Rangers appear mentally ready to start the NHL season
As workouts continue, the Rangers who are still an odds on favorite to win the Stanley Cup (8 to 1) are saying the right things. How that will translate over the course of 82 games and a grueling post season could be meaningless. However, the Blueshirts are displaying the mindset of a champion and that is the first step in the right direction.
Another step in the right direction would be improvement on the man advantage. A full season of Keith Yandle could be just what the doctor ordered, but his sights are set higher. “I think that this team, you’re not happy with what happened last year,” he told Rick Carpiniello of LoHud.com. “You’re looking to build on it to get that step further. I think that’s what makes winning teams.”
The Rangers have basically been inching their way to a Cup as they have made 3 Eastern Conference appearances and a loss in the 2014 Stanley Cup Final since 2012. Yandle, who only experienced last season’s defeat added, “Guys are ready to go, and guys want to play here. I think guys realize that you only have so many opportunities to play with a good team and this is where you can make a run with it. I think guys realize that here and it’s nice to be a part of it.”
The Rangers captain, Ryan McDonagh shares many of the same sentiments. What stands out for McDonagh is the belief the organization has in the team by not making a lot of wholesale changes. He told the NYPOST, “There’s not as much change this year as some other teams experienced, but for us that’s a good thing hopefully, that management believes in us and the group that’s been on this run the last couple years.”
Still, we all know the majority of the Rangers hopes and dreams rely on #30. Henrik Lundqvist has been one of the greatest Rangers to don a Blue jersey over his head. What eludes him is the one thing that may actually vault him to the top of greatest Rangers in history…the Stanley Cup.
Lundqvist believes in this team not only this year but in the near future. Per SNYRANGERS, he recently said, “I’m excited where we are as a group and organization. We have a lot of key guys locked in for a number of years now. We have been close for the last few years now and we just need to take that final step. I hope we do it this year.”
So while the Rangers say all the right things, it will be their actions on the ice that speaks volumes. This is a team that has played more playoff hockey in the last 4 years than any other team in the NHL.
Have the Blueshirts taken one step too many into a long post season? Even if that is the case, they at least appear mentally ready for the challenge.