Rangers GM believes ‘love for each other’ sets Blueshirts apart

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-New York Rangers at Carolina Hurricanes
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In a rare meeting with the media prior to the start of the Eastern Conference Final, Chris Drury shared that he believes the New York Rangers mass success this season has a lot to do with the on-ice and off-ice chemistry among the players.

“I think their love for each other,” the Rangers general manager said Tuesday. “I really do think they come to work every day, they love being here, love being Rangers.”

That kinship and closeness, like a family, coupled with equal parts will and skill, have the Rangers four wins away from reaching the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in 10 seasons. It also led them to establish franchise records with 55 wins and 114 points, and their fourth Presidents’ Trophy all-time, this season.

Perhaps led by the close friendship between veterans Chris Kreider and Mika Zibanejad, group hugs at practice and during games are as big a part of this team’s identity as a huge Igor Shesterkin save, massive Jacob Trouba hit or another clutch Artemi Panarin goal.

“You know, the way we start every practice, the way we end every practice. The compete. There’s a lot of belief in that room and I think they all work for each other and it’s been exciting to be a part of,” Drury said.

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Chris Drury has high praise for Rangers player, coach Peter Laviolette

NHL: Boston Bruins at New York Rangers
Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports Credit: Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

Drury continued to hit the chemistry theme often during his media session, weaving coach Peter Laviolette into the mix by saying, “Our practices are fun to watch. There’s a lot of joy in the players’ actions, emotions.”

Laviolette deservedly received high praise from his boss Tuesday.

“He’s a very detail-oriented coach,” Drury explained. “I come back to those of us that get to see him every day in practice … He’s got a plan every day, and he executes it. And as we’ve seen as the year’s gone on, he’s able to adjust if needed. He and his staff have done a wonderful job. It’s been fun for me to watch him from my vantage point.”

Drury is content to work behind the scenes and let Laviolette be the front-facing voice for the organization. But Drury’s fingerprints are on this team, as well, from his time as assistant general manager and developing players in the AHL to now as the top decision maker in the organization.

So, like Laviolette, Drury can take credit in the Rangers success and in how the team is built, chemistry being a major part of the foundation.

“It’s an exciting group to be around,” Drury said. “Obviously, there’s a lot of character in that room, a lot of close friendships. You see how they play and practice.”

Now it’s up to the Rangers to raise their level of play another notch or three to get past the Stanley Cup runners-up from last season. After sweeping the Washington Capitals and knocking off the Carolina Hurricanes in six games, the Panthers provide a huge obstacle before the Rangers can think about winning the Cup for the first time since 1994.

And their GM believes it all begins with chemistry and their love for one another.

Jim Cerny is Executive Editor at Forever Blueshirts and Managing Editor at Sportsnaut, with more than 30 years of... More about Jim Cerny

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