View Full Version : RANGERS REPORT: Too much, too soon?

09-14-2008, 03:38 PM
Too much, too soon?

September 11

There is a certain kumbaya feel to these days leading up to the formal start of training camp. Just about everyone on the roster is already here, with players intent on avoiding the early missteps of last season.

But not to be discounted is the fact that the Rangers have an excessively busy couple of weeks in front of them. On Monday is the team’s annual golf outing. Tuesday is for physicals and meetings. And then there are only three days of workouts before the team is off to Ottawa for a ridiculous stretch of six preseason games in eight days.

And this is before the Rangers head to Europe, where they’ll play two more exhibition games followed by their two regular season games in Prague.

In talking to a number of players about the preseason schedule, almost everyone is aware of the challenge it presents. Some just rolled their eyes and said it was unfortunate. Others were more direct.

“Who approved this?” one veteran asked me. “I know we approved the Prague games, but not this.”

Indeed, while players signed on for the Europe trip, the preseason schedule is made up by Rangers management. Almost everyone would agree that the six games, including trips to Ottawa and Tampa Bay, is a bit much on top of the Europe trip. But in the fairness, the preseason schedule actually took shape before the Europe trip was finalized.

The Rangers have always played three home games, and as a rule, if a team comes to you, you’re supposed to go to them, In other words, when the Rangers and Tampa Bay locked into a game at the Garden, that usually comes with a game at Tampa as well. Same thing for Ottawa. Naturally, the way to avoid this is to always have your preseason games against area teams like the Islanders and Devils. But scheduling is complicated, and it only takes one Miley Cyrus concert in your building to throw the whole thing out of whack.

Either way, the Rangers will likely skate two different units in their North American games so the wear-and-tear of the schedule won’t be as much of a grind. But as a number of people said to me, it’s still not ideal.

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Another impressive workout today, although Chris Drury and Scott Gomez took the day off while Markus Naslud skated on his own beforehand.

I don’t know if Drury and Gomez skipped today because it’s Sept. 11, but I would certainly respect if they did.

Personally, I hate this day for everything it reminds me of, and yet I also never want to forget any of it.

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No news on Brendan Shanahan’s contract. “Status quo,” he said.

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Still haven’t spoken to Nikolai Zherdev since I’m told his English isn’t great. But the kid looks good on the ice, and is bigger than I envisioned.

Another player to watch in camp is Andreas Jamtin. He’s been compared to a Swedish Sean Avery, and I can see why. Jamtin is built exactly like Avery, has the same explosive stride, and appears to play with an edge.

No word on whether Jamtin’s internship at Swedish Vogue is also being turned into a movie…