Training camp notebook: Sept. 17 edition


Update, 1:50 p.m.: OK, apologies on the delay but there was a lot of waiting around for players while they attended a “Doping Control Seminar”. I’m pretty sure that has to do with blood doping, and not tips on how to deal with various dopes on your team (or in the media).

But we finally had a chance to speak to Nikolai Zherdev; and to Scott Gomez, Markus Naslund, and Tom Renney about Zherdev. I’ll have more on this later, but it’s safe to say the team is hoping for a breakout year from the 23-year-old wing. Even Zherdev said he’s looking for bigger things in his first season in New York.

“Last year I scored 26 goals. Maybe this year there’s more goals because there are good forwards and a good center here,” Zherdev said. “I’ll try to score more goals and win the Stanley Cup.”

As for the hit from Byers, Zherdev is fine. It was called as a penalty in the scrimmage, but I’d call it a questionable one at that.

“It’s OK,” Zherdev said, who only had a slight scratch on his face as a result. “It’s hockey.”

Some other updates:

<li>Tom Renney on his hopes for the fourth line this year: “I’d like to see more production. What we got out of that line is real, good solid play. They were able to shut down some very good lines this league. But I’d like to see more production.”

<li>One snafu I never thought of until today: The Rangers will play six exhibition games in North America in NHL rinks, and will play their two games in Prague in an NHL-sized rink. In between, though, are two games in Switzerland in a 200-by-100 Olympic rink. Renney admitted it’s not the ideal preparation for the regular season.

<li>On whole, the Rangers came into camp in better shape than expected. The average score from yesterday’s tests — which measured strength, explosive power, aerobic fitness, anaerobic fitness — were the highest conditioning coach Reg Grant had seen in his seven years in New York. The team no longer gives an award to the player who tests the best, but Renney singled out Petr Prucha as someone who tested extremely well.

<li>Michal Rozsival refused to divulge what number he’ll wear this season. “It’s a secret,” Rozsival said. “It’s actually the last two digits of my social security number.”

“What about 68?” someone suggested.

“No,” Rozsival said. “Too much pressure.”

Rozsival, by the way, already has some 30 friends and family coming to the Prague games, but is now having to turn people away for tickets.

<li>Individual tickets for games this season go on sale on Saturday. Here’s the release:

New York, September 17, 2008 – The New York Rangers announced today that tickets for the 2008-09 Rangers season home games will go on-sale on Saturday, September 20 beginning at 12:00 p.m. on Ticketmaster via, Ticketmaster charge-by-phone, (212) 307-7171, (201) 507-8900, (631) 888-9000, (845) 454-3388, (609) 520-8383 and Ticketmaster outlets.

Tickets are limited. Fans will be limited to a maximum of four (4) tickets per game. Due to high season subscription renewals for the upcoming season, there will be extremely limited individual tickets available for “Adam Graves Night” on February 3rd vs. the Atlanta Thrashers.

Update, 12:05 p.m.: On-ice workouts are done. I’ll check in after some interviews.

Update, 11 a.m.: Uh, I guess Zherdev is OK, because he went on to score his first highlight-worthy goal in a Rangers uniform (fine, practice Rangers uniform). The wing carried the puck through center ice, dumped it to Markus Naslund before taking a pass back from Gomez and wristing a shot in from the right side.

Chris Drury and Patrick Rissmiller also scored good-looking goals for white.

Tough day for Hugh Jessiman, who was hit hard first by Thomas Pock, then taken off the ice after getting in the nose by Colton Orr.

Altogether, pretty high intensity for mid-September.

Update, 10:26 a.m.: The first “yikes” moment of training camp comes when Dane Byers comes up high with a shoulder on Zherdev. Zherdev is helped off the ice, and misses the next shift (where he’s replaced by Lauri Korpikoski), but eventually returns and actually gets a decent shot on goal.

Through the first period of the scrimmage, each side has a goal on a penalty shot (blue by Ryan Hillier and white by Petr Prucha), but the play is a tad sloppy. I continue to be impressed by Callahan and Dubinsky, who controlled the puck well in the offensive zone.

Not to be forgotten is Petr Nedved, who set up Patrick Rissmiller in front, but Rissmiller fanned on the shot.

Update, 9:46 a.m.: The Blue practice is over. On some rush drills, it’s clear that the Zherdev-Gomez-Naslund is going to fluster teams with their speed. But connecting on scoring chances is another story. At one point Gomez rushed into the zone, left a drop pass for Zherdev, but the wing couldn’t get a shot off in time.

More impressive actually was Brandon Dubinsky and Ryan Callahan on an energy third line. Dan Fritsche was on the left wing, although I don’t envision him staying there.

The actual scrimmage in a few minutes will be more telling.

Still no news on Brendan Shanahan, who isn’t here…

Michal Rozsival doesn’t care who Harry Howell is. He’s still wearing No. 3 in practice. That’s obviously going to change at some point…

Earlier: So here’s my story on “the Rangers’ expectations heading into training camp”: Some still aren’t shy about referencing a Stanley Cup, which I suppose is fine.

If you’re not optimistic at this time of year — when the power play still hasn’t sputtered, the defense still hasn’t looked soft, and your line combinations still haven’t proven to be a complete failure — when can you be optimistic? Not that I’m saying those things are going to happen. It’s just that they DEFINITELY haven’t happened yet. And I maintain that the lower expectations surrounding the team this season will only help, because I don’t envision the same type of early-season stick squeezing that plagued them last October.

Of course, this team might be jet-lagged for the first three weeks and won’t be able to stand upright as a result, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves….

Meanwhile, I’m off to the rink momentarily. My plan is to update this post throughout the day with news and notes from the split squad workouts. First up is a Blue team practice featuring the likes of Markus Naslund, Nikolai Zherdev and Wade Redden, followed by a scrimmage against the White unit at 10.

Stay tuned..

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  1. i was gonna say the same thing. Thank God its starting up again. theres finally new things to read everyday. amen for hockey season

  2. Sam…once again, you’ve made it known that you have one of the greatest, if not THE greatest job in the world.

    You get to sit there all day and talk to these guys, then relay information.

    You have NO responsiblity to make the team better, and cannot be blamed if they do not succeed.

    You can do 1/2 your job from the comfort of your own home. And (sometimes perhaps a downfall) your employer does not require you to travel very far.

    I am envious. You’re headed to the rink to watch the Rangers in camp, and I’m headed to a meeting about ‘motivating’. Life is just not fair sometimes.

  3. Poopie Gonzalez on

    Beer Me –

    Couldnt agree with you more… a true dream job in every sense. The cool thing about Sam is that he actually realizes it too.

  4. when I read Sam’s article, I saw a parellel, not sure if this has been brought up before…

    A Superstar player, respected by his team, and later on, by the national media, and proven to be a great offensive talent. His last year with the team is distracted by rumors of him not being around next year. Sure enough, he leaves, leaving behind many question marks as to the offensive void left behind. You’re all probably thinking Jagr. I’m thinking him and Tiki Barber. The Giants did pretty well once he was gone, maybe the Rangers will spread things out more and be more balanced and effective now too?

    Hockey season MUST be getting close. I can feel optimism starting to stir deep down in my bones.

  5. And rubs it in on occasion…
    I can’t argue though…I also have a dream job of sorts…
    Monday-Wednesday-Friday from 10-1 and 3-7 off tues, thurs, sat and sun

  6. staal – chiropracter, right? good gig.

    jeever – that’s why it was so important to let him move on (and cash in before its too late). Also a reason I believe Rozy will be more effective this season, especially on the pp.

  7. Finally Hockey is back….. Game On…

    Sam keep the information coming it is the light that beacons on an otherwise regular day for most of us

  8. I’ll echo the thought…that hockey is back. Remember those days back in June before the draft, then the week before 7/1, then the rest of July….It seems so long ago. But its BACK!

  9. hmm…

    Malik #8
    Poti #3
    Purinton #5

    maybe we need to keep D-men from wearing single digits. Even since Leetchie retired…

  10. Sam,

    Great stuff!!


    I tried pasting a link from Hockey Futures ranger prospects page to support this question but the link wouldn’t take

    Why is there never any mention of the Parenteau guy as a prospect? Is he too old, a career AHL’er?

    The link I tried posting showed a total of 35 Ranger prospects but not him

    Any thoughts on him?

  11. Is this really true??? hockey season??? Finally!!! cant wait to see how everyone looks together and how lines work out in the next couple of weeks.

  12. “Rissmiller fanned on the shot”.

    How many times will we hear that this season?

    Byers trying to make the team. Love the competitiveness.

  13. I don’t like that Zherdev was hit high but…someone has to be physical on D…hopefully it will translate to the regular season. Hopefully it won’t be a guy trying to make the team only to have his physical play tail off in the regular season

  14. Dont worry about Zherdev getting hit….I mean, if they play Philly or the Pens it might actually happen again…

    Why am I getting this primadonna feeling about this guy after one report????

  15. Pavel
    I’m watching the HBO line one game last year and I tell the little Kaspars “I love these guys but when they play offense its like they are all holding their sticks upside down!”

  16. “I don’t like that Zherdev was hit high but…someone has to be physical on D…hopefully it will translate to the regular season. Hopefully it won’t be a guy trying to make the team only to have his physical play tail off in the regular season”

    Problem is, Byers doesn’t play defense.

    Byers is a f’ing idiot for pulling something like that, Zherdev is this team’s most talented player and key to any success this year. Byers is a nothing guy, he should be benched for throwing a high hit, on anyone.

  17. i bleed ranngers blue on

    i cant believe ill b watching a rangers game in three days and be back at MSG in five…every summer feels longer than the last…ever day during the summer i ckecked for news like three times a day and there would be days without a post very fustraiting but now its back and i couldnt happier thank the lord(stanley)!

  18. its never a good thing when Colton Orr is the biggest scoring threat on the line.

    No offense to Orr the poster.

  19. Sam thanks for the quality stuff from camp.

    Does anyone know where the full rosters–White, Blue & Red (?)–for the split squad teams can be found? Is there even a “Red”? Did I make that one up?

  20. Thanks Jeff, right after I hit the post button I realized…
    I had him confused with Potter…don’t ask me why.
    So was Jessiman mixing it up with Orr…when is this guy gonna learn?

  21. he shoots, he scores!!! hope that goal in scrimmage is the start of something amazing between those 3

  22. Jaromir Jagr is the front runner to be added to the Ewing Theory this year. (A star player leaves and the team gets better without them. Google the Ewing Theory for more info).

  23. Hey Jeff, you never know, Z coulda put his head down right before getting hit…I know everyone’s trying to make the team but even those guys won’t purposely go out of their way to hit someone, especially high.

    Mike, the Red team is the prospects in Traverse for the rookie tournament.

    Meshuggah had a good question (maybe by repeating it Sam might catch it again), why doesn’t Fritsche look like he could play with Dubi and Cally?

  24. beerme – you have a good gig too – don’t rock the boat

    kaspar – parenteau is 25 so that might be why he’s not listed as a prospect.

    rucchin – your link is imbedded in your name no need to post it in every post of yours

  25. We need to hear more about the Brandon Dubinsky, Ryan Callahan and Dan Fritsche on an energy third line. What is going on? Will Dan Fritsche be able to keep up with these guys? Will time work it out?

  26. newman – detroit has tourney for young players in 8 organizations each yr. Rangers have been it at least last yr and this. did very well last yr. not doing so well 1st 2 ganmes this yr getting shutout in both. sanguinetti and del zotto are on this yrs team,

  27. Newman,
    Traverse City is a prospects tournament held in – you guessed it – Traverse City, Michigan. I think it’s like 8 teams (that’s what it was last year). And it’s obviously a tournament. Anisimov was on the team, as well as Sanguinetti and Del Zotto, and other prospoects and draft picks (including Lyon Messier). I just answered that they were the Red Team bc I saw it somewhere. I don’t know much more about it, like when it’s over (it could be over now), but just a little information

  28. Thanks for the age of Parenteau LI Joe…didnt realize he was that old…

    By the way gang, if Jessiman backs off from anyone now that pretty much ends his hopes for being a Ranger….he HAS TO get in people’s faces and who better than the toughest Ranger?

    Thanks again Sam for all the updates….

  29. …and even though we think him a long shot, isnt it true that (in Jess’s and Orr’s minds)they are battling for the same spot??

    Anyone know what “reverse waivers” are? I just read that Schnieder cleared waivers but could still be claimed on “reverse waivers” and save Baboob burke 2.8 million!

  30. I understand Byers is trying to make the team but going high on a guy who basically has our season on his stick is just plain unacceptable. Maybe he should wait until we playsome real teams in the preseason before he tries to hurt star players. You should not have to expect to get hit up high by your own teammate in a scrimmage. Especially such a key player. Its a good way to not make the team. If he hurts Zherdev, I doubt he makes the Rangers, his chances are very low already.

  31. Zip reports that the hit on Z wasn’t ‘high’. It was shoulder on shoulder. And if Z is that soft…we’re in trouble.

    “reverse waivers”… If a player clears on their way down, they are subject to “RE-ENTRY waivers” on the way back up. In THAT case, both the teams aquiring the player, and the team losing the player both pay 50% of the remainder of the salary. You normally won’t see it unless a guy is in the last year of his contract.

  32. I don’t want to see anybody get hurt in a scrimmage, especially Zherdev, but a guy like Byers has to play that way in order to open up some eyes. Most of these minor leaguers are playing for their NHL lives. If he makes this team it’s going to be as a 4th line guy. Playing the body and playing with an edge is his only shot at getting an NHL job.

  33. I read in that same blog Beer Me that Jessiman was playing very physical too…thats a good sign….and that Kalinin looked awful, Prucha back to old form and with confidence from Renney, Rissmiller looked good (2 goals) and Staal/Rozy looked good…..decent for first play, except for Kalinin, but like I said, first real action…

  34. Also, Sam, can you clarify this hit on Zherdev….everybody’s making a big deal and it might be a routine body check and Zherdev landed the wrong way.

  35. Beer me! thanks…while your looking up consequences and repercussions…what happens if the Shnide doesnt get picked on reverse waivers…basically clears twice….is he a free agent, is Big-mouth Burke stuck with $5.5 on his cap! ( I hope so)

  36. More likely than not(though I’m not there), Zherdev was ‘taking it easy’, or admiring a pass or something. Taking training camp too lightly can be dangerous. I draw that idea from Z’s past of taking things a little to non-chalant (sp?). This is a short camp. Get your sh-t together, and do it fast.

  37. That’s a HUGE ‘what if’ kaspar. One that honestly, doesn’t need to be addressed. OTT, NYI, NJD are all looking VERY closely at the situation. Teams only had until noon today to submit papers for him on waivers. And they’ll have 24hrs to claim him off re-entry waivers when he’s brought back up…probably in a day or two. At THAT point, if multiple teams submit the request, he goes to the team that finished lowest in the standings last year. no lie.

  38. If a player clears waivers and then re-entry waivers, he doesn’t become a free agent. He would have to be released for that to happen.

  39. Thanks Beer and Jason…

    Get taken on first waiver…Burke pays “0” new team pays whole salary

    Get taken on reverse or re-entry, each pays half

    Not taken on each pass-thru(long shot) player remains with Dux and Burke pays whole salary

    Beer..I agree 100% about Z….come here to play not to waltz..your competeing with these guys for Gods sake!!

  40. I don’t think too many fans are concerned about what number Rozsival is wearing this year. There isn’t a backlog of fans that are waiting with shortness of breath for that announcement. But he better not take #4 because I believe the next number to be retired after this year’s slew of retirees will be Greschner’s #4 at some point over the next couple of years. At least it should be.

  41. “kaspar – if guy is left in minors as happened to you cost the team real $ but not cap $’

    Greatest year of my life

  42. REPOST:

    Beer Me!
    September 17th, 2008 at 6:42 am
    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?

    Thanks for confirming Sam.

  43. re: 4th line/production.

    I don’t forsee it being as much of a problem as it was last year. Reason being, with a better rounded defensive roster, to play within the defensive system, the ‘5 men in the picture’ concept is easier to acheive. An upgraded d-corp to compliment that should add to the production as well.

    Look at it this way. It’s REAL REAL REAL hard to produce less than they did last year, right?

  44. # Beer Me! September 17th, 2008 at 11:55 am

    zip also said that staal was clipped in the face with a stick.

    I’m fine!…its hockey

  45. Guys, chill! It’s the first SCRIMMAGE. “Z was taking a play off” “what if Z is soft?” “the hit was high” “we’re in trouble:.

    Wow, stop. None of us are there. We can’t POSSIBLY be judging the effort or characteristics of these players yet, espcially based off blog posts! Everyone just take a deep breath…….there. Relax, all is well. The most important thing about training camp and the pre-season is that NO ONE GETS INJURED. Let’s please not criticize or judge guys on the opening day of camp!

    I’m as excited as everyone. But let’s at least see what they look like on Saturday night.

  46. Rob C

    Sam is there and if Sam says “Z” is soft then “Z” is soft man!! ….I read it ecklund’s too!!

    Just kidding….cant wait till real games

  47. Andrew September 17th, 2008 at 1:03 pm

    I agree Andrew. Greschner was my favorite as a kid. I really started watching them in his rookie year but I never thought they’d retire his number. Now that they are rethinking their criteria for retiring jerseys, he definitely should be the next and last retired Ranger to get his number hung.

  48. Cool the team came in great shape. Maybe we are looking at a quick start this year……I could learn to deal with that. Maybe some extra points early will prove valuable late in the season and take the pressure off the last 2 weeks. GAME ON!!!!

  49. “I can’t believe Kasper asked about waivers and re-entry waivers. You WENT THROUGH THAT my man!!!”

    Jeever…all I know is I got paid…then I got depressed (Hartford and all) I did not know repercussions of being claimed during first waiver or double-secret reverse waiver….Slats just said “take your money, shut your mouth and go play with the kids”

  50. yeah, but here’s the way it went down…

    slats: sorry kaspar, we’re going to put you on waivers.

    kaspar: oh man. someone can pick me up though, right?

    slats: HAHAHAHA

    kaspar: ok, forget you old man. Wait, I still get paid $3.5million u.s. dollars to play with the Hartford Wolfers?

    End of conversation, as kaspar walks out whistling and whips prucha with a towel…

  51. Not that it means a whole lot because if we need to make room Prucha’s $1.6 million is likely to go, but it’s quite encouraging to see him with a goal and assist, playing well, and coming in maybe in the best shape on the team…Just seems to me that he’s showing everyone he means business and is ready to work hard and get back to his old form. If that line works out then we could be looking at 3 very solid lines, but who knows what combinations are gonig to look like….it is only 1 scrimmage….I just want it all to start so bad..

  52. Sam no word on Shanny yet?
    If a deal is coming it would have to be between today and Friday right?

    Did anyone read John D on daily news blog about how he thinks Sather is jerking Shanny around?

    I think even Sather must have said under his breath to him or his agent “We’ll sign you”, casue there’s no way its getting to the first pre-season game without Shanny knowing for sure one way or the other that there gonna sign him or tell him to move on. He wouldnt have waited if there really wasnt any kind of reassurance. The man is not stupid.

    And please say the Sundin saga is dead, please?

  53. GardenFaithfulinFLA on

    If anyone is interested, the NHL Network is airing the Rangers/Lightning Prospect game at 8:00 pm. I know I’ll be watching – gotta get my fix.

  54. Beer Me,
    What did you learn about motivation today? Looks to me like you spent the day blogging again-LOL. You do blog creatively thankfully.

  55. Whoever ripped Byers for hitting Zherdev is a fool. Hello he’s trying to make an impression on the coaching staff. The only way he’ll do that is by playing him game( by hitting fighting, and driving hard to the net) If the Rangers wouldn’t have gone overboard in bringing in all these 3rd and 4th liners this offseason he would have had a great chance of making the team. I saw him in Hartford last year and I love his game. I think he could have a Dallas Drake type career or maybe even be a poor mans Darren McCarthy.

  56. “Whoever ripped Byers for hitting Zherdev is a fool”

    Graves9…couldn’t agree more…thats what this time of year is for; at least for the fringe guys..they are already in shape they are trying to make the team period.

  57. Didn’t learn crap about motivation.

    Apparently Byers is PLENTY motivated. Its one thing to throw clean hits in camp (as I believe he did), and another to go head hunting(which doesn’t appear to be the case).

  58. One last thing and then I go chase neighbors around building with janitor’s broom…

    This Shanahan thing is going to be an embarrassment if he is in fact being jerked around…I don’t believe it to be so ( like MikeyNJ said) Shanny is not stupid…or blindly loyal but if indeed he was promised something and then renegged on….Thats bad. Leetch’s handling was bad enough…

  59. OUCH !!

    Justin Williams has another major injury, he’s out for 4-6 months. Damn i feel bad for the guy, they were supposedly shopping him, lol, cant anymore.

    And i agree, who ever made that comment aboot Byers is hooked on sugar. The guy did the right thing, Nicky probably thought it wouldn’t be as physical as an NHL game. I guess that’s how they did it in Columbus, maybe that’s why they cant make the playoffs, mwahaha.

    Hopefully we get some video of what’s going on. MSGNY showed Pruchs going crazy fast on this bike, it was pretty funny.

  60. Orr, you notice everybody leaves work/school/computers by this time every day? I’m trying to make the end of my day go as quick as possible, and the board is DEAD.

    Its 1 thing if Byers was playing a hard, physical, intense game. If he took a cheap shot, that’s a different story. but that’s just dumb OVERALL.

  61. So Prucha apparently has been working out like an animal over the off-season?? “The team no longer gives an award to the player who tests the best, but Renney singled out Petr Prucha as someone who tested extremely well.”

    Maybe i should stop pushing the idea of trading him then?? I guess i can give him another chance. . . it is a contract year.

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