....after, as Dylan wrote, just watching the river flow for awhile. Hence the absence here and on Twitter. Nice being unplugged and away from the noise.
So yeah, a brief vacation, some sun, sea, outdoor dining, some quality live music (starting way back with the superb Rory Gallagher Tribute at Iridium featuring some swell musicians; Bob Schneider's eclectic band at Bowery Ballroom and Kenny Margolis, Billy Roues and the zydeco/blues/roots mashup known as the Upsouth Twisters at the Turning Point) has sadly drawn to a close (until the next one in July, boys and girls). Caught much of the Cup Final on Versus/NBC (will be watching as a fan again tonight) and now knee-deep in draft prep for the trip to Minneapolis-St. Paul next week. I'll have some insights here and in the paper this week.
As you know, the Rangers have just four selections at this point (15, 105, 133, 135). That's the fewest since the draft was cut to seven rounds in 2005. They had nine picks that year and either 6 or 7 since. I suspect they will land at least one more.
If you're a handicapper, figure the Blueshirts selecting an OHL player: Seven of last 13 picks have been from the O.
And although 5 of the 6 picks last year were North American, there have been plenty of others since 2006: Four Russians (Anisimov, Cherepanov, Grachev, Pashnin), four Czechs (Kveton, Horak, Kundratek, Zeleska) and two Swedes (Hagelin, Fasth). Reports are that the Czech talent pool has dropped off, but there are some intriguing Swedes and Russians available. Of course, defense prospect Tim Erixon, acquired from Calgary in the recent Horak plus No. 2 picks deal, is Swedish, so...
Speaking of Erixon, we'll get an upclose look at him starting a few days after the draft at the team's annual prospect camp and report daily. Stay tuned. Among the other youngsters I'm looking forward to seeing: Carl Hagelin, Oscar Lindberg, Christian Thomas, Ryan Bourque, Dylan McIlrath, maybe Jesper Fasth and whichever upcoming draftees can make it. Unclear whether BC's Chris Kreider will show; he's taking a full course load this summer before his junior year.
We should know more this week about a Chris Drury buyout, which really has been a strong possibility for months. If it happens, I wouldn't be surprised if he hooks up with a contender for a more a far lower salary---if his knee's healthy. Brad Richards? I've written for awhile that my sense, from speaking to him and his rep, that he was going to test the waters July 1. Not sure that's changed. Where the Rangers and he stand on that, well, need to do some more reporting....
Finally, please join the crew also following at twitter.com/stevezipay for daily posts on the Rangers, NHL and whatever the waves bring over the transom...Thanks again.