At the risk of the obvious (Updated)

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A second win today in Prague would be significant for a number of reasons, but one is this:

Externally at least, just about everyone is expecting the Rangers to endure some sort of hangover effect from their European journey. Should the Rangers capture four points in Prague, it would help negate some of the damage.

By winning at least once, the team is assured that the trip has not been a disaster — far from it, in fact, when you consider the international goodwill and group bonding that was accomplished. But two wins puts the team in a favorable spot, especially when you consider the schedule is fairly intense following Friday’s MSG opener. There will be six games in nine nights, including a trip to the reigning Stanley Cup champions.

Update, 11 a.m.: Still no word on scratches for today since back-to-back games almost always mean optional skates. But coming off a win, I would be surprised if there are any changes. With that in mind, the possibility that neither Patrick Rissmiller or Dan Fritsche will see the ice on the opening weekend only reinforces the notion that the Rangers overdid it with their acquisition of third- and fourth-line forwards this offseason (in fairness to Rissmiller, he’s coming off the flu, so that may play a huge factor).

Either way, I would expect the team to do something about it, and fairly soon.

As for goaltending, with Henrik Lundqvist set to start today and almost certainly the home opener on Friday, a logical first game for Stephen Valiquette would be next Saturday in Philadelphia, where he had two shutouts last season.

Update,  2:30 p.m.: The trip to Europe is officially a success. The Rangers pick up a pair of 2-1 wins, and allow a number of players — namely Wade Redden — to find their footing before the home opener on Friday.

The Rangers were the dominant team up until a sloppy third period, and while they are certainly miles ahead of where they were eight days ago in an ugly preseason loss to New Jersey, it’s at least worth asking what kind of opponent they were facing this weekend. Tampa Bay has a number of impressive parts, but other than in net, the Lightning might not put it all together for some time.

With that in mind, we know the Rangers have potential. But we might not really have a sense of how good they are until they play some more games.

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139 Comments

  1. If this team brnigs it like they did last night every night we’re in for a fun ride this year.

  2. Sam, I disagree… I don´t want to say that the long traveling is a reason for having an hangover because they will have five full days to recover..I made the trip a number of times and it should not be much as a distraction even for a good trained athlete…!!!

  3. Peter

    Bring it like they brought it last night? They scored 2 goals last night and if it wasn’t for Lundqvist we would have lost the game. Shots are great but if the puck doesn’t go in more than twice a game we’re going to be in for a bumpy ride.

  4. The Rangers may have only scored 2 yesterday but from my vantage point the quality of the scoring chances seemed alot better than I remember last season where many games they fired alot of shots but all were from the perimeter. Yesterday they had traffic in front and they seemed to penetrate the Tampa Defense better. Naslund alone had 4 great scoring chances. I’m not saying it will or won’t be a bumpy ride but I like the speed and tempo the team is setting.

  5. Hey Sam, Not to sound whinny ,but (there is always a but)The new blog plage is very hard to read due to the color scheme (dark grey back ground, Black font). Is that that a problem with my browser or is that the new design of the site?. I have recently installed a new hard drive and operating system and I don’t know if it is just me having trouble or you changed the color shceme. Thanks

    P.S. As always your doing a great job!

  6. Beer Me-I’m down with just Korpi or Korpo.

    Sam-This is one of advantages of having many young legs which the Rangers finally have; they can endure stuff like this. Also, Fritche/Rissmiller/Sjostrom will play duting that stretch, and who knows..we may even see Potter.

  7. For once it wasn’t me that started on Mr Renney. It’s way too early and he can only play the hand he was dealt by Mr Sather. I think the forwards playing and obtained are a big improvement over last year. They are younger and faster.Would like to see Renney switch off on line 4 and let the combination of Sjpstrom, Rissmiller and Fritsche battle the present combination Voros, Betts and Orr. Too bad they can’t dress 5 lines. :~)

    Think there are two left wing spots on the top three lines still up fpr grabs with Voros (who played on the 4th yesterday), Dawes, Prucha, and Fritsche battling for two jobs still open in my opinion.

    Did you see Drury go after Recchi when he shot the puck at Hernik after the game was over? That’s a great start as captain of this team.

    Like I already said, the Achilles Hell is those three Mr Softees on defense but nice to see how good Del Zotto, Potter and Fahey looked in the pre season plus Sags might step it up too. We should have a speedy defense with a little size too. Glad Kalinen was just signed for this season.

  8. Even though I like Voros, I would like to see what Sjostrom can do for us today. Maybe we could also get Fritsche in the lineup for Dawes or Betts. There were so many different guys on the PK yesterday that Betts was definitely not too featured. I found it odd that they had Dubinsky out with Gomez at the same time, and I think I saw Korpikosi and Betts on the same PK, too.

  9. Been watching the Rangers since 1960. To me this looks like the best skating team (speed wise) that they’ve had. Their speed will create a lot of extra scoring chances over the course of the season. Still would like to see that physical defenseman, though. Let’s Go Rangers!

  10. what about shanny?, drop Prucha while they are at it. Otherwise this team is amazing without scoring.

  11. i miss john amirante so much right now.

    that was quite possibly the worst national anthem by the ugliest person in the world. kill me.

  12. I’m stuck at my study group, is there a live feed anywhere on the net right now.

    Glad I missed the ugly bitch though

  13. maloney said something along the lines of “without shannahan” while talking about naslund…

    and yes im glad i never have to har that womans voice again…

  14. check in the comments from yesterdays game, someone asked about a live feed for the pens sens game and there was one, maybe the same site has the rangers today? i can’t find it at the moment but its there….

  15. What was that before the faceoff?! Prospal backed into Dubinsky who was standing at the dot, so Dubinsky gave him a light crosscheck to push him away, and Lecavalier comes over for the faceoff and gives Dubinsky a light slash. I can tell he’s making friends, probably because of that penalty.

  16. And I’m watching Versus since I don’t get MSG on TV where I am, and you know they are calling the game from a studio in Connecticut but they won’t admit it. Before the fight, they thought they were going to commercial since it was that time, but anyone watching could tell that something was happening, and I was guessing a ight, so they had to correct themselves. Also, they’re just liars saying there’s a great atmosphere *here* in the arena. the pxp man is saying KorpiKOWski, too.

  17. Great shift by the third line right there. Gomez has been a turnover machine early on. Is Zherdev even playing today? Kudos to Kalinin for not screwing up yet. How bad is the Tampa d when Betts can beat one of their dmen wide?

  18. haha graves its true, i didn’t even realize until now but definitely kudos to kalinin…i also saw the whole thign at the faceoff w/ dubi, don’t know what the deal is, guess they’re letting them play a little bit?

    also, mara needs to learn to hit the net. it doesn’t matter if its 110 mph if it doesn’t go anywhere near the net.

  19. We got a sick team, absolutely sick. No more slow crap. Really fun to watch. trade Betts and scratch Orr and it will be insane.

  20. Zherdev has shown a little flash as well, but can’t put it all together yet.

    Prucha tried to hard to wind up for a shot, getting easily stickchecked from behind to negate the chance. He should have just ripped away instead of taking a full backswing.

    The whole team is looking good, well until that soft goal just now.

  21. I would say many of the 14 Rangers shots weren’t all that quality. Kolzig has been the rebound king and the Rangers need to get to the net more. The third line imo has been the Rangers best line. Naslund’s looking real good again. Shockingly Kalinin was likely the Rangers best dman in the first.

  22. I Bleed Rangers Blue on

    Does anyone know who sings or the name of the song that plays during that ranger commercial…it just played before they went to commercial its a whole lot of OOOOOOO’s

  23. I knew they were gonna score. I had a bad feeling, i was saying to myself, “dont freeze the puck hank”

    Ugh, these are the games im always gonna hate. I wanna see some goals already, i don’t wanna be down by 1 GOAL, the whole season, every time.

    Hopefully they get it together and put some pucks behind these fogie Olaf. This guy is barely a starter, and once again, Nyr making decent goalies look like HOF’s.

  24. 4 shots on goal and Tampa scores grrrrrr. We have soooo many shots on goal and cant get one at all.

  25. GRAVES

    The 3rd line has been having good shifts, but there barely shooting. They need to get someone to the front of the net, and either flip it to the point, or take shots from bad angles, from the boards, and either hope that it goes off a skate, a stick, or the Ranger in front.

    But you’re right, they didn’t really have to many great chances with the 14. Only some.

  26. DR HOUSE

    That’s how its gonna be all year. Get used to it. Were gonna limit the shots to 20 for the most part, and teams will eventually score on us. That’s how it is. i don’t like it, especially when there down. But when there up a goal, i feel confident.

  27. o definitely made me laugh….ridiculous, hiding the microphone behind the tour guide book…ok lets get this going, 2nd period….

  28. With the way it looks so far, Henrik is gonna end up with a wacky Save Percentage to GAA ratio. It’s possible that his save percentage could be under 90% with his GAA close to 2.

  29. I will say it again. I want someone to throw a Moltov Cocktail at Trautwig and burn him it the town square.

    Anyway, don’t worry guys, I just put on my vintage ranger t-shirt and my Lundqvist jersey. They will score soon and win.

  30. Orr,
    I am used to it, but sometimes i want to relax you know what i mean? like sit back in my seat and not have to bite my nails(i dont really do that). Games are still fun like this though gotta admit.

  31. In the words of Stan Fischler, *bee-ooo-ti-ful* power play. So many shots, I don’t care if they were blocked. Great job keeping the puck in the zone, wearing down the penalty killers. So much better than last season!

  32. Wow, that power play looked awesome! Gotta get more shots through to the net as many were blocked, but that was great puck movement and it’s good they actually want to shoot.

    Anyone else hear the Rangers goal song in the background?

  33. yes they’re treating this as Ranger home game. hear a few times Ranger sounds like when they come on to the ice at beginning of period

  34. Great job by the third line drawing the penalty and right after the pp goal they get another shift and get some good chances. The Lightning can’t get anything going because their putrid d can’t move the puck to there talented forwards.

  35. John Forslund must see a lot of coins on the ice, since he keeps talking about *loose change*. :)

    Nice garbage goal from Gomez after good scoring chances from Orr.

  36. That is just work and speed and hustle baby! Amazing conditioning there! We changed lines partially on that goal.

  37. Just absolute domination. I love this style – just SHOOT and SHOOT and SHOOT instead of dancing around in circles in the corner.

  38. we’re looking very good right now. Gomez scores up 2-1 team is flying. Stamkos hits crossbar. action insane right now

  39. I Bleed Rangers Blue on

    Does anyone know who sings the song in the rangers commercials theve been playing up untill prague?

  40. Mezaros must be related to Rozsival. He killed the Lighning’s pp single handely with his refusal to shoot.

  41. This should be a blowout. The fact that it’s only 2-1 worries me. That is not to suggest the Rangers haven’t played great they have. It would be alot better if they could finish.

  42. What a period. Gomer had a great one. Nice garbage goal, and a nice feed to Redden for the PP goal. Lets fuggin GO !!!! We need that 3rd goal. Voros was awesome in front of the net on that shift where Gomer scored. Awesome friggin stuff, hopefully it continues.

    Is it me, or is Lecavalier having a personal tribute for Casper The Friendly Ghost ? That guy is gone. But he’ll show up for the 3rd period for sure.

    The D has been really good. Hopefully there able to shut them down again, and Hank needs to finish this if we cant get another past Olaf. Speaking of which, Olaf in my opinion has outplayed Smith, just a little bit. He kept them in this game.

    I wanna see Nicky, and Dru put one in the net, to get that first one over with.

  43. 19 Guys, 20 Minutes, HOW YOU WANNA BE WEMEMBBORED !

    I hate that high school football commercial, but i always laugh at that part. Anyone ever see it ??

    Oh yeah, and that was Nazzy with the feed, not Gomer. But all the right people are scoring for Nyr. Wade, goal and one assist, Gomer with one goal, two assists, and Nazzy with one goal, and one assist. Good stuff.

    Korpedo is having another good game with that line. Hopefully he puts in a goal, but im gonna be patient with him. Dubi didn’t score his first goal, till two or three months into the season, more or less.

  44. Who is Tampa’s third assistant coach? James “DawsonL Vanderbeek.

    We can’t be taking penalties like this. Just can’t!

  45. If they take 1 more penalty they’re gonna get scored on…

    this is ridiculous!!!

    How about taking it to these guys!

    Come on.

  46. The last couple of infractions have been pretty bogus. Crowd seems out of it, I guess we’re boring them again.

  47. dear god will we ever score more than 2 goals against an nhl team?
    in the first two games and all the pre season games against nhl teams we scored 2 goals

  48. The Rangers got lucky at the end. Vinny is not 100% and is a bit rusty. A month or hell a week from now he probably buries that chance. The Rangers seemed to pull back in the third. It nearly cost em. Naslund and Gomez have terrific chemistry. Naslund is alot like Elias (who Gomez had great chemistry with)Drury imo has been rather quiet the first two games. Voros has impressed me. I would like to see him get more icetime. Kalinin and Betts were unsung hereoes imo. Kalinin was solid all around moving the puck and making smart plays in his own end. Betts was very good on the pk and had some good chances a couple of times. Callahan played his heart out. I weould have loved to see him rewarded with a couple of goals soon. Staal was very solid and I wish he’d get more icetime.

  49. fortunate to play TB all 4 times in beginning part of season. with new coach and many new players including stamkos they should get better as season goes on.

  50. Deja plus it was the worst D they’ll face all year. You do have to worry a bit about the lack of finish. The Rangers have off till Friday and then play 6 games in 9 nights(which is an insane schedule imo)

  51. Girardi I think reinjured Lecavalier’s shoulder early in the game.

    Kilinin was excellent much quicker in every way than Tyutin was including thinking and stickwork. I can’t believe we got so much for Tyutin and then replaced him with a better and cheaper player.

    Korpikoski, Prucha, and Voros got too little icetime.

    What idiot recorded only 10 hits for us, that can’t be right even though we had the puck most of the time.

  52. hit a guy into the boards when he touched the puck is a check not a penalty… they Lightning rode Dwes intot he board same thing and got now penalty?

  53. Sam I agree, it was a good start but I think that the Bolts are only averaged this season. Let´s see some more games against other teams. The biggest concern is now that they have only two goals to show for 40 shots…That will not be enough against some other strong teams….

  54. From what I can tell, with all this speed and attcking the puck there is NO WAY Shanny will help this team or fit in. It will take all the speed, puck control, grit and aggressivness away from whatever line he is on. Go sign somewhere else and ruin their game plan.

  55. I like Melrose’s attitude as a coach more than I do as an analyst. He makes no excuses and calls guys out. I have no problem with that at all. Wish Renney was like that a little more, and I don’t dislike Tom at all.

  56. I don’t personally think that either team was at their best this week…

    A week or two from now… a month from now… whatever.

    We got the 4 pts. that we wanted… we got out of the gates and beat a team we should have beaten. Fine.

    Job well done.

    I’m sure Tampa will get stronger but I feel that we have some room to improve as well.

  57. rich u dont have to be that mean about Shanny, but yea we are freakin fast. I love this team already.

  58. win or lose … this team is gonna be exciting. Good All around game !!!!

    The D looked really good, and i thought Voros, Betts, and Orr played really well. Orr and Betts look really fast this year??

  59. when we play 6 in 9 days we should play some of the others as well. i do expect something to happen in next week or two to 1 of the forwards

  60. great game except the third, but I think that had more to do with it being the 2nd game in a row in another time zone. Overall I love the work ethic of this team. All that crap renney talked about last year in regards to being relentless and playing with heart, well he finally has a team that does it.

    Scoring doesn’t concern me yet because we have so many quality scoring chances and both smith and kolzig made some solid saves. Plus they got unlucky when some shots hit defensemen and stuff like that. But we crash the slot extremely hard and don’t pass by the net much so eventually pucks will go in. Last year I was more worried cuz our shots were from the outside. Not this year though, since everything is from the slot.

    Also to credit our team, I think Tampa looked even worse than they are because of the pressure we applied on them. Only difference is that when we play Detroit and teams like that, we need to do it for 60 minutes and not 55 like today.

  61. I think this is the first game I’ve ever seen where Prucha didn’t get knocked down.

  62. Underestimate Fritsche if you must. Once he gets in the lineup, he won’t come out. As mentioned, he is bigger, younger and to-date more NHL productive than Dawes or Callahan. That goal against Metallurg was no fluke. He brings energy, skating, smarts and two-way play. For now, call him a 3d\4th liner if you want. Before long, he’ll be a 2d\3d liner, an every game regular.

  63. Mustache John on

    Everyone’s favorite “Korpedo” is probably going to be back in the minors in under two weeks. The Rangers have a very crowded roster, he can go back without waiver issues, he’s not doing much on the ice… see ya next season, fella. Or maybe later this season if there are injury issues.

  64. I think Fritsche should get in the next game. Just for the hell of it, but either way im damn happy there coming back to New York, healthy with two points.

    Hank, lol what a guy. Here’s to hoping he manages to get the Vezina this year. But just getting nominated is enough.

    We gotta score more goals though, that’s for sure.

  65. MUSTACHE

    Obviously, your one of those brainless fans that think if a player doesn’t record a single point in 2 or 3 games the should go back to the minors, or get traded. I guess we mine as well trade Pruchs, Dru, and Nicky, just for the hell of it.

    Korpedo has done everything that Dubi did last season. Be patient with the guy, he’s fast, he’s smart, he is responsible defensively, and can provide some offense at some point. No god damn reason to send him down. None at all. But you’re right, we should send him down, and sign Nedved. Ugh such a damn shame we let him go………..NOT !!!!!!!

  66. I knew Korpikoski was part of the action a lot because I kept hearing Forslund calling him KorpiKOWski. I’d have to say Callahan didn’t do too much; Sjostrom or Fritsche could go in there for Callahan, Dawes, or Prucha at any time. Maybe even Zherdev if he keeps doing too many dipsy-doos, but I liked his game today. I wish Staal would be more featured and not with Mara.

  67. Callahan has played pretty well imo. He has looked great on the pk. I would like to see him moved up to the second line as he seems to have good chemistry with Dubi. Dawes seems lost in the shuffle. Part of it is on him and another part is because Zherdev refuses to pass him (or really anyone) the puck.

  68. i dunno, i like cally playing with korpi, they both play with the same amount of oomph! how bout fritsche with dubi and nik? hes responsible defensively has good size and speed and can chip in a few.

    great start, 4 points in the bank.

    maybe prucha can see his girlfriend while hes home and relieve some of his tension lol. he better do something or he’s gonna get replaced by Fritsche

  69. Dawes actually plays well with Dubi and Nik, but you can’t tell because he rarely has the puck. But he set both of them up for a couple chances today. His role looks like its going to change this year because he’ll either dish it to Nik and Dubi or crash the net and stand in front. Even though he’s little, he does a great job of it. I wouldn’t mind keeping him there. The problem with that line so far is that Zherdev seems to be trying to do too much, but I think once he gets home and they keep working with him on that, he’ll be fine. Its ok if it does it in the offensive zone, but he’s doing it in transition in our own end or the neutral zone. Today he already made some steps to improve that and was dishing back to d-men instead of trying to carry it up.

  70. “I like Melrose’s attitude as a coach more than I do as an analyst. He makes no excuses and calls guys out. I have no problem with that at all. Wish Renney was like that a little more, and I don’t dislike Tom at all.”

    agree 100%….such an AMAZING breath of fresh air to hear Melrose say after 2 games the words I’ve been waiting to hear Renney say for 3 seasons. He held his players *accountable*.

  71. Shoestring and Fritsche need to replace Dawes and Prucha. Callahan also needs to be moved up to the 2nd line. I’m sick of watching Prucha and Dawes is just not clicking.

  72. I’m not saying Dawes played badly, but i hardly noticed him last night. I realise he was playing with 2 players who like to hold the puck, but i expected him to be more visible.
    On the other hand I thought Redden was fantastic, if he plays like that all year i’ll be very happy. Kalinin played a little better, when he’s bringing the puck out of defence and passing he looks good, when he’s got a speedy forward bearing down on him he looks shaky – is he the new Malik? – No, because he’s not making kamikaze passes out of the defensive zone.
    I like what i’m seeing from all lines but Prucha, Voros, Orr and Dawes could be in danger of riding pine if Renney intends to put the current bench players on the ice. Orr looks 10 times better than last year though – don’t you think?

  73. I was going to say something very similar UK. If Dawes wasn’t going to show up in the games, he shouldn’t have even made the trip. Not very impressive from Prucha’s side either.

    Orr looks much better than last year, and last year he looked better than the year before. That’s great to see that someone heeds the advice of the training staff.

    I thought betts looked like he was skating to keep his job. And so far, I think there’s no reason he shouldn’t.

    #1 line…is finally a real #1 line.
    #2 line…might need a tweak on the wing.
    #3 line…same.
    #4 line…Don’t see any reason for Orr and Voros to both play 82. The depth there could come in handy.

    Defense looked fine. Thought Rozy dissapeared at one point though. I forgot all about him. Mara seemed to get involved in the play pretty regularly. The D gave our offense a whole new look. I love it.

    All in all, it was great to get the 4 pts that were out there to be had. Tough to ‘get up’ and play 2 games that count with so much surrounding them. Nice job boys.

  74. haha
    …….
    DALLAS – Jason Strudwick’s tiebreaking goal early in the third period lifted the Edmonton Oilers to a 3-2 victory over the Dallas Stars on Sunday night in the pre-season finale for both teams.

    With the game even at two, Strudwick’s shot from just inside the blue-line got past goalie Marty Turco, who was screened at 5:47.
    ……

  75. Apparently Struds also kicked some guys butt!
    I can’t get onto hockeyfights.com while in the office, but will have a look later – good one Strudsy! Did he do a Gordie Howe hat-trick?

    Looking forward to the next games to see if we are really good, or if Tampa are bad, or both?

  76. Who was that team diguised as the Rangers in the 2nd period? I can’t remember a Rangers team dominating play like that. Changing lines and keeping the puck in the offensive zone was impressive. I know it’s vs Tampa and it’s only 2 games, but maybe we’ve got something going. Of course, if Lundqvist doesn’t make a couple of key saves early, the road trip could have been a disaster. A nice way to start.

  77. Newman – Not sold yet. Not ready to throw him under the bus either. But if I were Corey Potter, I’d keep a bag packed and a suit pressed.

  78. Beer,
    I agree on our first line…legit.
    Line 2…who you would change? 3 rd? why do I think Dawes and Prucha are the 2 changes?
    I actually cant remember the lines now LOL…

  79. Totally right. I don’t think either of them looked like they belonged where they were. I got excited when Dawes got the puck and Sam was able to actually call his name yesterday…then he was either checked off it rather easily, or gave it away. I think that could be a hole for us right now. 2nd line wing. They play opposite sides, but if nothing changes, you may have to make a switch.

    I’m not ready to ‘bash’ anyone yet. Its not the ideal situation to start a season, so everyone gets some slack. But not a lot.

  80. Youre not the average blog author, man. You definitely have something important to add to the web. Such a special blog. I will be back for more.

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