Growing up, I loved a couple of teams, the New York Rangers and the Winnipeg Jets. I loved the Rangers for their goaltender, Mike Richter, and here's the explanation. It was a family thing, and a Wisconsin thing. So when I was playing pickup as a goaltender, I was Richter; when I was playing out, I was Teemu Selanne and Keith Tkachuk. After Mikey left the Rangers, I still followed them, particularly since the Jets weren't around. Unfortunately, I got a bit disillusioned with the team, as the Sather era dragged on and I couldn't stand watching Bobby Holik, and Jaromir Jagr (I never really liked the guy), and Wade Redden come through and make buttloads of cash. I'll always have a soft spot for Brian Leetch and Mikey and Mess and Adam Graves, but when the Jets returned, there was no looking back. Except now.
I mean, I liked players like Brandon Dubinsky, Ryan Callahan, and Marc Staal, because I felt like they play the kind of game I would've played (had I ever made it). Henrik Lundqvist isn't that bad, either. Thankfully, any sympathy for the devil is quashed by the excitement I get from watching Alexander Burmistrov, Andrew Ladd, and Tobias Enstrom. Sorry Rangers, it's over between you and me. Don't forget your toothbrush.
#16 Andrew Ladd -- #18 Bryan Little -- #26 Blake Wheeler
#8 Alexander Burmistrov -- #80 Nik Antropov -- #9 Evander Kane
#23 Kenndal McArdle -- #49 Ben Maxwell -- #13 Kyle Wellwood
#15 Tanner Glass -- #14 Tim Stapleton -- #22 Chris Thorburn
#39 Tobias Enstrom -- #33 Dustin Byfuglien
#5 Mark Stuart -- #4 Zach Bogosian
#29 Johnny Oduya -- #12 Randy Jones
#50 Chris Mason
Observation: I'm just spitballing on the 3rd and 4th lines; Slater has a history of concussion issues, so they might play it safe even if he's feeling better. With Mark Scheifele sent down, that means one of Ben Maxwell, Tim Stapleton, or Brett MacLean will become a familiar face. On the other hand, there's always the possibility that this gives Patrice Cormier another chance, or Carl Klingberg some NHL action (he has 6 goals in 6 games with the St. John's IceCaps).
#21 Derek Stepan -- #19 Brad Richards -- #10 Marian Gaborik
#17 Brandon Dubinsky -- #42 Artem Anisimov -- #24 Ryan Callahan
#26 Ruslan Fedotenko -- #22 Brian Boyle -- #8 Brandon Prust
#71 Mike Rupp -- #86 Wojtek Wolski -- #45 Kris Newbury
#27 Ryan McDonagh -- #5 Dan Girardi
#53 Tim Erixon -- #4 Michael Del Zotto
#6 Jeff Woywitka -- #44 Steve Eminger
#43 Martin Biron
Observation: We catch their defence in a rough spot, with both Marc Staal and Mike Sauer nursing injuries. You might notice the Rangers tried to win me back by playing two former Badgers. I might need a restraining order.
New Player Nickname: Bogo Stu
What To Do if You're Going to the Game: Get Cheetos Puffs, keep one in the corner of your mouth and pretend it's a cigarette (be sure to occasionally take it out and hold it between your index and middle fingers).
Prediction: Rangers 9 to 3. Winnipeg plays the worst game in the history of ever (reverse psychology FTW).