Too much, too soon?

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There is a certain kumbaya feel to these days leading up to the formal start of training camp. Just about everyone on the roster is already here, with players intent on avoiding the early missteps of last season.

But not to be discounted is the fact that the Rangers have an excessively busy couple of weeks in front of them. On Monday is the team’s annual golf outing. Tuesday is for physicals and meetings. And then there are only three days of workouts before the team is off to Ottawa for a ridiculous stretch of six preseason games in eight days.

And this is before the Rangers head to Europe, where they’ll play two more exhibition games followed by their two regular season games in Prague.

In talking to a number of players about the preseason schedule, almost everyone is aware of the challenge it presents. Some just rolled their eyes and said it was unfortunate. Others were more direct.

“Who approved this?” one veteran asked me. “I know we approved the Prague games, but not this.”

Indeed, while players signed on for the Europe trip, the preseason schedule is made up by Rangers management. Almost everyone would agree that the six games, including trips to Ottawa and Tampa Bay, is a bit much on top of the Europe trip. But in the fairness, the preseason schedule actually took shape before the Europe trip was finalized.

The Rangers have always played three home games, and as a rule, if a team comes to you, you’re supposed to go to them, In other words, when the Rangers and Tampa Bay locked into a game at the Garden, that usually comes with a game at Tampa as well. Same thing for Ottawa. Naturally, the way to avoid this is to always have your preseason games against area teams like the Islanders and Devils. But scheduling is complicated, and it only takes one Miley Cyrus concert in your building to throw the whole thing out of whack.

Either way, the Rangers will likely skate two different units in their North American games so the wear-and-tear of the schedule won’t be as much of a grind. But as a number of people said to me, it’s still not ideal.

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Another impressive workout today, although Chris Drury and Scott Gomez took the day off while Markus Naslud skated on his own beforehand.

I don’t know if Drury and Gomez skipped today because it’s Sept. 11, but I would certainly respect if they did.

Personally, I hate this day for everything it reminds me of, and yet I also never want to forget any of it.

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No news on Brendan Shanahan’s contract. “Status quo,” he said.

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Still haven’t spoken to Nikolai Zherdev since I’m told his English isn’t great. But the kid looks good on the ice, and is bigger than I envisioned.

Another player to watch in camp is Andreas Jamtin. He’s been compared to a Swedish Sean Avery, and I can see why. Jamtin is built exactly like Avery, has the same explosive stride, and appears to play with an edge.

No word on whether Jamtin’s internship at Swedish Vogue is also being turned into a movie…

More later…

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55 Comments

  1. 8 exhibition games are way too much. I now see why the Rangers will be taking 30 players with them to Prague. I hope that we won’t see any regulars in those two exhibitions to be played in Europe. The NHL has pushed the Rangers WAY too much in this situation.

  2. Trying…hard…to resist…too easy…

    “bigger out of uniform than I envisioned.”

    Um? What? How much thought had you given him out of uniform?

    Sorry. But, come on. That’s hilarious.

  3. Andrew…Its the Rangers who decide their preseason schedule, as Sam states above. The conspiricy theory does not apply in this case!

  4. Miley Cyrus, Swedish Vogue, this is why im not paying for BB+ because Sam is the man, and he adds some damn good one liners to his posts. Awesome stuff.

    I don’t like all this BS with the squedule, i hope the guys don’t get dead tired before the season starts.

  5. I would speculate that Management did this to have the bonding, that a team of new guys normally goes through, during a 10 day Western trip in December to happen in Sept. If not, then Mr Sather doesn’t like any of these guys and wants to beat them up a little more than normal.

    Hey Sam, one question off the beaten path: Don’t you think they Rangers would have been better keeping Maloney as the GM, and let Sather walk???

  6. Sam and all –

    It really is all good news – until we actually watch them and see how they skate. I hope that the news that most are ready in camp before training camp actually starts is good news – and that they have some jump in their legs – the whole team, at several key moments last year, looked slow and weak – especilly when it counted. Lets hope for this team that they come out of camp with some jump in their stride and a desire to WORK HARD to score some goals

    By the way – my blood was boiling on the earlier post on the Malik comment – only funny after I kept reading !

  7. Sam, anything more on Zherdev? Can you elaborate a bit on how he looks with the other guys on the ice? Does he appear to be continuing his “loner”, “outcast” sort of behavior, or is he interacting well with the others? Have you noticed he and Gomez speaking together, by chance? We all assume they’re to be stapled together, so I hope they’re getting acquainted.

  8. i think all the exh games are about the $ especially with 1 less home game. season tix holders are forced to buy exh games as well.

    BTW – when do single game tix go on sale.

  9. I’d play kids only in exhibition games in europe..(Kids and a-class idiot Nedved)let other guys get swiss massages….

  10. Chris – nice one. I read that one totally innocently, until you took it out of context… Maybe Zherdev’s nickname in NY will be Tripod.

    I don’t think the exhibition schedule won’t kill them as bad as people think, it’ll be more the European trip. They’re going to skate 2 completely different teams for the exhibition games, so it’ll be more like 3 games in 8 nights for each 1/2. That’s not SO bad.

    Does out team have ANY other Russians, other than Zherdev right now? If not, and he can’t speak English, how’s he supposed to bond/gel/even TALK to his teammates around him?

  11. oh yeah, and I bet EVERYBODY who’s been making possible line combos in recent posts TOTALLY forgot about Jamtin. Sounds like he could have a good chance to make the roster. that’s why I can’t even TRY to make lines, there’s just WAY too many forwards around right now…

  12. I just got an email from ticketmaster for special ticketmaster presale tickets for the Islanders out at the Mausoleum.

  13. I hear you need to take out a new mortage on your house to afford tickets to Ranger games these days. The won one less playoff game (as the year before)and the ticket prices were what doubled or tripled?

  14. Sam,

    Can you give us an idea of what kind of workouts the players are doing on the ice right now? Are the coaches involved? Do they just scrimmage or are there actual drills? Who in general are leading these work outs pre-camp.

    Thanks.

  15. I’m not sure, because everything is written in Finnish, but I think all the Youtube stuff on Jamtin is of Jamtin “getting” ass-kicked…….

    Maybe this supports him being a “pest” I hope so…last year we had Dubi getting knocked into comas every three weeks…..we dont need another guys like that!

  16. all the Pre-season games are definitely about money…

    as for season tickets, I have had a half season package in the 400s since the lock out, the tickets have risen from $22.50 to $26.50 to $30.00 to now $40.00.

    Playoffs last year $50 1st rd, $75 2nd rd, $100 3rd, $150 4th, and you have to buy every game…

    this will most likely be my last year with the tickets, mostly because its hard to find people willing to spend that amount of money to go with me….the money I’ll save on them will be used to buy a diesel HDTV, though I will miss Larry and his fruity dances…

  17. I have tickets for both games in Switzerland..But I fear they will problably play both games with a number of regulars but I heard that the NHL have a contractual obligation with the iihf that they play those games with a real strong team….

  18. I stand corrected. Zherdev is an “enigmatic” Ukraine. I don’t know what it means, but he’s called that in about 40% of all articles about him. Good call Orr. Ukrainian is similar to Russian, but not the same.

    I also just checked to answer my own question, and Kalinen is Russian, which is probably close enough to talk. And Rosie and Prucha are Czech, which are the only countries even close to the Ukraine on our roster. I don’t think the Czechs and Ukraines/Russians can communicate though (in their mother tongues).

  19. Chris: I had the same thought, but I had to shake it off….haha

    Sam: I’m from Columbus and know first hand that Niky knows more english than he lets on. Don’t be scared to approach him, he knows at least enough to smile and shake his head when you ask him if he will take an interview. And don’t take it personally if he tells you no. That’s just Nik not wanting to be misinterpreted. I can’t wait to hear how he is doing in New York!

  20. Rangers flying in on Saturday night to arrive in Berne early Sunday morning and it is couple of days until the first game on Tuesday early evening at Post Finance Arena and I think they want to fine tune the squad so it is only back to back sets Tuesday-Wednesday and Saturday-Sunday so I hope they will be playing with a strong team..

    I still haven´t decided yet if I go to Prague, but I should be because there are regulr season games in contrast to Berne…

  21. “The Carolina Hurricanes have locked up their franchise player, signing centre Eric Staal to a seven-year contract extension. The $57.75 million deal begins with the 2009-10 NHL season and extends through the 2015-16 season, paying Staal an average of $8.25 million per season.” TSN

  22. Beer me, it was easy to get the tickets for the games in Switzerland via internet sales but for Prague it was not possible..I have been number of times to Prague and had contact with my favourite hotel but they told me there was never a chance to get me even one single ticket for the games at 02 Arena..If I would go to Prague I need to go over black market as I did couple of years ago during the lock out as I saw Jagr scoring a goal and set up another in a 4-2 loss for his team Kladno at at Sparta Prague.. I still think there are good chances to get a single ticket because the prize levels in the Czech Republic is different and as Rosival said it is really a nice city with a lot of things and girls to do….;(;(;(

  23. My buddy booked a trip to Prague on his own. He has called MSG constantly to fing out about tiks. They called him today, about $260 for upper level seats and $350 for lower level seats.

  24. Off the Ranger topic…..

    Just listened to the Patrick Roy-number retirement press conference on Montreol radio….you wouldn’t believe the furious debate this has caused in Habland because of his infamous last game there and how he demanded a trade from the then owner while on the bench…..

    Imagine a Ranger goalie who led team to 2 cup wins ( 3 cup finals in total) actually causing a debate regarding number retirements!!!

  25. If you are off to Prague look up the following 2 places to eat: Ambiente Brasilia, a kind of all-you-can-eat place where the chefs bring the meat on skewers to your table and carve it in front of you; also CukrKavaLimonada (which translates to Sugar Coffee Lemonade) which was great for breakfast/lunch.
    The old town square was where most of the bars and cafe’s were but they are always busy and twice the price of everwhere else, especially the ones by the astronomical clock.

  26. UKRanger –

    We have those brazilian places all over the place here, we have tons of brazilians in the NY Metro area. Im sure your place is good, but anyone going to Prague may want something they can’t get at home :)

  27. I officially vote for Kasper for funniest poster. possibly best hair too, but that would have to be reviewed.

  28. Steve Valiquette speaks Russian, for what it’s worth. He was the translator for Tyutin when he couldn’t understand something in practice. Vali spent a season in Russia that’s how he learned the language.

  29. You know Will, for some reason I thought he did. That was on one of the interviews with Maloney/Inside the Rangers, wasn’t it?

  30. good point Will… I vaguely remember hearing that, but totally forgot it. I guess we know who Zherdev’s roommate will be.

  31. Jeever,…funny illiterate discussion about Zherdev. He is ethnic Russian indeed, like another 10 million living in in depended (now) Ukraine witch use to be a part of Soviet Union and Russian Empire before. Anyone on post soviet territories still can speak Russian of course. By the way it’s – (someone is) Ukrainian and name is Kalinin. But on a substance (if there is one) you are great.

  32. Borman, I’m not sure if you’re complimenting me or laughing at my lack of knowledge of that part of the world… I’ll take it in a good way, until I know different. I was going based off of the Rangers roster on the website which states that Zherdev was born in Kiev, UKR and Kalinin was born in Chelyabinsk, Russia.

    Then again, they could have been born there and moved when they were 2, so that doesn’t help a WHOLE lot.

  33. for all of u that confused about how similar Ukraine and Russia… is very similar…Russians eat “kartoshka” (potato) Ukrainians eat borsht and vareniki (pirogi as u Americans call it) it used to be one country called USSR remember?… and the first language was and still is Russian…although in Ukraine they are trying to switch to Ukranian everything now… I am from Ukraine (Odessa) and I speak perfect Russian and not a word in Ukrainian… go figure

    BTW… does anyone here own new NHL09 game? Its pretty cool… they have Russian league now…which of course has the Avanagard team with Jagr and cherepanov on it… sweet

  34. I still say that signing Shanny is the wrong idea, unless they plan to get rid of players like Rissmiller and Prucha, which would be kind of dumb anyway since they could only afford recent and future draft picks in return.

    I still have to catch up on some recent posts, but I hope Renney knows what he’s doing; Sather only sometimes knows, so it seems to me like it’s Renney’s responsibility to fix his mistakes, even tho it shouldn’t be, really.

    Back to fantasy land, I guess since we have six committed players, we can afford six others. I’m surprised people from this blog don’t want to play! Anyway, the league is on Yahoo, ID# 13439, password rangers. Hope to see some good players there! :)

  35. What a lot of people are forgetting about this pre-season is that NHL Rules demand that a certain amount of players with NHL Contracts (and experience) play in each game, to avoid exhibition games being all rookies. They sell tickets to these games, and even though a lot of fans wouldn’t mind seeing all kids, the NHL seems to think that they can’t call them NHL exhibition matches without NHL players. This is partly the reason why there are so many guys like Rissmiller and Voros and the others. They will indeed have a split squad to avoid too much travel for all the players and still have the requisite amount of NHL players in each game.

  36. Thordic – look on tripadvisor, its the #1 rated restaurant in Prague. If you want to turn that down its your prerogative. No offense to anyone but Czech food is not very exciting – what they excel at is making Beer…happy drinking….

    As for NHL 09 – its not out until 24th October here..!! I might have to defect to NHL 2K9..!

  37. onecupin67years on

    Sam, Now that Jagr isn’t a NY Ranger aren’t these European trips unnecessary? Weren’t these trips part of showcasing jagr, straka and prucha and a kind of payback to jagr? never mind the BS of show casing the NHL worldwide.The league wants to get richer and would probably to have teams all over the world ,all it will do is dilute the league .

  38. there is a great beer garden in praha. i think its called ouh pinkasa and i believe its in old town sq or something like that. i was there last yr,the city reminds me of disney world.

    playing nhl 2k9 is a bad idea

    spiderpig ill join ur league

  39. Zherdev is not “enigmatic” like people think. Rangers fans will remember another “enigmatic” highly skilled Russian named Kovalev. Well in many ways Zherdev is the same. He is not grumpy and a loner like the jerks in Columbus liked to promote. He was a kid, a very immature kid thrust too quickly into the NHL by a desperate expansion team looking to put fans in the seats. They should have never pushed him into the NHL as soon as they did. It would be no different than if the Rangers were to force Cherepanov in last season.

    I saw Zherdev a lot first hand last year and he is a much matured person and hockey player. If he gets on a confidence high in New York City it will be, as they say “Fuggedabouddit” the guy will light up MSG on a nightly basis.

  40. I found all of you at last!! My main, ORR is here and all!! Rangers!! Dubinsky going to light it up too! My two favorite alaskans: sarah palin and Dubinsky….Holla!

  41. I see that the HOckey Rodent has nailed the process of refeering that we can expect this coming season…notably from the Ottawas.

    It’s the old Broad St Bullies all over again. Bust out 1st period, knock hell out of everyone anywhere near you, take you P’s kill ’em off and then continue lambasting til the refs run out of guts to call more and you’ve got the other guy’s team so intimidated they don’t want to come off the bench.

    There’s only one antidote to terrorism- counter terrorism! even if it costs you a game. When the terrorists find out that when they play your team, they’re all gonna go home breathing thru scabs, you’ll have made your point.

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