More thanks are in order to Andrew Gross, who is helping me get through my jury duty misery by keeping me—and by extension, you—updated on the Rangers. Here’s Andrew’s report on the recently summoned Brandon Dubinsky, who will be thrown into the fire tomorrow night against the Isles:
Brandon Dubinsky found out he was being called up to the Rangers for the first time when Wolf Pack GM/coach Jim Schoenfeld called him into his office after TuesdayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s skate.
Schoenfeld, who had a lengthy NHL career as a defenseman and has coached the Sabres, the Devils, the Capitals and the Coyotes, had a few pearls of wisdom for the 20-year-old Dubinsky.
“He said a couple of things I do well down there (in the AHL) might not work as welll up here because the other guys are a little bit stronger and smarter up here. Yeah, he gave me a few words of wisdom,Ã¢â‚¬â„¢” Dubinsky said. “He just told me down there, a lot of times, I was protecting the puck real well down low and holding guys off and maybe outmuscling guys. He gold me the guys are all stronger up here, IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve got to make the plays quicker. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m not going to necessarily outmuscle the defenseman. He said, `Just make smart plays and donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t get yourself in trouble. Keep doing what youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re doing but be aware of whatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s going on around you because things happen a lot faster.”
Schoenfeld has obviously been sending good reports back to Tom Renney, though the Rangers coach knows Dubinsky is far from a finished product.
“I thought they practiced well and you can see theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re excited to be here and they didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t look out of place at all,” Renney said of Dubinsky and rookie defenseman David Liffiton after todayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s skate. ”(Dubinsky) is a young player. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not just about how he physically adapts to the pro game and what the AHL has to offer. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s also sort of the mental maturation that goes along with that. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s about becoming consistent as a player, putting yourself in position to learn to get better in areas of weakness. HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s still a work in progress. But we feel heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a big, strong kid who maybe will offer up some of that offense weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re looking for.Ã¢â‚¬â„¢”
For his part, Dubinsky said he believes heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s gotten stronger since a good showing in the RangersÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ training camp and his play in the defensive zone has gotten smarter.
Essentially, heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s learning what it takes to be a pro.
“ThereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a lot of mental preparation youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve got to do,” Dubinsky said. “ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a long schedule, nobodyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s taking care of you so youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve got to take care of yourself and be ready. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a job here, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not for fun anymore. There are constantly guys wanting to take your job and you obviously want to move up so youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve got to be ready to play every night and bring the same intensity.”
As for DubinskyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s background, his father did live in Massapequa, Long Island before moving West and, ultimately, to Alaska, where Dubinsky was born. Dubinsky said he still has a few family members who live in the New York area but, unfortunately, he has not kept in touch with them. In other words, thereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not likely to be a Dubinsky rooting section in the Coliseum stands tomorrow night.
His father, by the way, was a Rangers fan, which he remained even after the NHL birthed the Islanders.
“He didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t want to convert,” Dubinsky said.