Kukla's Korner

Kukla's Korner Hockey

The Day After A Bad Opening Loss By The New York Rangers

from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,

But on the heels of a performance in which Quinn, both immediately following the match and then again on Friday, said, “There wasn’t anything good that happened … in any capacity,” the player combinations were less the issue than the team’s intent and preparedness. And for sure, the coaching staff shares responsibility for the team’s total eclipse of the heart....

Other than the Chris Kreider-Mika Zibanejad-Pavel Buchnevich unit, the remaining three lines were flexed as well. Most noteworthy, Quinn moved Alexis Lafreniere up and across to right wing on the 1A line with Artemi Panarin and Ryan Strome, while Kaapo Kakko was dropped to a remodeled third unit with Filip Chytil and Phillip Di Giuseppe.

I spent the summer lobbying for Lafreniere to be awarded an immediate top-six spot, and I think he deserves it. But this move will be viewed more as a demotion for Kakko than as a promotion for Lafreniere. If that is the case internally, it could backfire. The Rangers simply cannot afford to diminish Kakko at this point before he’s even had a chance to establish a foothold.

“This is his second year. Everybody here thinks he’s a really good player. We just need guys to show up night-in and night-out, compete night-in and night-out, and he’s no different,” the coach said of the 19-year-old winger. “He was on a crowded bus of guys who didn’t have good nights, so he’s got to be better, but everyone has got to be better.”

That’s just it. The Rangers have to be better. Much better. The route to getting there will be paved with choices. Selecting the wrong ones could invite long term consequences.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, New York Rangers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

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About Kukla's Korner Hockey

Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com