3 things we can all agree on: The win in Vancouver on Monday was great and very encouraging; Henrik Lundqvist is the second coming of Christ (first if you're Jewish, I suppose); and the penalties have got to stop.
Part of why I was happy about the Avery demotion (and I know, that's a whole different discussion) was that the team wouldn't be hampered by his frustrating penalties game in and game out. In both the preseason and regular season games so far, the Rangers have been taking infuriating and stupid penalties over and over again. Erixon looks good for a rookie, except that he's averaging about 5 tripping penalties per 60 minutes. The team took penalties against Vancouver while on the Power Play at least one time that I can remember (I'm too lazy to research. Sorry) and several offensive zone penalties. Two, at least, of them were for variations of holding. So not only is the team taking a ton of penalties, often at bad moments in bad places on the ice and a lot of them are lazy penalties (Quick aside: Woywitka was far from Marc Staal, but the hooking penalty he took was smart. Stopped a guy from getting an open one-timer right in front of the net. Can't complain about that).
Penalties like the Rangers are taking, and this is true at most levels of the game, basically occur when players stop moving their feet and stop working hard to win battles. This is especially troubling to see in the first few games because these penalties are so counter-intuitive to the identity of the team from the past few years. Combined with preseason now, this is about 9 or 10 straight games where this has been a problem. The East is too deep this year for the Rangers to make this type of play a regular thing or to allow it to become a long-term pattern.
Tortorella benching Prust was a good message to the team that he won't tolerate penalties like that (holding the stick in the offensive zone, head meet desk), and hopefully it settles in. But I was wondering what you guys think? Is this just an early-season funk? I hope that the team will get back to its ways of working hard and battling and playing clean. Even though we have outstanding penalty killing and one of the best goalies in the world in net, the Rangers can't be successful if they keep playing like this.