Like it or not, the players who were on the ice for practice today are the ones the Rangers will be relying on for the rest of this season, and perhaps even beyond that.
It’s way too early to tell what kind of impact either Fred Sjostrom or Christian Backman will have on this group, but if you want to at least gauge an overall mood around the Rangers, it was apparent both were well received (with the exception, of course, of Sjostrom opening up a cut on his chin after taking a stick to the face from a defenseman. “Tall guy, righty shot,” Sjostrom said, not sure of the name. “Girardi?”).
Practice was upbeat, and so was the room afterward.
Anyway, some notes:
After winning a gold medal with the Swedish Olympic team in 2006, Backman signed a three-year contract extension that runs through next year. He NEVER lived up to expectations and would have stretches of several games where he would be nearly invisible before finally making a jaw-dropping play that left fans shaking their heads wondering why he couldnâ€™t put together more of a consistent effort during his Blues tenure.
“Swedes everywhere,” the captain cracked.
When Dellapina admirably decided not to take Avery up on his offer, Avery turned to me. “OK, what do you want to ask me?” he said. “Is there really anything earth-shattering you need to know?”
It turns out on the day after the Rangers made two trades, Avery was a non-story. “Not today,” I said.
Then Zipay chimed in. “Is there a reason you haven’t talked for three weeks?”
“No comment,” Avery said.
We all resolved to revisit the issue at a later date.