Are The Isles Turning it Around?

  1. The Christmas Break should have been a tonic for the Rangers and Devils, more than the Islanders. At least in theory. Practice is another story as was the case, Post-Christmas.
  1. It’s far too soon to tell but this latest Islanders uprising really could be the start of something big. We’ll know more in a couple of weeks.
  1. Both the Blueshirts and the Jerseyites took their sabbaticals after losses — Rangers took a pair of beatings — and really needed time for rehabbing as well as returning to the drawing board. The break helped the Blueshirts.
  1. By contrast, the Isles exited Stage Right with smiles; secure in the knowledge that they took four out of a possible four points — with wins over Boston and Buffalo. That, however, is a chapter from the course, Ancient Hockey History 101.
  1. As for more modern history, on a roll — small but significant — the Brooklynites captured both games with Thomas Greiss and then Jack Capuano surprises with Jaro Halak who beats the Caps. Hey, three out of three ain’t bad — again.
  1. What the respite meant to Alain Vigneault is that he has to patch his defense and figure that this break finally sharpens Henrik Lundqvist for the marathon ahead. Meanwhile, Antti Raanta proved his value again; vs. Ottawa.
  1. As for John Hynes, he’s conveyed the tougher-hockey-at-all-ends-of-the-rink message to his troops. But — not dissimilar to the Rangers — defense and goaltending need work; mainly franchise cornerstone Cory Schneider.
  1. The Devils post-Christmas loss to Pittsburgh at The Rock is making the climb back to the .500 mark a bigger challenge for Skipper Hynes. Gotta shore up the defense.
  1. If nothing else, the Blueshirts win over Ottawa once again proves the Rangers excel in comeback-ability.
  1. In case I missed you all, here I go again; HAPPY, HEALTHY NEW YEAR!

And here are The Maven’s New Year’s wishes

  1. RICK NASH: An injury-free second half so that he can resume his offensive leadership.
  1. CORY SCHNEIDER: A restoring of his steady, game-stealing performances of yesteryear.
  1. JOHN TAVARES: Scoring support from his second, third and even fourth lines. A rejuvenated Andrew Ladd looks like he’ll help.
  1. HENRIK LUNDQVIST: See (12) Schneider, and do ditto.
  1. ANDY GREENE: Find that steady, supporting — a la Adam Larsson — defenseman to be your regular partner from here to Springtime.
  1. NICK LEDDY: Keep those brilliant end to end rushes going but score more goals once you get into scoring position.

Rangers Skjei Home Stock 11216

  1. BRADY SKJEI: Continue your growth at all ends of the rink, and become the new Keith Yandle.
  1. JACK CAPUANO: Find the best way to win with the three-goalie combo.
  1. JOSH BAILEY: Keep moving in the direction of a career year.
  1. MICHAEL GRABNER: Do an encore of your October-December histrionics.