greatly improved around Lundqvist and played well while he was injured last season. (ESPN.com)
Strang says that McDonagh is the anchor of the defense, usually is matched up against the best players on the opposition and can also chip in offensively. (ESPN.com)
Derek Stepan said that outside of Henrik Lundqvist, Rick Nash is the Rangers most important player.
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On TSN1050 this morning, Pierre McGuire spoke about tonight’s Rangers/Blackhawks game.
On the Rangers, Pierre said “The Rangers are a real good team and everyone knows that. They are real deep and real quick and it’s going to be fun to watch them. Chicago, 3 cups in 5 years in pretty special.”
In the Rangers game notes for tonight’s season opener against the Blackhawks the team lists how the current roster was constructed:
- Draft (8): Henrik Lundqvist, Dominic Moore, Marc Staal, Derek Stepan, Chris Kreider, Dylan McIlrath, JT Miller, Jesper Fast
- Players acquired who played their first games with the Rangers (5): Dan Girardi, Kevin Hayes, Mats Zuccarello, Oscar Lindberg, Ryan McDonagh
- Players signed as free agents (4): Dan Boyle, Viktor Stalberg, Jarret Stoll, Tanner Glass
- Players acquired via trade (6): Derick Brassard, Emerson Etem, Kevin Klein, Rick Nash, Antti Raanta, Keith Yandle
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Mats Zuccarello spoke with a Norwegian newspaper as the Rangers start their season (Nettavisen):
- While they have been close, the Rangers have “not been good enough to go all the way”
- The focus right now is on making the playoffs and “we were not good enough last year. Then we must try to be stronger this year.”
- He has gotten fed up answering questions about how he feels after his head injury
- His injury will not hamper him to start the season
- He would take scoring 0 points if it meant the Rangers would win the Stanley Cup.
- Oscar Lindberg is a good player with good hockey sense and while he won’t play “the most important minutes right now” he can develop into a “great player. The potential is there, clearly.”
- The plan is to take things one day at a time and “see how it goes.”
Kevin Hayes will start on the right wing tonight on a line with Derek Stepan at center and Chris Kreider on left wing.
Stepan said that Hayes should be able to focus on being a winger and how he can mesh with him and Kreider. (NYR)
He said that Hayes is a “heckuva player” who can make plays on his own which is similar to when Stepan and Kreider played with Rick Nash. (NYR)
Alain Vigneault has said that the line of Stepan, Hayes and Kreider has “real potential” and that he has liked them since putting them together. (NYR)
Stepan said that Kreider and Hayes have a bit of a history together from college and that while they have only played one game, ‘I think there’s a start.” He added that he doesn’t want to get too far ahead of things. (North Jersey)
Hayes said that he needs to play fast with those two to try and stay with Kreider and to be ready for Stepan’s “quick decisions.” (Daily News)
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