When: Saturday, October 29, 3:00 p.m.
Opponent: vs. Ottawa (5-5-0)
Despite their respectable 3-3-2 record, there’s a sense of
urgency surrounding the Rangers. The
team may be in decent shape in the standings, but anyone who’s seen them play
this season knows that the 2011-2012 Blueshirts haven’t come close to playing a
solid game of hockey yet.
Too many penalties and too little offense have plagued New
York since the first game of the season, but in general this team has lacked
the fire and commitment that made it one of the toughest teams to play against
in the National Hockey League a year ago.
Entering the season one of the biggest challenges for Coach
John Tortorella was thought to be how he could motivate the Rangers to play
that same blue-collar style while infusing more talent this season.
So far the relentless work ethic that was exhibited almost
every game last season has been absent, as has the added skill.
Maybe Saturday will finally be the day the Rangers put a
whole game together.
There have been plenty of reasonable explanations for the
early-season struggles. Injuries, a
daunting road trip and the circus surrounding the re-opening of Madison Square
Garden were all distractions and created difficult opening-season circumstances.
The team doesn’t have No. 1 defenseman Marc Staal back yet,
but everything else is now behind it.
New York’s play has been frustrating, but Thursday’s first
period against Toronto showed that this team can play at a higher level; it
just hasn’t come close to sustaining that level yet..
Coach John Tortorella continues to tinker with lines in an
effort to forge some chemistry and will deploy some interesting combinations on
Saturday. Although they may seem
puzzling on paper, nothing else has really worked.
Marian Gaborik has been the one Rangers’ forward that has
brought his A-game since day one, so Tortorella is seeking a way to jumpstart
other players. Perhaps Brad Richards will
be able to provide Brandon Dubinsky and Ryan Callahan with a spark.
The good news for the Blueshirts is that Ottawa has already
given up 39 goals this year, by far the most in the league. The Senators are also 29th on the penalty
kill, but they aren’t a patsy.
Ottawa has won four games in a row, but if the Rangers can
put together an effort reminiscent of the 2010-2011 campaign, they may finally
- Mike Rupp and Michael Del Zotto sat out practice on
Friday. Del Zotto has a hip
flexor but should
play on Saturday while Rupp continues to nurse a “cranky” knee.
- Lines used at
practice on Friday:
Wojtek Wolski/Erik Christensen/Marian Gaborik
Brandon Dubinsky/Brad Richards/Ryan Callahan
Ruslan Fedotenko/Brian Boyle/Brandon Prust
Derek Stepan/Artem Anisimov/Kris Newbury
Conference Preview > (10/3/11)
Conference Preview > (10/4/11)
Predict Where The Rangers Will Finish > (10/5/11)
Rangers Season Preview > (10/5/11)
Claim Jeff Woywitka Off Waivers > (10/6/11)
King” Vs. The Kings In Season-Opener > (10/7/11)
Doom Rangers In OT Loss To Kings > (10/7/11)
Duck Anaheim, Rangers Must Stay Out Of The Box > (10/7/11)
Offense, But Rangers Pick Up Another Point > (10/8/11)
Erixon Will Stick Around For The Time Being > (10/9/11)
Learned: Two Games In The Books > (10/10/11)
To Move Stepan To First-Line Left Wing > (10/10/11)
Show Early Improvement With Faceoffs > (10/11/11)
Vinny > (10/13/11)
Must Find A Way With Patchwork Defense > (10/14/11)
Top Line Shows Promise, But Rangers Have No Answer For John Tavares > (10/15/11)
To Chew On > (10/17/11)
Future On Broadway In Doubt > (10/17/11)
Must Slow The Sedins, Score Some Goals > (10/18/11)
Lundqvist Beats The Canucks, With A Little Help In The Third Period > (10/19/11)
Is Not Well In Ranger-land > (10/19/11)
Slow Start Might Not Cut It Against Calgary > (10/19/11)
Scores Winner With Just Over 1 Second Remaining In OT >(10/20/11)
Path To New York Is Clearing Quickly For Carl Hagelin And Ryan Bourque > (10/21/11)
Seek Third Win In A Row Against Renney’s Crew > (10/22/11)
Averted As Rangers Are Shutout By Edmonton > (10/23/11)
Road Trip Concludes In Winnipeg On Monday > (10/24/11)
To Chew On > (10/24/11)
Parts Of The Recipe Change And New York Wins > (10/24/11)
Learned: Seven Games In The Books > (10/26/11)
Cookin’ At Last > (10/27/11)
Great Goaltending, New York Had No Chance > (10/27/11)
60 Minutes > (10/28/11)
here for our full 2011-2012 Season Archive >
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