Rangers RFAs driving up price tags

Will Derick Brassard and Mats Zuccarello, both restricted free agents, be back in New York? Elsa/Getty Images

LOS ANGELES -- There are some NHL players who barely watch hockey when they’re not playing. There are some guys who couldn’t tell you how teams or players in the other conference are performing.

There are some players who haven’t watched five minutes of the Stanley Cup playoffs since their season ended.

Rangers forward Derick Brassard is not one of those players. He’s a hockey diehard. Not only can he tell you anything you need to know about the NHL, he can give stats from the Quebec junior league.

He’s been known to attend a playoff game he’s not competing in as a fan. He can’t get enough of the sport.

So you can imagine how he’s feeling right now.

On the day before the Stanley Cup finals kicked off, there was a bit of awe in his voice.

“I still can’t believe we’re four games away to win the Cup,” he said when we chatted. “It’s not every year you have a chance to have a good team, a chance to win.”

There’s also another side to Brassard. When he gets pushed or challenged, he pushes back.