Stop Panicking, It's The Preseason

Ethan Miller

No more panicking about the preseason.

The New York Rangers finished their hectic preseason schedule with a 4-1 loss to the Los Angeles Kings. That's after a 5-0 loss to the Vancouver Canucks the night before. In total, the Rangers won a single game. That was way back on September 17th when the Rangers beat the Philadelphia Flyers 3-2. Aside from that? Nothing but losses.

This has caused some to return to the panic room. The Rangers can't score, they can't win games and they don't look cohesive at all.

Here's something that people have forgotten: At no point did the Rangers ever ice a full team (even if you don't include Carl Hagelin, Ryan Callahan and Derek Stepan). Because the Rangers preseason schedule was so all over the place -- two games in two nights, then five days off before four games in five nights -- Alain Vigneault never had the chance to make true cuts that would eventually leave the Rangers with a full team. He had to leave some hopefuls on the roster for as long as he could, because the Rangers had so many games in that final five-day span.

Friday night's defense? Michael Del Zotto, John Moore, Anton Stralman, Justin Falk, Stu Bickel and Conor Allen. Three of those defenseman aren't starting every night, and most likely only one of them will stick with the team beyond camp (although Vigneault did say he was thinking about keeping eight defenseman on the roster).

Vigneault has kept Mats Zuccarello and Derick Brassard separate from Rick Nash and Brad Richards. And, of course, there's been no Stepan, Hagelin or Callahan. So not only have the Rangers been playing with far more kids than they plan to when the season starts, they've also been playing without three key players.

In Friday night's loss to the Kings, Los Angeles dressed every single starter minus Dustin Brown. There's a big difference there. It was a similar story in Vancouver.

So as the Rangers waltz into the regular season with a 1-5 record in the games that don't count, remember the games don't count. It's the preseason. If the Rangers go 1-5 to start the regular season, well, we can talk about it then.

But for now, this is nothing to get worked up about.

So stop panicking. The games don't even count yet.

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