Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Rivalry: N.Y. Rangers vs. N.Y. Islanders - Game One

From the desks of:

NEW YORK RANGERS: MSG and the Canadiens Outshine the Broadway Blueshirts on Opening Night.
The best thing I can say about last night's game is that no one threw themselves off the newly constructed bridges inside Madison Square Garden.  If the Rangers early season funk continues, Jim Dolan might want to consider adding even more safety nets to the overall renovations - quickly.
Carl Hagelin will return to the line-up this evening against the Islanders.  He'll be a most welcome return, as the Rangers are desperate to establish any kind of consistent forward line scoring.  The Blueshirts were shut out last night, this time by the Canadiens, for the third time in their first ten games of the season.  They've specifically been shutout by the Habs over their last three regular season meetings.  So, in a sense, some things just haven't changed.
While goal posts, the men in stripes, and Montreal goalie Peter Budaj all played their roles in thwarting the Rangers on opening night, the Blueshirts problem is still largely an internal one.  There is no offensive zone sustainability.  Even more alarming to that end, was the ease with which Montreal kept pushing the Rangers off the puck.  The Rangers then had five power play chances, and  came up empty.  In fact, they are 1 for 15 in their last five games.
The Rangers got tic-tac-toe'd on a second period Montreal power play, and that was the end of that.  The Rangers put the Habs on the power play six times, so they should be relieved to have only lost by a 2-0 final.
NEW YORK ISLANDERS: Still Trolling For Reasons To Like The Thomas Vanek Trade - But On A Different Note, Owner Charles Wang and Garth Snow Are Making The Islanders Matter Again.
Excuse me for the following comparison, but here I go nonetheless.  Remember how WWI was about trench warfare, and suffering massive casualties for the sake of advancing the front perhaps by only mere feet and yards?  
After digesting the Moulson for Vanek trade, I believe more strongly GM Garth Snow paid too much.  If he was inclined to trade draft picks, he could have resorted to just trading them and supplemented what the Islanders already had in hand.  Instead, all he did was switch forwards, for a potentially slight upgrade, and compromise his future drafts.  This season, as well against the Penguins in last year's playoffs, their problem was not with scoring.  The Islanders primary shortcomings are on defense and in the net.  But I guess the decision towards adopting an  - outscore your opponent - tactic has effectively been made.

The first month of the regular season is not yet done, so Garth Snow can feasibly turn right around and trade Thomas Vanek again.  Even if Snow can convince Vanek to sign and stay with the Isles, this all strikes me as an eventual net loss because of the money involved to retain him, and the loss of picks.

Charles Wang lost millions in trying to keep the Islanders in Uniondale, I guess as best as an entrepreneur can.  But Nassau County voted no to the final compromised plan.  In two seasons, the Isles will move into Barclays Center in Brooklyn.  Meanwhile, the Nassau Coliseum will be renovated by the same people who brought us Barclays Center.  Both the Brooklyn Nets and Islanders will play a very limited number of games in the refurbished arena.  What about all this makes sense to you?

All that aside, I applaud and congratulate owner Charles Wang for enduring all he has.  He and Garth Snow are clearly trying to reclaim a proud, yet lost legacy and presence in local New York sports.


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