Update, 9:50 p.m.: A few postgame updates:
<li>For all of Markus Naslund’s protestations that he was not here to replace Jaromir Jagr, the forward now occupies Jagr’s spot in the Rangers locker room at the Garden. Brendan Shanahan’s spot appears to be occupied by Dan Fritsche.
No word on where Mats Sundin’s locker will be.
<li>Redden on singlehandedly improving Brad Isbister’s chances of making the Senators:
â€œThat definitely wasnâ€™t the highlight of the night,â€ Redden said. â€œI donâ€™t know what was more weird: just being here for the first time or playing against that one. But it was good to get both out of the way, so itâ€™s something to build on.â€
Other than that major gaffe, the defensemen was pretty good, finishing plus-1 with six shots on goal.
<li>Petr Nedved admitted he was nervous before the game, but still delivered with a goal. He was awarded the game’s first star, which was somewhat of a surreal sight. Just like old times. Except, of course, that the Rangers won.
“Obviously it was a good start for me,” Nedved said. “Hopefully they’ll take notice and I’ll take it to the next game. I was a little bit nervous because it’s been more than a year since I played in an NHL game. I didn’t know what to expect, but I was pretty happy.”
Not wanting to raise anyone’s hopes, Tom Renney still didn’t offer much in the way of an endorsement.
“It was his first game. I’m not going to draw on any conclusions,” Renney said.
<li>Speaking of postgame rituals, the Rangers did do a center ice salute after the win. There was some debate at least in media circles that the team might abandon the salute since much of the team’s European flavor is gone. But it was Brandon Dubinsky who could be seen urging everyone to the middle of the ice.
<li>Like what you saw of the Gomez line? They’ll be playing tomorrow in Tampa as well.
Update, 9:19 p.m.: Put it in the books. Rangers win 2-1. I go with Jagr, Straka, and Shanahan as my three stars. Oh, wait….
Update, 9 p.m.: So it’s bad enough that Wade Redden gets absolutely toasted on the outside for a Senators goal. Even worse is that it was Brad Isbister doing the toasting. Apparently Jason Krog was unavailable..
Update, start of third period: Lundqvist out, Zaba in.
Update, 8:28 p.m.: And speaking of guys scrapping to make the team, Lauri Korpikoski puts the Rangers ahead 2-0 after deflecting a Dan Girardi shot from the point. The Rangers are outshooting the Senators 30-12 through two periods.
Update, 8:24 p.m.: I had given up on Thomas Pock as a viable option at defense after the Rangers buried him in Hartford for most of last season. But I have to say: he does look good –Â a step quicker and moving the puck with purpose. I’d still put his chances of making the team as slim because the Rangers probably only want to only carry six defensemen. But if they go with a seventh, Pock could be the guy.
Update, 8:17 p.m.: That is indeed Brad Isbister on the ice for Ottawa.Â Good to see the kid still plugging away…
Update, 8:14 p.m.: In fact, Lundqvist is feeling so good about himself he’s refusing to relinquish the stage. The King stays in the net, and Zaba stays on the bench.
Update, 8:05 p.m.: Again, it’s only the first home preseason game, but Henrik Lundqvist quietly pitched a shutout in the first half of the game. In other words, I don’t think he has to worry about Matt Zaba breathing over his shoulder.
Update, first intermission: Rangers 1, Ottawa 0. If this were a real game, I’d say the Rangers were actually impressive, highlighted by the encouraging play of the Zherdev-Gomez-Naslund line.
Update, 7:36 p.m. Yikes. Dmitri Kalinin with two giveaways in the same shift. And then he gets caught deep and is called for hooking. Paging Mr. Malik….
Update, 7:30 p.m: Zherdev looks good so far, creating a couple of chances with some moves in the offensive zone.
Update, 7:22 p.m.: Sounds like the Rangers are stealing from the Sabres’ game night presentation by playing the singular bagpipe/electric guitar theme song from “The Departed” for a power play. In other news, Wade Redden has three shots on goal from the point already. Michal Rozsival is confused. “What is this shooting thing he keeps doing?”
Update, 7:10 p.m.: So maybe Petr Nedved doesn’t go quietly after all. A perfect pass through the middle from Aaron Voros finds the 36-year-old center, and Nedved buries the breakaway attempt past Alex Auld. Somewhere Blair Betts is sticking needless in his own Nedved voodoo doll. I’m kidding, I think…
Update, 7:04 p.m.: The small crowd aside, two guys next to the press box were going absolutely nuts during the anthems. Dude, it’s the preseason. Pace yourself.
Update, 6:50 p.m.: Not much of a crowd to speak of. I guess the dawn of the Dale Weise Era isn’t enough to lure people away from the season premiere of “How I Met Your Mother”.
Earlier: It’s good to be back in the old building, odd smells notwithstanding.
A couple of quick updates:
<li>Wade Redden found the place OK, and was already in the hallway chatting up some members of his old team.
<li>Scott Gomez will wear the “C”, while Redden and Markus Naslund will be alternate captains. Tom Renney said he’s no closer to making a decision on a permanent captain. I suggest a Drury and Gomez fight to the death involving a bench press, trivia, and karaoke.
<li>I have to be honest, it’s strange to be outside the Rangers locker room without the sound of Jaromir Jagr sawing and spray-painting his sticks.
<li>Renney was asked if players are showcasing themselves for a chance to play another preseason game. The coach said to an extent, but also acknowledged the sheer number of games forces him into keeping players around. A personal observation? This game is essential for Petr Nedved if he has any chance of making this team.
More in a bit…