* At this point in time the Rangers are no longer the underdog to win The Cup.

* Matter of fact, the Blueshirts go in as the favorites over either Chicago of L.A.

* Look at it this way; New York has the top goalie; more depth on defense; and four balanced lines.

* What's more, the Rangers fourth line, paced by the Comeback Kid, Dom Moore, is better than any fourth line on the Kings or Hawks.

* It's fun to see how The Bible of Hockey -- otherwise known as The Hockey News -- picked the Cup-winners 'way back in September.

* Chicago came in at THN's 8-1, giving the Hawks a good chance. Meanwhile, L.A. was 9-1, which shows you why the series has gone seven games.

* However, the Rangers couldn't do better than 17-1 which makes sense, considering that they just about squeaked into a playoff berth.

* Tom Renney is my choice as head coach of the Panthers.

* Trouble is that I have no idea who's Dale Tallon's pick.

* Isn't it sad that two of the biggest marquee names in the sport -- Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier -- can't find a niche in the NHL.

* Gretz seemed to be in line for the leadership role that went to Brendan Shanahan in T.O. but, for some $trange reason, Gretz was by-passed.

* Ironic how Wayne has his "press agents" among the media types but they never seem able to land The Great One that great gig.

* As for Mess, I get the feeling that he seeks the job that is just out of his grasp. At least that's the way it always looks.

* Come to think of it both Gretz and Moose should be doing what Mario Lemieux does in Pittsburgh.

* I take that back, Lemieux is presiding over a collapsing franchise which never is the fault of Sidney Crosby.

* And if you don't believe me, ask Sid The Kid.