The New York Rangers 2013-2014 schedule is finally released and looking at it should get everyone more excited as we inch closer to a brand new season for Lord Stanley’s hardware.The Rangers will be back on normal schedule with an 82 game schedule under the new league alignment. With that said, here are some key dates you should pay closely attention to.
October 3: Rangers open the season out west against the a team in which the local people saved their team, the Phoenix Coyotes. Everyone can finally breathe. Hockey is back!
October 3-October 29: The Rangers will be on the road again for a month because of renovation at “The Worlds Most Famous Arena”, Madison Square Garden. This will yet again be another test to the team. The Rangers are typically good on the road, so you shouldn’t have to worry too much. They will play five Western Conference teams on this trip to start. The teams consists of Phoenix, Los Angeles, San Jose, Anaheim and St. Louis, all who made the playoffs last season, except Phoenix. You can expect it to be a tough battle right away.
October 28: Rangers home opener against the Montreal Canadiens . Then play the Islanders and have their four game home stand. This is always a memorable day and one of the most exciting times of the year for Rangers fans. They will continue their home stand against the Carolina Hurricanes, Anaheim Ducks, and Pittsburgh Penguins. A nice test for playing at home.
November 7 and December 12: This will be one of the most interesting and possibly best games to watch. New York will face off against Columbus! Teams exchanged superstars in two separate trades. The Rangers acquired Rick Nash and the Blue Jackets acquired Marian Gaborik, both involving multiple players. It’ll be interesting to see what kind of reception Rick Nash gets in Columbus. He did bring them their first post-season in franchise history. Marian Gaborik did flourish here, but he faultered off in the end. Will he get a warm reception?
November 19 and November 29: It’s always nice to see how well you match-up against the reigning Eastern Conference Champions. This year, that would be the Boston Bruins. The Rangers will face-off against them at home first on the 19th of November and then right back at it in Boston on the 29th. Boston is a hard hitting, physical team who has deep scoring ability as we saw in the playoffs. Will the Rangers show a better side this time?
November 30: On this day, the Vancouver Canucks are in town and you know what that means, right? Yes, John Tortorella is back, but for the opposing team. You kind of have to think he’ll get a warm welcoming, but a lot of fans think he’s the reason for a failure of a season. He was a great coach for the team and helped put them back on the right track. Good things don’t last forever though and that is why we now have Alain Vigneault.
January 8: The Rangers will test their will against the Stanley Cup Champions, the Chicago Blackhawks. This team has incredible ability to score at will with the multi-superstars they have on their team. With that said, Crawford has given up some softies in his past so the team could send a message by getting a win in the United Center. They will face them again on February 27 in New York City.
January 26 and January 29: These two dates should be circled with a black sharpie on your calenders. Why? Because it’s part of the Stadium Series in the Bronx. The Rangers will play the New Jersey Devils in Yankees stadium at 12:30 p.m. for the first game and again against the Islanders at 7 p.m. in Yankees stadium as well. What else is good about this? The Rangers have 41 home games at Madison Square Garden so you can say they have an extra two home games in a way. It only works in their advantage.
March 1: This would be a good time to see how good the Rangers actually are.. This day is the first game for the Rangers after the Olympic break, and you can expect a few key players to attend these ceremonial Olympic games. You can only hope it will keep them on their game, as other players will have a month off without the real effects of a game and will have to figure out how to get back into the groove, and quickly. There will only be 22 games left and only nine games are at home. This could be a make or break part of the year for the team.
So there you have it. A lot of these dates are crucial to the team to see where they are in the league and hopefully New York will overcome the small disadvantage they have in the beginning of the year. Though this team is one season removed from being one of the best in the league. They just need to find that groove again.