Well, at least that's over. Preseason came to an end with Sunday's 4-3 loss at the Phone Booth in DC. Hank was scheduled to play the entire game but after lackluster play by his teammates resulted in a 4-0 deficit through 40, he was pulled for Valley. Once Valley came in, the Rangers put on a little pressure and Caps goaltender Semyon Varlamov gave up three bad goals on open shots from the circles. The Blueshirts made it look respectable but that was about it. But let's face it, it doesn't matter.
What matters is that no one got hurt, and that the regular season starts Friday night in Pittsburgh. Before then management has to decide what direction they want to go in with these lines and make the personnel moves to help get them where they need to go.
*The first was sending Geno Grachev to the Pack. Grachev has run hot and cold in these exhibitions but in the 'what have you done for me lately' mentality, he scored a goal. We like goals, goals are sexy. But he isn't going to score many goals from the third or fourth line so it is likely for the best.
*Should the whole accountability thing that Torts spews be legit, we will see Grachev take Ales Kotalik's job sooner rather than later. Sure Alice has that incredible shot, but when he isn't using it he is virtually useless. This afternoon he had a perfect chance to tie the game against the Caps in the waning seconds but didn't seem to be paying attention to the play and wasn't in the right position to re-direct a perfect slap-pass into the goal.
*And as soon as Alice is kicked to the curb, Rozy should follow. What a horrific turnover to set up the first goal of the game. It's like he isn't paying attention. Sure he went on to make a good feed to Anisimov for the Ranger power play goal but defensemen need to be able to play defense. That simple.
*People want to dream of a Calder Trophy for Matt Gilroy but that just is not going to happen. If Drew Doughty didn't get it last season - despite playing a lot of minutes and putting up respectable numbers on a bad team - a defenseman has little chance. A safer, underdog selection for rookie of the year would be Arty. Then again, his preseason success still won't translate into top-six status so the likelihood of him getting into the big spots where he can shine isn't too hot.
*Donald Brashear scored. He also didn't fight Sugden for the sake of fighting Sugden. Then again, with the Rangers down 2-0. 3-0, 4-0, a fight certainly would have been warranted to help turn around their fortunes. But, it's preseason. Plenty of time to complain about him not doing his job during the regular season.
*Is it me or does it look like Aaron Voros is skating in mud? He is still working quite hard but this camp certainly has cost him a step. Loved, loved him starting with Tom Poti at the end of the second period. I mean, what coulda happened? Voros letting Poti keep hitting him, yelling "you brute" (2:11 mark)??
*I always liked Mike Knuble. It's just a damn shame he keeps bouncing around in this league and that now we will have to hate him as a Cap. Hard-working, honest hockey player who is willing to pay the price to get the job done. Still can't believe that Neil Smith traded him away for Rob DiMaio.
So, now there is just four days left until the regular season. Somewhere in that span I will put out my predictions (likely Thursday), a Peepin' Foes for the Pens (Friday morning) and who knows what else so keep on coming back!