The Rangers recently released their schedule for their preseason games—and as expected, some games will be played in Europe.
The preseason kicks off on September 20—in Ottawa, for some reason. It starts with a home and home with the Senators, with the second half in New York on September 22. The very next day they fly off to Tampa Bay to face off with the Lightning.
On the 24th, the Rangers come to New Jersey before, then play another game with Tampa, this time at home on the 25th.
Four games in four nights. It's safe to expect some players to be kept around longer then necessary.
The Rangers get the 26th off (from games at least) before they finish up their American preseason schedule at home against the Devils.
With that completed, they head off to Switzerland to play SC Bern on September 30, and Russian team Magnitogorsk on October 1.
That means the usual three home games, but two more preseason games then usual. While the two games in Europe are okay, the overall schedule makes no sense at all, and I will explain why:
They will fly to Ottawa and back, then to Tampa and back before flying out to Europe to play four games, when only two of which actually mean something.
Ottawa? Have we ever played them in a preseason game? Tampa Bay? Don't remember ever playing them in the preseason either.
Maybe traveling by plane once in the preseason is fine. But to make flights to three different places, one of which is on another continent, for nothing more then preseason games is ridiculous.
I want to go to preseason games to get to see some rivals play. I usually go to all the preseason games against the Islanders, Devils, Flyers, and Bruins.
When I was growing up, there would always be a game at the Garden against Boston, every preseason, and I would always go with my father. One year, I remember some hotshot rookie on Boston throwing a big hit on Mark Messier.
Mark didn't take to kindly to it, and when nobody else was looking—and I mean nobody else but me and my father, who told me to watch him—he proceeded to elbow this Boston Bruin hopeful right in the chin, knocking him out cold. The brawl that ensued showed some of the beauty of the preseason games.
Young players at a disadvantage
Every young player, with a real shot of making the club or not, is there to learn as much as possible about the league, without being put in a spot that carries a lot of consequences for their mistakes.
What better spot to learn the intensity and beauty of the Rangers-Islanders or Rangers-Flyers rivalry?
These are rivalries that only gets intensified every preseason game—especially when two rookies in camp are trying to make a big impression by knocking the hell out of each other.
In the 2000-01 season, defenseman (and half lunatic) Dale Purinton earned a spot out of camp, by going out against rival teams and showing that he would stand up for his teammates, whatever the cost.
Without facing the Islanders or Flyers or bruins this year, prospects have less of a chance to prove their worth.
How great is it to get into the hockey mood again at preseason rivalry games? It gets you back in the right mindset—ready for hockey season.
More away fans go to the games because its easier to get tickets. You may get cheap tickets on stubhub, you may buy from a scalper for half price—hell, you might get them for free—but there will always be visiting fans from the other local teams trying to invade MSG.
It's fun to argue with Islander fans about hockey and why the Rangers are a superior team, without having to worry about the result too much.
But how many Tampa Bay fans will be at MSG? How many Ottawa fans will be there? I wouldn't imagine too many.
It's also great to expose the game to new fans with more games against rivals. The NHL is already cutting back on those games this year, so why do it even more? The New York Rangers have done a disservice to the fanbase with this preseason.
This article can be read, along with many others at www.nyrinreview.blogspot.com