Previewing the Rangers
Well, if you were one of the manic followers who contacted me through yesterday's marathon afternoon-to-almost dawn CBA session at the Sofitel in Manhattan ( I was so bleary-eyed at one point I thought I saw the ghost of Mr. Strauss-Kahn), you know my blog was up here at about 5:15 a.m. and then updated before I drove home through the shadows of the city. Newsday.com report was avail soon after.
Kudos to all the writers and broadcasters who covered the twists and turns of the lockout since June/July and kept their cool---and warmth, when necessary on the urban stakeout---and mad sense of humor throughout. See you all at the rinks.
And now, for a shocker, a Blueshirts-centric offering. Long time coming. And more will, along with Tweets, chats, the whole ball of twine, back as usual.
So, what we know is:
It seems like ages since the Devils eliminated the Rangers, 3-2, in overtime at Prudential Center in the Eastern Conference Finals. Actually, it was May 25, more than seven months ago.
Hello, belated training camp, which is expected to open on Wednesday or Thursday, once the new collective bargaining agreement is ratified. They are aiming for that on Tuesday. Camp will not be as large as in previous years. Chris Kreider, who has been inconsistent in Hartford, will be at MSGTC, and so could Marek Hrivik, the 21-year-old Czech who leads the team in assists.
The intraconference schedule 48 or 50 games, is still being drawn up. Been told arena availability/travel is an issue, so be patient. Lots of chances to see the Pens, Flyers, Devs, Isles. And I could be in Winnipeg soon. Note to self: Find the thermals.
FYI, the Rangers should be fine under this year's cap.
They have both goaltenders, Henrik Lundqvist and Martin Biron, under contract, along with seven defensemen. That includes Michael Sauer, who hasn’t played since sustaining a concussion on a hit from Dion Phaneuf in December 2011. He continues to suffer post-concussion symptoms, and won't be at camp.
Talks to sign RFA D Michael Del Zotto can't resume until ratification. Matt Gilroy is a possibility as an eighth d-man.
During the lockout, only a few of the Rangers played overseas (Nash, Del Zotto, Carl Hagelin, Ryan McDonagh, Derek Stepan) and all players are in North America except for Marian Gaborik, who scored 41 goals last season and had right shoulder surgery on June 6. He’s ready and booking to return from Christmas vacation in Slovakia. He’ll have some help carrying the load on offense with elite winger Rick Nash, who was obtained from Columbus for Brandon Dubinsky, Artem Anisimov and Tim Erixon in late July.
Thirteen forwards are listed on the roster, including Kreider and Micheal Haley, now with the Whale. The latter is due $600,000, and he presumably would stay there and someone with more NHL experience, perhaps Chad Kolarik, who has 13 goals in the AHL, or Kris Newbury, could be shuttled in as the 13th forward, depending on Coach John Tororella’s needs and performances at training camp and through the year. Need to double check the transition rules and all.
More later, still reporting.