The last few days have flew by, and admittedly, I’ve been slacking more than ‘13-‘14 Alex Ovechkin on the back check. (Dude was a -35 that year, look it up.) That being said I figure best way to catch up is to go over some quick hitters on the season so far. This Rangers team has some surprised in parts, and been exactly what we thought in others. Here we go.
1. Lundqvist has had the bounce back start to the year we thought he would.
2. Zibanejad is starting to look much more comfortable in a number one center role.
3. Brendan Smith is playing like he did when first acquired, playing tough in front and sheddin the mitts with anyone who’s asks.
4. Quinns practices have not gotten easier as the season started, and still greatly emphasize 1v1 battles and driving the net heavily.
5. We run around a hell of a lot more than I thought we would in our zone. The players still looks like they’re adjusting to the new system.
6. Jimmy Vesey is probably the most controversial player in terms of how than the fan base views his value (Yes more the Buch)
7. Speaking of Buchnevich, he’s had a pretty damn slow start to the year. 2G but only 11 shots in 8 GP.
8. Neal Pionk has been the most consistent defenseman, and is rightfully getting rewarded with more minutes.
9. For the love of god can we keep Marc Staal away from Pionk and Deangelo. I don’t know why but they both suck paired with him. (I mean you kinda know why if you’ve been watching.)
10. BRET HOWDEN IS THE REAL DEAL. Feels good to say that out loud. Kid is going to grow into a solid player and continue to get more minutes.
11. Kevin Hayes needs to relaaaaax. He’s had a so-so start as well, but the frustration has been more and more noticeable.
12. Been pretty disappointed with Namestnikov, for a guy who played between Kucherov and Stammer last year I haven’t seen much more than a physical game or two.
13. Maybe most disappointing is how completely immobile Shattenkirk has looked in the defensive zone. Lot of puck watching and giving forwards a lot of space to not get beat wide.
14. Zuccarello has had a great start to year… sadly making him the most likely attractive trade bait….. I’m not crying you’re crying.
15. The power play has been surprisingly effective with Pionk as a mainstay. 15th in the league at 23.3%
16. Penalty killing has taken a step back so far. 72% is certainly not ideal for a team without a lot of big goal scorers.
17. Chytil looks like he’s gonna go on a tear as soon as he gets his first. He’s been a force every game with 21 shots in his first 8 games.
18. Ryan Spooner who… Pretty sad to see him be so invisible (1A in 8GP) after finishing the year so strongly racking up 16 points in his last 20 games last year.
19. Ranger the pup is a better mascot than that shameless plug gritty don’t @ me.
20. Strongly believe we’re gonna see some surprise trades this year. Quite a bit of rumors surrounding Kreider with the Blues and Bruins.
21. Tony Deangelo needs to be in the lineup more than guys like McQuaid, runs a great power play and looks significantly more poised in his own end.
Overall the Rangers have competed in just about every game they’ve had so far this year. The first regulation win yesterday against Florida was a solid team game with Georgiev bailing them out in spots. The team is about to head out west to play the Hawks, Kings, Sharks and Ducks. I’m hoping for a split at least, taking advantage of the struggling Kings and injury ridden Ducks. But man, would it be nice to take three of those game going into November when the schedule softens up a bit. We’ll see how the boys handle this first road trip, and if anything I talked about above does a 180. #LGR