Photo, above, Adam Tambellini/by Getty Images.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: Special thanks to jpp for his contributions from Traverse City. … Start rounding up the Boneheads this week. We need everybody to wake up, come out of hibernation and get back here. And if you know anybody who follows the Rangers or hockey and isn’t a regular, sign them up. Thanks. We will kick off training camp with a Live Chat Thursday then full coverage from Friday’s camp opening day.)
For starters, one of the first things that stick out to me is that it feels like almost half the Traverse City roster are kids the Rangers signed as free agents to balance the draft picks they have lost in the Nash, Clowe, and St. Louis deals.
Bodie, Donnay, Haggerty, Hayes, Kantor, McCarthy, , Nichols, Skapski, Zamorsky
It’s quicker to name the players on the team the Rangers drafted.
Duclair, Iverson, Nejezchleb, Tambellini, Mantha, Noreau, Walcott
The following players are on invites:
Nathan Burns, Nickolas Latta, Paxton Leroux, Bryan Moore, Logan Nelson, and Dallas Valentine.
Notes, Observations, and Comments on TC Game #1; Rangers Vs. Stars
Halverson as expected had a lot of friends and family in attendance, and when you combine that with it being his first game playing in front of the Rangers brass against a real opponent, it wouldn’t be surprising if the kid were feeling a little pressure and also wanting to try extra hard to give a good showing.
And that was certainly evident during the game.
According to all reports I’ve read, one of his strengths is his stick-handling and ability to move the puck quickly, and in practice and warm-ups you could see how much he enjoys it, it gets him zoned.
It was in practice and warm-ups (before this big crowd of supporters were all seated) in which he looked most comfortable and he looked real good, quick lateral movements that Rangers fans have become used to watching Hank, a good glove, hand-eye coordination.
He was steady and solid during the game, his only real snafus coming from wanting to play the puck and make something happen. Misplayed the puck two, three times, twice almost ended up in the net. None of the goals were what you’d call bad goals.
He’s young and with family/friends/brass in attendance, but he has a little Hank in him in terms not being happy after every goal he gave up or misplay. That’s healthy, so long as you move right on from it, it happens all the time, just have to hold your head up high and be ready for the next go-around.
Mat Bodie (NCAA champ from Union College) looked real comfortable and in control on the point on the PP. Skates very well, lefty shot.
Duclair showed off his wheels a few times resulting in semi-breakaways.
Haggerty looked good early on, skates well, good burst of speed and strong assertive move and shot on his goal. Foot-movement and skating got a little slow as the game wore on. He’s aiming to play in the NHL this year, so that’s something that can’t happen. That’s one thing about the Rangers, they can all skate all game, and if you’re gonna play, you have to be counted on to be there on the back check and your defensive coverages, otherwise as we saw at the beginning of last season, it looks like there is an opposing player wide open, and there is. He’s not the only one who was guilty of this in the third period, but he’s one of the few with a legitimate shot of playing with the big club, so I mention it with him.
Kevin Hayes looks like a first-round draft pick. Big, smooth skater, good stick-handling and shot.
On the Rangers’ third goal, Hayes slowed the play down as he entered the offensive zone, allowing Bodie to jump into the play. Hayes to Bodie, Bodie to Nejezcleb for the dunk. Nice tic-tac-toe play.
Richard Nejezcleb has some offensive instincts, good skater, quick-hard shot, some flash and dash.
The line of Nejezcleb-Hayes-Haggerty tilted the ice a lot and had a number of scoring chances through the first 40 minutes.
The Rangers let up the first goal of the game and then from about the seven-minute mark of the first period, really started to control the game. Really kinda dominated the puck possession and had the ice tilted from 10 minutes in the first, to about 10 minutes left in the third. At that point, the Stars started to really push, got their second goal at about the 13-minute mark (3-2) and then tied it up with three minutes left. They lost in OT on a play where the player drove the net after the initial scoring chance and scored on a second-chance opportunity.
Hayes, Haggerty, Nezejcleb, and Bodie, Zamorsky, Mantha, and Walcott all played on both the PP and PK
Notes, Observations, and Comments on TC Game #2; Rangers Vs. Sabres
Duclair on the first line. Nezejcleb is not playing.
Nichols and Tambellini tall and good skaters.
Nichols is an effective player. Good skater, nice shot, strong on the puck, strong stick on breaking up plays.
Mantha likes to play the off side.
Good shot, nice footwork.
The fact that the kid Mantha is comfortable playing the offside is a plus for the organization. Develop him playing both sides Gives versatility for coaches.
Walcott playing the PP. Has a nice feel for bringing the puck up ice. He got better and better as the game wore on. Played a lot in all situations, including OT.
Goalie from Yale looked experienced, slowed the game down at a few points. Very steady. Very heady.
Again, Hayes is a big smooth skater with good hands, both shot an stick handling. Would be to his advantage to learn to use his size to both back guys off and give himself room in tighter areas and along the boards.
Opposing players definitely make a point of playing Bodie physically. But he is very sure on his skates and with the puck, made the play or held onto the puck while under pressure a number of times.
Tambellini having a good game. He got better and better as the game went on. Noticeably, very effective. Tall, lanky, speed, assertiveness, good shot. Definitely seemed to find a groove in this game.
Iverson had strong third period. Strong on his skates, and with his stick on those type of tie up plays, (lacrosse face-off type plays). Got better as game wore on.
McCarthy strong aggressive player, smart player, glue guy.
Kantor is a player fans love watching, haha, nobody got more ooh and ahhs from the crowd than this kid. He hits everything that moves, agitates like he’s Sean Avery, and skates pretty well. A Dorsett type, if he has the speed to keep-up at the NHL level, he could definitely fill a role in the NHL.
Duclair almost had the game-winner in the third on a break down the left wing, picked bottom far corner, hit it, but just got the inside of the post and out.
Noreau, who I’ve seen at all three TC tournaments I’ve attended, is hard not to like. Big kid, rangy, right-handed shot, pretty darn good skater for someone his size, and has just gotten steadier and steadier. Happy to see it. I guess it remains to be seen if he has the skating ability to play pro, but is as reliable as the Rangers have on this traverse city roster, plays in all situations.
In OT the Rangers shortened the bench.
The forward duos-
And when it went to 3-on-3, the solo D-man rotation was:
Tambellini, McCarthy, Iverson, Donnay, Walcott all players whose games were noticeably better, stronger, and more confident then they were in the 1st game.
Player of the game: Skapski, runner-up (and would have said this before his OT-goal) Tambellini.