Marc Staal

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Battle For New York: Islanders vs Rangers

Preview:  The New York Islanders return home to Nassau Coliseum to take on their all-time rival, the New York Rangers. 

The Islanders are coming off a western road trip which saw them give up a 3 goal lead in an overtime loss to the Avalanche, and a clinic put on by the Canucks in a loss to Vancouver.  The Islanders have played better hockey since changing up their offensive lines a few games ago, putting up more scoring chances more consistently.  However, they haven’t been able to translate the better play into wins.  A win tonight against the Rangers would mean even more than usual, as it would end a slide of losing efforts. 

The Rangers ...

What a Weird Weekend

All I can say is wow! Yeah, it's Halloween weekend but what the hell is up with the Rangers? First, they drop a game to Ottawa in which they led 4 - 1 with roughly 12 minutes left. Ottawa tallied three straight before downing the Rangers in the shootout. Not a good start to the weekend there.

Next we had news of all the roster shuffling. With Tim Erixon struggling some and only seeing seven-plus minutes of ice-time Saturday, the best thing to do is to send him down to Hartford (which they did) and let him get 20+ minutes and playing in all situations. 

News of Erixon's demotion brought on the inevitable hopes/prayers that the move was due to a miraculous and ultra...

Better But Still Not Good

After opening the campaign winless through three, the Rangers broke the ice with road wins over Vancouver and Calgary. The team then turned in an uninspired effort against Edmonton in a 2 - 0 loss to the young Oilers Saturday. They conclude their long road journey tomorrow in Winnipeg before heading home for the season opener at MSG Thursday against the Leafs. 

Getting a couple of wins was nice and a 2 - 2 - 2 record to start given the difficulty of the travel schedule isn't so bad but we still haven't seen the team play like the squad we expected to see. Here are some thoughts on the team so far and some random musings on a couple of the teams the Rangers have seen on ...

Thoughts on Staal, Simmonds and Avery

The Marc Staal situation is still no clearer today than it was weeks ago. At this point he is still in the States practicing with the Rangers AHL affiliate in Connecticut while his teammates are continuing the exhibition season in Europe. The question is when will Staal be ready to play.

Obviously the Rangers need Staal if they expect to challenge for the Atlantic Division crown. Given how much he plays against the opposition's best, a lengthy absence will force the Blueshirts to use inferior or more inexperienced defenders to counter some of the most skilled players in the league. For a team that relies so heavily on playing good defensively not having Staal in the lineup is a ...