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With the Rangers down over 70 goals from last season, they have to win games with sheer heart and effort. Tonight was a matchup of a team that has to outwork the opposition by a huge margin to win, vs a team with possibly more skill in all positions than any other team in the league. For one night at least, effort overcame the skill.

I personally felt the Hawks didn’t play as hard as they could have. They saw the Rangers, down Gabby, down Prospal, down Drury and figured…meh, we just need to show up to beat these guys. It’s been happening a lot so far this early season, people just figuring they need to show up to beat us. As the season gets older, and the games become more important, I think the Rangers will be outworking teams less because the effort level across the league will even out. But for right now, it’s refreshing to see a Ranger team that is seldom outworked out there. Sure, they may be out classed, out skilled, or just play stupid hockey from time to time. But their effort level has been more or less beyond reproach. Give the credit there to 2 men. Coach John Tortorella, and assistant/alternate/probably could the full time captain Ryan Callahan. Both guys put their money where their mouths are. When Cally goes out there and give 500% on a shift in shift out basis, everyone follows suit. When Torts sits guys down no matter what their salary or pedigree is, you listen. When the kids are getting more time than the vets because they are flat out playing better, you better man up.

I’m as pessimistic as they come with regards to the Rangers chances this season, but on two aspects I am absolutely thrilled, and that is how the Rangers are working, and how well their kids are coming along.

So far all season long the story has been about how damn well Ryan Callahan, Artem Anisimov, and Brandon Dubinsky are playing. Tonight was no different as the trio registered 6 more points, bring up their point per game number to an even 3 points per game as a line. Really what else is there to say about these guys? They seem to be flawlessly combining skill, heart, effort, size, physicality, intelligence, speed, passing, shooting, in a freakishly Frankenstein type way to make an absolutely complete line. In no aspect are they struggling. In their own zone, they are sound. In the neutral zone they are sound. All 3 play the power play. All 3 kill penalties. As a line there are just no holes to exploit. Man oh man when was the last time you could say that about any line the Rangers have had? There has always been problems with their lines. The Nylander Straka Jagr line would sometimes become lazy, would overpass and not shoot enough, and didn’t know what the word defense meant (not counting Straka) but they still produced offense like nobodies business. But this trio…I am hard pressed to find any aspect of their game which they are not excelling at.

Sheesh.


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