After beating the Devils in overtime, the Rangers took on the Flyers at the Garden with a whole new squad. Some premier names were in the lineup like Lundqvist, Skjei and Zibanejad along with other prospects we couldn’t wait to see like Howden and Chytil. Along with these players, we got to see the likes of Brendan Smith and Matt Beleskey, both veterans coming off seasons they couldn’t wait to forget. Even though they lost, the Rangers played a strong game. What did I take away from all of this? Welcome to Keds Corner.
Henrik Lundqvist did NOT show up
This was a rough one for the king. In his first preseason action, Henrik let up 5 goals on 22 shots, which is not exactly what you’d like to see. Even though he had a rough game, I wouldn’t worry. Henrik uses preseason games like this to level his preparedness for the season. Expect the king to bounce back the next time he’s in the pipes. ALSO, while we are on the subject of goaltending, am I the only one who thought Tokarski played brilliant? He looked calm, his mechanics looked great and he had an easing presence behind the Rangers defenseman. Lots of people talk Georgiev and Mazanec but watch out for Tokarski being a dark horse in this fight for the number 2 job.
Filip Chytil Can Play
I wish I could do something that hard and make it look so effortless. Listen and listen loud. Filip Chytil is going to be a FORCE one day. He is deceptively fast and isn’t afraid to drive the net. He’s the type of player that demands and commands the puck and is only going to get better. Again, its just the preseason, but I think the Rangers may have found their next potential first line stud.
Brett Howden played an excellent game. Although not flashy, he didn’t really make any bonehead plays and got involved in the action. Scrums after the whistle, in my mind, is a great way to see a players compete level. That may sound dumb, but more likely than not, if a couple of hockey players are going after each other after the whistle its normally a macho level contest. It was nice seeing Howden and Hajek get into it after the whistle without taking a penalty. Im sure Coach Quinn probably had something to do with that.
Brendan Smith is BACK and
Matt Beleskey > Cody McLeod
I love Brendan Smith. Everyone talked about how bad he played last year but I’m convinced it was just as much an AV thing as it was a Smitty thing. Having said that, it was nice to finally see some snarl on the backend.
81 damn near shit himself and Brendan Smith was finally let off his leash. I think Smitty can be a leader and a physical presence on the backend. I talked about how the Rangers could potentially have Smith, DeAngelo and McQuaid in the top 6 this year and it gets me hot and bothered. It’s nice to see the Rangers backend have a ball bag again. Smith played a sound defensive game, making the right easy plays. And had this nice dish on the Beleskey goal.
Matt fuckin Beleskey, the man with the dragon tattoo. Is he good? Not really. Is he capable? I think. I think Beleskey can play a fourth line energy role, unlike number 8 who just falls all over the god damn place. He is competent in his defensive zone and the first one to stick up for a teammate.
Cody McLeod, you’re fuckin’ out, Matt Beleskey, you’re fuckin’ in.
Even though the Rangers lost there were a TON of positives to take out of this. It may take a bit of figuring out but I think Coach Quinn is going to be as important as any player on this team. The Rangers are back, with a bit of a snarl, and with a ton on young talent looking to make an impact in the league. This is the most excited I’ve been as a Rangers fan in a LONG ass time.
Shoutout to FitzGSN_ for the Gifs. A+ job.