Tonight’s contest marks the halfway point of the season for the Rangers, and things aren’t looking particularly great. Locker room controversy, baseless accusations against their star players have joined the usual nonsense of sub-par play and questionable lineup decisions for the 2020-21 campaign, and the team finds itself eight points out of a playoff spot heading into tonight’s contest.
The 11-12-4 record the Blueshirts currently have has them on pace to finish the season around the .500% mark. Not bad enough to compete with Buffalo for a spot in the divisional basement, and not good enough to sniff the playoffs in the hard fought MassMutual East Division. Tonight’s game will present a whole new set of challenges, which brings us to the player to watch...
Player to Watch: New York’s Coaching Staff
This is definitely cheating, but special circumstances require special exceptions. The team announced earlier today that the usual contingent of men in suits behind the bench will miss tonight’s game due to COVID Protocols. While NHL teams usually call up players from the AHL to fill last minute absences, the Blueshirts have called up the coaching staff from AHL Hartford.
Kris Knoblauch, Gord Murphy, and Chris Drury will be behind the Rangers’ bench tonight. Knoblauch normally serves as the Wolfpack’s head coach, with Murphy at his side as the associate head coach. In addition to his duties as New York’s associate general manager, Drury is also the Wolfpack’s general manager, so it’s interesting to see him step behind the bench tonight.
David Quinn set a franchise record by having his team take a too many men bench minor during his first game as New York’s head coach. Look for Knoblauch to keep a better handle on his players and give Jeff Gorton a preview of what the team could become if Knoblauch were to replace Quinn down the road.
Enjoy the game!