Thursday night, I had a couple of scenarios that I thought could play out for the Rangers, but I ultimately felt, and wrote, that I thought the Rangers would have a bounce-back win.
Today? I don’t have any feel for this game at all. I have very little confidence that the motivation gained from the Wednesday loss to the Islanders, from the Tortorella tirade and then the benchings of Wade Redden and Ales Kotalik, and the demotion of captain Drury to the fourth line will turn out to be more than a one-game deal. The 2009-10 Rangers have given me (us) no reason to believe they can maintain anything on the positive side, or be consistent for any stretch of more than a day (they’ve won two in a row just once since that seven-game winning streak in October, and one of those consecutive wins was in a skills competition).
Plus, let’s face it, that was the Islanders on Thursday. Today it’s Philadelphia, which isn’t much better record-wise, and is having its own family disfunctions after being swept in a Pennsylvania home-and-home against Pittsburgh. I think the Flyers are better. I know they are nastier. I expect they’ll really be ornery coming into today anyway, and I imagine the crowd will help (they really hate the Rangers or anything New York) and Peter Laviolette can’t be in a good mood because his start as Flyers coach has been awful—plus he’s never in a good mood.
So I expect the Rangers’ mettle and courage and togetherness to be tested right from the start. We all are aware, too, of how poorly the Rangers have performed in matinee games over the years. I have no idea how they will respond today.
Let’s ease up on Chris Drury’s response to Tortorella’s moves the other night. He scored a goal and he played OK. He’s played OK before. Let’s see him get going offensively before we declare anything.
Already snowing pretty good in Philly, and we up here are supposed to get hit pretty good later on. I wonder if the Rangers will be able to get to Carolina tonight.
Hope they show the national anthem by Lauren Hart before the game.
Don’t know if you’ve seen the time-elapsed video of the Winter Classic ice rink being built in Fenway Park, but it’s pretty cool.