Tonight isn’t the true season opener for the Rangers

ryan reaves tom wilson
LAS VEGAS, NV – DECEMBER 4: Tom Wilson #43 of the Washington Capitals lays on the ices after a hit by Ryan Reaves #75 of the Vegas Golden Knights during the second period of a game at T-Mobile Arena on December 4, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by David Becker/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Rangers begin their season tonight against Tom Wilson, and then have their home opener tomorrow against Dallas. You would think that tonight marks the opening of the season, but in reality it does not. The Rangers, the fans, the media, and everyone outside of Washington has made it so. Tonight it is the Rangers against Tom Wilson.

If it seems odd that the Rangers seem to be punting his game in lieu of face punchers, then you’re thought process is sound. Instead of focusing on a new coach, a new lineup, and winning games in a Metro Division that is essentially a toss up, the Rangers are focusing on Tom Wilson. It was evident all offseason, when everyone knew the Rangers would dress both Ryan Reaves and Jarred Tinordi. Low and behold, that’s exactly what they are doing.

To be clear, this is a silly approach to the start of the season. Two points could be the difference between third in the division and out of the playoffs completely. Yet here we are. On the bright side Tinordi is at least better than Libor Hajek in all statistical categories, so that’s an upgrade. However it is not the best lineup.

The Rangers are going with a suboptimal lineup tonight, dressing both Reaves and Tinordi, instead of Nils Lundkvist and one of Julien Gauthier or the soon to be departed Vitali Kravtsov. Gerard Gallant and Chris Drury are preparing for a boxing match, instead of a hockey game. But none of this is a surprise. The second the schedule was released, we knew the Rangers wouldn’t truly begin their season until the second game of the season, the home opener.

But kudos to the schedule makers. This is prime time drama for their new TV contract. Brilliantly done.