Sep 27, 2013; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Los Angeles Kings forward Linden Vey (57) and New York Rangers forward Brian Boyle (22) await the drop of the puck during a third period faceoff of an NHL preseason game at MGM Grand Garden Arena. The Kings won the game 4-1. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

NY Rangers: Early Season Woes, Expectations

John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

I am with everyone who is advocating that we withhold panic until the season is more than just a couple of games old. I also think it is reasonable to adjust our high expectations based on a very disappointing pre-season and first game. A reason offered for early poor play is that the team has a new coach and new system. Teams usually get a bump from a new coach, particularly if the previous one had lost the locker room. There may be a learning curve with a new system, but missing defensive assignments, a consistent woe, shouldn’t be anything new for anyone at the NHL level. Why do we have no space in the attacking zone, but other teams cross our blue line into the Grand Canyon? This problem may take some time to correct.
Starting on the west coast against some of the NHL’s best is also the opposite of what we would ideally want. Imagine starting the first ten games at home against teams such as the low flying crew from Philly (hard to type their name!) who have already fired their coach Peter Laviolette and the domesticated cats from Florida. It would have even been preferable to play on the road against those nearer teams to start. Nonetheless, the schedule is a fixed matter. In the storied season two years ago, the 2011-2012 team started a bit farther away, (in Europe!) but even in losing seemed competitive from the start. Something is different here. Until we can also resurrect the relentless fore check the team had, I will continue to temper my expectations. The Brandons, Dubinsky and Prust, from that earlier team, may not have scored much, but puck possession was an integral part of their game, and the other team can’t score while we have the puck or pin them in.

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