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OTG POLL

What do you think of the Rangers season so far?

Quite surprised
Modestly surprised
As expected
Worse than expected
Terrible

Previous Polls
 INJURY REPORT
Vladislav Namestnikov 12/14
Expected to be in the line-up tonight
 
Fredrik Claesson 1/16
Will be out until February with a right shoulder injury
 
Neal Pionk 1/16
Will be out of the line-up until after the all-star break
 
Kevin Hayes 1/16
Could be back in the line-up as soon as Thursday
 
  MORE INJURY NEWS...
SEPTEMBER 24TH, 2014
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Best Of:
2014-15 ~ 2013-14
2012-13 ~ 2011-12
2010-11 ~ 2009-10

RUMOR MILL

Tuesday - October 25th

Either Josh Jooris (New York Daily News) or Dylan McIlrath are likely to find themselves on waivers when Pavel Buchnevich returns from back spasms.

The team is expected to cut the roster down to 22 players, and as such one of the two will need to be either moved or sent down.

  MORE RUMORS...

Question Of The Day

September 29th, 2017

How many rostered players were on the ice for opening night 2016-17

Answer...
  BIRTHDAYS

Dick Duff - 1936
Kris King - 1966
Nik Antropov - 1980

  SEARCH BIRTHDAYS
  RANDOM RANGER

SIMON WHEELDON
(1987-1989)
  Born: Aug 30 - 1966  
  Pos: Center  
  GP: 11  
  G: 0  
  A: 2  
  Pts: 2  
  PIMs: 6  
 
Henrik Lundqvist is still committed to stay with the Rangers

Always Look On The Bright Side
Posted by Toby Ivey ≡ 5:57:56 PM - October 4, 2018

The chances of the Rangers winning the Stanley Cup, let alone making the playoffs appear relatively remote this season.  The first officially sanctioned team rebuild is well underway, and the roster looks more akin to a team that is simply running the season down at the end of the year, than one that is entering a full 82 schedule.

The franchise goaltender is 36 and a few years removed from his best performances, backed up by a rookie who barely has around one hundred games of experience in his entire career, with just a handful of those in North America.

As for the blueline, it features a collection of question marks.  Marc Staal stabilized his play somewhat last year following several years of injuries and declining play.  Brendan Smith, by contrast, proved to be a liability in his own end last year and is fighting for his career, while Adam McQuaid is entering the last years of his.

Rookie Neal Pionk looks promisiing in limited action, and it's hoped that Brady Skjei can somehow regain the form that he showed in his rookie season.  As for Kevin Shattenkirk, his defensive play remains a weak point and it remains to be seen whether he can prosper in a more conservative defensive structure.

Finally the forwards who, outside of the top line, eature a combination of players who may not be long for the team - including Kevin Hayes, Jimmy Vesey, Mats Zuccarello, Ryan Spooner and Vladislav Namestnikov - as well as runproven ookies Vinni Lettieri, Filip Chytil and Brett Howden.

In fact the offense is so unproven, that the collective goal scoring from the 18 man unit would have trailed Buffalo by more than 50 goals for worst in the league last year, if they matched their 2017-18 output.

Not to mention a rookie head coach who has never coached a professional game.

Predictions of a non-playoff season and another purge come the deadline, seem like a sure thing if you were looking to make a wager.

But then again, hockey's a funny game.  While it's probably the case the Rangers will miss the post-season for the second straight year, its by no means a certainty, and there's a possibility that anything could happen in a league that sees it's fair of surprises over the years.

Take David Quinn for instance.  While it's true that he's a rookie coach, it's clear that he's bringing a system and an approach that will support the team, and perhaps even keep more games within reach on a nightly basis.  This isn't your Jacques Lemaire defense backed up by a world class puck-handling goaltender mind you, but a modern take on a zone coverage that values competition for the puck and protecting the slot.

There's also signs that the Rangers might be able to leverage the power play more effectively this season, with the likes of Mika Zibanejad and Pavel Buchnevich in particular worth watching, as well as defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk's ability to get pucks to the net from the point.

In goal I don't expect Lundqvist to suddenly look 25, or even 30 again, but if the Rangers can cut down the high percentage opportuntiies, then he should see some improvement, and Georgiev comes with the reputation as a hard worker who also has talent to be a quality NHL netminder, despite his relative inexperience.

It's fair to say the Rangers will still need a lot of things to go their way to be competitive this year, and that includes one or two of their rookies to fire, the likes of Vesey and Smith to regain some form and be able to defend better than they have done in recent years, but it's not an impossible ask.  The limited expectations will give the team a little more room to operate, particularly in the early going as they are finding their way, and if they get to January still well in the mix and things may very well be interesting.

You could certainly argue that the Rangers are better off failing and acquiring more assets, in order to build longer term competitiveness, and that will still very much be the case come the deadline.  A little extra competitiveness in the mean time will make the season just a little more interesting for those of us who continue to invest our time in the team we love.



Profile of the Author:
Has been an active follower of the New York Rangers since the 1996-97 season. Began OutsideTheGarden.com in 2001, and has continued to collect data and provide analysis on the team through to the current day.

 Additional stories from Toby Ivey:


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