Something Feels Different About These Rangers


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FALSE HOPE ALERT: Time to bust out the Stanley Cup and the champagne glasses, because after tonight, it felt like the Rangers are going to win the Cup.

All right, obviously, that’s not the case, but after the first two pre-season games, you can already tell there’s something different about these Rangers. After a slow start by the Rangers in their first pre-season bout, New York seemed to have corrected whatever they were doing, on the fly. Once the second period began, it seemed like something was different. As the game progressed, the Rangers tightened up and began to take control of the tempo. Adding to that, every Rangers player (with the exception of Kevin Hayes or Cody McLeod) had an extra “edge” to their effort.

They were organized, they were tenacious and they just did not stop playing. That whole mantra of winning the battles whether it was one-on-one or in the corner was exhibited all around Monday’s game. It looked as if they were taking the body more, the defensive positioning was near perfect and the offense, slowly but surely, began to seep in. Whenever New Jersey scored, it seemed like the Rangers were not rattled, but motivated. Lias Andersson was noticeable, Pavel Buchnevich was strong and players like Ville Meskanen and Neal Pionk stood out. Now, I don’t want to jump the gun here, but the effort shown by this placeholder lineup, shows me that whatever Quinn is preaching, is currently being taken in as gospel by the players. All the while, makes me excited on what a full fledged lineup could do.

Against the Flyers there were some issues in the D-zone, too many penalties, and a bit of Hank’s normal offseason rust. Still, they battled and two young players Brett Howden and Libor Hajek shook off first period jitters and played a strong game.

Then there was Filip Chytil who scored a beauty and Pavel Buchnevich adding his 2nd powerplay goal in as many games. What also stood out is just how different this coaching group is from the last. Fired up, engaged, and communicating are three terms I would use to describe David Quinn and his assistants in both games.

Even though it’s only two games, and pre-season to boot, this has me excited. One of the major problems exhibited by this team last season was the effort level. The man who shall remain unnamed that used to man the bench, created this lackadaisical attitude that you could feel from the stands. Everything and everyone was disconnected and disengaged. Mind you, even with the roster they had after the trades, they still had talent but failed nevertheless. Now, with Coach Quinn preaching accountability and defense, you can see and feel the difference with these players.

The Rangers won’t win the Stanley Cup this season. I hate to say that, but we have to be realistic. What I will say is this: something good is brewing here and just based off of the effort in the first game versus NJ, and the tenacity they showed versus Phil, whatever David Quinn is preaching is working so far. There’s a different vibe within the team, not only on the ice, but in the media as well. So far, it seems like the organization is walking the walk and talking the talk and if this becomes what I think it may become, the foundation is being laid out for some incredibly successful Rangers teams that may just end up winning a Stanley Cup sooner, rather than later. This is what progress looks like, so far.

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