NHL

NHL Center Ice Watch, Vol. 4: Soaking Up The Ineptitude

ny_g_lundqvist_b1_576Welcome to Next Impulse’s ‘NHL Center Ice Watch’ where we highlight certain NHL games that should have your curiosity for a variety of reasons. These won’t be the obvious games that Pierre McGuire works or a game featuring boring storylines like the Bruins. These are games we’ve sought out for real hockey nerds. The ones who dig deep for storylines . You can find our first post here. And hey look at this! you can find the second and third volumes here and here

The obvious choice for this week’s NHL must watch game was last night’s Red Wings-Senators game that saw Daniel Alfredsson facing his old teammates for the first time.

Sure that is a juicy bit, but the real moment will come when Alfie heads to Kanata, Ont. for the first time since bolting for MoTown.

Instead, we are opting for a game featuring two of the NHL’s biggest duds to start the season.

On Thursday night the New York Rangers will put their 2-5-0 record on the line when they visit The Wells Fargo Center and take on the 1-7-0 Philadelphia Flyers.

They are the owners of the 28th and 30th best records in the league, respectively.

The 30th place Flyers tried to convince the world that they were coming into this season with high expectations, even after struggling last year.

The Flyers made some interesting splashes this offseason by bringing in two former captains. They first signed a past-his-prime Mark Streit, and followed that by signing an also past-his-prime Vincent Lecavalier.

Had this been 2009 these moves would be kosher, alas, it is 2013 and these types of moves leave us scratching our tops.

Oh, and their goaltender of choice has the worst numbers of any goalie since Bush was president.

The Flyers started the season 0-3-0 and decided that was as good a time as any to fire a Cup winning coach. They replaced him with former tough nut Craig Berube, who hasn’t fared much better.

The Rangers beat the Flyers to the “fire a former Cup winner” party by firing John Tortorella during the offseason.

They replaced Torts with the more finesse minded Alain Vigneault who was expected to wake up the Rangers offense.

A new coach and a roster dripping with talent back stopped by a top-1 goaltender meant the Rangers also fancied themselves a contender coming into 2013-14.

A lot of people agreed with that assessment.

Instead the Rangers mailed in the first few weeks of the season, highlighted by a 9-2 drubbing at the hands of Tomas Hertl and his merry band of San Jose Sharks.

You may be wondering why on earth I’d suggest watching this game if both these teams stink so bad. The Flyers can’t score and the Rangers can’t stop teams from scoring so, what gives.

Newton be damned, this game is going to rock.

It is fun to root against the Flyers and Rangers. These are two of the more annoying privileged franchises in the league so it feels good to watch them tread water. They’ve both been pretty good over the past decade (save for a season here, or there) and succeed by throwing money at problems and playing in a solid market.

Fans of cash-strapped, endangered franchises should kick back for this one and soak it all in while you can, because more likely than not one of these teams will be stealing your best player soon.