Happy Friday, BSB community. I’m going to go out of character and hit you with a short thoughts post today. I’ve been buried at work and we rescued a cat this week that was dumped in a park, so I’m a bit short on time. Either way, the World Cup starts this weekend, Traverse City does too, and before we know it, Rangers hockey returns. As you can imagine, I have some thoughts.
- I don’t blame those of you who think the World Cup is a cheap gimmick. Especially when you see the league use it as an excuse to introduce non-traditional elements; Adidas jerseys, uniform ads (albeit very small ones) and teams representing non-nationalities. However, I am a sucker for professional hockey being played during times I wouldn’t normally see it coughWinterClassiccough. So, I’ll be watching curiously, actively rooting against the USA’s Brooksian (Herb, not Larry) roster construction and laughably dated outlook on how to build a winning team.
- Just a quick FYI on that video circulating around showing “Hank” getting hurt in Sweden practice yesterday. That is Jacob Markstrom, not Hank. Side note, Bauer’s new; presumably Vapor goal pad line is brutally ugly.
- I think I am most excited to watch Team North America compete in the tournament. With the age curve skewing younger for forwards, they could ostensibly keep up with the firepower of Canada. I think the defense and goaltending could be lagging behind, but I think they will be incredibly fun to watch. A gimmicky addition? Sure, but an entertaining one, as well. Either way, hockey’s back.
- Moving on to Traverse City, as cool as it is that the Red Wings are streaming all the games, in this day of prospect watching it is unacceptable that there is no televised coverage of the games. Not everyone enjoys watching sports on their computer or phone. Millennials ruin everything.
- This is the strongest Rangers group at Traverse City that I can ever recall. There is some serious prospect stock on display, especially Vesey and Buchnevich, both of whom are expected to be everyday players in the Rangers lineup this season. Hopefully it equates to a little more success than the club has had at Traverse City in recent years.
- The logical side of my brain tells me that the Rangers need to make a trade to both deal with their glut of forward depth and strengthen a depleted blue line. However, the closer we get to the start of training camp proper, the less likely that looks. Sure Lindberg is starting the season on LTIR and Glass is eminently waivable, but there are still too many guys for the available roster spots.
- Continuing on that thought, even if the Rangers really value that type of forward depth and lineup flexibility, the blue line is definitely left wanting. It’s not like the depth is non-existent with seven top six options and Adam Clendening for depth, but I think most fans would prefer some higher quality alternatives to potentially take some Top 4 minutes away from Staal and Girardi. Maybe deals never materialized or the Rangers are focusing on deadline reinforcements if the bounce-back seasons from Girardi and Staal prove to be the wild fantasies that we believe they will be. Either way, strange roster construction at the moment.
That’s it for me this week. Enjoy the World Cup, for those watching and get excited hockey is about to return!"Thoughts prior to the World Cup",