The New York Rangers continue the long road to the regular season. The expected lineup is below:
OFFICIAL: Expected #NYR lines for tonight:— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) October 4, 2016
OFFICIAL: Expected #NYR pairings and goalies for tonight:— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) October 4, 2016
Blueshirt Banter spies were able to get a speak peek at the pre-game speech, which we've transcribed to you below (this is obviously satire):
Alain Vigneault: Yesterday was tough, boys, I'm not going to lie. But tonight can be better. In fact, it HAS to be better. Do you understand?
*everyone nods and speaks up in understanding*
AV: Pirri, you're back in again. I haven't seen enough out of you to prove that you're worthy of a roster spot yet.
Pirri: I've scored four goals in four games ...
AV: It's not enough! What about your work away from the puck? I haven't seen the hits or the fights. You didn't do anything when Gudas hit Jimmy yesterday ...
Pirri: I was on the bench ...
AV: Doesn't matter! Kovacs, you're sitting on the fourth line tonight because you kicked a puppy in the last life or something. Nathan, you're sitting pretty as the third line center.
Gerbe: *looks up from applying for a Swiss work visa* Uh, alright, sure.
AV: Jensen, you're on the top line tonight!
*Kovacs grumbles. AV looks at him until he quiets down*
AV: Look, Jensen you're really letting us down here. After trading Carl Hagelin away for mostly nothing and then taking the only NHL asset we got back and throwing it in the trash, you're all that's left. Your World Championship performance put a nice little PR spin on that mess but you've been so invisible in the preseason I thought you were McIlrath.
*Beth doesn't know why, but from her kitchen miles away she screams*
AV [looking around]: What the hell was that? Anyway, we need you to find that form again. If I have to cut you the boys in the office are going to be p-i-s-s-e-d pissed.
Jensen: Uh, alright.
AV: Clendening, we need to talk. I'm putting you on a pairing with Skjei so that his crap play rubs off on you and your good play rubs off on him. Nothing personal, but we kind of hyped him up to be a Keith Yandle replacement, even though Skjei has never, ever projected to be an offensive wizard at any level and he's a rookie walking into a dysfunctional defensive situation that would have PK Subban struggling.
Skjei: Actually, coach, if possible, I'd like you guys to stop comparing me to Yandle. I'm going to be a great player but I need time to develop, and putting that kind of pressure under me doesn't help. Giving me time to season at the NHL level will do wonders for both myself and then the team.
AV: What? Comparing you to Yandle bothers you? He sucked.
Skjei: Actually he didn't suck at all. Even though you gave him less PP time than he averaged in Arizona and criminally misused him at even strength he still had one of the best offensive years since Brian Leetch.
AV: He was so bad. So bad. The best thing he ever did was get rid of that disaster Anthony Duclair.
*floor warnings appear on network news as Rangers fans' tears cause an ocean swell that soaks up three city blocks*
Clendening: Hang on, you want me to play worse?
AV: Yep, you playing good is a real problem. We have to play Dan, Marc and Ryan, Skjei is the next Bobby Orr so he has to play ..
*Skjei angrily slams his stick onto the ground and leaves the room*
AV [continuing as though nothing happened]: Klein has that awesome ninja haircut and I'm sort of worried he's an assassin and Holden was traded for this summer to help replace whatever it was we lost with Boyler -- who I thought retired last year but apparently played for us?? I can't fit you into that lineup.
McIlrath: Uh, what about me, coach?
AV [alarmed]: Who the hell is this guy?
*Beth, now trying to enjoy a nice cup of tea, smashes the cup onto the floor*
McIlrath: Nevermind ...
Clendening: I guess I'll try to be bad then?
AV: Yep, that would do wonders for me. I keep giving you power play time in the preseason hoping that it would overwhelm you, but you've actually done an amazing job. I need you to stop that so I can make sure McDonagh gets the lion's share of the PP, PK and even strength time without question this year. Oh, he'll have to split time with Brady "Ray Bourque" Skjei.
Skjei [from the other room]: Son of a bitch!
McDonagh: Actually, coach, if I could not get so much special teams time I might be able to do better work at even strength and not get burned out so easily. Or, maybe if I got a new defensive partner at even strength I wouldn't have to chase the puck as much and would have more energy for the PP/PK.
AV [ignoring him]: Just watch last year's non-Yandle game footage and do that, Adam. Throw the puck away, take bad shots, pass up shooting lanes and never bring the puck into the zone with possession. Dump it in, dump it in, dump it in. That should do the trick.
Clendening: And this will help me make the team?
AV [waving a hand]: Don't worry about that stuff, it's not important. Ready boys?
*everyone looks around in confusion while Jeff Beukeboom corners Scott Arniel and asks him angrily why he wasn't warned that this is what the room was like*