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.