Once More Time For Shanny
by: Patrick Hickey, Jr. | Senior Writer - NY Sports Day | Saturday, October 6, 2007

Scoring 29 goals with the Rangers last season, Brendan Shanahan quickly became a fan favorite and a leader on a New York team filled with stars and charismatic personalities.

However unlike last year, this season Shanahan is being asked for even more than scoring big goals and providing leadership. He’s being asked to help lead the Rangers towards their first Stanley Cup in over a decade.

At 38, Shanahan admits he’s not as limber as he used to be, but doesn’t see that as a problem looking into this season. At this point in his career, with over a thousand NHL games and three Stanley Cup rings to his credit, Shanahan has pretty much seen it all.

However, when talking about the team’s high-powered offense this season and playing with the newly acquired Scott Gomez, Shanahan gets noticeably chipper.

“For the past few weeks, we’ve been playing a lot together in practice,” he said. “We’re starting to connect and I know he’s a great passer and can find me on the ice wherever I am.”

Playing together most of the preseason, Shanahan and Gomez have looked like they’ve played with one another for years and look to play a huge part in the team’s success this year. Despite feeling that they might not have been compatible linemates at first, Shanahan has grown fond of playing with the playmaking center.

“He’s probably used to more of a triggerman or someone that he played with in New Jersey, but I think we’ve really connected,” said Shanahan, who comes into this season with 627 goals and 1294 points. “We have a good thing going so far though.”

Gomez too has enjoyed playing with Shanahan.

“Shanny’s an up and down winger that just knows how to get open,” said Gomez. “He always finds ways to get the puck.”

With Gomez and Chris Drury, another offseason pickup, joining an already solid offense that consists of stars like Shanahan, Jaromir Jagr and Martin Straka, the Rangers will be giving opposing defenses migraines all season long. Nevertheless, even with the presence of a few new names on the Rangers roster, Gomez knows that Shanahan’s presence in the lineup and leadership abilities will be the glue that keeps everything together.

“He gives us another option,” said Gomez. “You look at all the teams that have success in the playoffs every year and they all have players that can chip in when they have to. Shanny is one of those guys. That’s the great part about our club.”

Shanahan, however, is taking things in stride, but admitted to liking what direction the team is going in and is ready for another solid season.

“You can’t go wrong playing with any of the centers on this team,” said Shanahan. “When you get to a certain age, you understand you have to start working harder to make a team and the guys I play with have made things a little bit easier for me this year.”