The Rangers once again iced a team that wasn’t near what their opening lineup will be, and had 2 in game injuries to what figures to be 2 regulars on top of that to make an already shorthanded squad that much weaker. Missing from the opening night roster (not necessarily all starting) was Gaborik, Richards, Callahan, Wolski, Rupp, Fedotenko, Prust, Stepan, Staal, and Eminger off the top of my head. That’s a tremendous amount of firepower, and huge parts of this team. Granted guys like JVR, Pronger, Hartnell among other weren’t in the lineup for the Flyers, but I think our players who were missing were more significant than theirs…especially since our entire top line and our captain were out of the lineup.
Still though, the Rangers played the Flyers tough, losing by 1 goal plus an empty netter in a feisty affair. The Rangers inability to stay out of the penalty box was appalling, as were the Flyers penchant for running players in exposed positions. Expect Sestito to get a long suspension, and don’t be surprised either if Talbot gets a game or 2. The guys just never understand, when a guy is vulnerable you can’t hit them. It’s Ryan Hollweg syndrome….get it through your heads.
Several players had stand out games, and not all in the positive way. Tim Erixon was a train wreck tonight. Taking stupid penalties, and getting caught flat footed all night long. Frankly Michael Del Zotto carried him like a sack of potatoes the entire game. Speaking of MDZ, he had an outstanding game. I thought he kept everything simple, and picked his spots on when to jump into the play. I definitely liked what I saw.
Christensen had an up and down game, sometimes looking brilliant out there, and sometimes doing his best impersonation of Nigel Dawes, the invisible man himself. John Mitchell had a pretty good game, but at times he struck me as kind of lazy. I saw a few instances where the puck was there, and he just seemed too damn lazy to skate to it, allowing Flyer players who had weaker positioning to beat him to those pucks. Neither player struck me as putting the other away, and EC’s shootout ability can not be forgotten.
MZA also had an up and down game, but I’d say more up than down. He looked outstanding when he had time and space, but several times he was very easily shoved off the puck by the bigger stronger players. He does not look any faster than last year, but again, the talent this kid has is undeniable.
Brandon Dubinsky and Artem Anisimov did not impress. They should have been the leaders of this club tonight, and were remarkable only in their ability to be completely unremarkable out there.
Brian Boyle on the flip side was superb, setting up a goal, and just playing a solid game in all 3 zones. I liked what I saw from the big man.
Ok, that’s all for now, off to bed!