The New York Rangers will start game one of 82 of their 2013-14 season with high expectations of going deep into the playoffs and possibly winning a Stanley Cup.
However, with the Blueshirts will face some obstacles in their first nine games. Those first nine contests will be on the road due to Madison Square Garden renovations, and they will also be without captain Ryan Callahan and Carl Hagelin, as both will miss the start of the season due to recovering from offseason shoulder surgeries. The Rangers look to be in some considerable trouble.
If preseason is any indication, the Rangers went 1-5 and struggled immensely to score goals and play defense, exactly like last year. But with a new head coach in Alain Vigneault those things are supposed to magically get better. No magic will be involved, but to Rangers’ fans I think it would seem like magic if this team can actually score goals this year. As a matter of fact that is the whole point of hockey, scoring more goals then the other team — but I digress.
So with all of these strikes against the Rangers plus having to learn a brand new system that Vigneault is trying to implicate, Rangers’ top goal scorer from last season, Rick Nash, is going to have to start off hot and come up big in order for the Rangers to stay afloat in the division and the conference. Nash must step up to allow enough time for Callahan and Hagelin to come back and for the team to get used to the new system.
Unfortunately for the Rangers and their fans like me, while Nash is a great goal scorer, I think teams have adjusted to him and know how to shut him down offensively. I hope I am wrong, but if what I say happens then the Rangers are going to get off to a really bad start. If not and Nash can consistently score big goals, then they should be able to stay afloat. Do not look for a 4-4-1 start or anything higher through the first nine because, with everything I mentioned above, that would be a sheer miracle in my opinion.