As Peter Laviolette takes the helm at the Rangers, a new era begins, one that prioritizes physicality and tenacity right from the get-go. The longstanding concern about the team’s toughness is being challenged, as Laviolette introduces a revamped system that promises to redefine their approach, from Game 1 to the postseason.
Chris Kreider, speaking to The Post, highlights the shift towards a smarter, more strategic physical game. It’s not about reckless hits but rather about taking away time and space, forcing turnovers, and maintaining defensive integrity.
The Islanders, who dominated the Rangers in previous seasons, played a pivotal role in inspiring the Blueshirts’ aggressive acquisition of hard-nosed players. While some have moved on, Laviolette believes that every player can embrace a competitive edge, regardless of size or strength.
Laviolette’s coaching philosophy centers on fostering competitiveness in practice, setting up scenarios that encourage relentless effort and the formation of competitive habits.
Kreider notes that Laviolette’s system itself encourages physicality, especially in the forecheck, creating opportunities for players to assert themselves physically and win battles. As the Rangers embark on this new journey, a commitment to grit and physicality appears to be the key to their success.