The New York Rangers have the best record in the NHL after a 2-0 trip in Prague, beating the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-1 in each game, with strong games each time.
It was a great experience for the American fans (Rangers, and Lightning fans alike) to watch their team play in Europe, and for the people of Prague, it was a great event for them to see the players they can only hear about, in action.
But could it be what eventually tears apart the locker room for the Rangers?
Forget the idea that they might be tired after playing four games in Europe. It's a different discussion for a different time. But three, possibly four players on the Rangers roster have a right to be angry at the way Coach Tom Renney managed the roster.
Dan Fritsche, Patrick Rissmiller and Fredrik Sjostrom were scratched for both games in the city of Prague, and Steve Valiquette did not see any time on the ice.
Last year, when the Ducks and Kings opened the season in London with a two game set, both teams gave both of their goalies a chance to play on such a big stage. Two of which include Johnathan Bernier and Johnas Hiller, who both made their NHL debuts in the European trip.
This year, Tampa Bay gave both Kolzig, and Smith a chance to shine on the big stage. Both teams did what they could to make sure each player got a chance to let their families see them play. The Rangers on the other hand, made no effort to offer up some morale boost to their players.
Now I know, people will say "We're trying to win, put the best players out, who cares" and all of that stuff. While I agree, I want the coach giving us the best chance to win each game, it's still unfair the the four guys who didn't play at all. I think we are all comfortable when Valiquette is in the net. He has proven that he is a very capable backup, and he earned the right to play.
Also, how much did Fredrik Sjostrom, Dan Fritsche, Patrick Rissmiller look forward to playing that game? How much did their friends and family look forward to watching their kids play in such a big game. Those three players definitely earned spots on the roster with good camps. They've all had to work their tails off to get spots on the team, they deserve the right to play.
So now, there it is likely that at least one of the mentioned players is a little bit ticked off about this. All three signed contracts with the team with the thought that they would be a significant part of the team, and now, all three have to battle to be first in line to step in when there is an injury, and all three have been turned on by the team they play for.
The team would not be at any disadvantage if they had dressed those three players for one of the two games, in fact, they arguably could be playing a better set of forwards.
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