The preseason officially began in Ottawa on Saturday night, but to me, a game at Madison Square Garden — with its proud history, passionate fans, and life-threatening pre-game meals — is when it really starts.
Aside from the Victoria Cup game in Bern next Wednesday, which at least has relevance to European club champion Metallurg Magnitogorsk, none of these preseason games amount to anything. If the Rangers go 0-8 but get a good look at everyone and feel like they’re actually ready for the regular season, they’ll be content.
That said, there is something to be said for the likes of Markus Naslund, Wade Redden, and Nikolai Zherdev all getting their first twirl on the Garden ice as Rangers. It’s a chance to show the crowd what they can bring this team, and perhaps to familiarize themselves with their new surroundings.
In other news, Larry Brooks confirms that Brendan Shanahan was officially invited to training camp on a tryout basis, but has thus far refused. I don’t blame Shanahan for that, but I can’t imagine the Rangers at this point blindly offering a contract without having him in camp.