Deciding how much stock to put in preseason games is difficult because as everyone knows they have no meaning in the standings, and they are as much for evaluating talent as preparing for the season, but the way the New York Rangers have performed in their three outings thus far is a little concerning. In all fairness, the Rangers have played mainly minor leaguers/prospects in two of the games, though the more veteran squad was not overwhelming in their outing at New Jersey last Friday.
The biggest concern from the games thus far has to be the number of lazy stick penalties they have been taking. Instead of doing the work necessary to get in proper position to make sound plays they have been relying on their sticks to bail them out of trouble and getting caught committing hooking or tripping penalties. Apparently the frustration with this kind of work from the team spread to coach John Tortorella today in practice based on reports from Dan Rosen of NHL.com.
Torts is in the process of scolding his team, telling them to start concentrating on everything they do. He's not a happy guy right now.Tortorella's message sending continued at end of practice. He gave a long, impassioned speech about needing to be better and it starts here.
It is certainly true that the results of preseason games are not important because of the lack of points in the standings, but the way a team plays and prepares absolutely has importance when getting ready for the regular season. The Rangers have been sloppy in all three games thus far and while the lack of their regular roster accounts for some of that it cannot be seen as a given that they will just turn it on when the games count. The work must be put in every day whether it counts for something in the standing or not and hopefully today’s message from Tortorella got them heading in that direction.