We all know that the Ranger/Islander rivalry is one of the best in all of professional sports. Year after year, it produces drama and surprise.
Well, almost every year. I cringe when I think of the 03-04 results. That notwithstanding, these last two crazy nights were what we've come to expect from the rivalry.
This off-season, Glen Sather and the rest of our Ranger colleagues endured the slings and arrows of a media onslaught that had them destined for mediocrity at best. So what do they do? Glen, Don Maloney and their staff surround the game's premier player at the moment with an intelligent coaching staff, some talent and some guys that want to
show up to play every night. The early results have been impressive. Man, these guys are working. They have energy and determination and a real spirit about their team.
On the other hand, our troops had struggled to catch on to the new rules or to play at a pace that would enable us to take advantage of what should be an improved offense. And our performance in Philadelphia last Saturday left all of us concerned. What better time for back-to-back Ranger games!!
From the start of Wednesday's game, the Rangers pushed the pace. They made us work harder than we had all season. And fortunately, we responded. It was one of the most exciting regular season games I have seen in many years. Thursday night at the Coliseum was a different story. We learned our lesson from the night before and came out flying. But again, to the Rangers' credit, they never quit.
I guess what I am saying here is that the Rangers taught us an excellent lesson this week on what it takes in the new NHL. Speed, energy, persistence and discipline are going to be rewarded. I guess the ultimate one can offer your opponent is your respect. I offer that here and trust that our guys feel the same.
That was great stuff. We look forward to doing it again next Thursday, but need to bring the same intensity to our games Saturday and Tuesday.
October 21, 2005
P.S. It was such a shame about that broken stick in the shootout.