1) From what I’ve seen, this preseason has been disjointed, undisciplined and inconclusive. The Rangers have not played particularly well in any of the three games, and their best players have certainly not stood out for the most part. Maybe that’s just me.
2) As far as Michael Del Zotto, the bubble defenseman with what I still believe is the most upside of any of the young D-men, here’s my two cents: The Rangers (a.k.a. John Tortorella and Mike Sullivan) need to figure out how to unleash him. He can’t be this afraid to make a mistake and still be effective. I think of when Mark Messier first arrived and convinced Brian Leetch (and later Sergei Zubov) to not be afraid to make a mistake, and how both careers took off. I’m not saying Del Zotto is Leetch or Zubov. I’m saying he will not even be an above-average player of he’s afraid to take a risk, afraid to let his instincts carry his game. He can’t play on one side of an imaginary line and be a factor on the other side. Maybe The Captain should have a chat with MDZ.
3) When the Rangers have six healthy defensemen, their D’s not bad. In fact it has a chance to be pretty good. Without Marc Staal, and now maybe without Mike Sauer, and this year without a third pair, that D looks pretty questionable at best. And when do you remember Ryan McMonster making a play like he made last night, trying to stick-handle around Jaromir Jagr, of all people?
4) And on top of that, there should be prayers that neither McMonster or Sauer has a Del Zotto-like sophomore slump.
5) That game is why Sean Avery is worth keeping around … if he can play fourth-line minutes and accept being scratched sometimes and not be a distraction or a ticking time bomb.
6) Credit where it’s due: Larry Brooks tweeted in the first period, and I paraphrase, “Why would anybody agree to play a preseason game against the Flyers?” Great question. Why would you? What can be possibly gained?
7) Thought the president/GM was pretty funny at the podium at Citizens Bank Park, didn’t you? He’s always been better when he lets his real personality out. He’s a sharp, sarcastic, quick-witted guy.
8) Good to see NHL Network going the same-old, same-old route with Barry Melrose. God, how many lives does this clown have? And Kevin Weekes, man, he’s a good guy and I think potentially a very good analyst. But like almost every other former athlete, he should never be allowed to conduct an interview. I can’t think of one former athlete in any sport who can.
9) I first-guessed not having Dylan McIlrath in the lineup in that funhouse. I mean, what’s he going to get out of a game in Europe? This game would have been better for him, and better for the Rangers.
10) They should stick a mic on Brian Boyle every night.
11) Everybody’s chirping about how tough Brendan Shanahan’s going to be as NHL sheriff, and I agree. But I’m not giving him any credit for suspending guys for preseason games. Let’s see how tough he’ll be when he starts taking away paychecks.
AP Photo, above.