Good news, bad news for the Rangers:
The bad news is the snow storm in Buffalo has forced the Rangers to wait until tomorrow to head upstate, thus forcing them to play a game on a travel day.
The good news? One less night in Buffalo.
Anyway, as expected, much of the conversation at practice today focused on the tight officiating that dominated last night’s loss to the Penguins. The number being tossed around is that each team in the NHL averaged 14 minutes in penalties in Thursday night’s games, an alarmingly high number that seems to be directly impacting the outcomes of games.
It’s a tricky dilemma for the Rangers, and yet one that they have no choice but to deal with: As a team that seemed to lack any spark on Tuesday, it was a high energy level last night that seemed to lead directly to being called for more penalties.
Is there a medium in there somewhere? Probably. Let’s bear in mind that a lot of teams, including the Rangers, struggled with this very issue at the start of last season. But once they adjusted, they managed to use the new rules to their advantage.
Me? I like the new NHL. I like the emphasis on skill. I like that there is more speed and offense, and I like the fact that the indifferent fan might be reeled in by a sport that is fast and exciting and a long way from its thuggish reputation.
That said, hockey is best when it’s played physically, and that means throwing the body around with great effect. I’m all for giving skill players more space. But that can’t mean players being whistled every seven seconds.
No word yet on whether the Rangers are going to start Weekes or Lundqvist in goal against the Sabres. Renney said he’s leaning one way but didn’t want to say who. My guess is he’s going to play Weekes, but wants to spare his No. 1 tender a day’s worth of headlines about how subpar play has earned Lundqvist a seat on the bench.