The Rangers open up the home schedule on Saturday night against the Ottawa Senators.
Where We Are: We will be playing on the back half two-games-in-two-nights. Perhaps that won't matter as it will be just the second game of the season and they will have the True Blue loud and proud on a Saturday night at the Garden. I won't even bring my sign from last season!
Where They Are: Ottawa will be playing their season opener after one awful summer. They were dragged through the saga that was Dany Heatley and came out of it for the worse. They picked up one-year-wonder Jon Cheechoo and the mediocre (and possible still concussed) Milan Michalek. They also added the oft-injured Pascal Leclaire to somehow solidify their goaltending. He is the Marian Gaborik of the crease - stellar when healthy, but rarely healthy.
Who To Watch For: Ottawa also brought in Alex Kovalev and Kovy seems to love playing against the Rangers - two goals in the Montreal Massacre among many other games. Even with Heater gone, the Sens still have the ageless Daniel Alfredsson and the supremely skilled Jason Spezza. Another guy to keep an eye on is Ryan Shannon, who really looked quite good at the end of last season and could be primed for a breakout year.
What To Watch For: After a grinding training camp that was so very tough by all accounts, the Rangers jump right into the frying pan with back to backs so their conditioning is something to be quite wary of. Also see who gets booed more during the pre-game introductions - Wade Redden or Michal Rozsival. I honestly think that Donald Brashear will get a mixed reaction while the two over-priced defenseman get some well-earned flak. My guess is Rozy based on his abominable preseason but he wasn't booed every time he touched the puck like Redden did.
What We'll (Hopefully) See: A win. The Blueshirts will almost have a mulligan for Friday night no matter how bad it is as the Pens will be riding the Stanley Cup emotion through their home opener. If the Rangers stumble out of the gate Saturday though, it could get ugly. Speaking of ugly, hopefully we won't see any rookies make the same mistake that Brandon Dubinsky did trying to prove themselves. Let them prove themselves with scoring and let goon do his job. On that note, this will be a big test for Donald Brashear as Ottawa will put Jarkko Ruutu out on the ice and we all know what impact Ruutu has. Chris Neil is also still on the Sens but perhaps he will be a little gun-shy after the ass-kicking he got at the hands of Milan Lucic during preseason.
Also Check Out: Sens Army and Five For Smiting and Black Aces, no not Eddie O and Mike Hudson.