In the 1970s, the Rangers had the GAG (Goal a Game) Line. Now in
1998, they're the GAG Team.
"We need a goal-scorer, that's very obvious," Rangers coach John
Muckler said. "We're working hard to improve but a goal-scorer
isn't easy to obtain. I think the organization is doing
everything in its power to get something going. I'm sure
somewhere down the line something will shake loose."
Well for Muckler's sake, it better be a short line, because this
Ranger squad is averaging 1.5 goals a game. Yes, that wasn't a
typo. Recently, the Great One was seen skating side-by-side with
the infamous Mike Knuble on his right wing. Talk about a lethal
combination the likes of Paul Kariya and Teemu Selanne.
"Every game makes me more anxious to try and find help for this
team because we've seen so much improvement in the way the team's
playing and the work ethic they're showing," said Rangers
president and general manager Neil Smith. "It would be great if
we could do something to add some scoring, some people who can
score. I think the ingredient we're missing is the game breaker.
It's the type of player we haven't shown we have."
The longer the Rangers go without such a scorer, the more likely
Smith will have to part with some of the quality youngsters in
the organization. Which includes the once untouchable Niklas
Sundstrom, who has struggled to find the back the net, and rookie
goaltender Dan Cloutier, especially since Mike Richter signed a
four-year deal over the summer. And what about Alexei Kovalev?
The Rangers would love to make him the centerpiece of any deal,
yet his inconsistency has his value so low around the league the
Rangers are sure to take a loss.
Right about now, the only untouchables are Wayne Gretzky, Brian
Leetch, Mike Richter, Todd Harvey and 18-year-old Manny Malhotra.
After that short list, anything is possible if the current
situation is given enough time.
Kovalev Out for Two: "Well, it's not going to hurt our
That's what coach John Muckler said when asked how he'll replace
Alexei Kovalev, who suffered a separated shoulder against Buffalo
that will put him on the shelf for 2-3 weeks.
"He's our game-breaker," said Rangers captain Brian Leetch.
"He's our one player that, one-on-one, can break a team down.
Not many teams have that. And regardless of whether he's putting
the puck in the net, he always gives us something."
Now what that something is exactly, I don't think anyone is quite
sure of yet.
Savard Leaves a Marc: After a two-point, 28-game rookie
year, Marc Savard vowed to play his own game when given a second
"I didn't try to be someone else, like I did last year - I tried
to be a different player, I think," said Savard after posting
four assists in the 6-6 tie with Toronto. "I came in tonight and
tried to play relaxed and do my thing."
"He gave us a new look, there's no question about it," John
Muckler said. Both wingers (Adam Graves and Todd Harvey) played
a strong game with him. He moved the puck very well too and gave
Savard, who scored 114 goals and 356 points in 178 games in his
final three seasons of junior hockey, was leading the Rangers
minor league affiliate in Hartford in scoring with 13 points in
nine games at the time of the call up. Savard is at his best
when he uses his speed and quickness to be an annoyance on the
forecheck and to exploit his fine puck and skating skills to
create scoring chances.
"I think, last year, I just tried to get the puck in the zone and
be a forecheck type player," Savard said. "And I was rushing
things. (Saturday night), I had the puck and I held onto it more
and I made better plays and better decisions, I think."