NEW YORK, NY – We’re getting to the best part of the year when Major League Baseball is entering the playoff stage, the NFL is in full swing, and the NHL and NBA seasons are getting started. That’s right, we’re getting close to the start of hockey!
Rookie games start this weekend. Training camps start in another week and preseason games will be upon us soon after. F’*ck yeah.
The New York Rangers are marginally improved over last season. There are a few big things to watch at the start of the season. The first is how the kids perform. Much was made of Kaapo Kakko last season and his surprise benching in Game 6 against the Lightning last June. He and Alexis Lafreniere will need to step up and show a lot of improvement this year. Or they both could be on the way out. We’ll need to watch Sammy Blais, as he tries to play a full season. The long-term injury to Blais left the Blueshirts hamstrung at right wing for most of the season. Hopefully, a full season from Blais gives some stability to that position.
Artemi Panarin is another player to watch. “Breadman” had a great regular season but pulled a disappearing act in the playoffs that would make Houdini proud. It was a frustrating postseason for “Bread” who seemed to shrink in the moment.
These are things we shouldn’t worry about on the back end. Igor will look to back up his Vezina campaign with another solid season. Adam Fox and K’Andre Miller have proved reliable on the back end and should give a good defensive foundation.
Speaking of defensive… Mets fans have been on the defensive since the Cubbies came to town. Let’s see how their Metsies respond to the current adversity. Meanwhile, the Yanks look to have handled theirs, knock on wood. Last night doesn’t against the Bernie’s Brewers doesn’t count.