2005-12-23 / Sports

NY Hockey Report: A Very Ranger Christmas

By Joe McDonald Sports Columnist

By Joe McDonald
Sports Columnist

New York Rangers’ Petr Prucha, of the Czech Republic, right, celebrates with Michael Rozsival, of the Czech Republic. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)New York Rangers’ Petr Prucha, of the Czech Republic, right, celebrates with Michael Rozsival, of the Czech Republic. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson) NEW YORK – As the holidays approach, the New York Rangers have a lot to be thankful for. After all, no one expected them to be on top of the division standings or play as well, especially from a team that missed the playoffs the last seven seasons.

So when Jaromir Jagr proclaimed he wants “world peace and freedom” he means it. After all with an 11 million dollar salary, he has everything else.

And to a man the Rangers are not materialistic, since most of them just wanted some quiet time to spend with their families.

“All I want to be is with my family in Toronto,” Kevin Weekes answered. “And I really appreciate to be in a position for that with the schedule allowing it.”

Most of the Blueshirts will be following the goalie’s lead and taking a few days to spend it at their homes. The Rangers will have three days off, including Christmas Day before they play on the road against the best team in the Eastern Conference, the Ottawa Senators on December 26.

As players in the public spotlight, those quiet times are important. Weekes’s goal partner Henrik Lundqvist has his family coming to New York and he hopes that will bring something for him.

“Ties,” Lundqvist said. “Thin Swedish ties, like the ones they used to wear in the 1960s or ‘70s”

Or maybe the 1980s, but that’s not the point. It’s the simple things that want and that maybe is because they “already have everything they want,” like Steve Rucchin and Dominic Moore. But there is something on their lists which every Ranger and Ranger fan wants.

No, not “ESP” as Michael Rozsival joked, but to make the playoffs finally after seven years, which is Darius Kasparaitis wish.

The defensemen missed the playoffs with the Rangers his first two seasons and knows how much New York thirsts for winner.

So does Tom Renney. In his first full season, the coach has put together an impressive team, which is well coached and plays as a unit.

“I hope we play the rest of the season as well as we played the first 35 games,” wished Renney. “We know what we represent and we owe it to everyone to play hard every night.”

That may be the wish of all Ranger fans that have gotten behind this team.

And it’s the NY Hockey Report’s wish that all its readers have a safe and wonderful holiday as 2005 comes to a close.

Happy Holidays!

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