How Swede It Is

How did the Rangers get so many delicious Swedes on their team?

Besides our King Henrik, one of the unsung heroes of this year’s team has been the young Carl Hagelin from Sveeden, ya?  Hagelin has been getting his due, being named to the NHL All-Star Rookie Roster, and narrowly edging out Colin Greening on the Ottawa Senators (in his hometown for the All-Star Game!) in the fastest skater competition last night. He won’t let this go to his head, these titles are more for the bragging rights of fans anyway (which is why I’m writing about it).

Described as a “precocious rookie” by the Daily News, Hagelin joins his countryman Lundqvist along with Marian Gaborik and Dan Girardi in Ottawa to represent the Rangers in the All-Star Game.  In the short-time I’ve seen him though, I’ve walked away very impressed with Hagelin’s skills on his skates and how he can surprise the competition by coming out of nowhere.

Hagelin seemed to click right away with the Rangers’ senior offensive players, like Gaborik (who, in all fairness, has been clicking with everyone this year).  The New York Times provided some good insight into how Hagelin has come into his own in the NHL, given his background and gritty work ethic from his days at University of Michigan.  I’d say 16 points in 29 games, that’s pretty impressive for a young dude.   The law of averages will give us a better idea of what he can do later on.  You can look at it from both sides of the equation, though.  Does he have great support around him?  Yes, of course.  He also seems to be a victim of being young, but in a good way.  It seems like whenever I watch him, I don’t doubt he’s going to do something daring, and when he does it usually benefits the team.

I’m really liking this team right now that the New York Rangers got going on for them.  I love the tough “I-Don’t-Give-A-Shit” attitude from John Tortorella.  I love the hard-work, blue-collar ethic that these guys show by example, like Captain Cally, Gabby, Henrik, Del Zotto and Girardi.  Just this nose-to-the-grindstone stuff that fans can really get behind.  Hagelin fits right into that ethic.  His teammates at Michigan and coaches all agree that he’s a tough player and went above and beyond.

I’m excited to see how Hagelin pans out.  I love watching rookies as they want to pay their dues, and do so by good old fashioned hard work.  Go Hagelin.  And Go Sweden.  Perhaps we can share in some Swedish meatballs and lingonberries some day soon.

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