The New York Rangers have actually been pretty stout in back-to-back situations, but some on the team believed that their fatigue showed in a lopsided loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins. Either way, they’re relishing this opportunity to recover, as Kreider and Alain Vigneault (among others) told Newsday.
Vigneault also provided some interesting insight on resting veteran players vs. giving yourself the best chance to win.
“Right now, in my ideal world, in my division, it is crazy,” Vigneault said. “Just look. Nobody’s losing. So this resting thing, everybody’s trying to get in. You’ve got to play . . . what you feel is your best lineup.”
That balancing act is likely to remain a challenge. Take a look at the Rangers’ next month:
Dec. 23: vs. the Wild
Dec. 27: vs. the Senators
Dec. 29: at Coyotes
Dec. 31: at Avalanche
Jan. 3: vs. Sabres
Jan. 4: at Flyers
Jan. 7: at Blue Jackets
Jan. 13: vs. Maple Leafs
Jan. 14: at Canadiens
Jan. 17: vs. Stars
Jan. 19: at Maple Leafs
Jan. 22: at Red Wings
Jan. 23: vs. Kings
There are some nice opportunities for rest in there, yet there are also some pockets where Vigneault might face difficult questions of risk vs. reward.
Some might look at fatigue talk as merely making excuses, but in a league with profound parity – and in a division where no one “seems to lose” – every little edge counts.
It’s the sort of thought process that, for all we know, could make or break this season for New York.