The Rangers will face the Carolina Hurricanes four times this season and find a young, hungry team. The Canes will be without two of their long-time warriors: Rod Brind'Amour and Ray Whitney. Rod the Bod was on the decline for a few seasons but he was always a star in the circle while Whitney, well, he has the nickname the Wizard for a reason. Rod retired while Ray moved on to the desert - Mr. Maloney snapped him up in Phoenix.
Familiar Foes: Even without them, there are still several folks who have hurt the Rangers in the past - Joni Pitkanen, Jussi Jokinen, Tuomo Ruutu, Chad Larose, Sergei Samsonov, Tim Gleason and the best of the Staal brothers, team captain Eric Staal. Somehow some people thought that Staal had a letdown of a season as he missed a dozen games due to an upper body injury and yet he still averaged a point per game.
N00bz: Oh No Corvo decided to return to Carolina this offseason and he will be joined by a pair of blue chip blueliners - Jamie McBain and Bobby Sanguinetti. We never got to see just how good Bobby's World can be in the NHL (thanks Torts) but McBain positively starred at the end of last season, averaging more than 20 minutes a night in a 14 game debut down the stretch. Up front Zach Boychuk and Jared Staal - the fourth of the brothers - are just two of what could be five forwards 21 and under on the opening night roster. Boychuk has 33 NHL games and nine points on his resume over the last two seasons and is poised for a breakthrough this season. Staal is more likely to start in San Antonio but he has the skills to make the team with a good camp and he certainly could be up by the time the Rangers face them in January.
Last Year: Monday, December 21st, 3-1 win; Thursday, December 31st, 2-1 win; Saturday, January 2nd, 2-1 overtime loss; Wednesday, January 27th 5-1 loss.
This Year: Friday, October 29th at MSG; Wednesday, January 5th at MSG; Thursdya, January 20th in Carolina; Tuesday, February 22nd in Carolina.
What They Mean To Blue: Cam Ward will keep Carolina competitive but the Canes should be one of the teams to finish below the Blueshirts this season. As you can see from above, the Rangers went 2-1-1 against them last season and should do just as well this time around.