The Rangers had a memo taped to the bulletin board here about what they should wear today and tomorrow at West Point. Every player may have seen it, but not every player necessarily understood it.
So there was Rangers coach Tom Renney standing in front of the board with 19-year-old Russian Artem Anisimov, who presumably speaks as much English as I speak Russian. Renney pointed to the board, started acting out slowly what it meant, then asked Anisimov if he understood.
The Russian nodded blankly. Here’s hoping he doesn’t show up in a tuxedo.
Meanwhile, some notes from today’s double session, with half the players skating in one practice, and the other half skating in the other (As I write this, a third wave of the recently released Hartford players is on the ice):
The Nigel Dawes experiment continues: the left wing again skated on the top line alongside Scott Gomez and Jaromir Jagr in practice. Other lines in the second session had Petr Prucha and Marcel Hossa playing with Chris Drury, while Tom Pyatt, Lauri Korpikoski, and Colton Orr comprised another. (The Rangers other top forwards, including Sean Avery, Brendan Shanahan, Martin Straka and Ryan Callahan all skated in the earlier session).
Afterward Renney was asked if he relished having so many options at his disposal up front, this just a year after having the likes of Jason Ward and Adam Hall to work with). The coach went out of his way to say it was early and that he didn’t want to get ahead of himself. Of course, he was smiling and sitting forward in his chair when he said it.
Andrew Hutchinson made his first real impact of training camp when he took a puck to the nose, and had blood running down his face as a result. Ever the warrior, he never even left the ice.
A quick word about Jason Strudwick, who is one of those veteran defensemen that is complicating the picture on the backline. It is obvious he does not have as much upside as a Marc Staal or even a Thomas Pock. But it is also obvious that the Rangers love having him around because of his personality, and his versatility. An example, many said, was his attitude in practices last year during the playoffs, when he couldn’t even play, and yet he still worked as hard as anyone. Immensely popular in the room, Strudwick is probably an easier player to keep around as a seventh defenseman as opposed to someone who needs to be playing every night to be effective.
Something to keep in mind as the preseason unfolds….