And here’s a little piece of info for you: The Winter Classic jerseys aren’t going to be white. They’re going to be a cream color, really throwback, no doubt with the thinner old-school logo. I think I might like it.
1) Just sayin’ … if what the Rangers have done in the last two games is what they’re practicing, there’s a big, big problem.
2) Their shots on goal in the last six periods: 5-5-7-8-4-8, and that’s with the desperation of being behind for almost the entirety of both games. That’s another problem.
3) You cannot have a PP when four guys are standing still. And you cannot have a PP when three or more guys are above the circles. Especially when your overall skill level is low. The Rangers need some wrinkles on the PP, no doubt about it, maybe more of an umbrella, maybe some set plays. But it almost looks as if they don’t practice it or talk about it. And they do. All the time. That’s a problem.
5) There just isn’t much growl on the Blueshirts this year, not nearly as much as last year. Maybe it’s the pansification rules and the way the Rangers were burned by them early in the season. But last year that edge—the jam, the balls, as the coach said—was a huge part of the identity he always spoke about.
6) The Bahama Be-header is going to get a nice vacation courtesy of Mr. Shanahan. I imagine the Little Italian Kid from Norway will be joining the team in D.C. if they can figure how to get him in under the cap. If not, maybe Carl Hagelin or another rookie comes up.
7) I thought Brandon Dubinsky moved his feet better, delivered some good hits. Still not getting anything accomplished, though. Nothing.
8) And The Captain took a couple more dumb penalties, though the second one is a call that is really ruining the game of hockey.
9) I’m sure lots of people were thinking “There’s Avery” on that offensive-zone penalty. But that was truly an accidental penalty, nothing to do with discipline.
10) Anton Stralman didn’t show me anything special. I’ll wait to judge further.
11) Lots of empty-seat costumes in South Florida. Maybe they’d come to the rink if that asshat P.A. guy would stop shouting every syllable of every name on every announcement. Embarrassment.
12) Could they put that center-ice camera any further away? Do they know about the “zoom” button on the camera? And what a shame that the Rangers get one decent scoring chance in the entire first period (Stepan from Callahan), it’s shown from the Fort Lauderdale camera, and instead of a replay, we get force-fed yet another promo for one of those “Beginnings” re-runs.
13) I know they were singing Henrik Lundqvist’s praises and he was really, really good, and he gave them a chance to be in the game down to the final seconds and he stopped 36 shots, a lot of those on a pretty good power play featuring two excellent point men (Boom Boom Garrison and Ed Jovanovski). But I don’t think he was under siege all night long. And I don’t think the Panthers are one of the top teams in the league, despite their improvement. I thought this was a game the Rangers could win all night long, and didn’t do anything at all to deserve to win it.
My Three Rangers Stars:
1) Henrik Lundqvist.
2) Derek Stepan.
3) Marian Gaborik.
AP photos, above.