1) Happy October. Gotta tell you, that’s enough preseason for me. If they stopped right now, I’d be happy. The last two games, at least, will pretty much be the Rangers’ opening-night roster with a few players battling for the last two or three jobs. And they’ll be playing two teams (Chicago Friday, the Devils Saturday) in the same position. No more majors vs. minors games. It’s going to seem like a month until next Thursday’s opener.
2) Anthony Duclair. Am I going to have to institute a Daily Duclair-O-Meter? That’s up to Alain Vigneault. But the kid sure looks like he belongs. I know, it’s complicated and there are many considerations other than “is he one of the nine best forwards right now?” I wonder what AV really is thinking, whether he knows what will happen, or if Duclair — assuming he stays after cuts down to 30 today — gets another chance to convince him. That play where Duclair stole the puck and drew the penalty to Mark Streit in the third, I thought, was more impressive than his goal.
3) Danny Kristo and Ryan Bourque, I thought, were very good in this game. Probably too little too late with the way some of the other kids have played in camp and preseason. I still think the fourth center spot (until Derek Stepan returns) is to be decided from among Kevin Hayes, Oscar Lindberg, Matthew Lombardi and Chris Mueller. I wonder if all four make the initial cut today.
4) I also still wonder if any of the kids sticks and plays on the wing with Ryan Malone and Lee Stempniak around, and Tanner Glass a mortal lock to play. Malone (and Dan Girardi) skated yesterday. Both are expected to take part in the noon practice today (the first with just one group). I wonder if J.T. Miller and the temporary young center will be the only rookies on the roster. It’s possible.
5) Stempniak really uses the body for a guy who’s not very tall. He’s a winger who can skate and is responsible defensively. I remember thinking he was pretty darn good when he first got to Pittsburgh. Not sure what happened thereafter. Not sure if he gets the wing on the Dominic Moore-Glass line.
6) Either way, there are going to be a lot fewer kids around at noon today. With all of them in the lineup together, and not much veteran support, they didn’t look so great in Mr. Snider’s Arena That Changes Names Every Five Minutes. They didn’t look bad, either. Not at all. The Hartford contingent was better vs. the Flyers’ big team than the Adirondack contingent was against the Rangers’ big team the night before.
7) No, the Flyers don’t have problems with the Rangers’ speed. Did you see some of those bursts? Did you see the quick transition after turnovers? How about the play by Mat Bodie, then the play by Dominic Moore after the familiar Michael Del Zotto turnover for Carl Hagelin’s short-hander. Duclair deserves credit for taking the Pouliot-like offensive-zone penalty to set up the shorty.
8) Cam Talbot. I thought he looked a lot more like the Calm Talbot from last year than he did in his first appearance. There was some confusion about whether Talbot was supposed to play the full game. AV said Monday that he would. But the coach misspoke Monday, he said Tuesday. The original plan that AV mapped out before preseason was for Talbot to play one full game. And that will come Friday or Saturday.
9) This tweet made me smile last night, from Jon Rosen, @lakingsinsider: Interesting that many players aren’t too keen on advanced stats. Doughty: “I think that Corsi thing is a bunch of crap, personally.” FYI, and this is second-hand because I don’t know, I hear Brad Richards was one of the Rangers’ top Corsi players last season, and that Rick Nash was one of the top Corsi players in the league during the playoffs. So, you know …
10) Daily Nash-O-Meter: N/A.
11) The first two near dustups of the game, MSG Network was caught in closeups. Then, when another was breaking out in the third, MSG was in a tight closeup of Michael Kostka. Good grief. So, yeah, mid-season form.
12) BTW, these games seem quicker, no? The game last night was over right around 9:30.
13) Wayne Simmonds was out for blood, huh? Seemed he was out for some cheap shots against guys who don’t fight. And Zac Rinaldo, who couldn’t run away from Dylan McIlrath fast enough the night before, sure found his tongue with McIlrath not in the lineup last night. Who would have bet, by the way, that there would be just two fights in these two games, and that one of them would involve Ryan McDonagh?
My Three Rangers Stars:
1. Dominic Moore.
2. Carl Hagelin.
3. Anthony Duclair.
Your poll vote for Three Rangers Stars:
1. Anthony Duclair.
2. Carl Hagelin.
3. Kevin Hayes.
Photos by Getty Images.