Last night was the regular season opener for the New York Rangers, but too bad no one was able to relay that message to the players as the Rangers uneventfully fell to the Phoenix Coyotes by a 4-1 score.
Not everything in that game was negative for the Rangers, as they did have one bright spot. The only player that decided to show up for the Rangers last night was none other than the man everyone thought would take the most time getting adjusted to things: Marc Staal.
Yes, Staal was constantly noticeable throughout the opener and even scored the Rangers’ only goal. Besides the goal, what I liked most about Staal’s game is that he looks as if he has not missed a single beat. Not only was his defense up to his shutdown standards, but his offense looked greatly improved as well: his poke-checking, taking the body, fast skating, and his ability to move the puck and join the rush were all suburb.
Now I know it is only one game, but I will gladly admit that Staal has proven me wrong thus far and I hope he continues on to a career year for the Rangers this season.
As for the other Rangers, everyone was extremely sloppy. They were giving the puck away constantly, running into each other, falling into defensive lapses, taking too many penalties, and the team even got questionable goaltending from Henrik Lundqvist. There were many reasons for the downfall.
It is understandable that the Rangers will have some growing pains to start the season due to learning new head coach Alain Vigneault‘s system, but this was definitely not a promising start.