Sunday, October 2, 2011

Preseason: Rangers 4, Slovan Bratislava 1

The Rangers' Eurotrip continued on Sunday with an afternoon match with Slovan Bratislava. The Slovaks, like the Czechs on Thursday, supposedly had a good first period before letting the Rangers be the big, strong NHL visitor they were supposed to be.

I wrote 'supposedly' because I missed the first two periods while at the derby between the two Zurich football teams so please feel free to add anything you saw in the comments. By the time I turned it on at the start of the third period, this one was ovaaaaaaa. Both teams were blowing power plays, few checks were finished and it was just a matter of waiting for the stick salute.

A few Late Hits (BTW, that is the name for my game notes from now on. Original, right?):

*Slovan's cheerleaders did their little dances in the aisles. In Prague, as in Jersey, the scantily clad 'entertainers' had a platform of their own that they bump and grind on. Guess Slovan is a team of and for the people.

*I wonder how many of the penalties that Stu Bickel has been called for so far this preseason would be called in regular season NHL hockey. He is bigger and stronger than his opponents and it shows.

*Didn't notice Erik Christensen once. Sean Avery, the door is open ...

*Loved seeing Ryan McDonagh get a goal. He has done the right thing by getting his defense in order, why not add a little offense? This is the point right where Marc Staal stalled. Staal lost Fedor Tyutin and was saddled with Rozsival so he had to remain the responsible one. When Mike Sauer gets back, he should give McD the freedom needed to keep adding offense.

*Mats Zuccarello looked great. He is finally giving up his reluctance to shoot which is huge but it is a slow process. In the third period Slovan knew he wasn't going to fire the puck and they forced turnovers because of it. But he is still willing to throw that undersized frame of his around. He hit Chara last season, so why not some no-name giant for Slovan? Go Zuke.

*Hank looked alright but it was obvious by the time I tuned in that Slovan didn't have much left in the tank.

*They showed a fan wearing a nice hoodie commemorating the game. Sparta also had game-night merch. I wonder why Frolunda dropped the ball, they would have made a ton on anything with Hank's face on it. I'll let you know what they do in Zug tomorrow!

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