The rag-tag collection of Rangers played quite poorly Wednesday night when they lost to the Devils. But for as bad as they were (and man where they bad) they still managed to get a 'point' against a team that had Ilya Kovalchuk, Patrik Elias and Zach Parise. It is hard to be heartened by that fact as, in the last few years, it often was the Rangers who lost the games, not their opponents who won them. But you have to repeat after me: "It's only preseason. It's only preseason. It's only preseason." And it was the first game of preseason at that. And to further prove how utterly meaningless it was, it took place in Albany of all awful places.
So relax, don't do it, don't look too much into this. Just enjoy seeing the next step towards the new season.
Of course, there is still plenty to be said so here are some rants:
*It was entirely not shocking that the pairing of Steve Eminger and Michael Del Zotto was an abject failure. They were on for both goals against. Little appears to have changed - MDZ isn't capable in his own end and his teammates don't have faith in him. His work on the power plays was just pathetic: turnovers, poor rushes and an soft shot. It kills me that this franchise chose him over John Carlson.
*Arty Anisimov was very active ... to the point where it seemed he was trying to do too much. He really needs to be comfortable with his linemates for things to click.
*Carl Hagelin and Ryan Bourque definitely have the speed to play in the pros but they didn't seem to have much else in this opener. McColgan, McIlrath and Miller all had good moments in the game but consistency is key and they need to learn that not just game-to-game but shift-to-shift. Thomas was out-muscled all night long. Erixon was largely invisible, which was good and bad.
*Adam Larsson, however, looked like a stud. I also was impressed with our old friend Petr Sykora and that Keith Kinkaid kid - he is clearly the heir apparent to Fatso at this point.
*I really look forward to Brandon Prust beating the hell out of Cam Janssen this season.
*Chico and Joe on the broadcast were just incredibly annoying. The only way MSG could have brought together a worse booth was if they had Rick Jeanneret instead of Sam doing play by play. Hearing Chico and Joe try to figure out where Farmingville was was just ridiculous.
*Go Sean. Loved him laughing off Stephane Veilleux to draw a power play early in the first. However, didn't really notice him after that. Not good.
*Also not good, Sean's backstabber Mr. Softie. Erik Christensen was as invisible as his backbone and definitely did nothing to avoid a future on the waiver wire.
*Earlier this summer Mitch from Howlings guaranteed me that Dale Weise would make the team. Weise definitely made a push with his involvement in this one. He scored a good goal by going to the crease and he was consistently a part of the action. He did, however, get his ass handed to him by minor league nobody Brad Mills.
*Speaking of minor leaguers, how did Andre Deveaux lose to David Clarkson? I mean, maybe it was a draw of a fight but considering Deveaux is bigger and was fighting behind a shield, he should have dominated.
*Nice work by Hank and Cam Talbot in net - neither one could be faulted for the goals scored on them.
Scotty Hockey Three Stars will return with the regular season.