History tends to repeat itself with these two close New York hockey rivals.
The teams, regardless of their current place in the standings, state of the franchise or how poor/well they are playing ALWAYS bring their A games when playing one another. It makes it fun to talk about and even more fun to watch. With a storyline similar to that of Pittsburgh (whom fired their head coach recently), one has to wonder if both coach and GM of the New York Rangers feel secure in their positions right now. With a payroll near the top – if not THE TOP of the league, how much longer will the Dolan’s sit by and watch inexcusable play? The Rangers have very little wiggle room to make roster adjustments moving into the trade deadline in two weeks – yet clearly they need some sort of help.
Look east at their NY counterparts the New York Islanders and they seem to have moved past their recent struggles, ending a five game winless skid in shootout fashion against the Penguins on Monday. Sure, the Islanders roster has been decimated by injures, they have little talent, a new coach, almost a basement bottom payroll – yet they will still come into tonight’s match up with much fire and gusto.
The Rangers and Islanders each have something to prove. Tom Renney – head coach of the Rangers said so himself yesterday and almost every time these teams face one another – “You cannot take the Islanders lightly”. Teams recognize that even though the Isles may not have the most talent in the league, they will do their best to make you miserable with their style of play. These games are almost as intense as playoff hockey and have been rough in the past. They are a great way to see how your younger players will handle the pressure of playing in big game type situations. Every player who has ever taken part in the rivalry has nothing but great things to say about it. Between the atmosphere in the arenas to the way the players react on the ice – there are few rivalries that – um, rival this one.
Lineups – per Chris Botta appear to be the same as they were for Pittsburgh on Monday. Don’t expect anything heavier than Tim Jackman or Jon Sim to dress in case of some fisticuffs. I will say this – if anyone caught the Rangers – Blues game Monday night, there was a TON of fighting in that game. I don’t know the exact number, but it seemed every time I looked up there was another fight.
I am going to be doing something different here tonight concerning a live blog – Doug Davidson one of my fellow Blog Boxer’s is hosting a live blog tonight. You can get to the live blog either on his site, or by my post following this one.
Don’t forget to check out the game day thread on Lighthouse Hockey as well!