NEW YORK, NY – The New York Hockey Rangers are off to a terrible start, going 1-5-2 so far after last night’s shootout loss to the Islanders. They’ve struggled to score goals and Alain Vigneault has been mixing up lines already trying to find a mix that works. Nothing has worked so far. The Blueshirts play well in spurts but can’t seem to put a full game together. They’re at the bottom of the Metropolitan Division a tenth of the way through the season. If things don’t turn around soon, AV will be out of a job. And that’s fine by me. I’ve never been the biggest fan of his brand of hockey.
Bringing on Lindy Ruff as assistant coach was supposed to add some toughness to the team and solidify the defensive structure. It hasn’t quite panned out. Ruff, along with a host of other new faces, may have upset the AV apple-cart. Will it be Ruff or Vigneault that gets his marching papers first?
Henrik Lundqvist has played fairly well in goal so far, but the skaters haven’t given him any support. Kevin Shattenkirk has settled into his power play role but he and the rest of the Rangers defensemen have struggled to gel early on. They haven’t been helped by AV shuffling the lineup early in the season. The squad put together a great third period last night but couldn’t find the winner in OT and lost in the coin toss that is the shootout. If the Rangers can play consistently – like they did in the last twenty minutes of regulation – they’ll be fine and AV will keep his job. But I’m not betting on it.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, the New York Yankees are one win away from winning the American League pennant and facing a familiar foe in the World Series. After being shut down in the first two games of the series, the Bronx Bombers‘ bats have woken up in a big way. Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez have powered the Yankees offense to three straight wins after horrid hitting performances in the playoffs so far.
The big bats combined with some stellar starting pitching have put the Yankees in a commanding position. They still need to win one on the road, and they have to face Justin Verlander tonight. Luis Severino will take the mound for the Bombers. We’ll see which Severino shows up. I’m expecting another low-scoring game, which could play into the hands of the Astros at home. The Yankees will have to work to get Verlander out of the game and get into the Astros bullpen.
The Dodgers await the winner of the ALCS after their gentleman’s sweep (4-1) of the reigning champions in Chicago. If the Yankees advance, they will face the Dodgers for the 12th time in the fall classic. The Yanks have won 8 of the previous 11 meetings. Dem Bums won their most recent encounter in 1981. LA will be favorites after breezing through the playoffs, but it should be a great series. Plenty of history. Plenty of new spin. That’s all if the Yankees can get past the Astros. A tough task.
That’s all! Please fire your pucks below and come back tomorrow for @GrindingAxWalt, who is cursing the Tigers for letting
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