Monday, September 27, 2010

Pre-Season Game 3: My Thoughts

  • Oh well... the winning couldn't last forever. Man, talk about a let down after two physical and entertaining games against their cross river rivals. I wrote my thoughts about the first two games - I think I'll probably have a whole lot less to write about this one.

  • I thought the best forwards for the Rangers were Avery and Frolov. Avery scored the first goal and continued to play well after having a positive effect on Saturday in New Jersey. Frolov has continued to impress me. He played the entirety of his NHL career so far in  LA, so I didn't get to see much of him but he's a much better all around player than I expected. He's also a much bigger player than I thought and is able to use his body to push players off the puck and create space for himself. Not to mention, like Gaborik, so far he has been impressive on the backcheck.

  • Valetenko and Gilroy were the Rangers best defensemen. Valentenko is going to make it hard on the Rangers to make a final decision on which six or seven defensemen will start the season in New York. Valentenko has been pretty solid defensively, he's physical in his own end and he has a rocket of a shot. Gilroy looks to have gotten much stronger over the summer, he used his body much more effectively last night in Detroit than I saw all of last season. Gilroy led the rush several times and created a number of scoring chances, similar to the way he did last pre-season.

  • Stepan who played part of the game with Frolov and Gaborik and part of the game on a line with Dubisnky was not as noticeable as he was in his first game. But, despite the fact Stepan didn't provide much offense he was solid in his own end and showed that he can penalty kill if needed.

  • Grachev was much better than he was against the Devils on Saturday but he still hasn't impressed me. He made a few decent plays and used his body on a few shifts but in no way is he deserving of a roster spot based on his two games so far this pre-season. He could be part of the next round of cuts later today. Another player that many had high expectations of is Mats Zuccarello Aasen who to date has also done pretty much nothing. He's made a few nice passes and has speed which allows him to forecheck pretty well. But he comes to New York after being a star in the Swedish Elite League, their top scorer last season, so far he's not living up to those expectations. He may continue to stay in the Rangers camp, but as of now I have no doubt that he'll be in Hartford to start the season.

  • Semenov who has been pretty solid, remains in the running to earn a contract with the Rangers. McDonagh didn't do too much wrong and at this stage he's still very much in the running. Based on his performances so far I'd let McDonagh spend at least the first part of the season in Hartford. He hasn't played himself out of job, that's for certain. Sauer was much better in his first game than he was in Detroit. The one thing that makes the Sauer decision different for the Rangers than some of the other players is that like Brodie Dupont, if Sauer is sent to Hartford he'll have to clear through waivers.

  • Christensen scored a goal off a wicked wrist shot, but seriously, is there any other player in the NHL that is as effective as being good one second and average the next? He's done it throughout his career and he somehow manages to do it WITHIN games. He did pretty much nothing a part from that goal. This is a guy considered to be in the running for the number one center position on this team? That scares the absolute $hit out of me to be honest.
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