What a tale of two games, huh? For two periods the Rangers completely dominate the pace and location of play and then the Wings remember that they are the Wings and kick the crap out of the Blueshirts in the third to come from behind and win 4-3.
*Hank was hot early and showed the form that will be needed this season as he stopped several odd man rushes.
*His replacement, Matt Zah-ba, was strong in the second half of the second period but fell apart in the third. The first and third goals came on shots that he had a clear lane to see, the second was a bad angle that caught him off the post.
*Michal Rozsival was terrible, again. He interfered relentlessly and was busted for a bad penalty for his effort. Offensively he had one or two nice passes but he avoided contact as much as possible. I was about to type that Wade Redden was actually playing adequately but then Afro-Gator scored to make it a 4-2 game with Redden standing right there so that ended that. As I mentioned in a thread over at Blueshirt Banter about John Tortorella calling Rozy and Redden onto the carpet: there is a big difference between talking about accountability and carrying through with it. We'll see what happens.
*Should they be benched or sent to Hartford, the Rangers could still ice a solid blueline, judging by what we've seen this preseason. Heikkinen and Potter were both good against Detroit, if unremarkable. For Potter that is ok as that is his game (steady, smart defense) but I think for Heikkinen to avoid the bus to Hartford he needs to be step up and be great. It is hard to say but Alex Semenov was solid (bad penalty nonwithstanding) and did more to raise his stock than Bobby Sanguinetti did.
*Staying in the hate-to-give-credit-but-grudgingly-will department, Donald Brashear proved why the Rangers chose him over Colton Orr. He was very good with the puck, even tenacious. Ok? You guys happy out there? Brash still didn't stand up for Voros when he got cross checked in the last minute. Maybe that was because it was a one goal game with the Rangers pressuring but - seeing as the result of the preseason game doesn't matter - showing that he will stand up for his teammates would have been something that would carry over into the regular season. Yes, I still loathe him but I did offer compliments.
*After playing like a scared stiff to open the preseason, Arty Anisimov had a helluva goal. He showed off great hands going inside/outside as he entered the zone and used a screen to fire off a laser of a shot. It really was quite impressive and what we have been hoping to see. Double-A backchecked, fought for loose pucks and hustled. How the hell did that happen and why can't this magic be spread around?
*The same can be said for Grachev, who went hard to the net and limited turnovers. It was his drive that allowed Enver Lisen to make it a 2-0 game in the second. I still think that he needs serious seasoning before stepping on Broadway.
*The chemistry between Chris Higgins and Ryan Callahan was striking. We are going to love watching this pair work this season. Two honest, hard-working guys battling every shift. And Chris Drury didn't look too bad in the middle. I am not sure if Dru is the long-term solution there (funny to say it but Dubi actually might be a better fit) but he made room for his wingers to go to the net. I still wish we could hire a hypnotist for him so he imagines he is playing against the Isles every game.
*As I said in the Kessel piece earlier, MSG is clearly doing their best to bury Dubinsky. They read the statement from his agent - which seemed reasonable - then proceed to air an interview with Torts trashing him and have their on-air talent rip the hell out of the kid as well. How soon until they realize that 23 year old Brandon Dubinsky at $1.5 million (or so) is a better solution than someone like Robert Lang at 39 years old and three or four million?
*It truly is striking how smooth and entertaining Dave Maloney is, especially compared to Micheletti. He has a slower, less excitable tone with more accessible and interesting information. And he makes far fewer mistakes, but that goes without saying.
*On the MSG talent topic, they announced that Mike Keenan will be guesting as a studio analyst for the first two regular season games. Let's hope he doesn't pull any punches ... I still think he is a greedy traitor though. He doesn't leave for St. Louis and the Rangers had a chance at another Cup; he bounces to the Blues and Colin Campbell sticks the knife in that results in the slow, bleeding death that lasts for the next 10 years.
*My distaste for the Potvin Sucks whistle is well documented in this space - against anyone other than the Islanders it is ridiculous - but I have to admit that hearing it sound with six minutes left in the second period of a preseason game in Detroit brought a smile to my face. We Ranger fans travel well.
The Rangers travel to Boston Saturday. My report may be delayed, but there will be one so stay tuned!