Rangers thinking Stanley Cup dreams
The question posed to Rangers forward Brandon Dubinsky was simple and yet complex.
Does he see the Giants’ success and allow himself to think what the city’s reaction would be if the franchise experienced its first extended playoff run since 1997?
“Yeah, you daydream about it,” Dubinsky said after the Rangers defeated Winnipeg Tuesday night. “When you open your eyes and come back to reality, you realize how much work there is left to get done.
“You certainly see the excitement level and that makes you come to the rink, whether it’s practice or a game and work that much harder. Without looking ahead, it’s certainly something that’s exciting to look at.
“They say there’s no better place in the world to win than New York. Talk to guys who have won here, guys from ’94, guys from other sports that have won championships here. The city just goes crazy. It’s something that’s exciting,” Dubinsky added.
Tuesday’s match was the Rangers’ last before All-Star Weekend, which is marketed by the league as a celebration of the game. Still once the break concludes, the serious business of hockey will recommence. With 35 games remaining, the Rangers lead the Eastern Conference with a 31-12-4 record.
Their 23-9-2 conference record is second only to Boston, and their 7-3-2 record against the West is fourth best in the Eastern Conference.
“We’re just trying to play,” head coach John Tortorella said. “We’re trying to play the right way, home or away.”
The Rangers will be well-represented during the festivities in Ottawa. Tortorella and San Jose Sharks coach Todd McLellan will run the bench for Ottawa Senators center Daniel Alfredsson’s team. Henrik Lundqvist has already been named the alternate captain for Alfredsson’s squad, while Gaborik and Dan Girardi were named All-Stars.
“It’s a great honor for me to represent the Rangers,” said Girardi, a first time All Star. “Just go up there and have a good time, enjoy the time.”
Follow Rangers beat writer Denis Gorman on Twitter @DenisGorman.