Raise your hand if youâ€™re concerned about the Rangers start to this preseason. Yup, just like I figured. Pretty much everyone.
The team offered a fair amount of disclaimers today, and many have merit. There were a lot of players in camp. They didnâ€™t play together as a unit until today. And of course, letâ€™s not forget the biggest of all: it IS only the preseason.
All of the above is true. Problem is, there was a healthy amount of skepticism surrounding this team even before it touched the ice surface. Six preseason games later, those concerns have only been validated.
I think this roster as its currently constructed has the potential to be dangerous, provided a number of moving parts fall into place at once â€” Henrik Lundqvist stays healthy, Nikolai Zherdev delivers as advertised, Wade Redden plays nothing like the way heâ€™s played so far this preseason. The answers all could be there, and if theyâ€™re not, you can be sure Glen Sather will jump on the first upgrade opportunity he gets. Maybe thatâ€™s Brendan Shanahan. Maybe thatâ€™s Mats Sundin. Heck, at this rate, Petr Nedved doesnâ€™t seem so bad, either.
Weâ€™ll all know more about this team in the days to come, but outside of a few lucky exceptions, weâ€™ll all be watching from afar. While the blog will be active in chronicling the teamâ€™s European jaunt, it will be forced to do so from the comfort of the Stateside Blog Headquarters.
I would love to report otherwise, because I think the stops in both Bern and Prague are both going to be overflowing with storylines. But a European trip is a lot to ask in the current economic environment, and not just for me: of the newspaper reporters who regularly cover the team, only Zipay will be in attendance when the puck drops in Prague.
Either way, Iâ€™ll still be in steady contact with the team this week. The Rangers have a series of conference calls set up with Tom Renney. And when the coach names the team captain, we should be able to talk to that individual as well.
I just hope Dmitri Kalinin is up for the task….