Rangers Getting Key Contributions From Young Core


October 12, 2009

The Rangers are flying high with a 4-1-0 record through fives games, thanks to an improved offense and rock-solid defense. But lost in the shuffle of the Rangers' early success and some of the big-name offseason acquisitions is that the young players on the team are contributing just as much as the veterans.

Matt Gilroy, Michael Del Zotto, Enver Lisin, Brian Boyle and Artem Anisimov haven't had a great deal of time competing at the NHL level, though it's not easy to tell given how well they've performed for the Blueshirts. And the level of play from the team's younger contributors hasn't come as a shock to head coach John Tortorella.

?I wouldn?t say [I'm] surprised,? Tortorella told the Journal News. ?You have to be happy with how the kids are playing. We have a fairly young team. You look at our lineup and it?s a team that?s been made over from last year a bit, and there?s some youth in there. I guess we?re happy [that] they?re not tentative ? and worried about playing in the National Hockey League at such a young age, and trying to make a difference. That?s what I?m happy [about] with the [whole] club right now is they?re trying to make a difference and trying to set the tempo. That?s what we?d like to remain consistent at."

Tortorella has been given a very balanced roster for his first full season on Broadway, something the Rangers have lacked in seasons past. But for the Rangers to be able to continue to play at such a high level, the young core is going to need to keep contributing.

?They have done a pretty good job here," Tortorella told the Journal News. "It?s how they react when maybe something piles up on them as you go along in a long year here, when they may start struggling and they go into a dip. It?s how are they going to react in those situations, and that?s where we have to try to help them as a coaching staff.?

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