The generally tight-lipped Rangers President and GM is on the trip of course, and we chatted very briefly before practice here in Scottsdale about the East and his plans .

               At one point, I asked if he felt his erratic club was still in the hunt. 

             "Why wouldn't I? Just about the only team that's out of it is Edmonton," Sather said. "The East is so tight. The Isles lost last night, Philly lost.  Everybody thinks they are in it...It's good for the league and the fans, not always for some teams. It's tougher than it's been."

                Sather was part of the contingent at the Calgary/Phoenix game last night, but wouldn't talk about players he may have been assessing, like Dion Phaneuf, or if he spoke with front office rivals.

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               So what about possible trades?

              "People don't realize how difficult it is," he said.