Right wing Anson Carter achieved a rare double among Manhattan's
social set when he appeared twice in the gossip pages of the New
York Post on the same day. On Sept. 15 the tabloid's Page Six
observed "the dreadlocked Rangers star taking half his pastrami
sandwich in a doggie bag" after lunching with local radio
personality DJ Enuff. Another item noted that Carter and the
Devils' Scott Stevens had taped a cameo on Whoopi Goldberg's new
sitcom. "I took a lot of heat from the boys," says the
29-year-old Carter. "If it raises awarenesses and gets people
turned on to the Rangers, so be it. But we want to increase
awareness by having the team win."
Like a Victoria's Secret catalog, the Rangers always look good on
paper, but whether the team's endless wave of high-priced talent
will buy into coach Glen Sather's new defense-oriented system is
anyone's guess. The club had a league-record payroll of nearly
$80 million last year but hasn't made the playoffs since 1996-97.
And it endured a perfect storm of misery before this year's
training camp even opened: Goaltender Mike Richter retired
because of postconcussion syndrome; two-time 60-goal scorer Pavel
Bure was declared out indefinitely because of an ailing right
knee; and All-Star defenseman Brian Leetch suffered a bruised
left ankle, an injury similar to the one that sidelined him for
31 games last year. He's also out indefinitely.
The forwards remain a star-studded group: Eric Lindros, Alexei
Kovalev, Bobby Holik, Petr Nedved and Carter, who was obtained
from the Oilers last March and could provide a two-way presence
the team has lacked in recent years. Mark Messier, at 42, will
anchor the fourth line. When Leetch is healthy, he will join Tom
Poti to give New York two excellent puck-moving defensemen.
Goalie Mike Dunham was effective last season, but he's never been
in a playoff series.
On a team that has more questions than answers heading into the
season, Carter is more likely to find his name in the gossip
pages than etched on the Stanley Cup. --Richard Deitsch
( 1 Best - 30 Worst )
POWER PLAY 21
PENALTY KILLING 23
G.M. AND COACH 27
Having Tom Renney as a new assistant coach will help; he'll see
to it that the Rangers finally have a system in place instead of
having players freelance.... Unlike last season C Bobby Holik
must be used as a shutdown guy against opponents' top lines....
Signing free-agent D Greg de Vries was a good acquisition--he's
physical and can move the puck.... RW Alexei Kovalev needs to
excel in five-on-five situations, not just on the power