Monday, July 20, 2009

Why the Rangers will be Better Next Year - Part 1

The off-season - free agent season - continues through the ice melting months. And, the Annual Ranger purge is in progress. Glen Sather has again wisely decided that his personnel moves last year were failures and has cleaned house once again. In fact, after a few years of this, Slats may have the cleanest house in the NHL.

But this year, at least some of us at Blueshirt Brothers have reasons to believe that your hockey team will be better next year than it was last year.

The first reason is :


Coach Tortorella knows how important that is - he helped design it as coach of the Tampa Bay Lightning. And in his first full season as the Rangers leader - in his first Ranger training camp - Torts is going to make sure the Rangers are much better conditioned athletes than last year. The focus on physical endurance is already showing up in the Ranger Rookie camp - held soon after the NHL draft for our top picks and prospects. Several players noted that the camp was very demanding physically. The players were worked. Hard.

And the Rangers have sent each player a letter stressing the importance of keeping their workout going in the off season.

Slats and Torts have also made their off season moves with this in mind. If they feel a player has a tendency toward laziness and getting out of shape, well, that player is no longer on the Roster. (Watch what happens to Nik Zherdev after arbitration.)

The final piece of the puzzle will be training camp - where the Rangers will be given the hardest workout they've seen in years.

It's going to pay off for a couple of reasons:
  • Tortorella plays an up -tempo physically demanding game. If the Rangers are going to survive their own system - they will need to have the energy and conditioning to out-work their opponents.
  • Because of the Olympics this year - the NHL season is even more grueling than usual. There are going to be a lot of back to back games and a lot of games bunched together to clear out the 2nd half of February for Olympic Hockey
These two factors can either be the Ranger's edge - or - their undoing.

It will all come down to conditioning. I'm betting the Rangers and Tortorella will pull this off.

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