Sunday, August 3, 2008

Preseason schedule

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 Lighting. on the 24th, they come to new jersey before they play another game with tampa, this time at home on the 25th, to make it 4games in 4 nights. It's safe to expect some players to be kept around longer then necessary. They get the 26th off (from games atleast) before they finish up their american preseason schedule at home against the devils. With that they head off to Switzerland to play SC Bern on the 30th, and russian team Magnitogorsk on the 1st.
that means the usual 3 home games, but 2 more preseason games then usual.While the 2 games in europe make sense, the overall schedule makes no sense at all, and I will explain why.

-Jet lag
They will fly to ottawa and back, then to tampa and back before flying out to europe to play 4 games, when only 2 of which actually mean something.

Ottawa? Have we ever played them in a preseason game. Tampa Bay? Dont remember ever playing them in the preseason either. Maybe traveling by plane once in the preseason is fine. But to make flights to 3 different places, one of which is in 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.

There would always be a game at the garden against boston, ever year, and i would always go with my father. I remember some hotshot rookie on boston throwing a big hit on Mark Messier. Mark didnt take to kindly do 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 in the preseason games.

-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 has a lot of consequences for their mistakes. What better spot to learn the intensity and beauty of the rangers vs. islanders or rangers vs. flyers rivary? Its a rivalry that only gets intensified every preseason game when two rookies in camp are trying to make a big impression by knocking the hell out of eachother. In the 2000-2001 season, defenseman (and half lunatic) Dale Purinton earned a spot out of camp, by going out against the 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.

-Fans Suffer
How great is it to get into the hockey mood again at preseason rivalry games. It gets you back in the right mindset, and 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. Its fun to argue with islander fans about hockey and why we are a superior team, without worrying about the result to much. But how many Tampa Bay fans will be at MSG? How many Ottawa fans will be there? I wouldn't imagine to 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.

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