1) Unrelated to this game, but there was a lot of chatter about helmets and fights and head injuries this week, and Gary Bettman talked about “player safety” again, and it always makes me wonder. Why in Holy Hell does the league allow players to wear their chinstraps down around their waists? And why don’t GMs, coaches and trainers demand that their own players tighten those things up so that helmets don’t come off so easily. I mean, what is the freakin’ point of those dangling straps that just about every player wears? Oh, right. It looks cool.
2) And of course, I maintain that if or when the NHL really wants to get serious about player safety and head injuries, suspensions will stop being these stupid wrist-slaps they’ve been for years. (not even going to get into the joke of a suspension to Phil Kessel; they practically did him a favor).
3) Back to hockey. I’m guessing Alain Vigneault will have most of his opening-night lineup for one of these last two games, probably in Las Vegas. No? Gotta be some cuts coming. The preseason ends Friday, the NHL regular season starts Tuesday and the Rangers open next Thursday, and I still have no idea what their roster is going to look like. Which might be a good thing. Or might not.
4) Man, those white uniforms are going to be worn out by Oct. 28.
5) When talking yesterday about the kids trying to make the team (Mark Hrivik, Danny Kristo, Oscar Lindberg, Jesper Fast, et al) I forgot about J.T. Miller. I thought his hamstring injury was going to set him back and maybe cost him a chance to be on the opening night roster. But maybe not. In fact, in the early summer, we (I) were saying that one way the Rangers could improve this year is if a kid like Miller makes the jump. So we’ll see. (Honest, I typed this before he scored the goal).
6) I really do like the D-men joining the play, again, especially Marc Staal because he’s got such good instincts about when and where to go. But I think the forwards and the other D-man need to be a lot more cognizant when a D goes deep, or there are going to be breaks the other way like the late first-period goal by Perron.
7) Nice, also, to see most of the Rangers in their own zone remaining on their skates and not sliding around like seals. I think they’ll get some odd-man chances by blocking shots with their shinpads while still upright, you know, like all the other teams do.
9) The 5-on-3 looked OK, but both units had four left shots. Need some right shots out there. It’s preseason, and they’re just rolling lines, I know. Ditto for the 5-on-4s, which were pretty good. They talked on MSG about getting a man in front being a big thing with Vigneault, and that’s great. But the thing I noticed is the puck movement and the players without the puck moving to open ice. It really isn’t that complicated, is it?
10) Boy, that’s a nice sheet of ice they have up there in Edmonton. And a nice bunch of young talent. When will that team arrive?
11) So glad the NHL is going to force-feed us more non-conference games and more games with no playoff implications, and therefore more games that have the fire and emotion of preseason games.
12) Up next, Torts vs. AV in B.C. Thursday. Before that, we’ll have a Live Chat Thursday at noon. Be there. Or else.
My Three Rangers Stars:
1. J.T. Miller.
2. Marc Staal.
3. Dan Girardi.
Photos by Derek Leung/Getty Images.