They Actually Do Know How To Groom A Youngster
I’m talking about the New York Rangers management and their handling of Dan Blackburn. I do not ever remember the Rangers management bringing along a player this young and actually doing it right. There have been players that have impressed their way on to the line-up but most of them have usually been 20 years old or older. Here we have an 18 year old kid, who just turned 18 in late May, that impressed so much during camp and the pre-season games it forced the Rangers to keep him around.The great thing about Sather’s decision to keep Blackburn up with the big club is that he has not given them any reason whatsoever to doubt themselves or second-guess themselves. Through the first 6 games of the year, Blackburn has played in 2 games. A 5-3 loss to Washington where the Rangers sieve-like Penalty Killing Unit left him out to dry and a 2-1 win over Montreal where he didn’t have to work too much for long stretches during the game.The reason that the 5-3 loss was not indicative of his play is because the Washington Capitals scored 4 PP Goals. On three of the goals Danny was being harassed and screened without much help from the Rangers porous defence. There was one PP goal that could be attributed to Dan not making the save but the rest of the evening was a terrific night. Aside from the 5 goals that were scored, Blackburn was still able to make 37 saves and, had he had a bad game, the score could have and should have been worse.The win over Montreal was impressive in that Montreal started off the season on a bit of an impressive streak beating a few good teams. The Rangers also have a not so great history playing in Montreal and were looking to make that situation change a little. Another aspect that made this win impressive for him is that the Canadians scored first and with the Rangers penchant for starting of each game slowly it looked like another long night for Danny. The Rangers turned that around and did play better than in his first start, but still could not find any line combinations that could produce. But the defensive effort by the Rangers and Blackburn stepping up when needed produced a win for Dan in his hometown in front of his Mom and friends a nice way to notch your first victory.Blackburn is going to be sticking around with the big club for a while as I think that Rangers management sees something special in this kid. I think that Sather takes a lot of stock in the fact that Danny has always played against a talent level higher than where a player of his age should be slotted and the fact that he has thrived in those situations probably makes Sather think that he can duplicate that on the NHL level. Some players are special, some become special and some have to work at it. Many are not sure where Danny fits in, in that regard, but there is no doubt that there is something special about this kid.