NEW YORK, NY – Angry Ward’s Seattle Kraken scored the franchise’s first power play goal in it’s first ever win! Now that we got that out of the way… It’s been a week full of drama for the New York Rangers who have stumbled out of the starting blocks, losing their first two games of the season. The Blueshirts failed to name a captain after saying they would. Then they told Vitali Kravtsov, who was the ninth pick overall three years ago, to go jump in the lake. This drama and back-to-back losses to start the season have a lot of the Garden faithful scratching their heads.
At the start of training camp, Rangers GM Chris Drury and coach Gerard Gallant said that they would be naming a captain to start the season. Everyone talked about whether it would be Chris Kreider or Mika Zibanejad – who just inked a new contract to keep him on Broadway until 2030. But as the Blueshirts prepared to take the ice against the Capitals to start the season Wednesday, they still had no captain. Instead they named six alternate captains. Six. That includes Barclay Goodrow, who hasn’t even had the proverbial cup of coffee with the Rangers yet. The coffee is still brewing.
I’m not sure what to read into the brass not naming a captain. It could be an issue with the leadership of Kreider or Zibanejad. Or it could just be that the staff wanted to see more before naming a captain. The other alternate captains are Artemi Panarin, Jacob Trouba and Ryan Strome. When the Rangers do eventually name a captain, they will still be left with five alternate captains… unless they strip an “A” off of someone’s sweater or give them the heave-ho like Kravtsov.
The Vitali Kravtsov situation is a strange one. The former #9 pick definitely has the talent to play in the NHL. Most agree that he was good enough in preseason to earn a spot on the roster over Dryden Hunt or Julien Gauthier. Instead he was assigned to Hartford, which set the youngster off. Kravtsov refused to report to the Wolf Pack and demanded a trade. It’s rumored that the brass were (or was?) unhappy with Kravtsov’s conditioning coming into preseason and his lower body injury in preseason was a result of him not being fit. The AHL assignment was meant to have him work on his conditioning and the assumption was that he would be back in the NHL shortly.
The way Kravts-Gate escalated is telling of the kid’s maturity and of what Management thinks of him. Kravtsov seems like an overconfident hot-head. The Rangers are clearly showing they think they have no use for him. But the organisation (Canadian spelling) has painted themselves into a corner with this move and they surely won’t get value out of a rushed trade of the former first rounder.
In the meantime… both sides are doing a bit of damage control and the Rangers are continuing without Kravtsov in their future. That future didn’t get off to a great start Wednesday against the Caps. The Broadway Blues went with a tough-guy lineup against Washington but then tried to play a finesse game. They failed miserably. The lineup choices would have made sense and the loss would have been more palatable if the Rangers sent a message to Wilson and their division rivals. But they didn’t and they were played off the ice.
Last night’s OT loss to the Stars was better but this Rangers team still has a long way to go. We’ll see what happens tomorrow night in Montreal.
Feel free to drop your pucks below re any sport and come back tomorrow for a guy that played goalie without a mask to quicken his glove hand, Short Matt. He failed, by the way.