NYR/NYI 9/26 “It’s Only The Preseason” Thoughts & Game Recap, Who Looked Good & Who Played Like Dead Wood, Ryan Reaves Ready To Go & His Major Impact with NYR, “Talk Is Cheap”/Gallant, Redundant Captaincy Talk, “Igor The Chatterbox”, Roster Cuts & More

Game one of the Rangers preseason is now in the books, and while it’s only the preseason, the Rangers could’ve written better chapters on Sunday night.

Greetings and salutations everyone and welcome to another blog here on BlueCollarBlueShirts.com. Needless to say, the date of 9/26/21 wasn’t a great day for fans of the New York City sports scene – especially for Ranger fans who also root for the Giants and/or the Jets.

On Sunday 9/26/21, after the New York Giants invented another new way to lose during the final play of a game (and on “Eli Manning Day” to boot), and after the New York Jets were blanked three hours later; the New York Rangers returned to Madison Square Garden, where like the perennially inept Jets, the Blueshirts were shut-out themselves.

In the first of six preseason games prior to the start of the regular season, the Rangers lost Sunday’s contest by a final score of 4-0. Making matters worse for the residents of Rangerstown, USA, it were the New York Islanders and their much heralded fourth line picking up exactly where they left off from last season (and against the Rangers as well), as Casey Cizikias, Cal Clutterbuck and Ross Johnston (subbing in for Matt Martin), picked up three of the four goals scored in the game. Not good!

Let’s preface everything I’m about to say during this blog with this – “IT’S ONLY THE PRESEASON”. If your team is going to shit the bed (which is what the Rangers did in this game with the Islanders), you rather your team roll around in liquid poo during the preseason (when these games don’t count in the standings), rather than coming out like this during the regular season. At the same time, after waiting over four months for some sort of brand of Rangers hockey, Sunday night’s tilt at M$G was uninspiring and depressing – especially for the fans and season ticket holders who paid regular season game ticket prices for this sixty minutes of nothing.

Some fans, and perhaps even the Rangers themselves, have put way too much pressure and hype on a player that’s never played in North America before. During Sunday’s game against the Islanders, I thought other prospects/rookies, such as Will Cuylle and Matt Rempe, shone more than Nils Lundkvist. That’s my opinion, that might not be yours. Photo Credit: NYR

Again, let me reiterate all of this one more time – it’s only the preseason, these games don’t count and blah blah blah. However, while the results of these games may not count, nor have no bearing on the regular season; for the young players, the prospects and even some veterans on the fringe – these games do matter. What happens during the preseason will change the lives of many people under the team’s employ.

While at this time, we can pretty much figure out the Rangers twelve starting forwards and six starting defensemen (and perhaps where these players are positioned into the line-up too), there are limited roster spots with the varsity club still available, including both the 13th forward and seventh defenseman positions.

I don’t think I have to lay all of this out for you. As talked about before on this site, you got young guys like Morgan Barron and Will Cuylle trying to do everything they can to stay with the team. In addition, the financial disparity between the NHL and the minor leagues (AHL for Barron, OHL for Cuylle) is life-changing.

Furthermore, similar to the stint that Vinni Lettieri once had with the Rangers, no one wants that “4A” label on them either, which means being great at the AHL level, but at the same time, not being good enough at the NHL level. And when it comes to the current young players on the Rangers who are battling during this preseason period of the schedule, while the previously mentioned Cuylle and Barron played tonight, players like Tarmo Reunanen, Zac Jones, Julien Gauthier, Dryden Hunt, Timothy Gettinger and others, are also in the same boat.

If you look at the veterans that the Rangers now employ, you have players like Anthony Bitetto, Jarred Tinordi, Greg McKegg, Libor Hajek and others all trying to keep an NHL paycheck, as they all try to avoid being sent down to the AHL.

To expand even more on how these preseason games are important to the players who play in them; who knows what the plans are for the Rangers goaltending-wise (outside of Shestyorkin being the starter), as you may also have a back-up goaltender job up for grabs, between the cheap Keith Kinkaid and the overpaid-for-a-back-up-goalie Alexandar Georgiev. One thing to ponder is if the Rangers will carry three goalies this season or will either Kinkaid or Georgiev be sent to Hartford?

So yeah, while these preseason games don’t count for the fans or in the standings – for some of the players themselves, these games will change the trajectory of their lives and bank accounts during this upcoming 2021-22 season.

Many Rangers who played in tonight’s game had a lot to say this past week, where after this game, I was reminded of what Gallant said during media day – “Talk is cheap”. Photo Credit: NYR

A lot has gone down in Rangerstown, USA since I last left you, where I will do my best to be your filter. I’ll explain what I mean on the other side of the PLUGS segment, but to give you the heads-up here, many Rangers have done interviews over the last 96 hours, where truth be told, 90% of what’s been said is boring, redundant and not really eye-opening. In tonight’s blog, I’ll give you the 10% that’s been relevant and worth knowing.

I’ll also have thoughts for you on the Rangers/Islanders preseason game from Sunday night, where I’m not going to review this game in my normal/usual style. You just can’t review a preseason game anyway, as coaches try to do different things and experiment with their players & special team systems. I think when it comes to preseason games, it’s easier to talk about what you liked and try to find the positives. That said, when you lose 4-0 to the Islanders, you can’t ignore the negative stuff either. I’ll cover both sides of the coin for you on this blog.

However, and as usual on this site, before getting into the meat and potatoes of this manifesto, a few PLUGS!

Up first, the mandatory plug for my new book, “The New York Rangers Rink of Honor and the Rafters of Madison Square Garden”.

As mentioned previously, the book is now available in hardcover, in paperback and in Kindle formats. To purchase a copy of the book, visit this link:


For those still looking for signed paperback versions of the book, I have 24 copies left for sale for $25 (includes shipping price) through me directly. Here is all the information on that:

Order “The New York Rangers Rink of Honor and the Rafters of Madison Square Garden” Book Today

With many hockey fans returning to the scene, what a perfect time for yours truly to catch you up with my most recent writings on the Rangers. Say it with me folks – here are my last few blogs in case you missed them:

BCBS For 9/23: Gerard Gallant’s Press Conference Recap; Gallant Talks Team Captain, Lines, What To Expect & Other Key Topics, GG vs DQ, Trolling NJ Devils Season Ticket Reps, Walt Tkaczuk Update, NHL vs The NBA & COVID-19, Lafreniere vs Brittney Spears, Cuylle Gets Screwed by CBA, Kane Cleared & More


BCBS For 9/20: Rangers Developmental Camp Thoughts; NYR Prospects Split Series with the Flyers, Broadcast/Streaming Issues, Will Cuylle MVP of Camp (That’s My Story & I’m Sticking to It), Unrealistic Expectations Bestowed Upon Lundkvist, Panarin Says “Nyet” to Captaincy, RIP Lou Angotti, Michael J Fox, The Isles IBS Arena, Book Update & More


BCBS For 9/16: The Rangers Past, Present and Future! Rangers Developmental Camp Thoughts; Evaluating Prospects & Draft Picks, NYR Beat Reporters, Kreider Captaincy, 2021-2022 Metropolitan Division Season Preview & Who Makes The Playoffs, “The Cat” Turns 95; NYR Ignores Francis, RIP Jack Egers & More

As long as he continues to have Hart Trophy contending seasons, I could care less about what Artemi Panarin does with his hair. That said, he looks more and more like Carol Brady every day. Photo Credit: NYR

Prior to Sunday night’s preseason tilt with the Islanders, the Rangers opened up their training camp on Thursday. As you’d expect and probably know by now, these training camp practices have different goals, including finding line chemistry, defensive pairings and in the case of the Rangers – allowing new head coach Gerard Gallant to get a feel for his team.

After each practice/training camp session (these sessions have featured scrimmages between two different line-ups and with a third practice line-up doing drills/having a practice afterwards), the players meet with the media where they then give out a bunch of quotes and answer meaningless questions. (“DO YOU WANT TO PLAY WELL THIS SEASON?”)

When it comes to these post-practice/training camp interviews, as I’ve previously said on this site (and as I say every year at this point of the Rangers calendar), I don’t really put too much stock into what’s being said. Similar to what Gallant’s been preaching since coming to New York, it’s my belief that anything being said prior to the regular season is just white noise. To me, all of this is just something for the NYR beat reporters to write about. After all, to quote Gallant himself – “talk is cheap.” (And think about it, once the preseason is over, when do you ever go back and look at what was said during training camp interviews?)

At the same time, the reporters need to earn their paychecks and the players are required to talk to the media too. For the purpose of this blog, I’ll give you the highlights, because I feel the majority of what’s being said right now is just stuff to fill a blank white page on a monitor, especially when you have simplistic headlines of “BENOIT ALLAIRE WILL CONTINUE TO COACH THE GOALTENDERS”. You don’t say! (And fortunately, that breaking news wasn’t hidden behind a paywall either!)

I mean really, you’ll never get anything shocking out of these players at this time. Stuff like, “I want to have a good season”, “I think we’ll have a good season”, “we want to make the playoffs” and “we’re working hard” is pretty much what these guys say every day – and as expected.

If there was anything truly big coming out of these media interviews, it’s that Artemi Panarin confirmed that he won’t be talking about politics anymore – at least not on social media or in public. More importantly, Panarin also confirmed that his family is safe and doing well.

And isn’t it amazing Suzyn, how during the duration of his stay with the Rangers, how Tony DeAngelo was vilified and destroyed by a large portion of this fan base for making his opinions on politics publicly known, while no one ever had an issue with Panarin airing out his thoughts on politics? (This would also apply to Jacob Trouba and his public statements on politics too.) I’ll stop here, as I don’t want to get into this again and I may have said too much already! However, you get the point – as long as you agree with the majority, no one will ever try to besmirch you or put down your opinions. Everyone loves a good echo chamber this time of year!

And oh – the smartest person on the Rangers when it comes to politics and talking about them on social media? The person you’d suspect the most, in the Harvard educated Adam Fox, an Adam Fox who deleted all of his political tweets and “likes” after seeing what happened to DeAngelo. That’s the difference between a Harvard education and a high school education! Harvard was money well-spent!

At this time, let’s get into the real highlights of what was said after these practices/training camps, followed by my thoughts (not a review) of Sunday night’s game.

Adam Fox was ribbed by his teammates at training camp and Fox embraced the practical joke, by wearing this custom made #23 Norris Rangers jersey. Photo Credit: NYR

During the first day of camp, Adam Fox was skating around in a jersey with a “Norris” nameplate on the back. That’s right, that’s Adam Fox pictured here and not some random player with the surname of Norris (remember Josh Norris?) on a PTO deal.

And real quick here, has anyone else noticed that the Rangers don’t have any players on PTO (Professional Try-Out) deals during this training camp? Answering this question is easy – the Rangers have so much depth right now, with the bulk of these players coming out NHL Drafts, where the Rangers priorities and commitments are to the players on their roster, rather than the team looking to take a shot or two on some random veterans.

When it comes to Fox wearing this “Norris” jersey, Fox laughed about it and seemed to enjoy his peers pumping him up. After Thursday’s practice, Gerard Gallant was asked about Fox’s threads and said: “It’s good, it’s great stuff, guys are having fun with it. He’s a great kid and guys are showing a little respect and a little jab at him.” 

For as silly and for as funny as this gesture is, a little thing like this is great for the locker room and for the team’s chemistry. That’s why I bring it up here. A positive morale is good for this young team.

Jacob Trouba seems to be the odds-on favorite to land the “C” for the Rangers. Photo Credit: Getty Images

In the most redundant and “let’s get it over with” topic among all things related to the Rangers right now, is the question of who should be the team’s next captain? I feel like I’ve written so much about this already, where I’m all pooped out when talking about this. However, until the Rangers name a captain, this will remain a topic frequently brought up by the media.

During the last few days, the most likely candidates to fulfill the current team’s captain vacancy issue (Adam Fox, Jacob Trouba, Chris Kreider and Mika Zibanejad), have all talked about this subject. These players have all pretty much said the same thing – they don’t know who it will be, but if they are named as team captain, they’d consider it an honor and will do their best. I mean really, outside of Artemi Panarin, who as talked about on prior blogs, has no interest in becoming team captain; what do you expect these players to say?

For what it’s worth, both Chris Kreider and Mika Zibanejad had the “A” on their sweaters on Sunday night, just like they normally do. If you’re a pessimist – neither Kreider nor Zibanejad did anything to stand out, nor lift the team up at any moment, during Sunday’s 4-0 loss. If you’re an optimist, all you can do is go back to the mantra of “it’s only the preseason” or talk about the next player I’m going to bring up here – Ryan Reaves.

Ryan Reaves received a ton of admiration out of Ranger fans this week. Here’s Reaves giving Vitali Kravtsov some pointers on how to fight during a recent Rangers practice. Photo Credit: NYR

In case you’re new here and/or you’re a regular reader who may have forgot, I want to reiterate my thoughts on Ryan Reaves and the contract extension that the Rangers gave him. In short, I’m a fan of it. I thought this was a great trade executed by new general manager Chris Drury. Reaves is one of those great locker room guys, whose positive outlook and hardworking abilities can become contagious – especially for the younger players on the club.

Yes, we all know about Reaves perhaps going over-the-top at times, during previous on-ice incidents that have led to suspensions. If you want to cry about that, while waving your charts that suggest that Reaves doesn’t possess the best Corsi or analytical numbers – that’s on you. I can’t help you if you’re one of those mooks.

For the people who are like me, and subscribe to the “eye-test” when watching hockey, you understand what it takes to win in the playoffs. You know that Reaves is a perfect asset for the Rangers while trying to accomplish that goal. Much will be written about Reaves and his penchant for pugilism & penalties and that’s fine. However, what sometimes gets lost when talking about Reaves and his fists, is that like a good vaccine, the presence of Reaves on this roster is a preventative measure. Opposing teams will second-guess themselves before running the Rangers.

More importantly, Reaves, and some of the new Ranger acquisitions, like Sammy Blais and Barclay Goodrow, will make teams around the league groan rather than salivate, whenever seeing that the Rangers are up next on the calendar. After being an easy out for so long, the Rangers will now be tough to play against, which is imperative for success.

While we haven’t heard much out of Blais and Goodrow yet (and when it comes to the latter, his preseason debut didn’t go exactly as planned), in the case of Reaves, not only was he doing all the right things at practice this week – he was also saying all the right things too.

Here are some of the highlights of what Reaves said this week:

— Reaves explained what it was like playing for Gallant and praised the new head coach of the Rangers. Reaves said that Gallant is a fair guy to play for and is very approachable, but at the same time, will hold everyone, no matter their status/experience, to an equal level of accountability. No one is getting off the hook under Gallant.

— Here’s a direct quote from Reaves, regarding joining the Rangers:

“Since free agency, where I signed a couple of times in Vegas; probably ten times a year I see a lot of fans saying ‘let’s get Reaves.’ Whenever there is an incident that happens here, it’s always ‘let’s get Reaves.’ I told my wife one time that I’m probably going to end up in New York at some point, and here we are.

The way it came about, in Vegas they made some trades that pushed me down the lineup and they said I wasn’t going to play every game. I had an opportunity to come here, play on another big stage, play for my old coach, and got a one-year extension out of it. Kind of a no-brainer. For me, you go where you are wanted.”

Reaves also commented on Tom Wilson, since many Ranger fans, members of the NYR beat and their mothers can’t stop talking about Tom Wilson:

“I’m not here because of Tom Wilson. I’m here because of what players like Tom Wilson brings to his team and what Clutterbuck and Martin bring to their team. You know this is a big division that has some physical fourth lines. You know Wilson’s on the first line physical top line who you know, runs around a little bit. It doesn’t matter who the player is or what team it is. I’m holding everybody accountable. It doesn’t matter what happened last year. Everybody’s gonna be held accountable when they go up against our team.”

Obviously, this is what you want to hear and it all goes along with what I’ve been saying ever since the Rangers made all of these grit acquisitions during the off-season. Yes, Reaves will help out in neutralizing players in the division, such as Wilson and the Islanders Identity Line; but at the same time, it’s not just about those two opponents either.

If there was one quote that really stuck out to me and had me fist-pumping, it was the following, when Reaves was asked about the Rangers expectations for this season:

“The Stanley Cup. I wouldn’t have come here if they weren’t [contenders]. This team built a lot of young, good, and talented players. They just have a really good young team here. This year you know we’ve added some grit, we’ve added a little bit of that grind that balances the team out well. I expect nothing less than a push for the Cup here.”

While I don’t know if we’ll see a line of Reaves/Goodrow/Blais, these three will help to shed the Rangers “cupcake” reputation of last season.

When it comes to Reaves, and as mentioned, it’s not all about Tom Wilson and players like Wilson. It’s about making the Rangers tough to play against every night. It’s about deterring opponents from trying to get too cute. It’s about 82 games, and not just a handful of games. More importantly, it’s also about the playoffs, where physicality and toughness is a MUST.

However, at the same time, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t expect Reaves to pick a fight against Tom Wilson in game one of the Rangers season, if only to make a statement to the rest of the league that the Rangers are no longer able to be “Father Fink’d” with.

And in the event that Reaves goes after Wilson, you can also expect jersey sales of Ryan Reaves to crack the NHL’s Top 10 of best-selling jerseys – especially if Reaves mops the floor with Wilson.

During his interviews with the media, Igor Shestyorkin admitted that last season didn’t go exactly as planned. Photo Credit: Getty Images

Lastly, as I wrap-up on what was said over the past days (of note, you can watch all of these player interviews by visiting the New York Rangers YouTube channel), the chatterbox known as CZAR IGOR said the following:

— “I want to win playoff games.”

— “I’m not very pleased how last season turned out. There were a lot of losses. I hope this season will be a lot better.”

When talking about previous injuries, Igor also said:

— “I’ve been working on my flexibility, so I’m basically a gymnast now.”

Shestyorkin may not be the most quotable player to ever lace up a pair of skates for the Rangers, but the only thing that matters is stopping pucks – something I expect we’ll see a lot of during Igor’s new four-year deal with the Rangers worth $5.6M a season.

Let’s now get into some quick news and then get into Sunday’s game.

Prior to Sunday’s game, the Rangers announced some roster cuts. Photo Credit: NYR

As you can tell from the graphic above, the Rangers made some cuts on Sunday, bringing the roster down to 47 players. In other words, the Rangers have to make 24 more cuts, in order to get down to 23 players – the maximum amount of players that an NHL team is allowed to carry. Some of these cuts are pretty elementary and easy to predict. (Tyler Wall, Adam Huska, Mason Geersten, Ty Ronning, Brennan Othmann, Lauri Pajuniemi, etc.)

If the Rangers do decide to carry 23 players (the least amount of players a team can carry on their roster is twenty players), I think the Rangers would prefer to go with veterans over young players, just so the younger players could get more ice/playing time at lesser levels. As they say, we’ll see.

With all the news and interviews now covered, let’s get into Sunday’s game.

And just because this blog is getting new eyeballs on it, in addition to fans who are new to hockey, let me remind you that preseason games very rarely feature a team’s opening night line-up. Over the next week, especially in Games 1-4, you’ll see young players and veterans on the fringe mixed-in with the team’s regular roster members.

Here’s the line-up that Gerard Gallant went with on Sunday:

Photo Credit: Colin Stephenson

Before getting into the actual game itself, when looking at this line-up I think we learned a few things. Those things are:

— Gallant is experimenting with a first line of Kreider/Zibanejad/Lafreniere. If that’s the line that Gallant does go with on opening night; by the process of deduction, we can determine that Gallant will do what David Quinn previously did and go with Ryan Strome as Artemi Panarin’s centerman. If there is something else to watch for here, it’s where Kaapo Kakko slots, as last season, Panarin asked DQ to take Kakko off of his line and put Colin Blackwell on it. That’s not to say that Panarin doesn’t want to play with Kakko this season, it’s just to say that Panarin preferred a veteran over a struggling new player last season.

— Gallant looks to be sticking with David Quinn’s first defensive pairing of Adam Fox and Ryan Lindgren, and really, why not? You don’t fix what’s not broken.

— With Patrik Nemeth and Nils Lundkvist together, we can deduce that Jacob Trouba will remain with K’Andre Miller (at least to start), and that the Nemeth & Lundkvist are the odds-on favorites to be the team’s third defensive pairing.

It was nice to see Sam and Joe back together on Sunday night, where I feel that Micheletti does a better job analyzing what’s going on during the pregame/intermission/post-game segments than he does when calling the game itself. Photo Credit: M$GN

Despite being an operation worth over a billion dollars, and as they do whenever they can; both the Rangers and the M$G Networks, similar to the way these parties treated the recent Rangers developmental camp scrimmage games and refusal to air press conferences live, decided to air this game without going to the M$GN studio. However, I’m not complaining, because while John Giannone did various segments while inside of the arena, we also didn’t get Steve Valiquette at all on the broadcast. In fact, with no Valiquette on this broadcast, that meant that we didn’t have to listen to his never-ending fables about his career, nor had to listen to all of his meaningless made-up stats.

That said, while it was great that we didn’t have to suffer through Steve Valiquette tonight; the omission of Valiquette from this broadcast was sadly the highlight of this game/broadcast. I’ll try to find positive things to talk about after this 4-0 loss, but really, no Vally and none of his junk was the best thing about this broadcast.

Goodrow’s debut as a Ranger, for as short as it was, started off with a bang. Photo Credit: M$GN

One last time before sharing my thoughts on this game – “it’s only the preseason.” However, if you’re an Islander fan, you had a lot to be happy about once the final horn went off, as the Islanders fourth line continued to create nightmares for the Rangers. In addition, the two Islanders goaltenders (Sorokin, 13 saves in 32:44 and Skarek 15 saves in 27:16) were flawless.

When it comes to the new look New York Rangers, one player that I was excited to see on the ice was Barclay Goodrow, a Goodrow who received a life-altering contract from the Rangers during the off-season. However, Goodrow only played 4:03 worth of time in the contest, as he was booted out of the game early on, after boarding Kyle MacLean. Since the penalty drew blood, Goodrow got a game misconduct, thus ending his night. In short, we didn’t really see much out of Goodrow, outside of Goodrow fanning on one shot from Sorokin’s doorstep, after a pretty pass set up by Vitali Kravtsov.

Of note when talking about Kyle MacLean, Sam and Joe reminded us that he was the son of former Ranger John MacLean. However, Sam and Joe didn’t give us the “NO RELATION” line, when talking about Islander Robin Salo and former Islander goalie Tommy “Dan Cloutier Owns Me” Salo.

As noted, these preseason games are all about trying out different things, including power-play units. The Rangers went 0-3 on their power-play tonight, a power-play which featured a first unit of Kreider, Zibanejad, Lafreniere, Fox and surprisingly, Dryden Hunt.

When it comes to Hunt, Gallant raved about him after the game, saying that Hunt raised his stock the most among all players whose spots aren’t guaranteed with the team. I thought Hunt was fine enough, but I didn’t really see him stand out that much. Then again, when you lose 4-0, who is really standing out? Plus, as noted many times before, television cameras don’t capture everything, so perhaps Hunt did a lot of good things away from the puck and stuff which wasn’t caught on camera. I’ll have to go with what Gallant is saying here, because he’s there and has the inside track, while I was at home and only had an inside track to my case of Rolling Rock.

Kravtsov didn’t smile too much in this game, but I thought he had a good game on Sunday. Photo Credit: M$GN

When it comes to the players who did stand out in my eyes, those players were Vitali Kravtsov, Will Cuylle and Matt Rempe. I know there is much ado being made out of Nils Lundkvist, but perhaps because there is so much hype and over-promotion of him, there are now insane expectations bestowed upon him, where if he isn’t making some sort of highlight reel play, it makes you wonder what all of this buzz is all about. That said, Lundkvist did fire off a nice little wrister from in-between the circles, only for Sorokin, who played FABULOUS tonight, to make the save.

I also thought that the Ranger veterans were extremely lacking in this game. Mika Zibanejad had one decent shot on net tonight during a Rangers power-play, but for the most part, he continued his act from last season, where he was consistently shooting wide. Mika also made a costly turnover in the game, a turnover which led to a Clutterbuck goal.

Chris Kreider didn’t exactly have the best game of his life either, as he couldn’t score on a breakaway and also put up harmless shots on the power-play, where one of those shots was even heavily criticized by Joe Micheletti. Of course, had Kreider not shot, you would’ve had fans and Micheletti saying, “you have to shoot the puck on the power-play.”

If you’re looking for a player that could be on the main roster endangered species list (and again, keep in mind it’s only the preseason), defenseman Jarred Tinordi finished the night with a plus/minus of -3. That has to be good news for Zac Jones.

In addition, I thought going into this game, that Julien Gauthier really needed to stand out, as he’s lost in the pack a bit to the point where he now seems expendable. With the Rangers roster being what it is, Gauthier now seems like a “4A” player to me, or perhaps someone whose career would benefit more by playing for a different franchise.

And if there’s anything else to keep in mind, it’s the fact that the Rangers had a lot of young and new players playing tonight, while the Islanders, one game away from the Stanley Cup Final last year, had many accomplished veterans in their line-up.

Georgiev, known for his regular season success against the Islanders, took the loss tonight, after allowing three goals on fifteen shots faced.

If there’s a new trend/HOT TAKE circulating amongst Ranger fans, it’s the debate of Alexandar Georgiev vs Keith Kinkaid. Due to Georgiev’s contract, age and past history, come opening night, he has to be considered the favorite to be the Rangers back-up goaltender. While I thought it was tough to really hang Georgiev for his black-and-white stats tonight, as the Rangers defense didn’t give him much help and because one of the goals allowed was during a five-minute Islander power-play – at the same time, Georgiev needs to be better too, especially after a subpar 2020-21 season.

Speaking of penalties, the Rangers took five penalties in this game. This is only a good thing if Gallant wanted to work on the penalty kill, a PK that was 3-4 on the night. To me, the Rangers were a mess on special teams during this outing and that’s an issue that will be addressed in future practices.

And just a question – in a meaningless preseason game, down 4-0, why not pull the goalie for an extra attacker, if only to get some work in this field? After all, the Rangers were absolutely miserable and horrible last season whenever pulling the goalie for the extra skater. May as well practice this during the preseason, because losing this game 4-0 is the same thing as losing by a final score of 5-0.

There was no magic from Mika in this game. Of note, M$GN really needs to update this mopey Mika picture and replace it with a picture of Mika smiling. Photo Credit: M$GN

As the Islanders made short-work of the Rangers tonight, one thought repeatedly crossed my mind. If James Dolan over-reacts to a preseason game, as many Ranger fans on social media did, what happens next? After all, Dolan fired both Jeff Gorton and John Davidson after the Rangers got their fecal matter pushed in by the Islanders last season, and after three consecutive losing games to “little brother”.

After watching the Rangers get smacked around again, what happens now? Jack Eichel? I kid, I kid! However, while I’m joking here (and let me stress that I am joking), if you watched this game, this game felt like nothing had changed and that this game was just a continuation from last season. I was also reminded that Gallant said “talk is cheap”, while his veterans talked a big game during this past week.

I mean really, the difference between this loss and any other loss from last season was this – David Quinn doing a post-game interview, while saying the Rangers lacked “SWAGGER”.

And oh – to make these preseason games more interesting, it would be great if the NHL had a by-law where if you get shut-out in the preseason, the team owner has to refund every paying fan their ticket money, especially since teams charge regular season ticket prices for these scrimmages. I think you’d see the Rangers pull their goalie for the extra attacker then!

When it comes to the wonderkid, in Alexis Lafreniere, I thought he had a decent game himself, where Sorokin made a good stop on a Lafreniere backhander, thus preventing #13 from a goal. Lafreniere also showed some confidence on the Rangers power-play, despite the power-play having no power to speak of.

I’m not anti-Kreider like some people are, but I admit, I would’ve preferred a better game out of him on Sunday. Photo Credit: NHL

When the team loses 4-0 in a preseason game, there’s not much else to talk about. All you can do is hope that this was a “get the rust off” type of game and look towards the next game. In addition, this game allowed Gallant to see some of his players in action, and after tonight, you hope that Gallant now focuses on special teams during the next week and prior to the start of the regular season.

Moving forward, and especially come the regular season, I’m really interested in seeing what guys like Ryan Reaves and Sammy Blais do. Ditto Kaapo Kakko, who now in is third season, is pretty much in a “shit-or-get-off-the-pot” position, especially with a new contract/deal on the horizon.

The Rangers will host the Boston Bruins on Tuesday night, where I’d expect we’ll see Igor Shestyorkin, Ryan Reaves, a first line of Panarin/Strome/Kakko and a top defensive pairing of Miller/Trouba. Maybe we’ll see Goodrow again too, after his short stint in this game with the Islanders.

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One preseason game down, five to go and with the regular season nearly two weeks away. I’ll try to return Tuesday night and I may even attend M$G for this affair with Boston.

Until next time…

Stay FABULOUS my friends.

As always here, thanks for reading and…


Sean McCaffrey


@NYCTHEMIC on Tweeter

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10 thoughts on “NYR/NYI 9/26 “It’s Only The Preseason” Thoughts & Game Recap, Who Looked Good & Who Played Like Dead Wood, Ryan Reaves Ready To Go & His Major Impact with NYR, “Talk Is Cheap”/Gallant, Redundant Captaincy Talk, “Igor The Chatterbox”, Roster Cuts & More

  1. GG has no history as we do with this team. I am pretty sure that he learned yesterday that Kreider does not belong on the first line.

    I remember three unforced giveaways by Kreider.

    Kravstov, Lundqvist and Rempe made good impressions.

    Yes, we were dominated by the Islander’s fourth line. But it was veterans against kids. I do not criticize systems in the preseason. Individual performances that stand out make an impression.

    Thanks for another write-up.

    Hockey is back, and I love it.

    1. I’m sure GG is well aware of recent team history though. I do wonder how much patience he will have with Kreider, especially since the word “accountability” keeps popping up during all of GG’s interviews.

      Much better game tonight against the Bruins!

  2. My only hard takeway from last night is Georgieve is a not an NHL goalie.

    Cannot get too excited about much of anything else. Gallant has said he isn’t so much looking at wins and losses in the preseason as much is how people play. And really a crap effort like that gives a coach a serious whip. Sure he is saying something along the lines of he’s only here because of efforts like that all of last season.

    If Kreider hits on that SH breakaway might have been a different outcome, but Georgieve is such garbage, who knows.

    1. Wow, that’s an extreme takeaway. I’m interested to see what happens with Kinkaid , especially if he has a good performance.

      I guess a #40 jersey isn’t in your future lol

  3. Screw that BLM-kneeling a-hole Reaves. He will add toughness to your team. But I haven’t cared much about the Rangers since they axed TDA.

    1. Wow! I didn’t know that About Reaves.

      I blame the TDA stuff on Gorton. I really had hope for Gorton until he made that statement that TDA had played his last game as Ranger after he got sucker-punched by Georgiev.

      I quit listening to 31 thoughts today after those ignorant Canadian liberals started mocking any unvaccinated players right after they said they wouldn’t say anything about other China Virus.

      1. Agree about TDA/Gorton. Gorton made an ultimatum and it hurt the team. I still think Dolan was pissed about that, since he paid all that money for nothing. You can’t mess with OPM.

        These unvaccinated player stories feel like McCarthyism. Once a player is “outed”, the media and fans bury that player online. So much for tolerance and #BellLetsTalk. Amazing how the NBA and their fans have gone the other way.

        1. Also kind of interesting that NBA abandoned all BLM stuff last year while other leagues (esp NFL) continue it. These issues make strange bedfellows I guess.

          1. I don’t watch the NBA, I wasn’t aware they dropped it. Not for nothing, I haven’t seen any of the BLM stuff or kneeling on TV when watching the NFL this season. Maybe they don’t air it on purpose if they are still doing it.

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