Tuesday, October 7, 2008
The New York Rangers embarked on a European trip and conquered all. First, they took 2 games in the pre-season finales against SC Bern & Metallurg Magnitogorsk. Then, the real games began.
The Rangers, not without a few weaknesses, gutted out 2 victories over the Tampa Bay Lightning - both by the score of 2-1. You definitely gotta tip your hats to the Rangers efforts. They outchanced, outhustled, and really outplayed the Lightning over the course of the 2 games.
A couple of quick observations from the games: The Rangers are fast! They are much faster than I originally thought they'd be. The level of speed that the Rangers showed is going to be real tough for opposing teams to deal with. Another thing that I noticed was the defensive smothering of Tampa - it was excellent. Sure, Tampa had opportunities, but Lundqvist was there when needed. Overall, they really outplayed Tampa, big time.
I think this team is obviously a squad that is a work in progress. But how does one complain about taking the first 2 games of the regular season? I mean, you can't improve on 4 points in 2 games!
It was "pretty" at times during these games, but with a little ugly thrown in as well. I could nitpick about the lack of scoring, or the numerous giveaways inside the Rangers blueline, but in the end there's an old saying in hockey - "You don't draw pictures on a scoresheet"! They came, they saw, they conquered... it's that simple.
On another note, I caught Barry Melrose's press conference after Game 2. Boy, was that a beauty. The Tampa players, especially the high priced ones, have been served notice! I played for Barry in my last year of professional hockey, I believe he's one of the best coaches that I ever played for. Barry will let you know the good and the bad. If you don't play the way that he expects, you will sit - trust me on that! I trust that Barry will turn it around in Tampa, but the players better beware. Over and out!
Pictures courtesy of Yahoo! Sports