Before I realize it has only been one game, but the excuse during the preseason was “its just the preseason”. Well, I am getting sick of excuses for the New York Rangers and their players.
The Rangers lost their opener 4-1 against the Phoenix Coyotes last night. The team looked lethargic in all areas of the game. In the defensive zone, it looked as if the team had not practice positional hockey in the entire preseason and training camp.
This was highlighted by the first goal where three Rangers stood and watched a pass go right through to the slot and then put past Henrik Lundqvist. There was also a lazy pass by Rick Nash that led to the Coyotes’ fourth goal.
On offense, we saw the Rangers’ defenseman take chances, but we saw no sustained forecheck or offensive zone time. Mike Smith, the Coyotes’ goalie, is a gifted puck-handler. So, the Rangers decided that they were going to continue to dump the puck and allow Smith to handle it, which led to easy breakouts. This has to fall on the coach and his game plan. Alain Vigneault should know that and relay the message to his team.
Now we get to the power play. The Rangers did score one power play goal. Marc Staal ripped a shot past Smith on the rush on the power play. The only other real good chance on the man advantage was by Brad Richards off a nice cross ice pass from Derek Stepan. It is clear that this team misses Ryan Callahan. There was just a lack of energy from the Rangers all night long.
There is a new coach and supposedly a new system in the Big Apple but after one game, I’m still wondering where it is.