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Rangers and Knicks have Madison Square Garden Rocking

It is still very early in their respective seasons, but both the New York Rangers and New York Knicks have Madison Square Garden rocking. It has been a few years coming for both of these squads as they navigated rebuilds. The Knicks finally returned to the playoffs last season while the Rangers are still looking for their return. However, early in their seasons, both teams are playing extremely well and look like they can compete with the best. What has both squads clicking early on?

Young guns taking the next step

The development of RJ Barrett has the Knicks in first place

For the first time in a long time, both the Rangers and the Knicks have extremely talented home-grown talent that is developing before our eyes. The Knicks whiffed on guys like Frank Ntilikina and Kevin Knox, but RJ Barrett, Obi Toppin, and Immanuel Quickley are making up for past mistakes. RJ Barrett has taken massive leaps in each of his NBA seasons and the trend is continuing this season. He is becoming a lockdown defender who is often tasked with guarding the opposing teams best. Obi Toppin has shown tremendous growth from year 1 to year 2. He is far more explosive, creating his own shot, and dominating in transition.

Alexis Lafreniere has already shown tremendous growth from year 1 to year 2

On the ice, the Rangers are showcasing their own young talent. Igor Sheshterkin earned his 3rd career shutout last night, Adam Fox already has a Norris Trophy, and Alexis Lafreniere is on pace to match his goal total from last year before game 30. I haven’t even mentioned Kaapo Kakko and Nils Lundkvist yet. There is young home grown talent up and down the Rangers lineup with more on the way.

Superstars doing their thing

Artemi Panarin is the superstar the Rangers needed

The Rangers have not had that true superstar skater since Jaromir Jagr 15 years ago. That all changed when Artemi Panarin signed as a free agent. In only 119 games played for the Rangers, Panarin has 50 goals and 110 assists and finished in the top 3 of voting for the Hart trophy in 2019-2020.

Julius Randle has developed into the star the Knicks needed

The Knicks have been looking for their first superstar since prime Melo. There were expectations of signing both Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, hopes to win the lottery and draft Zion, and a failed attempt to feature Kristaps Porzingis. However, they have found their superstar in the unlikely way in Julius Randle. Randle was a top 10 pick by the Lakers but injuries and inefficiency has plagued Randle throughout his career. However, Randle took a leap towards stardom last year when he had a career year. He earned himself the Most Improved Player award as well as his first All-Star selection. Randle’s success has carried over to this season where he is currently 23 ppg, 12.2 rebounds, and 7 assists per game. He is well on his way to earning his second All-Star selection.

Overall team success

Igor Sheshterkin has been a key member of the Rangers succes

Both teams are off to hot starts this season. The Knicks are 4-1 and have key wins against the Celtics, 76ers, and Bulls in their first 5 games. They currently sit in first place in the Eastern Conference. The Rangers are showing grit and toughness on the ice while scraping out wins with key goal scoring and excellent goaltending. Through 8 games, the Rangers have 11 points, good enough for 3rd place in the Metro. The Rangers have been successful on the back of their goaltender which is obviously not sustainable for a whole season. However, with players like Artemi Panarin, Adam Fox, Mika Zibanejad and more, goal scoring will get better and the Rangers will thrive with their offense.

Final Thoughts

No matter how good the Islanders or Nets are, the Rangers and Knicks will always run New York. Their respective leagues are always more fun when Madison Square Garden is filled and rocking. With their hot starts, the Rangers and Knicks are doing just that. They have brought excitement back to the Garden and fans are hungry for the playoffs, even this early in the season. It has been a hot minute since both teams were good at the same time and New York is ready. Ready for the playoffs, ready for the finals, and ready for the parades.

-Pete Chatterton (@Pchat12)

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