For the fourth year in a row, Eddy Curry found himself immediately surrounded by the beat writers when the doors opened for Media Day. Release the hounds, indeed.

How did he look? Good. How did he sound? Optimistic.

How will it go? We'll find out tomorrow during the first day of training camp. Remember, Eddy hasn't made it through Day 1 in consecutive seasons.

"This is one of the first time's I've been healthy in a long time," he said.

He admitted there's a lot at stake for him this season, which is the final year of his contract. There are no guarantees for him in regards to playing time. He'll have to earn it.

"I have to come in here and play and dominate practice," he said, "and let the chips fall where they may."

Curry was puzzled by the stories that the team hadn't heard from him in months. He said he kept in touch with Donnie Walsh. Clearly, Curry's relationship with Mike D'Antoni remains ice cold.

"I haven't talked to Coach in a while," he said. "I speak to him here and there but we haven't sat down to talk."

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Amar'e Stoudemire was the most popular player throughout the event. The all-star spoke confidently about the goals of the season and though he didn't guarantee a playoff spot, he did say this: "I really feel like we're a top eight team in the East."

Asked if the Knicks may be a top five team in the East, Amar'e hit the brakes:

"I wouldn't give us too high of expectations . . . We're not quite there yet, but we're looking to eventually get to that point."

Stoudemire also said it was important to "make sure we put our hard hat on every game."

Oh and this: "New York invented swag. So now it's a matter of us as basketball players to bring it back out of them."

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Prediction: Ronny Turiaf will have his own radio segment before the end of the season. He has a contagious energy that attempts to overpower you like a happy bear hug. We had an entertaining Q and A volley during which he scratched his shoulder, right where he has the tattoo of a lion. I asked if the lion bites.

"It might bite you," he shot back, "if you keep being negative."

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That black eye sported by Danilo Gallinari came courtesy of Patrick Ewing Jr.

I asked Gallinari if he could reveal one thing that bothered him internally about the team -- in the locker room, on the court, regarding minutes or shots -- over the last two years that he never talked about. He thought hard, paused and then said, "I'll let you say that."

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Ewing Jr. is certainly comfortable in this surronding. The rookie greeted a young-looking blogger by asking him his age. "Shouldn't you be in school right now?"

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Raymond Felton gave credit to Larry Brown for helping him develop as a point guard and "help me think the game." Anthony Randolph preferred not to talk about his former coach, Don Nelson, who has since been let go by the Warriors. "He was a great coach, one of the best offensive minds . . . I wish him the best of luck."

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Randolph said he's put on another 10 to 15 pounds since last season. Much bigger than he was as a rookie. "I was worse than rail-thin," he said. "I was a stick when I came into the league."

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Toney Douglas with the best point of the day regarding the need for players to accept roles and focus on the success of the team, rather themselves (which destroyed this team in the past): "At the end of the day, if you win, everyone will be recognized."

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Wilson Chandler said he's almost 100 percent healthy. The sports hernia he suffered late last season (and had surgically repaired) is still lingering, though just a little.

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Kelenna Azubuike plans to play opening night. He says the knee is healed, but the training staff is taking a very careful approach to his return because the goal is to make sure the muscles around the knee are strong to keep it stable. He is running on a gravity treadmill that controls the amount of weight he puts on the knee. 

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There is a team dinner tonight - the entire team and staff will attend - to kick off the new season. The first practice starts at 9 a.m. here at MSG Training Center. There will be a second practice at night at 5 p.m. Neither practice is open to the public, but the media will be allowed to watch some of it as usual.

[Special thanks to Newsday's Evan Korn for the assistance today]