The New York Rangers came into the long awaited 2013 season as heavy favorites to hoist the Stanley Cup in June. However, after the first two games, you would not think that was the case.
The Rangers look slow, undisciplined, and very rusty. They opened both games taking bad penalties and allowing the opposing teams to capitalize with the man advantage. Things got so bad Sunday night against Pittsburgh, that reigning Vezina Trophy winner Henrik Lundqvist was pulled from the game midway through the second period after allowing four goals.
Blind passes, defensive lapses and poor passing has highlighted the New York Rangers first two games, very uncharacteristic of John Tortorella’s team. The lone highlight so far has been the play of their new All-Star forward Rick Nash, who has a point in each of the first two games, scoring his first goal as a New York Ranger late in the 3rd period Sunday night while the Rangers were once again shorthanded. Also noticeable on the ice has been fellow newcomer Taylor Pyatt, who also scored his first goal as a Ranger on Sunday.
Being in the arena for the home opener, the energy of the fans was noticeable early on as the ‘Lets Go Rangers’ chants started right after the singing of the National Anthem, but the energy and excitement was sucked out of the arena when the Penguins scored an early PP goal less than two minutes into the game. As passionate as the Rangers fans are, they also want to see results and during the game last night there were a lot of fans calling for Stu Bickel to be benched. He has not been impressive so far this season. He has been out of position way too much early on, leading to open shots for the opposition and leaving his goaltender hanging out to dry.
Don’t worry Ranger fans, there is no need to worry yet. Last season the Rangers started 0-3 before posting a record of 31-12-5 after 48 games. Given the fact that both teams the Rangers faced were mainly still intact from last season, the Rangers added five new players to their roster and with no training camp and just five days to practice together, it is going to take some time to be a cohesive unit. A little patience to start the season is going to be needed but rest assured, this Ranger team is too talented to play this poorly for long, and their head coach knows that as well. Tortorella has a way of pushing the right buttons, with an off day today and practice tomorrow he will get a better idea of what he is working with and he will figure out a way to make this team successful again.
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