Through the first five pre-season games the Rangers looked competitive
getting at least a point out of each of their games on the way to a
2-0-1-2 record, but even then there were worrying signs. New York
had been outshot in all bar the first game in Montreal (24-23) and were on
the wrong side of a 36-22 advantage in power plays.
Still, in their favor they had only given up 13 goals in those five
games and were a respectable though not impressive 4 for 22 on the power
play. But all that changed as the Rangers have now lost consecutive
games against Philadelphia and Columbus where the gave up a combined 6
power play goals while going 0-13 with the man advantage.
Not only that, but it seems that every fight the Rangers got in they
lost...and in some cases lost badly. The result, the Ranger fans are
starting to lose that warm and fuzzy feeling that came after the
off-season brought Trottier, Holik and Kasparaitis to town.
As Ranger fans we've become all too accustomed to the undisciplined
play as was characterized in the Philadelphia game which saw New York give
up 13 power plays and a whopping 113 penalty minutes including a seven
minute man advantage given by everyone's favorite goon, Dale
Purinton. Not only that but they gave up what might very well be an
NHL record 5 two-man advantages.
Then to rub salt into the wounds they give up four goals (including
three on the power play) the next night to a Columbus Side which only
began playing together two years ago...
Poor discipline, ineffective special teams and a uneven shot
total...all hallmarks of the Rangers over the last two years under Glen
Sather and Ron Low have reared their ugly heads once again under the new
coaching staff. Sure enough Trottier, who one day earlier had been
singing the praises of one Dale Purinton, was to the point when he took
the young defenseman to task publicly for his poorly executed attempt at
Purinton could well end up missing the start of the season with his
antics as good the captain who was equally undisciplined in the Boston
game when he elbowed Matt Herr after being checked hard, but clean in
their game Sunday. So this is what they mean by leading by example?
There's certainly an argument to be made for pre-season, unfamiliar
partners and missing starters...but with only two pre-season games
remaining when will the lines get their chance to play together?
If there's any solace to be taken in the almost annual ritual of self
doubt and angst in the Ranger fandom, is that it is only pre-season and
the games do not count yet...but this certainly isn't the positive start
we'd all hoped for.
Notes: Rangers GM Glen Sather did a good job putting his protected list
together and looks as if he'll get the most bang for his buck if either
Lefebvre or Karpa are taken, however unlikely that may be.
Several former Rangers saw their names on the unprotected list this
year including headliners Igor Ulanov, Michal Grosek and Jeff Toms.