UPDATE: Artem Anisimov is on the ice with the third group. No sign of Marian Gaborik, who is supposed to be in this group as well.
UPDATE: Marian Gaborik is in the building, plans to skate with the fourth group and get his physical tests done later. Spoke about the services for Pavol Demitra (he wrote and delivered a eulogy) and about what a brutal summer it’s been for him, among other things. Will have the highlights from that interview later.
Another slow day, with no pucks and a lot of tough skating.
Only news so far is that Michael Sauer did not skate again with his knee tendinitis/groin injuries. Marian Gaborik is expected to skate in the next group.
Here’s the main interview from today.
Michael Del Zotto:
“It was a long summer of two- and three-a-days. It wasn’t much fun but, I got to spend my whole summer at home with my family and it was good to catch up with them and just focus on myself and this upcoming year.”
Didn’t go back to Gary Roberts’ camp. Stuck around here with Reggie Grant, the team strength coach, and “like I said, it was the best summer for me. Off the ice, it was a lot of hard work being out for so long. But I came into camp feeling confident knowing what I’ve done this summer and it’s a great feeling to have right now.”
Driven by motivation?
“All of it. All of it was. You talk to other guys and it’s tough to work out on your own and not have a trainer with you. But I’m pretty self-motivated, especially after how last season went and what’s at stake this year. It’s a huge year for me, so the whole summer was just self motivation.”
What does he need to show Tortorella:
“Just that I’m all business and I learned from last year. You learn from experience and I’m not going to make the same mistakes I did before, and I’m coming in here with my head on right and I’ve got to bring that swagger back. That’s the biggest thing. I know everybody’s been talking about it and I sound like a broken record, but when I have my swagger, I know what I can do and I can definitely fit in.”
Were his mistakes on ice or off?
“Both. I made the same mistakes on the ice, and off the ice, hockey’s No. 1 and that’s all I have to worry about now — not worry about anything other than myself and the New York Rangers.”
Changes he made:
“Just play every day like it’s my last; and not take any practices or games off. Especially with Torts, you’ve got to earn everything. Nothing’s going to be given to you. I’m not going to be given ice time because of how I played the first year, especially on the power play. I have to earn everything.”
Did he need to be humbled last year?
“It happened. It definitely happened pretty quickly. Like I said, I learned from my experiences and learned from my mistakes last year. It’s a whole different year and I’m a whole new person this year.”
On Tortorella saying the demotion was an important part of the process for a young player:
“Yeah, it was definitely a lot less media down there and a lot less to worry about. But it was great for me going down. I remember my first game, we were in Norfolk, and I played 36 minutes my first night there. It was tiring, but at the same time that’s the only way you’re going to get your confidence and your swagger back. I was playing all situations, and it was the best thing for me.”
On whether he sees a spot for himself on the PP with Brad Richards here to man one of the points:
“If I’m there, I think it’s going to be a pretty deadly power play with Richie coming here. We all know what he can do and just skating in these unofficial skates it’s pretty amazing to watch him play. Him teaming up with Gabby, it’s going to be a pretty deadly 1-2 punch there.”
Does Richards take pressure off him, and make him more of a shooter:
“Obviously every team does tape now and they know what’s going on. And with another guy out there of his stature, and his ability, they’re going to pay more attention to him and maybe give me a little more room to make some plays and it’s going to benefit the both of us.
“Absolutely, and that’s one thing I’ve worked on this summer is my shot. We all know his ability to pass, and if you get open, you know it’s going to be on your tape every time. So, I think it goes both ways. Once they start playing me a little bit more, then him or Gabby are going to get open. It’s going to be tough to cover all of us.”
How long did it take to understand why he was demoted?
“Well, going down at first was pretty humbling. It was pretty frustrating as well, because I’ve never been in that position before. So it took a little time to get used to. As I said, the whole summer I was pretty motivated to get back here and show what I can do and prove I belong here.”
Ramped up workouts, “As soon as I was healthy enough. Mid-to-late June. I wasn’t cleared to do anything with my (broken) finger and sports hernia surgery. So the first day I was cleared to work out I started pushing my two- and three-a-days, and I didn’t have much of a summer, but I know what’s at stake and hockey’s my No. 1 priority.”