Bantering Points: Opening Night Is Here Edition
A special Edition of Bantering Points to celebrate the season opening tonight.
- I tweeted the following this morning:
Today feels like Christmas morning ... But you can't open your presents until 10 p.m. because they're in Phoenix.
I feel like that's a pretty accurate description of what we're all feeling right now.
- I think a lot of people are excited to see what this New York Rangers unit looks like when all the pieces are in place. Not that starters and stars didn't see time during the preseason, but the entire team was really never iced at the same time. And now that Derek Stepan is back, tonight's lineup is going to look pretty different than what we saw in September.
- Is anyone else excited to see Stepan back, by the way? I am.
- Just some clarification on the Henrik Lundqvist contract situation (it's not really a situation, but whatever). Apparently Lundqvist's agent and the brass can still talk, but Lundqvist himself doesn't want to answer any more questions on contracts and be in the negotiations himself until things are close. Indications this morning are the two sides are apart on both term and dollars.
- So, something we really didn't talk about much in the preseason because I didn't think it was a big deal, but Rick Nash didn't score a goal during the preseason. Again, not a big deal at all, but this is going to be a really big season for him. He was fantastic in the regular season last year and then had a rough playoffs where he was battling some nagging injuries. I'm expecting a big year from him, but with Ryan Callahan and Carl Hagelin missing an extended period of time, there's more pressure on Nash early on to produce.
- Same thing goes for Lundqvist. He had a bad preseason (it happens), so I'm looking forward to him starting off fresh tonight.
- There's been a lot of talk about the power play this summer (with good reason) and it's gotten to the point where Alain Vigneault told reporters (I'm paraphrasing here) he knew the power play was a hot button because it's all the media would ask him about. We saw how the systemic changes helped make the power play look a whole hell of a lot better, but it's going to be nice to see the mindset start to settle in.
- I want to make something clear about the Rangers opening road schedule. Don't panic if the Rangers struggle through the first nine games. They're without two critical players (Hagelin and Callahan) and they're on the West Coast to start before coming back to some divisional games. I'm not saying the team should go 1-8, but if they go 4-5 or 5-4 it's not a big deal.
- I'm not going to lie, I think Jesper Fast impresses a lot of people this season. I liked what I saw from him during his games this summer, and I think he fits in well with the team. Plus he comes from a professional league where he's been playing against men. Trust me, that helps for kids like him.
Anyway, that's all for now.