It was a nice weekend. It started 11:00 am at the Rinx in Hauppage, LI watching my grandson Nicholas and his Piranhas coast to an easy win. Nicholas was a plus 5 with 4 assists. Then we headed to number two son's house for an end of the summer party with about 50 or so people. So there wasn't much time to watch the Rangers. Did get there in enough time to see Martin St. Louis tie the game and Dubinsky score the winner on a power play. The Rangers were 1-7 on the PP. Sunday was more of the same as Nicholas was in a soccer match, that started at 2:00 pm. Nicholas played goal in a scoreless first half and forward in a game the Penguins (Nicholas' team) lost 1-0. The Rangers game was over by the time we got home. So I saw very little action this weekend.
The Rangers? They looked good on what I caught on highlights and the reruns. The bad news. They could only score two goals per game. The good news. They won two games. They completely outskated and outworked Tampa Bay. It was total domination except on the scoreboard. They outshot Tampa Bay 80-40 in two games. Tampa Bay was 0-4 on the power play in each game. The Rangers managed a power play goal in each game. 1-6 in the first game, Dubinsky's game winner and 1-7 in the second game, Redden's, which tied the game at 1-1.
The Rangers controlled the puck throughout both games and Henrik Lundquist was, well he was Henrik Lundquist. Let's hope the stories of his knee problems are grossly overstated otherwise this season will be over quickly. While the power play did score in each game it was only 2-13, a so- so .153%. Plus scoring only 4 goals on 80 shots is not too efficient either so there are some disturbing signs when they go up against the tougher defensive teams. However, that is tomorrow's problem and there are 80 games left to fix the problem. If not fixed then expect the Shanahan and Sundin rumors to resurface.
Two games do not make a season, no matter how impressive you might be in winning them. But two games might just be enough to establish an identity. And as far as the New York Rangers are concerned, establishing a personality is as much about deconstructing the old as introducing the new...
Rangers Review, ... Post Game Thoughts:
Now don’t get me wrong, I still don’t think this team has enough talent to be a truly elite team, but I do believe this is a playoff team we have here, and once we substitute Voros, Dawes, Prucha, Mara, and Kalinin for Sanguinetti, Anisimov, Cherepanov, Byers and Del Zotto, we will be FAR better off. Till then, we are finally sowing the seeds of how this team will be playing in the future. Electric offensively, directing pucks to the net, crashing the net, and skating the other team into the ground. Once the talent level catches up to the work ethic and game plan, this team has juggernaut written all over it...
Speed. Damn these guys are pretty fast eh?
Point shots. Even from Rozy. This bodes well looking to-wards the future.
A good transition. Because of the speed on the ice, the Rangers are able to generate a fast break......and so far the breakout looks pretty damn good.
I really have to tip my cap to all of the Rangers, everyone showed up and played well in the first two games of the year.
All of the vets like Gomez, Drury, Redden and Naslund were poised and young guys like Dubinsky, Callahan and Korpikoski also played very well and with a lot of energy. Even the 4th liners were getting quality scoring chances.
On defense, guys stepped up, I thought Mara played especially well, hopefully Kalinin will get better as the year goes on.
The Rangers as a unit, looked faster, stronger and better then the team that was put out a year ago and Tom Renney has to be pleased with the way they played. Case and point has to be the second period, where the Rangers got 18 shots on net and had to have at least 7 blocked and another 7 go wide.
The chemistry was there early and that is something they will have to latch on to as the season progresses....
I had to laugh out loud when the story written about the opener by our stringer Frantisek Bouc included a quote from a Czech fan complaining about the lack of goals. All I could think was, welcome to the world of Rangers fans. If the Czechs wanted scoring, they should never have invited the Rangers.
Yes, it was only the first two games of the season, but the Rangers’ inability to score more in games they completely dominated feels a lot like the Rangers of the past two seasons, the team management felt the need to blow up and remake. It is entirely possible that this is just a result of a bunch of new players thrown together who will take time to gel...
...i guess we're going to have to get used to 2-1 games. Like a fellow Ranger fan said to me today, if you're a betting man take the under all year long with the Rangers.
* Petr Prucha, still a non-factor. Can he even be traded at this point?
* And let's just say it now: We think Scott Gomez is going to have a huge, huge season. He looks crisp and is getting the puck at the net. There, we jinxed it. Now you can accuse us later. We just had to say it...
If the Rangers can get this type of effort consistently - rolling four lines all with a chance at getting points, skating quickly and moving the puck well, shutting down the opponent's power play (Rangers PK is now 9 for 9) - they should be a strong contender in the Eastern Conference...
Don't know how many of you saw the game on TV, but if you did, you saw how much Vinny Lecavalier struggled. The star center, though, said his surgically repaired right shoulder is not the problem. "It feel pretty decent," he said.
Lecavalier, who played just two exhibitions before the regular season, had loads of trouble holding the puck, and though it would have been a great play, had the puck role off his stick with 11 seconds left after a Vinny Prospal pass set him up in front of the net...
In his first two games behind the Lightning bench, coach Barry Melrose is already showing signs of frustration.
"We don't compete," he said of the Lightning, who tied Los Angeles with an NHL-low 71 points last season. "We're too easy to play against. Until that changes we're going to have trouble. We have a lot of skill on our team, but skill means nothing if you don't work hard."