Just a quick note at the top. Blueshirt Banter now has a dedicated YouTube page (youtube.com/blueshirtbanter) which you should all visit and subscribe to. Ryan (who you should be following on Twitter) gifs a lot of things during the game and then uploads videos to the YouTube page. Bigger items will be posted here but the bulk of it would clutter the site so it's going on his feed and on the You Tube page. So follow him and make sure to visit the YouTube page during and after games.
- I may as well start with overtime, right? As much as 3-on-3 is going to be gimmicky, I fell in love with it roughly 70 seconds into the sequence. There's just so much open ice, and with the speed the Rangers possess up and down their lineup I really think it's going to be a blast to watch. And while this new addition to overtime doesn't really solve the loser point issue the NHL currently has, it should hopefully keep more playoff spots from being determined based on the shootout.
- My optimal lineup for 3-on-3 would probably be a combination of Rick Nash, Chris Kreider, Derick Brassard, Mats Zuccarello and even Kevin Hayes up front with Ryan McDonagh or Keith Yandle at the back. Dan Boyle would do wonders with all that open ice, too.
- I thought the biggest standout -- and standing out for the second game in a row -- was Oscar Lindberg. A goal and an assist (and what a goal it was) to follow some fantastic defensive play and great transitional passes. This kid better make the team, and not because he's waiver eligible. He's clearly a better option that some of the bottom six players who played almost every game last year and he's going to bring some offense too. I can't see a world where he doesn't make the team, especially playing like this.
- I thought Dylan McIlrath was OK against the Devils on Monday. I didn't notice him much and I thought he was outplayed by Brady Skjei. Not on Tuesday (and not just because Skjei didn't play). McIlrath was a standout. He doesn't have the best closing speed, but he's apparently done some stick work in the AHL and his size helps him rub the puck off players against the boards. There's a lot of questions about where he would slot in this lineup, if it would be worth keeping him as a 7th or even 8th defenseman or if he can steal a starting role out of camp but I thought he was much, much better than Kevin Klein the past two nights.
- Speaking of Klein, he had another rough game. In particular on Sam Gagner's power play goal -- off an admittedly brilliant feed from Wayne Simmons -- he completely lost Gagner in front of the net. Those types of mistakes shouldn't be happening from a veteran guy who wants to make this team. I've advocated moving him (he'll never replicate last year's offense) and I don't think it's out of the realm of reality to think Klein might be the odd man out if mcIlrath and (dare I say) Skjei force his hand.
- Although Raphael Diaz hasn't done himself any favors. Woof. That's all I can say about his last two games.
- Mat Bodie scored two goals, including a nice little slapper from the right hash towards the end of the game. Bodie has a lot to prove this year. He's on the older side (he's already 25) and he's got a really small frame. If he can add the offense he's shown I think there might be a spot for him at the NHL level, but I'm not sure who he is going to displace on this roster to make it on Broadway. Especially with Skjei and McIlrath gunning for spots.
- Liked J.T. Miller a lot; he was a monster all night. He sort of reminds me of Kreider in regards to his size and reckless disregard for his own safety. I begged the Rangers to keep him at the trade deadline last year and he showed why in the playoffs. He shouldn't see any fourth line minutes this year.
- Emerson Etem was OK considering it was his first pre-season game with the Rangers. He's a perfect example of what people are talking about when they mention a player with the "raw tools." He's big and strong, gravitates to the front of the net, has a devastating release on his shot and surprised me with his vision and passing ability. At one point in the overtime he was slammed into the boards, kept control of the puck and from his knees moved it out to the point. Not many players can do that. And while he did have a really, really, really bad defensive zone turnover that gave the puck away in the slot but you can see the potential there. And he's quick.
- As is Viktor Stalberg, who I thought was much more noticeable on Tuesday.
- Richard Nejezchleb looks like he might turn into a really quality player. His situation is really unique, though, as he's still unsigned. I'm thinking the Rangers might want to bring him an AHL contract and see where it goes.
- Not much doing from Kirill Kabanov, although I really do think if he's willing to spend a year in the AHL it might do wonders for him cracking the NHL. The skill is there, he just needs to hone it a little.
- I wouldn't worry too much about the penalty kill, although I know we all love something to panic about. When your best penalty killer isn't playing (cough, Henrik Lundqvist, cough) it makes it tough. But a lot of other key penalty killers haven't even played yet, and the ones who have are sort of stranded on an island with other kids who won't see the NHL this year. Last night on the final power play goal against (which drove a few people nuts) McIlrath was the only guy killing the penalty who MIGHT make the team out of camp. Relax, it's going to be OK.