GREENBURGH, N.Y. — Thirty-seven years after the “Miracle on Ice,” the Rangers are headed to Lake Placid, the site of Team USA’s remarkable run to the gold medal in the 1980 Winter Olympics.
The three-day excursion, starting Oct. 1, will include practice and team-building activities, as well as a talk from world-class climber Ed Viesturs, who has scaled Mount Everest seven times.
The getaway is doable because the Rangers have plenty of time between the final preseason game in Philadelphia on Sept. 26 and the home opener Oct. 5 against Colorado.
Viesturs also spoke to coach Alain Vigneault’s previous team, the Vancouver Canucks, “when we went to the Stanley Cup Final [in 2011],” Vigneault said Saturday.
Last October, the team stayed close to home, as Vigneault and staffers organized training activities with New York City Police Department and a visit to the 9/11 memorial.
Searching for alternate captains
With two of the four alternate captains from last season gone (Derek Stepan traded to Arizona and Dan Girardi bought out), captain Ryan McDonagh and Vigneault have agreed to wait until after camp to determine whether to fill those two roles or stay solely with holdovers Marc Staal and Rick Nash.
Vigneault said he’s encouraged Brendan Smith, who was signed to a four-year contract, to continue being himself in the dressing room. “He’s vocal, he’s intense, that’s a good thing to have in the room. He shares his own feelings. I’ve already talked to him about that expanded role in our room,” he said.
Skjei in peak condition
Brady Skjei scored extremely well in the fitness test scores. “They were over the roof, one of the best on the team,” Vigneault said. “He’s right near the Mac [Ryan McDonagh] level as far as fitness scoring, and that should materialize with better and quicker decision-making with and without the puck.” . . . The group that will play in Monday’s preseason opener against the Islanders will practice Sunday morning.