Rangers Vs. Penguins: Notes From The Rangers' hope Opening Loss

Bruce Bennett

The New York Rangers are now 0-2. Let's look to see how they got there.

Back when Jim used to captain this ship and I would write the game recaps I had a segment I called "The Good, The Bad And The Ugly." If I was writing that again about the New York Rangers loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins it would have simply been called "The Ugly." Anyway, onto the notes:

- Before I get into anything I will say this. Sunday night I tweeted the following: "The Rangers obviously have rust. The good news? These aren't the real Rangers. The bad news? When will the real Rangers show up?"

- Remember after the Bruins game how I said the game was closer than the score line? This one was worse. The Penguins did whatever they wanted with the puck, and they did it whenever they wanted. The Rangers weren't physical, couldn't control the play and made key mistakes that lead to goals. Bad showing twice in a row.

- Now, there was some panic Saturday, I'm sure there will be more today. But two games doesn't make this season. Remember, the Rangers were 3-3 last year before they kicked it into gear. This is a horrible, horrible start, nothing else. Now, that can turn into a big hole if the Rangers don't right the ship soon, but it's too soon to panic.

- That being said, it's two sloppy games in a row for the Rangers. Some teams (read: the Penguins and Bruins) have been better out of the gate. Hopefully the Rangers wake up after Sunday's embarrassment.

- A lot of players talked about the lack of a "battle level" after the game. Ryan Callahan said the same thing after the loss to the Boston Bruins. Needless to say, it wasn't there either night, and the Rangers are now 0-2. They better figure out how to fix that and fix it quick.

- A ton of hockey people love to use the phrase "came as advertised" when talking about new players. Rick Nash fits that bill perfectly. He's easily been the Rangers best player, played well again Sunday and scored a beautiful shorthanded goal. Too bad his first two Rangers games were duds.

- John Tortorella has to figure out what to do with Stu Bickel. Either play him or don't. Bickel was completely at fault for the Penguins' second goal, and really didn't play well all night. He saw pretty solid minutes tonight, but not because of his play. Speaking of ...

- Tortorella has this "earn your time" ideology. And it's a good one to have. But when the team is down 3-1 and you have a faceoff in the offensive zone, you can't throw Mike Rupp and Arron Asham on the ice. You need to put scorers out there. Even when things were at 4-1 in the second.

- You can't blame Henrik Lundqvist for what happened. Not his fault the team game him no support.

- Easily one of the worst games Brad Richards has played as a Ranger. Three or four drop passes to no one and a couple of bad turnovers. He's been shaky the past two games. Then again, he hasn't played competitive hockey through the lockout, so hopefully it's just rust.

- I thought Derek Stepan played a solid game. Earned an assist and had a few nice plays.

- Paging Marian Gaborik. Two games where the sniper hasn't done much. Again, he didn't play during the lockout either, and he has gone through early slumps before, but the Rangers need him badly.

- I thought the power play looked better Sunday. Obviously Callahan potted a goal on the 5-on-3, but overall I thought it looked better. More puck movement and more feet moving. Still some stupid mistakes, and not there yet, but it was progress.

- I really, really hope Chris Kreider is OK. Thought he played better Sunday night, too. More acclimated. Although it still looks like he's trying to do too much with the puck.

- Believe it or not, I did like the way the Rangers ended the game. Fought back a little and didn't just roll over and die. Now let's just start the game that way.

Thoughts?

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