Alright. The Rangers home opener came and went in style. What kind of style...not quite sure yet. Some thoughts...
*I know we've seen some dreadful periods in the past from the Blueshirts, especially in the second frame, but - damn - that must have been one of the all-time worst. Ron Wilson was right - the Leafs could have/should have scored a lot more the way the NYRs were skating.
*Speaking of the Leafs, I was tempted to tweet last night: So, someone told the Leafs they could play hockey - brilliant! (Or something along those lines). The Leafs, to me, in the last handful of years, were this big team. Literally, as in big. Tall, forceful, but doing very little with either. Last night, I saw that big, tall team - do something. Skate, pass, and play as a team in a way I haven't in about 8 years. Good stuff. Not for the NYRs and for the rest of the East, if it keeps up, but we all had to figure Burke had a plan. Maybe this is the year it finally takes shape a little more.
*So I spent the days leading up to the Rangers home opener dreading Drury on the first line with Gaborik. - Guess I really didn't need to worry too much about that, huh? Horrible. I like Drury the person, so I hate that he fought to come back only to go right back out, for what may be double the time. But, I can't lie, I hate that 20% of last year's goals went out of the game with him in Gaborik. Horrible. I hope they both recover quickly - Gaborik super quickly. I can't remember walking out of a home opener feeling so disappointed in a long time.
*Without two players, the fact that the Rangers made it a game in the 3rd period was a credit to them, if a small credit. Doesn't make up for sleepwalking through the second. Doesn't make up for the stupid mistakes. Toronto may be a good team, but...anyway. Credit for the night goes to Brian Boyle - a marvelous effort for him and another example (like half of Toronto) of guys who are big/tall and can learn to use their size. So happy for him that he is. Vital for his place on the team, but a guy we like to cheer for in our own right. Number two on this list of credit - Sean Avery. Not a perfect game from Sean, surely, but one of the more visible Rangers for sure. He's got to keep this momentum up. He's too important, especially now with all the injuries depleting the team.
*Finally a question. Where did the offense go? The team leading in offense in the league going in, mustered what, like, 9 shots through two periods? If Boyle didn't have an offensive show for the ages, and the Rangers come back in the 3rd to make it a more respectible total and - quite honestly - steal a point, that may have just been one of the worst offensive efforts I've seen in a while. True, Toronto may have a goalie right now in Giguere, but he wasn't tested. I'd say nearly enough, but I mean at all. The Rangers are not defensively strong enough to win 2-1, 1-0 games anymore. They are going to have to win the 6-3, 5-2 way. But to do that, you need to score goals. Simple as that.
Alright, another game come and gone. Rangers look middle of the road right now. I'll be curious to see how they do Monday against the Avs, and in facing Toronto two more times real soon on the schedule. They have some pieces, and I still do really like this team - but last night was not endearing. I'm not going to lie and pretend in any way that it was.