Hockey is back, folks. The Rangers have released the lineup for tomorrow’s preseason opener against the Isles:
The weather has cooled off. Training camp has started. Preseason hockey will begin tomorrow. It is almost that time of the year when we can see meaningful games for our beloved Rangers. The team was busy this offseason, retooling the bottom six with an emphasis on speed and puck possession. Add in a relative blockbuster trade, and the forward group is completely different.
Many pundits expect the Rangers to be a no-doubter for the playoffs. Others think the Rangers will be a bubble team. The reality is likely somewhere in the middle, as there are some major questions for this team.
Preseason hockey is nearly upon us, making for an excellent time to scope out some new players and old vets to get an early assessment of how things are going to shake out once the Rangers open the regular season against the Islanders on October 13th.
This preseason should be particularly informative, given the influx of new young talent at forward and the way the defensive corps has stayed largely the same, except for the departure of Keith Yandle. We should be able to glean some answers, or at least begin to understand how things are going to look, for better or for worse, once thee regular season gets underway.
With last night’s loss to the Czech Republic, the United States capped off an absolutely humiliating overall performance in the World Cup of Hockey. This event was an embarrassment the USA Hockey organization had not experienced since 1998 in the Nagano Olympics, and highlighted the need for systemic change amongst their leadership.
With the archaic brain trust seeking to replicate David v. Goliath glories of old, specifically 1980 and 1996, the organization’s leadership lost sight of how to actually build a hockey team. They packed their suitcases with hard hats and sand paper, and headed off the World Cup to announce loudly and proudly that they truly do not understand the modern game. Read More→
The Rangers have announced the training camp roster, which includes 63 players:
There are a few AHL contract guys on the list, as well as a bunch of kids headed back to Juniors. The real battles will be for the bottom six forward spots and perhaps the last pairing on defense. The first preseason game is just six days away. Hockey –well, NHL hockey– is almost back.
There was so much promise when the World Cup of Hockey was announced. The first time in 12 years, and we’d get to see Team USA again, hopefully with a better ending than the 2010 Olympics. But then the little things started creeping up on Team USA.
First it was the announcement that no players under 23 would be on Team USA. No, they’d be on Team North America. A great idea, but one that cost Team USA players like Seth Jones, Shayne Gostisbehere, and Jacob Trouba on defense. Jack Eichel and Johnny Gaudreau were lost at forward as well. You can make the argument that some weren’t going to make Team USA regardless, but a more new-age thinking shows it could have been different.
With all the focus on the World Cup of Hockey and Team USA’s dismal performance, it’s easy to forget that the Traverse City Tournament is underway. The Rangers have played twice, losing to Carolina in OT (4-3) and then beating Dallas in a shootout (5-4). As expected, the team is very efficient offensively, but is struggling to keep the puck out of their own net.
Against Carolina, goals were scored by Jimmy Vesey, Robin Kovacs, and Dylan Di Perna. Malte Stromall and Sergey Zborovskiy tallied assists. Brandon Halverson made 38 saves while managing a point. The Rangers were outshot 42-32 in this game.
The World Cup of Hockey has finally started its official matchups, and Team USA and Europe had the distinct privilege of being the ones to open the tournament. Things didn’t go exactly as planned for the United States however, with the squad falling losing in a 3-0 shutout despite lofty expectations and a relatively easy opponent.
While Team USA tried to play a hard hitting, gritty game to take control of the action, Europe’s patience and playmaking paid off, taking away space from the Americans and setting up multiple odd-man situations. This provided something of an upset for the Europeans, and gives Team USA an uphill battle going forward as they look ahead to Canada and the Czech Republic.
Europe 1 USA 0
Acquiring fresh faces for your team usually results in endless discussion about the players ceiling of impact. A fan learns all they can about the player and their ideal fit in with the team. In the case of a trade, one may notice what left the team for the new player. Otherwise, it’s mostly focus on the new, out with the old.
The Rangers lost some players this offseason to free agency (or basically free agency, in the case of Keith Yandle), who were considered peripheral players that were, well, replaceable. So, what about these players futures?
The Rangers tweeted the lines for the first game of the Traverse City Tournament against Carolina:
The top two lines are certainly intriguing, looking forward to seeing they in action. As for the defense, well that leaves some room for improvement to say the least. John Gilmour and Calle Andersson make an intriguing top pair, but that’s about it for me. Surprised that Sean Day is a scratch as well.
Game time is 4pm, and will be streaming on the Detroit Red Wings site.