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New York Rangers Off to Slow Start, No Reason for Panic

January 23rd, 2013 at 3:28 PM
By PJ Foti

'Blues vs. Rangers-8732.jpg' photo (c) 2011, Sarah Connors - license:

When talking to various New York Rangers fans, there seems to be a sense of panic after the team's 0-2 start to the shortened 2013 NHL season.

But what for?

Is it because of the pressure that there are only 46 games remaining on the schedule? Because in hindsight, there's still a lot of hockey that remains. If the team were to go 46-2-0, we'd be talking about maybe the best hockey team in history.

Remember, a slow start is OK. The last time there was a shortened NHL season, the New Jersey Devils went onto win the Stanley Cup in 1994-95. That team was winless through its first four games.

The Rangers, who lost their first three last season before ending up in the Eastern Conference Finals should have their 0-2 record way, way back in their minds.

However, the team must improve its play. The question is: how long will that take?

John Tortorella has been known to put his teams through a grueling training camp prior to the start of the season, to physically and mentally prepare his team for the style in which they play — tough.

Without a normal training camp, the team's head coach hasn't really had the chance to get the team in sync defensively, which is why we've seen a lot more pucks in the net than usual. With that, comes the unwelcoming crowd noise that should get the team fired up, as they look to not disappoint their fan base.

“It’s a responsibility to be a good team,” said Rangers center Brad Richards, who had two assists in Sunday’s loss to the Penguins. “Right now no one else cares if people think we’re better or supposed to win. It’s going to make them play harder. And we’re getting that, so we’ve got to take that on our shoulders and we’ve got to learn quicker. We’ll try to fix that this week.”

There seemed to be a light at the end of the tunnel at the end of the Pittsburgh game Sunday. Sure, it didn't help in the end, but winning the third period 2-1 (not counting Pittsburgh's empty netter at the end) shows signs that things are changing.

The team simplified their game — making smart passes, possessing the puck in the offensive zone and putting the puck on net — which is what Rangers offensive hockey is all about.

The energy picked up on the defensive end, with the team diving in front of shots like the Rangers of last season, and with a day of practice before tonight's game against the Boston Bruins, perhaps Tortorella was able to push the right buttons to finally get the team going.

Tags: Boston Bruins, Brad Richards, Hockey, John Tortorella, New Jersey Devils, New York, New York Rangers, NHL

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