‘No Excuses’ for New York Rangers effort in preseason loss to Isles

Syndication: Nashville
Autumn Allison

The New York Rangers got their first taste of how new head coach Peter Laviolette deals with lousy performances on Saturday night.

After an abysmal two periods of hockey that found them down 4-0, the Blueshirts were likely read the riot act and tried to rally in the final frame. The team fell short in their bid by a 5-3 score, with some wondering if this was a byproduct of learning a new system.

Laviolette was having none of that.

“Backchecking is a universal language– there’s no system involved,” Laviolette explained. “Finishing checks and competing for pucks is a universal language. Execution has to be a universal language, so there’s no excuses for that (performance).”

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Peter Laviolette calls out New York Rangers effort

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Tom Horak-USA TODAY Sports

The Blueshirts came out of the gate at UBS Arena slow and seemingly uninterested against the Isles. That led to being outshot by a 13-6 margin and finding themselves down 3-0 after one period.

It was an especially atrocious effort for the line of Vincent Trocheck between Artemi Panarin on the left and Alexis Lafreniere on the right in the opening frame. Laviolette eventually broke them up in the third period.

Veteran backstop Jonathan Quick, who is 37 years-old, did his best to keep the Rangers close and even stopped Mathew Barzal on a breakaway early. Unfortunaltely, a lackadaisical backchecking effort by Lafreniere (-2) led to the first goal, and a poor decision with the puck by Panarin led to another just 2:30 apart. On the third goal, Panarin (-3) was outhustled by Bo Horvat for a wraparound tally.

“There are some system things we’ll look out. There were mistakes [in all three zone] but that doesn’t let them off the hook for the rest of it,” an irked Laviolette said.

Laviolette, 58, was named the 37th head coach in franchise history on June 13. For his NHL coaching career spanning 21 seasons, his record stands at 752-503-25-150 with a 78-76 mark in the playoffs. He’s also been to three Stanley Cup Finals (2006, 2010, 2017) winning with the Carolina Hurricanes on his first attempt.

To say that he knows what it takes to win is a bit of an understatement. During his introductory press conference, Laviolette stressed work ethic and compete levels as needing to be a part of a team’s DNA if they want to win the Stanley Cup. After last night’s performance, he let his players know just what he thougt about their genetic make up.

“It was not good at all,” he said with his eyes in the air. “It’s unacceptable the first half of that game. It’s not who we are and who we want to be. We’ll talk about it and get back to work.”

One player that is battling for a roster spot is rookie Brennan Othmann, who scored his second goal in as many games, gave some indication of what Laviolette might’ve said to them in the locker room.

“Regardless of preseason or regular season, Lavi alluded to it in the first period, he hates losing,” Othmann said. “I hate losing too. Losing is one of the worst feelings as a competitor and a hockey player. There aren’t two points up for grabs, but at the end of the day, you want to compete and win the hockey game.”

The Rangers have a day off on Sunday and will be back to work on Monday before another preseason game Wednesday. It would be wise for the players to be ready to show their new coach that this last game, exhibition or not, was an aberration.

Anthony Scultore is the founder of Forever Blueshirts and has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL... More about Anthony Scultore

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