Three Countries And Four Games In Five Days Don’t MixOctober 3, 2011, by
Well, the New York Rangers were bound to lose one of these games, considering the travel and the schedule of the games. The Rangers began in the Czech Republic, played a game, went to Sweden, played a game, had a day off, then went to Slovakia, played a game, and then finished in Switzerland, and played a game. That’s a lot of travel and hockey in just four days. Regardless, the Rangers were absolutely dominated in this game by a very small and very skilled EV Zug team, and wound up losing 8-4.
- Mats Zuccarello had the best preseason of any Ranger player. He felt at home on the big ice surface, but he also played well on the NHL surfaces before the trip.
- Michael Del Zotto had a blown coverage on the seventh Zug goal, but he also has had a strong preseason. He still has some work to do, but he has had a vast improvement thus far.
- Brendan Bell had a strong first preseason game, but has certainly regressed. He has been exploited by these Euro teams as being slow and flat footed, which he is.
- Stu Bickel is only here because Mike Sauer and Marc Staal are hurt. He needs work. It was impressive to see him survive the third cuts, but that survival is going to be short lived.
- Speaking of short lived, Erik Christensen’s remaining days with the Rangers may be short lived. With cuts looming, Christensen completely blew his assignment on Zug’s fifth goal. He deserted the front of the net to chase the puck behind the net, which led to a goal that was inevitable.
- The defense outside of Dan Girardi and Ryan McDonagh is shaky, but when missing your top two defenders, it’s expected. The Rangers were exploited time and time again by a quick Zug team. The remaining four players were either injury replacements (Bell, Bickel), a young defenseman who will have defensive lapses (Del Zotto), or a veteran journeyman (Steve Eminger). That folks, is the definition of a make-shift defense.
- Martin Biron wishes he he had a few of those back. He was not strong at all today. However, at least half of the Zug goals were unstoppable.
- The top duo of Brad Richards and Marian Gaborik clicked again. They are going to generate a lot of offensive chances this year. They looked their best when Brandon Dubinsky (aka Mr. Questionable Facial Hair) was on their line, but you have to figure Wojtek Wolski, who also looked good there, will get the shot once he’s healthy.
- The top power play unit got torched. That’s what happens when you have four forwards and Del Zotto out there (essentially five forwards).
- Holy Artem Anisimov! That goal he had was beautiful. When a video becomes available, I’ll post it.
- Outside of the top duo and Anisimov, there wasn’t really much to praise the Rangers for. It was one of those forgettable games.