We know that Nash will put up big numbers in the regular season, and he will be an important member of Team Canada. But assuming the Rangers do make the postseason, Nash has to deliver. He was brought in to be a closerto take the Rangers over the humpand he flopped in the postseason. We all know how talented Nash is, but that means nothing if he can’t perform in the clutch. Obviously, there’s a lot of time in between then and now. But it’s absolutely crucial that Nash delivers in the postseason. If he doesn’t, the Rangers simply won’t win it all. Ryan Callahan: Health Joel Auerbach/Getty Images Ryan Callahan probably won’t be ready for the start of the season, but he is making progress on his surgically repaired shoulder. As Alain Vigneault told the New York Post, Callahan is ahead of Carl Hagelin, who also had an offseason shoulder surgery: “Ryan I think is a little aheadof Carl as far as shooting the puck. Carl is more of a controlled motion and is not as committed to his shot right now as Ryan may be.” That’s all well and good, and the Rangers will obviously benefit from Callahan’s return. But there is cause for concern: Callahan plays an all-out style. He’s going to charge into the boards, throw his body in front of a puck and put his body in danger. But, as Glen Sather told the New York Post , Callahan”must have separated his shoulder eight or nine times during the year and he kept playing.” Maybe Sather was exaggerating.
Kevin Boothe: C The best of an otherwise poor performing bunch, which probably isn’t saying much, Boothe actually held up well to the pressure ofthePanthers’defensive front. However, the coaches again asked him to execute a long pull, which he was unable to accomplish because its not a strength in his performance. David Baas: F Baas continues to struggle to hold his ground up in the middle, causing one to wonder if his knee still isn’t right or if he’s just not a good fit for the center position. In addition to being pushed around out there, Baas was flagged for a holding penalty that wiped out a 14-yard run by David Wilson. He also gave up a few inside pressures on the pass block, this a result of failing to pick up a few stunts which took away any space Manning might have otherwise used to step into his throws. Baas is simply not getting any movements in his drive blocks, and what’s even more concerning is how uncoordinated the line’s effort appears to be, a task that is supposed to be taken care of by the center and his line calls. Chris Snee: F On a day in which the offensive line had no answers, count Snee in the mix as allowing the Panthers to push him around at will. This one-time solid all-around guard is clearly a shell of his Pro Bowl self, perhaps a result of his surgically repaired hip still not being quite tight. He was also asked to execute some pulls, despite the fact that he just doesn’t move as well as he did in his prime. Justin Pugh: C The rookie had his struggles against defensive end Charles Johnson, but give credit to the young man for never quitting. As for the sacks that appeared to come from Pugh’s side, it looked like those were more of result of Manning trying to step away from inside pressures, a process that in doing so he stepped into the area where Pugh was battling his man. Streeter Lecka/Getty Images Jason Pierre-Paul: C- Making his first start this season, Pierre-Paul did well against the run, but wasn’t of much help in generating a pass rush. Pierre-Paul still looks as though he’s still trying to get his feet back underneath him, as he’s not flying around the way he has in the past. He also overreacted to several play fakes, which the Panthers took advantage of by attacking his side. Justin Tuck: D Save for a three-yard tackle for a loss on a first quarter screen there wasn’t much from the Giants’ defensive co-captain, whose pass rush has disappeared. Tuck appears to be healthy, but the fact that opposing offenses are focusing on throwing the ball away quicker seems to have completely stymied the Giants’ pass rush.
An announcement could be coming in the next few weeks. Captain Ed Jovanovski, who said he heard reports of a new owner on a weekly basis while with the Phoenix Coyotes, said word of a new owner shouldnt affect the team at all. For the most part, you have a bunch of guys who just want to play hockey, Jovanovski said. Whatever happens on the ownership side will be taken care of by the executives in place. I think for us, we just wait and see. Were trying to be in the right frame of mind for the start of the season. But someone new coming in must be eager to take over the team. You have to look at that as a positive. Well see. Anytime you have an ownership group that wants to win and wants to spend money, thats exciting for a player. Viola is a successful commodities dealer who previously was chairman of the New York Mercantile Exchange and is now chairman of Virtu Financial, an electronic commodities trading company. He was a minority owner of the New Jersey/Brooklyn Nets of which Brett Yormark, twin brother of Panthers president Michael, is CEO several years ago but is no longer, according to the team. Military years Viola was born in Brooklyn in 1956, graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1977 and served as an officer in the 101st Airborne. He transferred to the Army Reserve in 1982 before leaving the Army Reserve as a major in 1993.