The night that the Rangers are gearing up for all the off-season is finally here.
The rebuilt blueshirts open the 2021-22 season against the Capitals on Wednesday – this time with a lineup to avenge the memory of the last two games between the clubs, when Washington promoter Tom Wilson performed perfectly, sparking a league-wide narrative to solidify the Rangers’ top players and blueshirts.
And so Rangers added heap, disgust, and muscle in the form of Ryan Reeves, Barclay Goodrow, Sammy Blaise, Patrick Nemeth, Jard Tinordi and Dryden Hunt. But not until a change in management.
CEO Jim Dolan fired General Manager Jeff Gorton and President John Davidson and promoted Chris Drew. New Head Honcho cleaned the house by relinquishing David Quinn’s main coaching duties and replacing him with Gerard Gallant.
However, this season’s opening match with the Capitals will never take revenge or prove a point. It will be about setting a precedent. The Rangers want to show that they cannot push forward, move away from the challenge and play harder than ever.
“I don’t think of showing this to others [as it is about showing it] “For us, we want to play the right way and go north,” Chris Kreider said before heading to Washington on Tuesday. “You can’t play physical games in this league, especially as the season drags on, to get those meaningful games.”
Rangers, however, do not allow past headlines to dictate their beginnings in this toe. Creeder said Wednesday’s game was another chance for two points, but Reeves had the same mentality, saying he had experienced several competitive games in his career.
“We’re not planning to go there and say, ‘If you get a chance to run on Tom Wilson, run him,'” Gallant said. We are a different team, we know what we’ve got, we are a much more physical team now than ever before. We want people to care about us a little bit. ”
Reeves has made his physical presence more enjoyable than other offseason additions. A long-time bruiser, acquired from Vegas and then signed on for a one-year extension, Vitaly Kravtsov gave one day of training lessons in training camp.
Reeves jumped into every fury he could during A’s time – before the Devils defenseman PK Subban caught up with an experienced skater and sidelined him for the last tuneup game.
The Subban incident made it clear how conscious the Rangers were about teaming up and competing against each other. Several players confirmed how Subbani felt about his role in Reeves’ injury.
“When you rebuild a team like this and emphasize that in the offseason, you want to make sure you’re getting out of that mindset,” he said, adding that he’s healthy and ready for opening night. “You don’t want to be lazy and build a physicality and talk about it and then it comes. You want it to be there by day 1 and be part of your identity for the rest of the year.
The Rangers expect a physical game with the Capitals, but can’t expect more from the Blueshirts than other NHL teams this season.
“If stuff happens, stuff happens,” Gallant said. “But I think it has nothing to do with the last incident.”