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Rangers-Islanders, Met Life, February 18, latest on coaching search slog

June 4, 2023, 5:02 PM ET [112 Comments]
Jan Levine
New York Rangers Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
The Rangers will face the Islanders on Sunday, February 18 at Met Life Stadium. Originally, the belief was that the contest was to be Devils-Rangers, but the NHL has now made the game into a two-day, four team event that weekend. Philly takes on New Jersey on Saturday, February 17 followed the next day by New York-New York, likely in the afternoon, but the game time has yet to be determined.

As a refresher, just like the prior Winter Classic and Stadium Series contests, The Rangers have to be designated as the road team against the Islanders because of their Madison Square Garden lease agreement, which forbids them from playing a home game anywhere but MSG. This should have minimal impact on the availability of seats for the Blueshirts faithful, since the secondary market should be hot. As someone who has been to all four outdoor games the Rangers' have participated in, dress warm, really warm, although the good news is Met Life is enclosed, so the wind chill effect should be substantially less than it was at Citi Field. 

NHL events logos for the 2023-24 season. Stadium Series logo has yet to be revealed

In coaching news, Mike Babcock is expected to be named as coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets on July 1 once his contract with Toronto expires at the end of the month. I had no interest in Babcock as coach of the Rangers, but his signing with the Blue Jackets removes what was to be the main competition for Peter Laviolette. As I have said a few times previously and has been echoed by others, if the Rangers brass really wanted Lavy, what is the delay in signing him. With Columbus no longer an option for Lavy and Mike Sullvan remaining in Pittsburgh, what's the delay now? If you view Laviolette as the fallback option or best of the retreads, then move along and hire someone who you have a greater belief in rather than just settling.

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