As chagrined as I am by it, the Devils have surpassed the Islanders as the Rangers' biggest rival. They aren't the Stanley Cup caliber team they were a few years back but they are still far better than the orange-and-blue clowns in Uniondale and a worthy adversary.
Familiar Foes: Let's face it, Mmmmaaaaaaaarrrrrtttyyyyyy leads a franchise full of familiar foes. Elias, Parise, Zubrus, Clarkson, blah blah hate them all. And the Ilya Kovalchuk contract odyssey/idiocy ended with the one-way Russian back at the Rock. Like anyone else would be that desperate for someone to bring in fans to give him that much money.
N00bz: Two of the most important n00bz aren't really n00bz at all: John MacLean behind the bench and Jason Arnott under center. Johnny Mac is a company man so his coaching philosophy shouldn't wander far from status quo. Arnott brings a big body who can put up a point per game when his teammates aren't injuring him in their celebrations. Lou bolstered the blueline with Anton Volchenkov and Henrik Tallinder and signed Johan Hedberg to bring Fatso his donuts.
Last Year: Monday, October 5th 3-2 Ranger win; October 22nd 4-2 Devil win; Tuesday, January 12th 1-0 shootout loss; Saturday, February 6th 3-1 Ranger win; Wednesday, March 10th 6-3 Devils win; Thursday, March 25th 4-3 Ranger shootout win.
This Year: Thursday, September 23rd at MSG and Saturday, September 25th in Newark preseason. Sunday, October 24th at MSG; Friday, November 5th in Newark; Wednesday, December 29th in Newark; Thursday, February 3rd at MSG; Friday, February 18th in Newark; Saturday, April 9th at MSG.
What They Mean To Blue: Three more Ranger home games? A louder crowd? Last season Tortorella sent a message to the team in the very first game by calling timeout and tearing them new orifices after they went behind early. Of course, the message was forgotten by Christmas, so what can he pull this time around that will stick? I don't know but I think we will certainly find out ...