Hello Ranger Fans. Wanted to take some time to get some New York Ranger games watched under my belt before feeding you my uneducated (but well informed) thoughts on where our beloved Blueshirts stand (that feels like a run on sentence, but I digress). It’s going to be a long season folks, but I think it will also be an entertaining one.
First things first, I think we got the right man at the helm in David Quinn. I’ve said it before and I will say it again, this guy just flat out LOOKS the part.
If I knew nothing else about the guy, I would follow those blue eyes into battle 10 out of 10 times. “Look good, Coach good” is the saying I believe. Having said that, Quinn’s devilishly good looks aren’t the only thing I love about the guy. Quinn is always good for a great quote.
“We have to have more of a grit element to our game offensively,” Quinn said before the game, in expanding upon his decision to scratch the underachieving, albeit talented Pavel Buchnevich. “We have to get to the net, there has to be less B.S. to our game offensively.”
The guy preaches toughness and effort. For a young, rebuilding team, this is exactly what I like to see. He isn’t afraid to bench veterans, as he has healthy scratched Hayes and Shattenkirk at times to show that everyone is going to be held to the same standard. That is a refreshing take coming from Alain Vigneault, who treated his vets and young players completely different and often stunted the growth of young players. Quinn seems to be teaching/developing more, and provides reasoning behind his healthy scratch decisions.
Hank has been Hank. It’s a shame that the Rangers are probably going to waste what’s left of Henrik’s prime, as he is putting together another solid season, but just doesn’t have the support of a good team to help get wins. The Rangers have put together a better defensive system in front of him, so that also helps, but it sad to see Hank angry in net feeling hopeless. Lundqvist has always been and will forever be one of my favorite Rangers of all-time, but I wish that he would rethink his stance on wanting to stay in New York. While it’s commendable that he wants to see this rebuild through, I am not sure the Rangers will be able to build a contending team for at least another year. By that time, it may be too late for Hank to get another shot at the Cup while he still got something left in the tank. GET OUT WHILE YOU CAN HENRIK! Feels a lot John Lithgow trying to send Harry away. Just heartbreaking stuff.
The Ranger offense can be fun at times, with some nice young players in Chytil, Howden, and others. They are simply way too inconsistent and just do not have the overall talent to matchup with most teams in the league. Chris Kreider is having himself a nice start to the season and I am an advocate with keeping him around and making him the captain starting next season. The guy just oozes talent and I am hoping this is the year he finally puts it together for a full season. Zibanejed has been fine I suppose, but I am not sure you want him to be your 1C. He would make a fine 2C on a contending team. Kevin Hayes shows flashes, but again, like many other players on offense, has been too inconsistent. If Jimmy Vesey ever knew how to finish/score, he would probably be one of the better Rangers on the team right now, but that has always been his problem since coming into the league. Always in the right place at the right time, but simply can’t finish.
Lastly, much like with Henrik Lundqvist, Mats Zuccarello needs to be traded. He is playmaker at 30+ years old, but he needs to be on a contending team’s 3rd line to realize his full value. Again, one of my favorite Rangers, but he needs to be turned into a draft pick.
Mr. Glass-Half-Full Take:
There are several other players I didn’t mention, but this will be a big development year for the younger players. Quinn and Jeff Gorton need to weed out the veterans that won’t be around for the future (I am looking at you Marc Staal), and play competitive games while building a new culture here in NY.
Gorton will have some veteran pieces to sell off again this season and he needs to do well on getting draft capital in return. Us Ranger fans are in this for the long haul and I am here for the rebuild. Let’s play good hockey while piling up the losses on our way to (hopefully) a Top 2 pick. The Rangers made it clear that this would be a rebuilding year, and that’s all us fans can ask for from the organization. Clarity. The Giants and Mets franchises should take some notes.