From Rangers prospects workout


I will give you a few quick hits from some of the kids I interviewed today.

Some thoughts first: Evgeny Grachev and Ryan McDonough are big, big boys, and sure don’t look as if they would physically have any problem fitting into an NHL team. 

The Traverse City team will be coached by the Hartford staff: Ken Gernander, J.J. Daigneault and Pat Boller, but the Rangers’ coaches and front office will be there watching closely.

Chris Kreider is not going to the tournament, because he’s staying in college. But pretty much every other top prospect in the organization will play.

Here now some quotes:

Ryan Bourque (headed back to juniors; this will be his second Traverse tourney):

“I want to have a really productive season, obviously, and give my team everything I possibly can, the best offensive and defensive player that I can be there. I had a pretty solid year last year, I think. It was a tough adjustment, and this year going into it I know what to expect. I’ve adjusted to the league and I’m an assistant captain now in Quebec, so I’ll just try to be a leader and help the young guys in any way I can.”

Kelsey Tessier, in on a tryout with the Rangers, was a captain on Bourque’s Quebec team last season.

Evgeny Grachev (also in third Traverse City tourney, and third training camp.

“It makes it easier because you know what’s going to happen, what the games are going to be like. At the same time it’s more pressure because it’s your third time, to show you’re getting better every year. So it’s kind of different.”

(Been working out for the past 10 days with many Rangers regulars)

“It helped me a lot. I feel ready to go and can’t wait to play.”

I asked him if or how he’ll know he’s ready.

“I guess you just have to feel it. Once you feel comfortable there, and feel confident, I think you’re ready.

“I don’t feel any different this year. I hope to have a good camp again, and hopefully things will happen for me.”

Derek Stepan (who, by the way, is impressively mature and personable): 

On when you know you’re ready to make the jump:

“It’s one of those things that you’ve got to have the confidence to know that you are. There’s got to be a little bit of outside sources saying, ‘Yeah, you can make this step.’ And other than that you’ve just got to tell yourself mentally that you’re ready to make this step. Because if you come in saying you’re not ready for it, you’re going to get eaten alive. So  you have to have the right mindet and prepare yourself to be ready for the next level.”

Does he have that?

“Yeah, absolutely. If my next level is Hartford, then that’s my next level. But that’s the mindset you’ve got to have. You’ve got to be ready to playing against older guys and bigger and stronger guys.”

“I’m excited to get to Traverse City to play. I’m just excited to get the ball rolling.”

Ryan McDonagh:

“I’m just excited. Everybody I’ve talked to says this is a pretty nice tournament … play against some good young players. Most importantly, guys say it gives you a good jump-start going into your first training camp. So it’ll be good.”

I asked him about knowing if he’s ready to make the jump to the NHL.

“First and foremost, I wouldn’t have left college if I didn’t think I was ready. I already feel I can play with the bigger, stronger, more veteran guys. It was good that me and Stepan got to come out this week and skate with some of the Ranger players and get a feel for what they’re like, and meet some of them, and just start the process. I think it’s getting better every day so far.

“I think as the week went on, guys kind of help you out and understand how they play the game together. I felt good.”

Dylan McIlrath (who is almost certainly going back to juni0rs):

“I’ve heard lots of good things (about Traverse City), fast-paced games, and guys trying to make a name for themselves, and that’s what I’m going to try to do, play my game and have some fun.”

Already had Moose Jaw training camp, but left there for this tournament.

On whether this will be a guage on his readiness to go to the next level:

“For sure, all the top rookies competing for a job. If I’m one of the elite in this tournament hopefully I can take my game to main camp and, if not I’ll go back to a great situation in Moose Jaw.

“If I get the opportunity (to play against NHLers in camp), great, to get a bearing of where I am against guys like them. But I’m just going to try to take in this experience. It’s my first training camp, so it’ll be exciting, I’m sure.”

“There’s obviously things I’m specifically working on, like, being a bigger guy I’m working on my feet and getting to the pace of the game at the NHL level. And my hands. You can never get good enough at both of those things. So I’m trying to focus on those things.”

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  1. Thanks for some refreshing new hockey news. It’s been a long summer but the new season is near.

  2. I’d be pretty excited if both Mcdonagh and Grachev make this team. I think Stepan would have to have a very impressive training camp to crack the opening day linup.

    Grachev on the other hand this is probably a make or break camp for him. Not in the sense that it’s nhl or bust but that they need to feel he is moving in the right direction escpecially following his dissapointing year last year

  3. there is no room on the NHL roster for any of these prospects. doesn’t matter if they tear it up in camp.

  4. correct me if i’m wrong but i believe no other blog has these up to date EXCLUSIVE interviews right now! Rangers Report baby! Not bad for the “worst” Rangers blog, eh?


  5. Doodie Machetto on

    I’m rubbing my eyes in disbelief; a substantive hockey post!?!? Could it really be!? Is the season finally upon us!?!?!

  6. onecupin70years and counting on

    For once I would like to see a prospect(s),make the team and be a legit 1st liner.Enough with the retreads drury etc.

  7. And This One Will Last A Lifetime on

    # 30 = Ron Johnson…terrific running back on some of the worst Giant teams

    Orlando Cepada

  8. After reading that Grachev and McDonaugh were “big boys”, I was surprised there was no comment about McIlrath. I guess that’s just common knowledge?

    This should be an exciting tournament. Hopefully there are some real good write-ups since it won’t be televised.

  9. Tony from AZ (or any Bonehead for that matter):

    I’m a new season ticket holder and can’t make it to a handful of games (especially weeknights). If you’re interested in purchasing tickets, please let me know. Thanks to the season ticket discount, I can save you money off of ticketmaster and I’d rather see my tickets sold to Rangers fans than through pot luck on Stubhub.

    Please email me if you’re interested in tickets:

  10. johnny lost his walker on

    Just met a guy named Jorge Costanza. He was bald…and stocky. I was grinning ear to ear.

  11. It’s OK johnny, as long as you didn’t see his girlfriend topless. Then he would expect reparations.

  12. Hey all! It’s Friday, I think…

    I liked what Stepan and McDonagh had to say.

    30- Josh Thole & Terrell Davis

  13. I would be so excited if both Stepman and McDonut made the team. That would be pretty cool.

    I also hope Jared Staal makes the Canes so Marc could crush him. They used to say Jared was the best of the bunch, but now they say he’s the worst, and the weakest.

    Anybody see that the Trashers are starting Byfuglien on defense? Interesting move. I’ve said it plenty of times and I’ll say it again. He’ll never put up those playoff numbers during the regular season.

  14. ZzZz NYR ZzZz " I'm gonna be doing the Boogy!!! " ..says Greg L. on

    Pritty sad , the main player who scored all the key goals is playing on the lowly Thrashers. Makes ya think how bad Chicago really is.The Blackhawks are the weakest champions Ive ever seen. I’d be flat out embarassed if I was a fan of that sick team. That team has always been a road for another team getting to the cup.They finally make it and then DISMANTLE thier team. Don’t think a puny Kane or skinny toes will carry this team .It was no secret the best player in the playoffs was the Big BUFF. To trade him or whatever they did to him is sick. The story lines all playoffs was BUFF vs Pronger. Buff win but gets run outta town? I used to like that stuiped t eam , now I have zero respect for them. Chicago Blackhawks have no class.

  15. ZzZz NYR ZzZz " I'm gonna be doing the Boogy!!! " ..says Greg L. on

    Seems like “donut” is a big boy…wow we actually benifitted from trading Gomez!!!!

  16. Thanks for the info Carp. Like everyone else is mentioning it is nice to see some new hockey info.

    Nobody mentioned Chris Nilan for #30 yet?

  17. tony from az or whoever

    sun 11/7 vs st louis
    sun 12/5 vs ottawa
    thurs 12/16 vs phoenix
    wed 1/5 vs carolina

    section 330 row g aisle seats

    face value 60 bucks a tix 120 for pair.

    let me know if interested

  18. I can smell the hockey in the air.

    Well, not really, but you all get the point.

    One week til camp. (bounces excitedly before going back to being buried in moving details)

  19. wicky, my man! Maybe.. I’m not sure. LOL. Had a friend that lives there recommend a property management firm that looks pretty good- I’m actually impressed with them and right now it’s down to 2 place, just waiting to hear back on details.

    Sooo… what were your favorite places to hang out? What’s a good, cheap Saturday/Sunday breakfast joint? And what part of town should I definitely stay away from?

  20. To continue my off-topic posts… Johan Santana needs shoulder surgery? I’m not surprised at this, but wow have I been under a rock to just learn this. Dang.

  21. wicky (Our D is SOFT and give Prust an A!!!!) on

    stay away from north county and south county. West county is like the burbs, webster groves is really cool, so is clayton, ladue, dogtown is pretty sweet. University city is college student heavy!

    breakfast place is courtesy diner, no contest. Depends on what you like to do as far as nightlife.

  22. Just got back from some stick & puck to test out a new stick. I see it’s official Fedetenko has been invited to camp. I don’t get why we are loading up on so many mediocre forwards. If Sather wanted to bring in another veteran why not Bill Guerin. And I think Sather should be spending his time working out a deal with Staal.

  23. puck drops, it’s sad when the Rangers are more organized and have more of a clue than the Mets. Can we bring back BobbyV? At least it was amusing when he was around. Now it’s just depressing.

  24. thanks wicky! I was told West County would be the best as I’m not too keen on living IN the city itself, though it seemed nice enough when I was there. I’m just not a live IN the city type of gal, I prefer the ‘burbs. Heh, the college students are fun to watch and laugh at, but hanging out with them makes me feel old, lol.

    Courtesy Diner- Got it! I love greasy spoons for weekend breakfasts. The best conversations happen there and you find the most fascinating people, in my experiences.

    I’m not a big ‘go out and party every single night’ person. I’m much more of a stay at home and veg/watch tv/hang on the interwebs/read type. But it sounds like U-city would be the place to go if I did want to go out and see some music acts or hit up a bar/nightclub.

  25. The funniest part of this move is that on my ‘to-do’ list, I have ‘find a new church’ listed. I somehow doubt a lot of people would put that on their list of most important things to do when moving to new city. Yet to me, it’s vital.

    Anyways, gotta be up bright and early tomorrow to administer an ACT, so night all!

    Catch ya all later on!

  26. What’s with all these former Lightning players coming back to play for the guy they hated? Seems like they realize that they suck and need someone ramming pucks and sticks up their poop loop to get them going.

    But, the guy couldn’t score while plsying with two of the best offensive players in the NHL, so how is he going to come here and do any better?

    No chance he makes the team.

  27. Olga Folkyerself on

    “The 31-year old Fedotenko suffered through statistically the worst season in nearly a decade last year, scoring 11 goals and adding 19 assists while posting a team worst -17 rating with the Pittsburgh Penguins last season. He was also held scoreless in six playoff games.”

    Uselessman Fedostinko- Another of Sather’s Scratch and Dent Sale pickups. I bet he makes the team… Torts needs another third line player.

    Fire Sather? You betcha!

  28. Hugo Folkyerself on

    Hey, free is free. Sather can’t pass him up. Zucarello, get your Assen the bus. Here’s your bus pass to Hartford…

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