New York Rangers
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It's the first game of the season for both the New York Rangers and the Phoenix Coyotes as the 2013-14 NHL season kicked off this week. Both teams experienced some turmoil in the offseason, with the Rangers giving the boot to its former coach and the Coyotes ownership grappling with a deal for a new arena lest they were to seek other cities and venues to play in. Overall, the Rangers probably have a more solid lineup than the Coyotes and can effectively dismantle them with solid goaltending and heavy forwards, but the team's inconsistency problems and lineups that just don't mesh well still linger in everyone's mind. Luckily, the squabbles left over from the John Tortorella days are in the past, and the preveiously-benched Brad Richards will likely be getting more time on the ice. The former MVP proved a vital asset to the team in the past. That's not to say the Coyotes won't be putting up a fight.

The team went from making it to the Western Conference Finals in the 2011-12 season to not even making playoffs last season, a harsh blow to the team who fought so hard to stay in Arizona. The Coyotes also experienced a leadership change prior to the season start. Anthony LeBlanc is now its new president and CEO. Arriving with him is hopes for change when it comes to management. Coach David Tippet said the team is focused on reprioritizing where and how it uses its available resources, and most assuredly has new plans for how to effectively use the team's lineup. "There's a lot of teams that can say they have the underdog mentality because people base that on payroll," Tippett said "But for us, it's about doing everything right now, from the style of play, to the players we bring and put in different roles, to how we develop players, to how our minor league system plays, to how we use our resources to the maximize our potential."

Where and When to Watch: The puck drops Thursday night at 10 p.m. EST. The game will take place at the Arena in Glendale, AZ. Viewers may watch the game on NHL Network. Radio commentary is also available by clicking the link on the respective teams' websites. Fans may also watch the game on MSG Network.

Preview - New York Rangers: Alain Vigneault, former coach of the Vancouver Canucks, is now at the helm and ready to make some serious changes, so he says. The preaseason, however, showed a team that was still struggling to be cohesive. While a coaching shift isn't an easy event to overcome, it's a reality the Rangers need to deal with. The fact that the Rangers' first nine regular season games are on the road pose another challenge for the coach starting his first season with the team. The struggle with Richards isn't over with Tortorella gone either. The forward has hit the NHL pay cieling, leaving Vigneault to find a solution. Star goalie Henrik Lundqvist expressed the possibility of leaving the team as the season wound down for the Rangers last year, which will be concerning to the new coach. With Derick Brassard on the line, however, it presents a prime opportunity to utilize his capabilities and give the Coyotes a rough time on the ice. Star players Carl Hagelin and Ryan Callahan will be on the bench this game due to injury, creating a stormy environment for the team. While it still has some solid men on the ice, it could prove too overwhelming for the team to brave.

Preview - Phoenix Coyotes: The struggling Coyotes may not have as much penache and star power as the Rangers, but they certainly have stability on their side. The leadership changes for the team have proven far less tumultuous than expected. The team is also suffering some casualties entering the game as they will be without Paul Bissonnette, who was slammed with a 10-game suspension for leaving the bench during a preseason game against Los Angeles. Matt Smith is ready to be strong in the net, but he will have his work cut out for him when being across the ice from the King himself, Lundqvist, who can likely outdo his save potential.

Both teams are going to get off to a shaky start, and it all comes down to which side can keep it together. The Rangers are lacking its captain, who has seen them through a whole lot in hard times. On the other hand, the Coyotes don't quite stand on the same playing field as some of the players on the Rangers side. It's going to boil down to effective leadership and effective use of (dwindling) resources. If the Coyotes can make good on its promise, they could be due for an upset.

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