Spirits are high, and so are expectations

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There’s a lot to talk about after physicals and interviews on the first day of training camp. Unfortunately, I’m on a tight schedule so let me get to some highlights:

<li>Players were bouncing around the Training Center, but just about everyone, including Tom Renney, was available to talk. In the absence of any hard news — still nothing to report on Brendan Shanahan, who wasn’t here — most just talked about their expectations for the season ahead. Some, like Scott Gomez, again spoke openly about a Stanley Cup, while Markus Naslund would only say this is a playoff team, and that just about anything can happen from there.

“But this team in mind is capable of being one of the top teams in the league,” Naslund said.

<li>Naslund also shrugged at the notion that he’s the guy to replace Jaromir Jagr.

“That’s not really fair because Jaromir in my mind is one of the best players to ever play the game,” Naslund said. “I’m not going to be able to fill his shoes on my own. But I’ll do my best to play as good as I can. Hopefully it’s going to be a team effort and that’s where we’re going to have success.”

<li>I asked Gomez if he’s more willing to take on a prominent role in his second season. “Yeah, I’ll tell a guy to f– off now,” he cracked.

<li>A bit about the training camp schedule. Players will be divided into three teams — red, white, and blue. The red team is essentially the group that is in Traverse City now while the blue and white are primarily comprised of the players who will play in the exhibition games. There are exceptions. For instance, Bobby Sanguinetti and Michael Del Zotto are both on the red team, and they are likely to see some time in preseason games.

It appears that players will be assigned to Hartford prior to the last exhibition game before Europe, which is Sept. 27.

<li>Renney will obviously use the first days of training camp to tinker with line combinations. From what I saw, Gomez, Nikolai Zherdev, and Naslund will all be on the blue team together; while Chris Drury, Petr Prucha, and Nigel Dawes will be on the white. Brandon Dubinsky and Ryan Callahan are on the blue as well. I will clarify later if need be.

<li>Strange sight in the player’s lounge: Wade Redden was talking to the media while a replay of the 2007 Stanley Cup finals between Ottawa and Anaheim was playing on the NHL Network in the background. At one point, Redden scored.

“Nice shot,” someone said.

“Yeah, hopefully you’ll be seeing plenty of that this year,” Redden replied.

<li>Only a split squad will travel to the exhibition games. On Saturday, it’s the white team that will travel to Ottawa, while the blue and red will stay back in Westchester and skate. From what I can tell, Naslund and Zherdev will make their debuts Monday at the Garden as part of the blue team.

That’s all for now. More later…

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61 Comments

  1. Maybe this has been discussed, I have been away for a while. On that note hello everybody and here we go again.

    Is game 1 in Prague on MSG? I know game 2 is on VS.

    18 days and counting. LGR!!!!

  2. Good stuff, i cant wait for the pre season to start. I still get emotional during the games like its a regular season game, but eh.

    I really hope Slats does make up his mind today on Mats and Shanny. I just don’t wanna wait any longer, they don’t have time to waste with pre season just 4 days away. Get it going already, finish up the team.

  3. GardenFaithfulinFLA on

    I’m ready to rock and roll – got the dish up yesterday, MSG/Center Ice. I just hope DirectTV doesn’t blackout the preseason games like DishNet did.

  4. Awful…. its been nearly 2 months – and absolutely NADA on Zherdev. Not one insightful tidbit or update on the guy.

  5. ““Yeah, I’ll tell a guy to f—off now,” ” Scott Gomez 9-16-08

    Hey Scotty start by calling Sundin’s cellphone

  6. In case you haven’t seen yet, go to sports.yahoo.com/nhl/blog/puck_daddy to see a picture I know you will find hilarious. Maybe I’ll try a post with the link later. Also, three more spots left in the blog fantasy league (ID 13439, password rangers).

    LI Joe – I think a player only has to be on the IR for about three weeks to get an injury exception for that amount of time, but I don’t know if they could even use that for players that are on the team for the whole season, since it is designed to bring up replacement players.

    Wow, even those Rangers golf polos have little advertisments for Panasonic, Bud Light, _and_ Nike.

    That Hurricanes third jersey is sick and I really want to get one. I love the flag on the front and the black logo on the shoulder. The squares on the bottom are terrible, but they at least look better in black. Just in terms of a nice shirt, it would be nice to have, but the expense is a little too much even for the “premier” version at $170 or whatever.

    Beer Me! – Just because the Canadiens traded for Lang doesn’t mean they’re out of the running for Sundin. It obviously wouldn’t be as prudent for them at this point, but if he decides he wants to play there, I can’t imagine them saying no unless it’s for cap reasons.

    More that I’ve learned from the Puck Daddy blog on Yahoo: Versus will be announcing the second Rangers/Lightning game from a studio in the US, watching on monitors. It will be John Forslund, the Hurricanes announcer, of who I am not too fond, with his odd times of excitement and weird phrases (the goalie melts the puck down). (Or am I thinking of the Capitals dude Joe Beninati, though I think he is the one that just doesn’t like us?) Unfortunately, Forslund signed a contract with them rather than being a fill-in, so get ready to see more. What is MSG doing to cover the opening games, especially the first one?

  7. “Beer Me! – Just because the Canadiens traded for Lang doesn’t mean they’re out of the running for Sundin. It obviously wouldn’t be as prudent for them at this point, but if he decides he wants to play there, I can’t imagine them saying no unless it’s for cap reasons.”

    Gainey said: “We’re moving on”.

  8. SPIDER

    Probably just a regular Rangers Game Night. 36 mins, maybe a couple of interviews with Renney, Melrose, Lecavalier, Gomer, Hank , etc.

    Those two games are must wins, i don’t want Nyr to be the first friggin team to lose to Melrose and his Bolts, ugh. That would be embarrassing. Then if we lose to the Hawks. Jeez we better win our first three games of the season !! Not that im underestimating those two teams, but the fact is, there both losing teams, until they prove otherwise.

  9. You’re thinking of Benanati…that guy sux.

    I actually talked to Sam Rosen once about Forslund. I know, seems odd, right? He’s an awesome announcer. His partner, Trip Tracey is an a-hole unfortunately.

  10. The Canadian Press…
    “General manager Bob Gainey said this summer he had a backup in mind if he failed to land former Maple Leafs captain Sundin as a free agent. That turned out to be Lang, who had his best years playing with Canadiens winger Alex Kovalev when both were with Pittsburgh in the late 1990s.

    “There was no indication to us that we would see Mats Sundin with our team,” said Gainey, who met with the Swedish star on the weekend. “I didn’t have a sense that Sundin wanted to start the season or come to training camp and we wanted a team ready for training camp.”

    He added that the club is no longer interested in Sundin, who has yet to decide whether he will play another season.”

    So now the suitors for Sundiva are: NYR, TOR, PHI, VAN, retirement.

  11. I don’t know the name, but an announcer for Atlanta is TERRIBLE. I was listening to a game on the radio, and when Atlanta scored 1st, he actually said “He picks up his loose change and deposits it in the basket named First Goal of the Game!”. I was nauseated.

  12. Jeever
    Atlanta announcing sticks out for me too as being singularly bad…..

    I had NHL center-ice online last year… had to watch the Leetch retirement game with those clowns from Atlanta doing the play by play and making idiotic remarks “Leetch reminded me of a slower version of Ken Klee”(thats a joke)

    The worst, or I should say, most bitter-home rooters-soar losers though are the Buffalo announcers…every time they lose a game there is a league-wide conspiracy at play. Everyone is ganging up on the Sabres.. and every completed pass by a Sabre has some heart-attack screaming call to go along with it…

    I attempt to go to NHL.COM and pick-up the Rangers radio feed and mute the center-ice call but its always like 30 seconds differential

    So hard being a hockey fan…heh?

  13. You’re right about Buffalo. And it seems like that stems from their cry-baby coach. Argues every off-side, every icing, every everything!

    I hate that. And I hate when people want coaches to yell and scream at officials for stupid sh-t. But that’s an argument for another day.

  14. I HATE Beninati, he clearly hates Nyr, i have no idea why. Maybe cause Jags was doing better with Nyr than the Craps. The Sabres announcer is hilarious, i don’t know why people don’t like him.

    I hate the Isles announcers, they suck so bad, and the Philly announcers are just classless, i remember last season when they said “Here’s another team Jagr ruined”, i wanted to find that guy and give him a world famous McSorley to the face ! Then there’s Chico, i hate him, but i like Doc, he’s funny.

  15. Come on, how can you not find it hilarious when that guy says “Scooooooooooooooooooore………………….Buffalooooo Scooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooorrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrre…..chris DRUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUURRYYYYYYY, WHO ELSE, who else”

  16. Orr
    the problem is they yell like that at every missed shot, saved shot, completed pass, guy getting out of Penalty box and face-off victories until the other team scores then its….like a suicide ward

    but I guess you are right,…it IS funny

  17. I HATE Emrick… That stupid Scream he does every shot or every save. And people think he’s god’s gift to announcing.

  18. “Kaspar – got to be Mike Emrick! :)”

    Spider…thats dead on!!

    When I was a kid what was simply called a “save!’ is now called “waffle-boarded away”

    Just like what was a “sprained ankle” is now called a “high ankle sprain”

    and a “pass” is now called “a saucer pass”

    ….and yet….we still listen to these idiot announcers…why? turn it off …put on some Pearl Jam

  19. I guess I still can’t post links in a message. :( So ORR, click the link in my name to make your day.

    Beer Me! – Per the link from your name, you’re not thinking of moving to Easton, PA, are you? I don’t think they get MSG there, since I don’t get it at college in Bethlehem. You should go a little farther north *if possible*, along I-80 maybe. Of course, there’s always Center Ice!

  20. spider – i know there is an injury exemption but think its for long term injuries. when i asked dubi of bb he thought the Rangers were not getting one for their injuries to Avery etc. I totally don’t know how it works whether a guy has to be out 4 mos or all season or what.

  21. Heh…the talk about Kovalev and Lang reminds me of an add I just spotted in a hockey magazine(for gloves): “What Kovie wants, Kovie gets.”

    If Lang is what “Kovie wants,” thank god he’s not a Ranger anymore…

    Mookie – if Prucha has a big year this year, I’ll give you odds that it’s with another team…

  22. Steve Zipay on Newsday blog posted the lines:

    WHITE (which will open in Ottawa, possibly with some tweaking, on Saturday)

    G—Valiquette, Wiikman
    D—Rozsival/Staal, Potter/Mara, Denisov/Kondratiev, DelZotto/Murray.
    F—Dawes-Drury-Prucha
    Voros-Nedved-Rissmiller
    Sjostrom-Anisimov-Parenteau
    Byers-Moore-Jessiman

    BLUE (home opener vs. Ottawa Monday and NJ)

    G—Lundqvist, Lafleur, Mike Brodeur
    D—Redden/Girardi, Kalinin/Fahey, Pock/Sanguinetti, Busto.
    F—Naslund-Gomez-Zherdev
    Fritsche-Dubinsky-Callahan
    Korpikoski-Betts-Orr
    Dupont-Pyatt-Jamtim

  23. SPIDER

    Thanks, those pics are awesome. She is and will be for a long time, number one on my hotlist.

    NYR got there first win of the Traverse City Tourney, they beat TBL 5-2, or 5-3. Artie had 2 goals, and i think Barnes as well. Its on NYR.com if anyone wants to read aboot it.

  24. no Sundin news is good news. He isn’t going to be a Ranger…its a good day to be a fan!!!
    oops, there is still 3 hours…Sather go to bed!!!

  25. I would figure the 7th dman spot will be a battle between Denismov, Kondratev, and Potter. While Kondriatev is on a tryout contract he likely has the heads up. Sather will wanna say see we got him and Korpikowski for Leetch. Pock with his cap charge has zero chance.

  26. It is ten years ago that a washed up Tikkanen came to camp on a tryout contract and scored 8 goals in the pre-season he then stunk it up in the regular season. I hope to God Nedved doesn’t have a monster pre-season like that.

  27. Maybe I shouldn’t read too much into these line combos, but it looks like Rissmiller and Voros would be the press box members, considering Nedved is not likely to make the team. Also, I’m not sure about having Korpikoski on the “fourth” line, even in preseason. That’s not a good fit.

  28. Looking at the golf photos: Voros looks huge; Girardi, Sjostrom and Staal look more muscular; Prucha looks as slim as ever; Dawes looks like a short-haired Lenny Kravitz.

    I think its hard to read too much into the line combos, apart from the top lines and top 2 D pairs are what everyone thought would make sense based on current personnel. Prucha looks like he’s being given a chance to claim a top 6 spot and Fritsche the chance to claim a spot on the left side.

  29. pig – actually, that’s a house that I am selling. I DID live there for about a year(first house I bought like 2 years ago), but wanted to do some renovations before selling. The market didn’t help either. I’m back in my old ‘hood in Jerzy now though.

    The only way to get MSG was with directTv. ONLY way. And anytime philly was playing home, there was potential to be blacked out. Thankfully, an aquaintence owned a bar across the river and was a huge ranger fan. So I always got to see the game, just not from the comfort of my couch.

  30. I wouldn’t worry about line combos yet. POSSIBLY worry about them starting Saturday. But even then, only half the team is even traveling to OTT. I also wouldn’t worry about the outcomes of any of the preseason games.

    And if I’m not mistaken, the 2 games that are being played in Switzerland are on olympic/international size ice surfaces. And Czech rep games are nhl size? I’m not sure on that…anyone wanna check?

  31. Hope I’m not duplicating here, sorry if I am but;
    I just heard on Montreol radio that for this coming season there WILL NOT BE preformance bonuses….anyone hear anything else on this??

  32. The guy reporting it said something to the effect “this will really effect the teams with younger players trying to get to the cap”

  33. The article on TSN confused me as they were talking about entry level contracts mostly. We haven’t got many bonus-laden entry level contracts so should be OK.
    However, i didn’t get the impact on Over 35 contracts. Does this now mean there are no deferrals if the players bonus takes you over this years cap?

    If so that could throw a big spanner in the works of a Shanny or Sundin signing.

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