When a team starts out 0-3 to begin the season, there normally are not many positives to look at.
Believe it or not, this is not the case for the New York Rangers. Yes, they haven’t won yet and yes, they could have won all three games, but it is clear that there are good things in place for this team to have some kind of success this season.
For the Rangers, it all begins with how new head coach David Quinn is using his youngsters. In all three games, he has used his younger players in key situations whether they are down by a goal, looking to tie the game up, or playing in the last minute of a hockey game.
This was not common under previous head coach Alain Vigneault. While it was understandable why AV wanted to use his veteran guys in critical points of the hockey game, it also showed a lack of trust and an unwillingness for his players to have a learning moment.
Something like this is only going to help the team moving forward. Guys like Filip Chytil, Brett Howden, Neal Pionk, and Tony DeAngelo will all learn from this and become better players because of it.
Speaking of becoming a better player, forward Jimmy Vesey has been the team’s best player in the early going. He created several scoring opportunities in the home opener against the Nashville Predators, has 11 shots in his team’s first three games, is getting a lot of ice time, and he scored two goals against the Hurricanes in his team’s third game of the season.
For the first time in his young NHL career, Vesey is showing that he has all the tools to be a solid NHLer. He has a solid speed, he now has a nose for the net, he now puts himself in good position to create scoring chances and with Quinn giving him more responsibilities, he now has a lot of confidence.
Lastly, Henrik Lundqvist has been excellent between the pipes. He was the main reason why his team stayed in their 3-2 loss to the Nashville Predators as he made several terrific saves. He may be winless in his two starts, but with a goals against of just over two (2.05) and a great save percentage (.933), the “King” looks great for his hockey club and that will hopefully inspire confidence for the rest of his teammates.
Again, 0-3 doesn’t look great. With that said, the Rangers are working hard, competing hard, and showing that they will not be quitters this season despite how many people are saying this is going to be a terrible year for them.
This is an exciting time for the Rangers, folks. Let’s sit back, enjoy it, and think of the big picture.
*Photo: New York Daily News