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6/20/23 - The New York Rangers GM Chris Drury (right), and Rangers new head coach Peter Laviolette, holding a jersey as they pose for a photo during a press conference where Laviolette was introduced as the Rangers new head coach, at the Rangers practice facility in Tarrytown, New York. Photo by Charles Wenzelberg / New York Post 6/20/23 - New York Rangers new head coach Peter Laviolette

Last night was certainly an emotional night for Rangers fans. The Rangers gave us one of the worst preseason performances we’ve ever seen, and the effort was perhaps even worse. While we would normally just go with the usual “it’s the preseason,” and it is, Peter Laviolette tore into the team in a postgame interview. Rangers accountability for their effort matters, as does level setting that it was still just the preseason.

Rangers accountability is something we’ve been hoping to get for quite some time now. Since Alain Vigneault, it has felt that Rangers accountability has only been for kids and prospects, and never the veterans. With Laviolette calling out the entire team last night, it feels that has changed.

For the most part, all three of Vigneault, David Quinn, and Gerard Gallant would have chalked this up to preseason, or learning a new system, or playing a subpar lineup, or pick whatever reason you want. To hear Laviolette dismiss this completely and call the entire performance unacceptable, even when factoring in a new system, is certainly refreshing.

Last night against the Islanders may not be the last game where the Rangers’ performance on the ice is subpar. After all, they are learning a new system. But what many, including Laviolette, won’t tolerate is the effort. There was none, and Rangers accountability is going to be about effort first, followed by performance.

Rangers accountability matters, but level setting is important too

The big takeaway from last night is that Rangers accountability will be on most fans’ minds, especially when it comes to effort. However we also need to remember it’s still the preseason. There are many variable at play. We know the effort wasn’t there. But there will be nights when the effort is there and the results are not.

Quinn and Gallant notwithstanding, since they didn’t really have a “system” so to speak, teams generally take a little bit of time to fire on all cylinders with a new coach. It’s a new system, a new voice, new assistants, and a new locker room dynamic. The Rangers will struggle with results through the first 15-20 games. It’s just expected at this point.

So how do we level set these expectations?

As fans, we should expect effort. That’s all we can ask for early in the season. Beyond that, we should expect the Rangers to be better in the neutral zone, on the forecheck, and with overall puck possession. Goal scoring may actually go down, and that’s fine. Personally, I’m sick of watching the Rangers get one scoring chance then spend 3 minutes in their own end running around. It’s not fun. It’s not fun that MSG only has Igor Shesterkin highlights because the rest of the team looks bad.

Results will come. This team is too talented to not at least generate wins and make the playoffs off talent alone. However you cannot win on talent alone. For now, Rangers accountability will be on effort, and will be a story to watch through the first two months of the season.

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