Steve Zipay takes you inside the locker room, home and on the road, with the New York Rangers, and also writes about the NHL, off and on the ice.
Thoughts: '10 camp flashback, Sam Cooke, Stepan, 7th D...
Spent some time today diggin' through and tossing out some paper in boxes in the Chez Zipay basement with Roxy Music's "Manifesto" on the turntable (yes, turntable, do I havta explain?) and found a Rangers 2010 training camp roster.
As the great Sam Cooke once sang, "A change gonna come…"
Oh, yes it will.
Of the 62 players on this page printed three years ago, only 12 are in Western Canada with the club tonight, and three are goalies. Lundqvist, Biron, Talbot. And there’s Staal, Girardi, Boyle, Del Zotto, Zuccarello, McDonagh, Callahan,Yogan, McIlrath. Derek Stepan would be No. 13.
Anyway, here’s a random baker's dozen of those gone, but not necessarily forgotten:
Sean Avery, Evgeny Grachev, Alexei Semenov, Alex Frolov, Todd White, Garnet Exelby, Chris Drury, Brandon Prust, Lee Baldwin, Ethan Werek, Vinny Prospal, Michael Sauer and Derek Boogaard.
Not surprised there's little progress in the talks between the Rangers and Stepan's people. But have gut feeling---no inside info---that a deal gets done while Rangers are out West, maybe next week.
Stepan will get even more antsy than he is right now, the Rangers will have assessed the squad, and can create some cap space with moves (they have an abundance of forwards) and the stubborn sides will meet in the middle, just above $3 mil per for two years. Remember, the cap issue is this season, not next.
Also remember, Stepan---who continues to work out---will need a day for medicals/testing and some practices to allow head coach Alain Vigneault to find some wings (not Buffalo-style) for him and to fit him in on the power-play units.
If you're really optimistic, you might hope that he'll be around for an exhibition game, Vegas on the 27th, the final one, a week away. If not, Rangers will have three more practices at home before leaving for Phoenix and the regular season opener on Oct. 3.
With Marc Staal rounding into form, it sure appears that the top six defensemen will be formidable. John Moore has been flying, and McDonagh, Girardi, Del Zotto, and Stralman are set. At least seven will go on the opening road trip in October. So who's that guy? Probably not Dylan McIlrath, who needs some more work in the AHL. Or Tommy Hughes, who, for me, was a surprise add to the journey yesterday.
Tell you who I really like, and may be up during the season, is Conor Allen. Can skate and shoot and has some weight-room muscle. Mentioned him the other day.
Think Danny Syvret and Arron Johnson will have to show more. The others are Justin Falk and Stu Bickel. If ideally, as Vigneault said, he'd like to carry eight D, then I'd think it would be someone with experience and a youngster. If it's seven for the opening trip, I'm guessing a vet who could play on the third pair if necessary.
The forwards remaining?
Surprised Michal Kantor wasn't assigned to Hartford. Believe Marek Hrivik and Brandon Mashinter will start the season down there as well. If Ryan Callahan and/or Carl Hagelin are put on Long-Term Injured Reserve (requiring a 10-game absence), then there's wiggle room, presumably for Danny “Monte” Kristo and maybe Oscar Lindberg.
Arron Asham, Darroll Powe and Taylor Pyatt (wonder if Phoenix GM Don Maloney, who has always said good things about Pyatt, would want him back in the right deal) certainly have value, and might be made available.
Back to the archives tonight….and maybe a little Pinot Noir.