Alain Vigneault was brought to the Rangers to increase offensive production. The Rangers are certainly seeing plenty of offense in their game, the problem is that they’re the ones being scored on. The Rangers are 2-5 to start the year and while it isn’t unreasonable for them to get off to a slow start the manner in which they are losing is troubling. Three of those five losses were games with scores of 9-2, 6-0, and 4-0. Everyone from casual fans to experts said that the Rangers blueline and goaltending would be the most reliable facets of this team. So far the defense has failed to adjust to the new system and is partially to blame for bloated scores. More troubling however, is that for whatever reason the goaltending hasn’t been there for the Rangers this year. Lundqvist was cited as one of the players whose pads would be shortened the most this season when the league mandated smaller pads. Also in practice today Vingeault said that Lundqvist had been dealing with a minor nagging injury and was given the day off. Those are two very vague reasons and they do not excuse what has been a less than stellar start. Complicating matters is the fact that backup goaltender Marty Biron struggled heavily in the early go of the season and decided to retire Sunday morning. Biron had a 16 year career and was well respected by both teammates and media members. He gave the Rangers a solid four years of service and will be remembered fondly by fans too.
After the loss against the Devils on Saturday the Rangers decided to bring up Chris Kreider, Cam Talbot, and Brandon Mashinter to fill some holes the lineup open due to a rash of unfortunate injuries. Two games into the year Rick Nash took an elbow to the head and has been placed on injured reserve for an indefinite time. This is the big man’s second concussion in under a year. The coaching staff has been vague and not optimistic when giving updates on his health. Carl Hagelin is still unable to return until 11 games into the year but is reportedly progressing well. Captain Ryan Callahan broke his thumb blocking a shot in the win over Washington and is out three to four weeks. While Nash was being counted on to be the Rangers main offensive weapon, the loss of Callahan might hurt more because of the leadership and heart he plays with. The most surprising thing that has plagued the Rangers may be the lack of competitiveness in their games. The coaches called them out on it after the loss this weekend and said they’d work on it this week. Hopefully for the Rangers the new players can seize the moment while also lighting a fire under the players already here and not producing. Some good news for the Rangers is that everyone besides the Penguins is off to a terrible start in the Metropolitan division. If the Rangers can weather the storm and get some players back from injury they’ll be in decent shape. It’s impossible to win a championship in October, but you can lose one.
About the Author
Written by Eric O'Connell
Eric O'Connell is Junior at St. John's University in Queens, New York but hails from Connecticut. He has been a life long fan of the New York Yankees, Pittsburgh Steelers, and New York Rangers. Other interests include hanging out with friends, listening to music, having a good time, and Coffee Oreo Ice Cream. Follow on Twitter @EOCONN36 (opinions are mine and not Pro Sports Blogging)