On Monday night, Al Trautwig mentioned to Brian Leetch that watching the Rangers this season was reminding him of the 1992-93 Rangers that struggled to replicate the Presidents Trophy season they had the year before.
Leetch responded by saying, during the summer and after you get into your training you think about what went well and you forget how hard it is to achieve it over the course of 7-8 months and you start to think about what went well and your expectations which are probably high the next year.”
He added, “then the next year you get into the grind and, with our team, you make mistakes with the game that you didn’t consistently before and they stop you from winning consistently. You see turnovers that happen at key times and when you are playing well you don’t see that. When you forget how hard it really is, those little mistakes that you don’t do all the time, they creep in and you have to eliminate those.”
For more on the 1992-93 Rangers, CLICK HERE and HERE.
The last time the Rangers wore white at home against the Flyers, Ryan Callahan scored four goals and the Rangers won 7-0.
That game, like tonight, was broadcast by Pierre McGuire, Doc Emrick and Eddie Olczyk.
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2:17PM: Derek Stepan says that the Rangers have come out “flat” in two of his six games and they need to start tonight the right way. He adds that when the Rangers play the right way they are a “very good” hockey team. (ESPN NY)
1:09PM: John Moore says that the Rangers know they need to be better and they are eager to get on the ice and be better. (NYR)
1:02PM: Rick Nash said that tonight the Rangers need to be ready to play and play with urgency and desperation. (North Jersey)
Nash said that the Rangers inconsistent play can’t continue and that while it’s one thing to talk about being better, they have to go out on the ice and actually be better. (North Jersey)
Alain Vigneault said that he thinks this group is capable of playing the right way and playing better but they need to show it on the ice.
Marty St. Louis said on Monday that “to a man” the Rangers need to be better.
Adam Rotter: They came out on fire last Tuesday against Pittsburgh after a brutal game against the Oilers and you have to think that is their focus for tonight. The Flyers are in a similar situation to the Rangers but the Rangers need to be the hungry team tonight, they need to be fast, protect the puck and make the Flyers chase them around.
Lee Stempniak is being listed as day to day and will likely not play tonight for the Rangers due to tightness in his lower back. (Mike Morreale)
Stempniak did not practice yesterday and Alain Vigneault said that it’s not a serious injury. (Mike Morreale)
He has four goals and four assists for the Rangers this season with 43 shots, 22 hits and an average of 14:59 per game.
Stempniak is seeing 12:01 at even strength, 1:54 on the PP and 1:02 on the PK.
He was hit twice on Monday and had two hits in the game.
Michael Del Zotto returns to MSG tonight for the first time since being traded last January to Nashville for Kevin Klein.
He signed with the Flyers this summer ($1.3 million) after being not qualified by Nashville.
Del Zotto has played in 16 games for the Flyers this season and has two goals and six assists with 23 shots, 43 hits, a plus two rating and 21:18 per game.
At even strength, when Del Zotto is on the ice the Flyers have 49.62% of the shot attempts. (War on Ice)
On playing tonight at MSG, Del Zotto said that it will be special but he is just focused on two points. (NHL.com)
Del Zotto said that he expects to be booed when he comes to Madison Square Garden.
The Flyers think that they know why Del Zotto “went off the rails” with the Rangers.
9:57AM: Ray Ferraro said on TSN 690 last night, “”when people say that you have to be consistent, I don’t think people realize how incredible difficult that is. If you come off your game 5%, 10%, most teams can beat you that night. There are very few that you are so much better than that you can lay a stinker and still win.”
9:39AM: Marty St. Louis spoke on Monday saying that “to a man” everyone on the Rangers needs to be better, including himself.
Asked about a responding tonight after Monday’s brutal game against Tampa Bay, Alain Vigneault said “we better.”
Dan Boyle said that the Rangers have shown before that they can respond after a “stinker” but can’t keep falling into that pattern. He said that the team needs to put together a stretch of games where they are playing the right way, playing a stronger brand of hockey in the defensive zone and having the puck.
Henrik Lundqvist said on Monday that he was concerned with the lack of consistency but the team has shown they can play the right way. He added, “you can’t have one good one and one bad one. We all want to win, we want to work hard and do the right thing but if we don’t do it together it’s a tough game.”
On MSG on Monday night, Brian Leetch said right now the Rangers are lucky they have the talent to be a .500 team because teams playing like they have been that don’t have talent never reach .500.
Leetch said that the Rangers have really struggled to play a 60 minute game this year but with Henrik Lundqvist they have been able to stay in a lot of games.
Dave Maloney said on MSG that life is easy when you are on top of your game but this team needs to figure out how to win when they aren’t on top of their game. He said that the Rangers need to figure out “mid-stream” how to win a game when they aren’t at their best.
Alain Vigneault said that the Rangers need to find a solution to their problems because “right now” they are a .500 hockey team and .500 won’t get you into the playoffs.”
On 11/19/13, the Rangers were 10-11. On 12/19/13 the Rangers were 16-17-2. On 1/1/14 the Rangers were 20-19-2. On 1/19/14 the Rangers were 27-21-3. On 3/1/14 the Rangers were 33-25-3.
Adam Rotter: I don’t like looking back at last year because it’s a different team, different circumstances and different expectations but they were in almost the exact same spot last year. The expectation, at least mine, is they shouldn’t be dealing with the same issues as last year but they are. This year isn’t last year and maybe the Rangers never shake this, but they did last year and I have a feeling that at some point soon things will turn for the Rangers.