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Rangers’ first unofficial skate of the post-lockout
Posted By Carp On January 7, 2013 @ 8:02 pm In Hockey,Lockout,New York Rangers,NHL | 62 Comments
Sorry again for the tech problems with the audio. I’m supposed to be getting a new, improved (how could it be worse than this p.o.c. Mac?) laptop for the season so this won’t continually happen.
To review, 15 players skated today, including: Ryan Callahan, Brad Richards, Marc Staal, Ryan McDonagh, Rick Nash, Derek Stepan, Brian Boyle, Mike Rupp, Arron Asham, Jeff Halpern, Taylor Pyatt, Michael Del Zotto, Anton Stralman, Steve Eminger, Carl Hagelin.
The news? Marian Gaborik has made it back from Slovakia, and coach John Tortorella said his surgically-repaired shoulder is fine and ready to go. Nash said he has no ill effects from the shoulder injury he suffered in Europe. Ditto Brian Boyle from his concussion—no symptoms all off-season. Michael Del Zotto remains a restricted free agent and hopes to get a contract done by the time camp opens.
That is expected to happen by the weekend, after ratification of the new CBA. And that means the season will likely be 48 games, opening on Jan. 19, after just a week of camp.
I’ll post the story I wrote later on, and maybe some more interview transcripts.
Here are a couple to get you started:
“We lost a lot here as far as playing, but most of all what it’s done to the sport as far as fans. I totally understand if fans don’t come back. That’s very understandable. But for those that do, we can’t wait to play our hearts out, get back out there and make the game the way it’s supposed to be.”
Expects everybody by Wednesday. Good paced practice.
“Last year was a great learning experience, but it’s really so far away now because we’re starting in January. I know last year’s going to be there but we’re going to look at it like we’re been playing this whole time. Last year’s in the past. We like our group and we’re not surprising anybody this year. We’re going to be a target, especially with the additions and the types of players we have, the year we had. So we’re not sneaking up on anybody. It’s going to be harder. We’re going to have to play better than we did last year to finish in the place that we did I think because everybody’s going to be gunning for us.”
“It’s their right to feel how they feel and I don’t blame them. Unless you’re in the meetings and living it, it’s really hard to understand. I don’t blame them if they don’t come back. I hope everybody gives us a chance ot watch what I think is a great sport and to get out there and play our hearts out like we want to do. That’s what the game of hockey’s about, not what’s happened here the last four months.”
“Everything’s going to be more magnified. It’s more like a playoff mentality where, if you dwell on things good or bad it could spiral quickly. We don’t want to do that. We want to try to build on everything. Forty-eight games, you’re going to need a good start and that’s just obvious. There’s not many games to regroup if you don’t get off on the right foot.”
“Probably (some teams will have an advantage) but I have no idea which team that will be and you’ll probably be able to see that a month into the season, which teams are doing well, you’ll probably say it was an advantage (for them). But everybody will be experts by then, say ‘Oh yeah, we thought that.’ Whether it’s players who have been playing a lot, they’ll say it’s that reason, and if it’s a team that hasn’t played a lot, they’ll say, ‘they’re well-rested.’ Until it all plays out, who knows?”
“That was the hardest part in the fall, being so excited coming here, becoming a New York Ranger, getting one year in and coming so close, and having to sit. It’s just tough. You saw the fans, you saw the way the city was when we made that run, and you just want to keep that momentum going and you realize there’s not many more years you’re going to have a chance to make a run. It’s tough, but I think there’s bigger things. It’s more about the sport, and what it’s doing to the game of hockey.”
Been off last couple of weeks. No lingering issues with shoulder injury.
“It was great. It’s one thing to be out there skating and wondering when things are going to be happening, but it’s another thing when you’re out there skating and you know things are done and the season’s coming. It seems like everyone has a little extra jump in their step.”
“For sure. We missed the game just as much as they did. Obviously we’re not happy with the way everything went down, but we’ve got to look ahead, look at the future, look at the positives. It’s back a hopefully everyone will be supportive of the NHL and the players and we can just go on with the greatest game.”
“It’s going to be really hard, You just hope guys are in good shape. There’s nothing like game shape. It’s going to take a few games no matter what you’ve done. It’s going to be tough.”
“For sure. It definitely does. We’re lucky to be doing the thing that we love, as a job, and it’s a game and it’s exciting. When they take it away from you, it’s devastating and it makes you realize how lucky we are to have it.”
“I have the model that we’re going to use. Throughout the whole situation here it’s been adjusted through the amount of time off. So we’ve got to be really careful there as far as what we give them, when we give it to them, how we give it to them.
“Of course you’re concerned because you haven’t been with them. But I have confidence in our guys and we have quite a few of our guys returning. I think there’s four or five that will be new as we enter our camp. I think they’re going to go through a little bit of an adjustment period as far as what we expect out of them, how we go about our business here, but all in all, from our leadership group right on through, they have been in touch with one another, the guys that have been with us the past few years have told the newer guys what to expect and I think they’ve addressed that and worked accordingly. All the teams are in the same boat as far as a little bit of uncertainty because you haven’t been with them, but I feel really good about our group and always have, even through this, that they’re handling themselves the right way.”
“We really look forward to (coaching Nash). Playing against him, watching him on tape, in just the short time I’ve been with him and the couple of conversations (we’ve had), how he handles himself. He’s going to fit. He’s low maintenance, he wants to play. He wants to be in this type of situation. So as anxious as he is, I am double that to get with him and get going here.”
“I think the hunger is that they’re together again and will be a team again. We’ve gone through a few years of trying to cultivate it. I think the room is good. I think that’s what they want to get back to, and competing. That’s all these guys know how to do, is compete. That’s what they’re anxious to do. Sure they were excited about last year; we made some good steps ahead. But I think right now, they just want to play.”
“I always felt there was going to be a season. I’m not supposed to talk too much about it. But we were always prepared; our coaches were prepared. We had conversations. But when they come out the other day and say we’re there – obviously they’ve got to do a few other things to get it done – knowing that it was going to be there, that’s exciting. This is what we do. This is really the only thing I know how to do and as I (said about) the players wanting to be together, the coaches want to be with them too. We want to get back with them. We feel we’re a tight-knit group, and quite honestly I miss them and I’m anxious to get back in with them and get to work here.”
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