After a disorganized and largely ineffective effort against the Islanders, Head Coach Peter Laviolette called out the Rangers lack of effort and failure to adhere to some simple basics. When asked about the game, he summed it up as “Not Good”, saying that the performance isn’t “what we want to be”.
The coach was quick to dismiss the suggestion that it was simply a case of the team learning a new system, pointing out that backchecking and finishing checks are a “universal language”.
I’m hard pressed to remember the last time a Rangers bench boss was so disappointed in a preseason performance, with having downplayed the importance. Not that we should be all that surprised. Laviolette came to New York as someone who could both bring structure and a point of view that he was more than willing to share with players, in direct contrast to the Gerard Gallant.
Is it time to worry?
For an observer, it’s a little concerning. I say this, because Laviolette has had to hold his team accountable at such an early stage of the season, suggesting that at least some of the line-up came into Training Camp expecting little change.
That doesn’t mean the team can’t course correct, but clearly any illusion that the team and the coach are fully aligned has been dispelled, and that there’s still plenty of work to be done.
Laviolette’s comments after the game last night are an attempt for the coach to reinforce his message, by publicly stating his dissatisfaction and hopefully getting the attention of those who are not yet won over.
Who on the Rangers will listen and embrace the coach’s message remains to be seen, and as with any change in leadership, there’s always the possibility that some will never align and will be dealt or let go as they fail to adjust.
Without knowing most of what’s being said off the ice, all we can rely on at this point are the performances on the ice, and after four preseason games there’s been plenty to be dissatisfied. With two games remaining before October 12th’s season opener and games began to count, there’s a little bit more urgency in trying to figure out how to get this team in the right mindset.
Cuylle and Othmann make it into final 25
With the roster pared down again today, the Rangers are holding onto two of the players that have been among the better performers in the preseason. Brennan Othmann and Will Cuylle both scored last night, and have been far more noticeable for the right reasons.
As waiver-exempt players, it still appears unlikely that they’ll make the opening night roster, but their efforts on the ice are at least making the decision harder on the front office.