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Strap on your skates and tape up your sticks, the Broadway Blue-shirts are back for another season.
After the 2010-2011 New York Rangers season ended with another unfortunate loss to the Washington Capitals in the first round of the playoffs, the Rangers made quite a splash in the off-season when they signed free agent center Brad Richards to a nine-year, $60 million contract, making him the highest paid player in the league this year. Many of the Ranger faithful were hopeful that the addition of a proven player like Richards would add excitement and production to there seemingly stagnant offense of last year.
After former captain Chris Drury’s retirement, the Rangers’ next move came when they promoted fan favorite Ryan Callahan to team captain. Despite only being 26-years-old, Callahan seemed to be the logical choice because he has shown the toughness and responsibility that it takes to be a captain in the NHL.
So with Henrik Lundqvist in goal, Callahan the new captain, and the addition of Brad Richards, the Rangers were set to take their young core of talent to the next level.
The Rangers had an unusual start to their season as they began their campaign playing the first two games of the year in Stockholm Sweden in which they gained a point in each game. From there, the rangers went to Long Island to take on their division rival Islanders before embarking on a four-game Canadian road trip. The Rangers lost to the Islanders but won three out of four games on their trip and returned home to open the newly rennavated Madison Square Garden with an overall record of 3-2-2.
The Garden crowd was excited for their first look at the Rangers and the first home game for Brad Richards. Unfortunately the Rangers lost their first game at home as well as their next one in which they blew a 3 goal third period lead in ugly fashion.
A loss like this sent Ranger fans into a panic and the team looked to fan favorite Sean Avery as a possible spark plug to the lineup. The Rangers recalled Avery for his third stint with the team and would now have to wait for him to clear wavers before joining the club.
Following their worst loss of the year, the Rangers got their first home win of the season against the Sharks on Monday, improving to an overall record of 4-3-3. Marty Biron got his second win of the year, proving that he can handle the back up duties to Henrik Lundqvist who the Rangers are going to rest as often as possible.
The Rangers next test will come Thursday as the welcome the Anaheim Ducks into the Garden. Sean Avery has cleared wavers and if Coach John Tortorella feels the need Avery could see ice time as early as Thursday. Many Ranger fans are excited about the return of Avery but know that he can be a liability on the ice. As long as Avery can avoid careless penalties and stay out of the box, he can surely add a spark and some toughness to this team.