1) Yay! Skills competition. Pretty serious lack of skills in this one. Brad Richards lost the puck at center ice, and the winning goal was a complete whiff.
2) The Rangers shouldn’t fight the opponent’s goons unless it’s absolutely necessary. So far they have had two staged fights, and each was against the opposition knucklehead. There’s no need for it, it serves no purpose, has no effect on the game, and since the Rangers don’t have a heavyweight, why bother? You’re only begging for a needless injury.
3) Look at the bright side. In the Bettman Hockey League where there are no ties and losses aren’t all losses, the Rangers are undefeated.
4) Dan (Block Ness) Girardi was mostly fabulous in the two games in Stockholm, taking major minutes against some really good opposing forwards.
5) Good gosh were these games awful to watch. Actually not bad 5-on-5, but so little of it was 5-on-5. The Rangers need to quickly make sure more of the game is 5-on-5 by not taking the repeated, mindless penalties. And it would be nice if the referees stopped calling the love-tap stuff. Geez, it is hockey. Isn’t it?
6) The Rangers should have gone to Western Canada first, then to Europe, so when they came home they’d be used to the bad ice.
7) Whenever the Rangers put their second pair of point man out for the second half of a PP, it makes me appreciate Brian Leetch even more (if that’s possible). For years he played every second of every power play, and didn’t miss his next shift.
8) Erik Christensen. Some nights it’s almost too bad that somebody has to waste time washing his uniform. Early third, 2-on-1, they give him the shot and he passes into traffic. This is a guy who can touch the puck just once in a game and score because of that wrist shot that’s kept him in the NHL (if barely), and he passes. And that’s why he’ll be prucha’d more often than not.
9) Two games against two teams with more skill, and overall, I thought the Rangers played very well defensively and on the PK, especially considering no Marc Staal, a rookie (Tim Erixon) making his NHL debut, Michael Del Zotto still trying to find his confidence, the necessary breaking up of Ryan McMonster-Mike Sauer, and using No. 7 D-man Steve Eminger. Two Rangers D-men (Eminger and Erixon) behind the net on the Ducks goal. Gee, that never happens.
10) Offensively and on the PP? Uh, not so much.
11) Desperately needing a goal in the third period, the Rangers managed three shots on goal.
12) McDonagh had a very strong bounce-back from his bad penalty in the first game. Shows what this kid has inside him. Cornerstone.
13) Based on yesterday, the Rangers need to find more minutes for Derek Stepan. Start by getting him away from Mats Zuccarello and Christensen (or Wolski).
14) The No. 1 line has showed up for how many periods out of six and a half so far? I appreciate that when it’s not working, John Tortorella changes it up. But in the long haul, Brad Richards-Marian Gaborik has to work, whether it’s Brandon Dubinsky on the left or somebody else. It just has to work.
15) I wish Jan Erixon had made it through ‘93-94 as a Ranger. He would have been a great fit on a championship team.
16) I picked the Mighty Ducks to go to the Stanley Cup final, and didn’t see anything to change my mind.
My Three Rangers Stars: 1. Henrik Lundqvist, 2. RyanMcMonster, 3. Brad Richards.
AP photo, above.