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It was a really interesting game to watch tonight. The Rangers looked out and out dominating for large stretches of it, and you really never had that feeling of doubt as the game went on that this team was going to blow it. Perhaps a lot of that was because the names Zetterberg, Rafalski, or Lidstrom were nowhere to be seen, but at least a portion of that was because of the way the Rangers were playing.

They were playing to win. Not to avoid losing.

This fact, more than the up tempo style of play, more than the scoring chances, more than the actual goals scored, this fact makes me extremely happy. And why shouldn’t it? The sit back and run out the clock approach that we have been forced to watch for the past few years was excruciating to watch, and frankly just doesn’t make sense. Do what got you the lead in the first place, playing in the oppositions zone. And while the scoring chances and shot chances certainly went back and forth a bit (I believe we ended at 30 shots a piece), you never got the impression that the Rangers were trying to hold on for dear life, rather that the Red Wings were just riding a surge, and the Rangers would eventually get out of it and get back into their zone. It really is a joyous thing to watch.

But, as the title says, we still have to be skeptical here. We still have to acknowledge that this is still the preseason. We still have to acknowledge that we have yet to face an NHL squad. We still have to acknowledge that none of our kids have been battle tested at this level as of yet. Which leads us to the next issue. What players does Torts cut? Right now I believe he is at 25 players, you have to figure he wants to get down to about 21 or 22. My vote on who makes the team are as follows:

Goalies:
Lundqvist
Valiquette

Forwards:
Gaborik
Drury
Dubinsky
Kotalik
Prospal
Higgins
Callahan
Avery
Lisin
Boyle
Brashear
Voros
Anisimov

Defenseman:
Staal
Girardi
Redden (though if I had my way, he would be gone, and Sanguinetti would be playing in his place)
Rozsival
Gilroy
Del Zotto
Semenov

As hard as it is to say, Grachev still needs more time to play at this level. Del Zotto on the other hand does not. He looks ready to me.

The games against Washington will be mighty interesting to watch…


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