MSG Network to Telecast Live Rangers Practice

“Rangers Training Camp Live” – Thursday, September 28 at 11:30 a.m.

One-Hour Special to Give Blueshirts Fans Behind the Scenes Look at the 2017-18 Team,
Plus Interviews with Head Coach Alain Vigneault and Rangers Players

New York, NY (September 26, 2017) – MSG Network will telecast “Rangers Training Camp Live,” a live, exclusive look at the team’s training camp session from the MSG Training Center on Thursday, September 28 starting at 11:30 a.m. The hour-long special will be repeated on MSG later that evening at 10:00 p.m.

Hosted by Al Trautwig, “Rangers Training Camp Live” will offer fans an exclusive, behind-the-scenes look at a Rangers training camp session, including practice, drills and team scrimmage. The show will also feature interviews with players and coaches, including head coach Alain Vigneault, and analysis and a season preview from MSG’s Rangers voices, including Sam Rosen, Joe Micheletti, and John Giannone.

The puck drops for the Rangers’ opening night on Thursday, October 5 at 7:00 p.m. with a matchup against the Colorado Avalanche at Madison Square Garden. Coverage of the opener begins at 6 p.m. on MSG.

Sam Rosen, the recipient of the 2016 Foster Hewitt Memorial Award from the Hockey Hall of Fame, returns for his 34th season as the play-by-play voice of the Rangers and will be joined by in-game analyst Joe Micheletti, back for his 12th season.

Al Trautwig will serve as host of Rangers telecasts for all home games and Bill Pidto will handle host responsibilities for all road games.

John Giannone will resume his reporter duties for all Rangers games while a rotation of expert analysts will handle pregame, intermission, and postgame analysis including Steve Valiquette, Ron Duguay and Dave Maloney.

All Rangers games will also appear on ESPN 98.7 radio with versatile play-by-play announcer Kenny Albert calling the action and the aforementioned former Rangers great and captain Maloney handling the analysis. Don La Greca will serve as back up play-by-play announcer for games on ESPN 98.7.

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Red Bulls Ready to Renew Rivalry With D.C. United

The first ever rivalry in MLS was between New York and D.C. United, a bitter and sometimes bloody feud that also extended off the field between these two fanbases.

It has produced memorable moments and always, despite the records, was a match that the MetroStars — and later the New York Red Bulls — always seemed to get up for emotionally and physically.

There was a sense that United was the enemy and was to be hated. The matches were often played at a fever pitch and with plenty of emotion by New York.

That is, except for last season.

The Red Bulls had come out flat in their first meeting with United a year ago, losing 2-0 but looking simply dreadful in the process. They went on to draw the remaining matches of the series against a United team that finished 11 points behind them in the table.

It could be argued that in all three fixtures a season ago, D.C. came out and treated it like a rivalry match. They clawed and gutted out three results, showing their trademark tenacity and fire under head coach Ben Olsen. The Red Bulls didn’t seem to grasp the intensity level of their first rivalry, perhaps focusing a bit too much on their new one with New York City FC.

This lack of focus, of understanding the depth of the league’s oldest rivalry, may have contributed to their dropped points against United.

“Listen, last year in D.C. we got our [butt] kicked, plain and simple. And we learned from that and we put more into it when we came back home. It was only a draw but we learned from that, even when we were down there the second time, we learned from that,” Red Bulls head coach Jesse Marsch said Monday.

“I told them this morning, ‘We don’t need reminders, D.C. is coming here to fight.’ And they always will [fight], give them credit for that. It’s a big match for us in terms of the table, it’s a rivalry match so it makes it even bigger and we have to understand what this will require.”

The two clubs have only met once this year, resulting in a 2-0 home win by the Red Bulls on April 15. The two remaining matches in this series, beginning Wednesday night at Red Bull Arena and then to close out the season down at RFK Stadium, likely will play a major part in determining if New York makes the playoffs.

Currently, the Red Bulls sit in the sixth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

Marsch cautions that this United team, again struggling, won’t lie over and play dead. They made that mistake last year and he doesn’t want his club to fall into that same trap.

“Last year they weren’t doing very well and I think we underestimated them,” Marsch said.

“And it’s easy to do that again because they’re bottom of the table. The combination of knowing D.C. and where we’re at means that there can be no complacency and not taking anything for granted. I expect that we will fully understand that and be ready to go.”

RED BULLS NOTES

1) Midfielder Daniel Royer (knee) and outside back Connor Lade (shin) trained on Monday. Marsch imagines having both players available for Wednesday’s match at Red Bull Arena.

“Danny Royer is full go, 100-percent. Connor, we’re just managing his workload to make sure he’s available for Wednesday,” Marsch said.

The influential Royer, despite being out nearly two months, could even be an option to start.

“We can consider him to start. He’s doing well, he’s in – he’ll be in the 18,” Marsch said.

2) In last week’s loss in the US Open Cup final at Sporting Kansas City, Marsch’s first move was to replace left back Kemar Lawrence with Sal Zizzo. The decision raised some eyebrows – not because it was Zizzo (who is having really fine season this year) – but because the team was down a goal and needed an offensive spark.

However, most at the time thought that bringing in Gonzalo Veron was the best way to go to provide a spark in the final third.

Marsch explained on Monday that he thought Lawrence was beginning to fatigue, and that Sporting had made two offensive subs already. Zizzo, he thought, would add some fresh legs to the backline as the Red Bulls pushed for the equalizer.

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MSG Networks Expands Digital Presence Leading Up To 2017-18 NBA & NHL Season

New York, NY – September 26, 2017 – MSG Networks Inc. (NYSE: MSGN) announced today that it continues to successfully expand its digital presence – through both new OTT partnerships and its increased distribution of “MSG GO” – as the NBA and NHL gear up for their 2017-18 seasons.

This year’s NHL and NBA seasons will mark the first time MSG Networks’ full complement of live NBA and NHL games – featuring the Knicks, Rangers, Islanders, Devils and Sabres – will be available for digital distribution. This lineup of unmatched sports programming is available on “MSG GO,” MSG Networks’ live streaming and video on demand platform.

Over the past year, MSG Networks has continued to increase distribution for “MSG GO,” with the service now available to Optimum, Verizon FiOS, XfinityTV, DIRECTV, RCN and Service Electric Broadband Cable subscribers that receive MSG Networks. MSG Networks is working towards full distribution of MSG GO by all major distributors at the start of the NBA and NHL seasons.

The Company also recently announced its first-ever agreement with a major OTT operator for digital distribution of MSG Networks’ two award-winning networks – MSG and MSG+ – and continues to work towards a definitive launch date with this provider. In addition, today, the Company announced it has reached a multi-year agreement with another OTT provider, fuboTV, which will make MSG Networks available on its platform in the coming days. fuboTV will become the first live streaming TV service to launch MSG Networks. Timed to the new NBA and NHL seasons, fuboTV will make MSG and MSG+ available to subscribers of “Fubo Premier” – a base package of 65 channels.

“We are pleased with the progress we’ve made at expanding our digital presence, which we believe has been driven by our must-have sports programming,” said Andrea Greenberg, president and CEO, MSG Networks. “We are successfully delivering additional value for our existing distribution partners through MSG GO, while also increasing our footprint through agreements with new OTT partners – both of which enable sports fans to access our content in more ways than ever before.”

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Giants Remaining Optimistic

An 0-3 start to the season is far from what the New York Giants had expected but for a team that is fast approaching must-win mode, they remain increasingly focused on the task at hand.

Nothing more it seems and nothing less.

Before the season started, the Giants were favored to amake the playoffs and perhaps even make a push for the Super Bowl, but have instead been flat out of the gate. Struggles on offense up until the fourth quarter of Sunday’s loss at the Philadelphia Eagles and a myriad of penalties — as well as mistakes — have doomed this team to a winless start.

And at 0-3, the team’s playoff chances certainly are not very good at this moment but that can’t be their concern right now. With a trip against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers coming up next, head coach Ben McAdoo said the focus must be on this week.

A loss this week, though, likely means the playoffs would be a bridge too far to cross this season.

“We need to talk about our potential in the room. We haven’t played a complete football game and clean football in all three phases, and we really haven’t earned a win yet,” McAdoo said on Monday in a conference call with the media. “It’s all correctable and we need to stay positive, be realistic and understand that we need to learn from these first three games and find a better way to play team football.”

There is no denying that the Giants have talent. They return the vast majority of a defense that allowed the second-fewest points in the league a season ago. On offense, they are led by a two-time Super Bowl MVP and several playmakers at the skill positions. It isn’t like this is a team in rebuild mode or trying to tank. This team is built to win and built to win now.

But the wins haven’t been there and the Giants now are left to try and right the ship.

It isn’t impossible. A handful of teams have lost their first three games of the year only to rebound and make the playoffs. It is a small group but certainly plausible that a team with the talent level of the Giants could rattle off a few wins and suddenly be back in the mix.

They’ll need better offensive line play, that’s for sure. The running game will need to get going and those costly penalties will have to be cut back significantly.

But as McAdoo said on Monday, it is one day and one week at a time for this team.

“Where we go from here. You know, we talked about it a little bit yesterday in the press conference, the three D’s, the cause of irritation, that’s where we are right now, we’re irritated. Deny, delay and disappointed. We need to keep fighting through,” McAdoo said.

“I believe in this team. I believe in the potential of this team. It starts with me and we need to keep fighting to get better and we need to keep fighting to get the win. Got to get that first one. With that, we will open it up for questions.”

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KingRaph is no joke at NHL 94

On the surface, Raphael Frydman is pretty unassuming.

The 38-year-old grew up in Queens a New York Rangers fan.

“My favorite player on the team was Sergei Zubov,” he said. “I still have a game-worn Zubov jersey from the year the Rangers won the Cup.”

He works at Alvarez & Marsal, a professional services firm in Midtown. He lives in New Jersey with his wife and two kids (ages 7 and 8), is a soccer coach and is part of a bowling league. During much of his free time, “I work on the house,” he says, laughing.

It’s what he does during the rest of his free time that is remarkable.

That’s when Raphael Frydman becomes KingRaph, one of the most prolific NHL 94 players in history.

NHL 94 is widely considered to be the greatest retro sports game of all time, certainly among hockey titles. MSG Networks fans selected the game convincingly in an online tournament last March. And KingRaph sits at the top of the zamboni-curated snow mountain.

Frydman holds the world record for largest margin of victory in the game (70-1, a score most of us who grew up playing the game would only dream of).

The record is recognized by Twin Galaxies, the official sanctioning body for world records in gaming (made popular by the 2007 documentary “King of Kong”).

Frydman, or I should say KingRaph, will participate in the second-ever World NHL 94 Championship Tournament, happening on Saturday, Sept. 30 in Las Vegas. In the city where large crowds of competitors typically gather for high-stakes poker tournaments, this time it will be hundreds of nostalgic gamers battling their pixelated heroes against their foes for a chance at the crown … or golden hockey stick. Or something.

On Friday, KingRaph joined me for a game of NHL 94. He played as the Sharks and I played as the Vegas Golden Knights.

That’s right.

Because the tournament is being held in Vegas, a special tournament edition of NHL 94 was created to include Vegas in the game (as well, a pretty cool broadcaster! 🙂 ).

So how did I do against one of the best players in the world? Pretty well, actually.* Enjoy the video below where we play the game and I ask him about how he chased and captured the world record, why this game stands the test of time and much more.

I’ll have full coverage of the NHL 94 World Tournament from Las Vegas where I will not only be the MC but I’m entering the tournament, which of course will end very well for me.

Follow along on Instagram and Twitter (@ArdaOcalTV), and I’ll have a blog on MSGNetworks.com next week!

*Spoiler alert: I was awful.

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New Era Begins as Knicks Move on From Melo

This was never going to be a win. What it needed to be was painless. It needed to be quick, and it needed to have no residual effects.

In other words, this could not be another Patrick Ewing trade.

In the end, it wasn’t. The Carmelo Anthony Era ended in New York on Saturday when he agreed to waive his no-trade clause and accept a trade to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

We’ll get to reflecting on Melo’s mercurial career with the Knicks and the statistical legacy he leaves behind in the near future. But right now, let’s focus on what it means for the Knicks, who open training camp this week.

The Obvious: this long-awaited and painfully-slow-to-get-to rebuild is now officially underway. The mantle is now passed to 22-year-old Kristaps Porzingis, who is now the face of the franchise.

The core of the team — Porzingis, Tim Hardaway Jr., rookie Frank Ntilikina, Willy Hernangomez — is collectively under the age of 25. There are still several veterans on the roster — Joakim Noah, Courtney Lee, Kyle O’Quinn and Lance Thomas — but with Melo’s presence out of the locker room, the young core will be encouraged to emerge as not only leaders but focal points.

The second-round pick that came in the Melo trade was window-dressing on the deal. It is the pick the Bulls sent last February when they traded Taj Gibson to the Thunder. The Bulls could be a lottery team this season, so that pick may be of some value as one that lands in the 31-40 range. But, just getting a pick was a nice addition to this trade.

Anyone who believes the Knicks should have been able to land a first-round pick for Melo clearly isn’t paying attention. For one, Melo’s no-trade clause took away much of the ability for the Knicks to create competition for him. Also, the Indiana Pacers didn’t get any picks at all when they sent Paul George to the Thunder for lottery bust Victor Oladipo and defensively-challenged rookie Domantas Sabonis.

The players the Knicks received, Enes Kanter and Doug McDermott, do not fill any real needs (more in a moment on the on-court impact), but they do have very salary-cap friendly contracts that could allow the Knicks to clear space much quicker as opposed to taking on the remaining three years and $60 million left on Ryan Anderson’s deal that the Rockets were trying to push.

Kanter makes $17.8M this season (and is a $20.5M cap hit because of his $2.6M trade kicker) and then has a player option to become a free agent in 2019. Kanter spends a big part of his offseason in New York and loves the city, so he may be motivated to stay here.

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – MAY 8: Enes Kanter #11 of the Oklahoma City Thunder dunks two points against the San Antonio Spurs during Game Four of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2016 NBA Playoffs at the Chesapeake Energy Arena on May 8, 2016 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. (Photo by J Pat Carter/Getty Images)

McDermott is on his rookie deal, and, after he earns $3.3M this season, will become a restricted free agent. There is a $4.5M qualifying offer the Knicks would have to make to keep him restricted. Otherwise, he walks and the cap space is freed up. The potential, if Kanter opts out and McDermott’s qualifying offer isn’t made, is over $20M in space. Melo is scheduled to make $27.9M in 2018-19 if he does not opt-out.

As players, the Knicks added bodies to their already crowded frontcourt. Kanter, however, is immediately the team’s best rebounder, especially on the offensive glass. He and Hernangomez could dominate the glass. If Noah is even remotely healthy, he’s still a capable rebounder as well. Furthermore, Kanter is a very good finisher around the rim and in short-range.

[Read More From Alan Hahn]

The concern for Kanter is defense, particularly in the pick-and-roll, which basically forced him to the bench in the playoffs against the Rockets. It’s an area that opponents will try to exploit every time he’s on the court and that’s a major worry since Noah was also exploited often in pick-and-roll situations last season.

McDermott’s defense is also of serious concern. We saw last season when he was in Chicago, opponents went after him on the wing in isolation scenarios because he could not defend against dribble-drive penetration. But, he is a career 39% shooter from three-point range and you can expect the Knicks to put a greater emphasis on three-point shooting this season to spread the floor.

What the Knicks should do if they plan to keep McDermott — that’s not a given yet — is get him with my MSG Network’s studio partner Wally Szczerbiak. McDermott was often compared to Wally when he was in college. Maybe WallyBall can teach him some things to get his game where it needs to be.

PHOENIX, AZ – MARCH 03: Doug McDermott #25 of the Oklahoma City Thunder reacts as he walks off the court during the second half of the NBA game against the Phoenix Suns at Talking Stick Resort Arena on March 3, 2017 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Suns defeated the Thunder 118-111.

The Knicks have an abundance of bigs right now (Porzingis, Kanter, Hernangomez, Noah and O’Quinn) and it’s hard to believe they’ll all be on the roster on opening night when the Knicks open in — hey, how about that? — Oklahoma City. There was plenty of statistical evidence that proved Porzingis was more effective at the center position than at power forward, especially on the defensive end of the floor as a rim protector rather than closing out on stretch-four players.

So what does Jeff Hornacek do with his lineup with all of these big men? Who is expendable? Will Noah be healthy enough to play regular minutes or will he be a very expensive depth player?

Having Kanter, Hernangomez and Noah, however, does provide a lot of rebounding and physicality in the paint, which may be exactly what you need around Porzingis. While KP has muscled-up this offseason, he’s still a thin frame and even in the EuroBasket tournament earlier this month, Porzingis did not rebound at a high rate.

With all of that said, the Knicks are still very thin and unstable at the most important position in the sport: point guard. Ntilikina is very young and raw. Ramon Sessions and Jarrett Jack are journeymen. Ron Baker’s upside is somewhat of a Matthew Dellavedova, which means valuable backup.

[Watch: Jarrett Jack Seeking Redemption With Knicks]

So the search may continue through this season, into next year’s draft and, with the potential for cap space and flexibility as a result of the Melo trade, in free agency.

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Knicks Trade Carmelo Anthony to Oklahoma City

Acquire Kanter, McDermott & Second-Round Pick

The Carmelo Anthony era in New York has officially come to an end.

The New York Knicks announced that they acquired Enes Kanter, Doug McDermott and Chicago’s second-round pick in the 2018 NBA Draft from the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for Anthony.

“This is a deal we feel works for both this franchise and Carmelo. We thank him for his seven seasons in a Knicks uniform and all that he accomplished off the court for the City of New York by using his platform to address social issues,” President Steve Mills said.

“We will continue to focus on this team looking forward towards the immediate and long-term future. As we have said recently, this is a new beginning for the New York Knicks.”

Kanter, 25, averaged 14.3 points and 6.7 rebounds last season for the Thunder. He was originally drafted third overall in the 2011 NBA Draft by the Utah Jazz. He spent parts of five seasons with the Jazz before being traded to the Thunder in 2015.

The Thunder acquired McDermott, 25, from Chicago earlier this year. In his three-year career, McDermott has shot 39.4% on 3-pointers. McDermott starred in college for Creighton, where he led the nation in scoring as a senior, averaging 26.7 points per game.

[Hahn: New Era for Knicks Begins]

“We acquired two 25-year-old players in this deal that we can develop, while sticking with our overall strategy of emphasizing youth and athleticism. With this trade, we have added scoring and aggressiveness to our frontcourt, and bolstered the team’s perimeter shooting,” Knicks General Manager Scott Perry said.

“We are glad to have finalized a trade that made sense for all of us.”

Anthony, 33, joined the Knicks via trade from Denver in 2011 and spent six-plus season in New York. He was an All-Star every year with the Knicks and in 2012-13 he averaged a career-high 28.7 points, leading the Knicks to a 54-28 record and an Atlantic Division title.

The two teams open the regular season against one another on October 19 in Oklahoma City. Anthony will return to New York for the first time as a visitor on December 16 as the Thunder visit The Garden.

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“MSG GO” Available to DIRECTV Subscribers

MSG NETWORKS AND DIRECTV TEAM UP TO MAKE “MSG GO” AVAILABLE TO DIRECTV SUBSCRIBERS IN TIME FOR 2017/18 NBA AND NHL SEASONS

New York, NY – September 21, 2017 – MSG Networks Inc. (NYSE: MSGN) and DIRECTV announced today that “MSG GO,” MSG Networks’ live streaming and video on demand platform, will be available to DIRECTV subscribers who receive MSG Networks as part of their pay television subscription in time for the upcoming NBA and NHL seasons.

With access to “MSG GO”, DIRECTV subscribers will be able to stream the same, award-winning MSG Networks coverage of the New York Knicks, New York Rangers, New Jersey Devils, New York Islanders, Buffalo Sabres, New York Liberty and New York Red Bulls that they enjoy as part of their pay television subscription on their supported smartphone, tablet or personal computer. MSG GO also includes pre- and post-game shows, as well as access to current and past episodes from MSG Network’s slate of award-winning original programming.

“We are pleased to expand our relationship with DIRECTV to include MSG GO, which provides DIRECTV subscribers with access to all of MSG Networks’ live game content, including our unparalleled lineup of NBA and NHL games in time for the upcoming seasons, as well as our other award-winning programming wherever they are,” said Adam Levine, executive vice president, business affairs and distribution, MSG Networks.

“DIRECTV customers want a simple and quick way to get the sports content they want, virtually wherever and whenever they want it,” said Chris Lauricella, AT&T Entertainment Group. “With a simple authentication, our customers will be able to enjoy MSG Networks content while on the go.”

Subscribers with a supported smartphone or tablet can download the free “MSG GO” app by visiting the App Store or the Google Play store. On computers, customers may visit MSGGo.com.

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Brian Boyle Facing His Toughest Challenge Yet

From a purely medical viewpoint, this has been a devastating offseason for the New Jersey Devils.

First, General Manager Ray Shero learned that his crack center, Travis Zajac, would lose at least a couple of months of the season with a torn pectoral muscle.

And now the club has made the heartbreaking revelation that Brian Boyle will be undergoing treatment for Chronic Myeloid Leukemia (CML).

During a conference call, Brian Boyle, GM Ray Shero and Devils Team Internist Dr. Michael Farber speak about the news that Boyle will undergo treatment for Chronic Myeloid Leukemia.

Acquired as a free agent this summer, the 32-year-old Boyle addressed the media about his challenge late Tuesday afternoon via conference call.

“We’re at a good place,” said the big center who sounded calm and confident throughout the phone media scrum. “I feel good right now and I’m told that the treatment has minimal side effects.”

Boyle was accompanied by Dr. Michael Farber, Medical Director of Executive Health at the Hackensack University Medical Center, during the conference call.

“Right now,” said Dr. Farber, who doubles as the Devils’ team internist, “we’re waiting for more (medical) information. We should have all the data in the next few weeks, if not the next few days.”

The symptoms were confirmed by blood work done during the team physicals. Boyle allowed that before his ailment was discovered during the medical tests he had suffered bouts with fatigue.

“I was feeling pretty tired,” he recalled. “We had been traveling between Toronto, Tampa Bay, Boston and New Jersey and I figured that all that movement had contributed to it. There was a lot of fatigue.”

Through the media give-and-take, Boyle maintained an optimistic bent. He surprised The Maven when he told me that he expected to return to action at the start of the season.

[Read More From Stan Fischler]

“To be honest,” he insisted, “I’m looking to get on the ice Oct. 7 but that remains to be seen and depends on how this treatment works.”

The Devils’ season — and home opener — begins on Oct. 7 when they host the Colorado Avalanche at Prudential Center.

Dr. Farber noted that CML is “treatable” and that “new medications are much better tolerated. Brian came to us in great shape with very few symptoms.”

A popular Ranger for five seasons, Boyle was eagerly awaiting the opportunity to help his new team.

In fact, he revealed that many teammates, rivals and friends, who just recently had learned about his challenging situation, already had reached out to him.

Hockey News columnist Ken Campbell — who had joined the conference call — revealed that ex-Islander and later Maple Leaf, Jason Blake, suffered from the same disease and recovered from it.

“I feel fortunate to already have had such a tremendous outpouring of prayers,” Boyle said. “But my wife and I have had some long nights.”

Prior to training camp, the Devils figured to have a formidable trio of pivots, starting with Zajac, then Adam Henrique and Boyle sharing their load.

The burden now must be shared by Henrique, Pavel Zacha and Marcus Johansson; not to mention top draft pick, rookie Nico Hischier who likely will get a shot at center.

Speaking of his new teammates and new management, Boyle waxed enthusiastically about how well he has been treated since signing on with Shero last July 1.

“Imagine,” he concluded, “I haven’t played a single game for the Devils yet I have had this tremendous support.”

Then, a pause for reflection: “Prayers will always be accepted — and appreciated!”

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Engram Showing Progress

It was a tough game for the New York Giants in their home opener.

A 24-10 loss on Monday night to the Detroit Lions dropped the Giants to 0-2 on the year and has the team searching for answers.

Big Blue’s struggles on both sides of the ball overshadowed a strong start to the year from rookie Evan Engram.

Engram’s touchdown catch in the early moments of the second quarter was the Giants lone bright spot on Monday night, his 19-yard reception a well-run route and a perfect connection with quarterback Eli Manning. Through an admittedly small sample size of two games, Engram has looked the part and worthy of the No. 23 pick in April’s NFL Draft.

Giants rookie tight end Evan Engram speaks to the media after scoring his first touchdown in the NFL in Big Blue's 24-10 loss to the Lions and talks about the critical plays that cost New York in Week 2.

With eight catches for 93 yards and that second-quarter touchdown, Engram has certainly stood out among a Giants offense that has struggled to start the year. The 23-year-old leads the Giants in both receptions and receiving yardage through the first two weeks of the season.

Despite his solid beginning to his NFL career, Engram was frustrated with the team’s lackluster start to the season.

“It’s unacceptable,” Engram said Monday after the game. “Everybody talks about playing complementary football, and we’ve got to do that better. Got to get more physical up front, including myself, to get the run game going. Just got to make more big plays, got to make drives, got to drive down the field, get the defense off the field, score points. It’s just unacceptable.”

Later in the second quarter immediately after Jason Pierre-Paul forced a fumble and the Giants recovered the ball, the offense gave the ball back to Detroit after Manning threw behind Engram, a pass that the rookie tight end tipped into the air.

Lions linebacker Tahir Whitehead caught the ball for an interception and a dramatic momentum shift. Detroit would score a touchdown and take a 14-7 lead on the ensuing drive.

It was a play that Engram took the blame for – “that was on me” – even if the pass was slightly behind him. Regardless, he was a bright spot in a game where the offense failed to find consistency.

He also showed a level of disappointment on the penalty call for the celebration following his first ever touchdown in the NFL. He admits that he wasn’t trying to show anyone up.

Engram was caught up in the moment of his first touchdown as the Giants, after a slow start, had tied the score and seemed to be getting their offense on track.

“I don’t know what they were talking about, I did nothing intentional, but that was bull crap,” Engram said. “That was not the intention, that was obvious. I haven’t seen it, so I guess I’ll look at it.”

An encouraging development from Monday night’s game was that Engram’s blocking. Often questioned in the weeks leading up to the NFL Draft, his blocking has been much better than advertised. He shows a willingness to block on running plays as well as downfield.

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