Well, it is 7am and I just got home from work (damn Yankees) so I will make this fast - the Ranger road trip continues in Edmonton tonight, 9:30pm on MSG.
Where We Are: On the Can't Score Express to No-Playoffville.
Where They Are: Trying to find their game. Edmonton has lost six of their last seven games, but the win was a wild one against Detroit. They scored five goals in that loss and three goals in the six losses - total. The last loss was 3-1 on the Island and I went. Frankly, they were horrible. After the game I heard that the entire team was battling the flu and I wouldn't be surprised. They were slow, they couldn't connect more than two passes together and showed zero cohesion. And they lost. To the Islanders. Blech.
Who To Watch For: Ales Hemsky deserves a better fate than to be tied to the Oilers. Hemsky has all-world speed, all-world vision and a pretty good shot that he is reluctant to use. On another team, he could be a real star. Instead he toils among the wreckage of youth gone wrong. After everyone jumped on the Edmonton bandwagon at the end of the '08 season, these kids - Gagner, Cogliano, Nilsson, etc - started to believe their own hype and stopped working. Now that they have Tom Renney co-coaching, they have even less ambition. Dustin Penner has stepped up to the plate, likely at Pat Quinn's urging, and become the man. Midget Mike Comrie is in copper and blue as well, and he is always an annoyance to the Blueshirts.
What To Watch For: Twitchy Nik can win games on his own. Luckily for the Rangers, he hasn't lately but if he gets hot, even Gabby won't be able to save us. Penner to go hard at Hank, using his big body to cause havoc around the paint. Comrie to be his regular pestering pop-up-for-a-goal self. Sean Avery's attitude - this swing is right in his wheelhouse. he should be in his element pissing people off. He got Shane O'Brien in big trouble, so why not harass old friend Jason Strudwick into doing something dumb?
What We'll (Hopefully) See: Goals. A lot of them. By the Rangers preferably. The Ranger penalty kill to be strong - no Sheldon Souray for Edmonton so that is a huge bonus for the Blueshirts, especially seeing as they can't stop taking or being called for lame penalties. Joe to make an ass out of himself mispronouncing Grebeshkov and Visnovsky. Aaron Voros vs. Jean-Francois Jacques in the battle of wanna be tough guys who just aren't tough. And maybe, just maybe Zack Stortini to give someone a kiss after he hugs them to death, oh, I'm sorry, I mean 'fights' them.
Also Check Out: Oilers Nation, Lowetide, SBN's Copper & Blue and The Battle of Alberta.