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SLY WILLIAMS
09-20-2010, 10:40 AM
Rangers' Gaborik gets new linemates

Not a single puck hit the ice nor was a net placed on the goal line before the Rangers had their first interesting line pairing of the season to toss at their star, Marian Gaborik.

The second day of training camp ended yesterday with all 62 guys at camp huffing and puffing from the endless on-ice conditioning drills and testing. But as the fourth group of players came off the ice, the news came that Gaborik was set to be paired with free-agent signee Alex Frolov on the left wing and second-round pick Derek Stepan in the middle during today's scrimmage -- the first time the team will be doing more than just skating.

"It's important that whoever you're playing with you can connect mentally," said Gaborik, who skated yesterday for the first time since he strained his back lifting weights on Tuesday. "[It's important] you know about each other, where the other guy is, where you can find him, so you can be on the same wave of thinking."

The talented right winger, who had team highs of 42 goals and 86 points last season, said his back got treatment throughout the week and that he hopes it will continue to get better. Because he had not been on the ice in a couple days, the strenuous skating drills wore him out, but he looked to be in pretty good shape.

"The scrimmage is always [there] to mimic a game, in terms of getting into game shape and finding the right fit," Gaborik said. "I hope we do well."

That same sentiment was echoed by Frolov, who came to the Rangers after seven seasons with the Kings, last year tallying 19 goals and 51 points, his lowest totals since his rookie year.

"It's great to have an opportunity to play with a great player like Gabby," Frolov said. "I think we need to get used to each other a little bit, and figure out what it feels like and what to expect from each other on the ice and where to be.

"It's not our first year in the NHL," he continued, "and it's not our first time you have to play with someone and get some chemistry going. It always happens and it's part of the game."

Stepan is coming off a big year at Wisconsin, when he tied for first in the NCAA in assists (42 in 41 games), making him a enticing pick for the Rangers to take 51st overall.

"I've heard some good things about him," Gaborik said of Stepan. "[Today] will be good for him to show off."

But Gaborik also knows that tomorrow is just the first step in what is a long season.

"It's all about putting the whole puzzle together," Gaborik said, "but it's still a long way away."

bcyrgalis@nypost.com http://www.nypost.com/p/sports/rangers/gaborik_gets_new_linemates_XtOQrYf0sLHIuKeZkqCZnI

commonsense12
09-20-2010, 11:13 AM
WOW if Stephan makes the team and starts on the 1st line i would be amazed. Thats a lot of pressure for a rookie and a bold move by the Rangers.

Ballistik
09-21-2010, 09:22 AM
This to me says alot about how the organization feels about stepan. Having him paired with gabs on the first day of camp. They must reall want/expect him to be on the roster IMO.

liltedspop
09-21-2010, 09:43 AM
took the day off work tomorrow will be at the morning scrimmage & looking forward to it indeed.

Redfish
09-21-2010, 10:57 AM
WOW if Stephan makes the team and starts on the 1st line i would be amazed. Thats a lot of pressure for a rookie and a bold move by the Rangers.

It would be a lot of pressure. Oddly enough, though, I could see how playing on the 1st line also reduces the pressure, and puts him in a maximum position to succeed. I guess it all comes down to the player; his skill set, wisdom, and composure. If Stepan has the right mix, he will flourish as 1st line center. Del Zotto seemed to feed off the opportunity last year, until he physically began to wear down. It's nice to see Stepan is being evaluated for this role; that's a big statement in itself.

SLY WILLIAMS
09-21-2010, 11:13 AM
I think it could be good for the kid. He will be playing with 2 highly skilled players and see how much confidence the coaching staff has in him

Garden Faithful
09-21-2010, 12:00 PM
I would love to see Stephan on the team even playing with Gabs but my only problem is that torts is so finicky with the lines and gets so impatient with bad play that he will change the lines much sooner than they will fix themselves. So if they have 3 bad games together you'll see them get moved around the way torts always does and then Stephan will get discouraged and be with new people and probably have a much harder time. So I would be weary of putting him on the first line right away because it is a lot of pressure even if he is playing with two very skilled players.

Redfish
09-21-2010, 01:44 PM
I would love to see Stephan on the team even playing with Gabs but my only problem is that torts is so finicky with the lines and gets so impatient with bad play that he will change the lines much sooner than they will fix themselves. So if they have 3 bad games together you'll see them get moved around the way torts always does and then Stephan will get discouraged and be with new people and probably have a much harder time. So I would be weary of putting him on the first line right away because it is a lot of pressure even if he is playing with two very skilled players.

If you recall, Renney was also criticized heavily for switching lines. Both coaches did so, in my opinion, because for the most part, they had only average forwards to work with, in terms of offensive production. Outside of Gaborik and Prospal, there was a great deal of inconsistent play from the forwards; I think it behooves a coach to make line changes when guys go on 3-5 game droughts without creating anything.

This is an area where I don't think the coaches deserve the criticism. Tortorella, for example, showed a lot of patience with Gilroy and Del Zotto last year; I think he will manage Stepan a bit differently than veteran wingers.

Isca92
09-21-2010, 02:37 PM
GardenFaithful, I think there is less pressure playing with Gabs and Frolov, then being on a different line. Look at a player like Prucha, got time on the PP and saw some first line time with Jagr and puts up 30 goals. Then he is moved to the 3rd line to play with Drury and Dawes and his numbers dropped. So, I think there is less pressure playing with the better talent then playing 3rd line duties.

fingerbang
09-21-2010, 02:53 PM
"It's important that whoever you're playing with you can connect mentally," said Gaborik, who skated yesterday for the first time since he strained his back lifting weights on Tuesday. "

Oh man keep him out of the weight room. Buy this guy a bubble to live in when he's off the ice. We were lucky that he really wasn't injured at all last season.


"I've heard some good things about him," Gaborik said of Stepan. "[Today] will be good for him to show off."

Great opportunity for Stepan, but I wouldn't jump to any conclusions. If he is ready for the NHL I'd expect him somewhere on the top two lines. It would be a waste to start him on a 3rd or 4th line. Drury injury really makes things interesting.

commonsense12
09-21-2010, 03:05 PM
GardenFaithful, I think there is less pressure playing with Gabs and Frolov, then being on a different line. Look at a player like Prucha, got time on the PP and saw some first line time with Jagr and puts up 30 goals. Then he is moved to the 3rd line to play with Drury and Dawes and his numbers dropped. So, I think there is less pressure playing with the better talent then playing 3rd line duties.

Prucha? The guy after that first season was a complete disappointment. He did not have the same production the 2nd year and then fell off the face of the planet. The guy could not puck the puck in the net at all. That had nothing to do with his linemates he just lost his touch i guess. Had sort of a bounce back year this year i guess, if you consider 13 goals a bounce back year. Still dont see him getting back to 30.

In regards to Stephan, i think it is a lot of pressure. Its worse because that was really the line we looked to for scoring because we had issues scoring last year. If that line doesnt produce this year, fans are going to freak out. I would like to see him on the team but i am hesitant a bit because i am not crazy about putting that much pressure on a young kid like that. Its a hard decision and i guess it will be depend on how he plays and his attitude.

Garden Faithful
09-21-2010, 03:15 PM
If you recall, Renney was also criticized heavily for switching lines. Both coaches did so, in my opinion, because for the most part, they had only average forwards to work with, in terms of offensive production. Outside of Gaborik and Prospal, there was a great deal of inconsistent play from the forwards; I think it behooves a coach to make line changes when guys go on 3-5 game droughts without creating anything.

This is an area where I don't think the coaches deserve the criticism. Tortorella, for example, showed a lot of patience with Gilroy and Del Zotto last year; I think he will manage Stepan a bit differently than veteran wingers.

I'm not sure you can define sending someone down to the minors patience. Especially when the player could have signed with any team in the league and chose the rangers to play under Torts.

Isca92
09-21-2010, 05:21 PM
Commonsense, who were Prucha's line mates this year. No one special, now im not saying that Prucha will be any type of all star but it shows the amount of pressure taken off of him when he had Jagr on his line as opposed to a non elite player. But when moved to third line responsibilities and line mates of course he's not going to get to back to 30. But give him first line time and line mates and I could see those numbers coming back.

With Gabs and Frolov on the wings there is alot less pressure for him to put the puck in the net because that line SHOULD have plenty of scoring. Having to wingers who are considered snipers are going to have the defense concentrate more on them then on Stepan, which in turns takes defensive pressure off of him, which gives him a little more room on the ice. As long as the line is producing it doesn't matter if, who's stick the puck comes off does it? Which takes the pressure off of him. However if you expect him to be 3rd line and produce the same amount your not going to get it and its going to add pressure on him.

Lets get out on the New York State of mind that the player has to spend time in the minors cause he's needs to adjust to playing against men. When really there's just playing against guys that never made it or others that arent ready. Throw them to the wolves and see how they respond. Winners will respond and losers will shy away.

Redfish
09-21-2010, 05:59 PM
I'm not sure you can define sending someone down to the minors patience. Especially when the player could have signed with any team in the league and chose the rangers to play under Torts.

After the initial 10-15 games to open the season, Gilroy was ineffective on defense, in my view. I thought Tortorella gave him a great deal of leeway to make his share of rookie mistakes, learn and grow, however, his development was slow to materialize. Those opportunities are all that should be expected of a coach; he has a commitment to the rest of the team to play the best players and Anders Erickson, who may not even play in the NHL this year, was the better player. Sending him down to the minors, or sitting him in the box seats, were really the only appropriate choices at the time.

I hope Gilroy shows he deserves to be on the team this year.

SLY WILLIAMS
09-21-2010, 06:24 PM
I think it would be a big mistake to let Gilroy go. I see good things from him. 2nd year in a row he was awesome in the running/stamina/conditioning drills. He has good speed, great hands and is a fairly smart guy. He just needs to use his body more. He doesnt have to be Barry Beck but show him some tapes of how Leetch would use his body. I liked what Gilroy said yesterday in a video interview. They asked if bringing in vets bothered him? Would he have to fight to keep his job. He said he came to fight to get other peoples jobs because he wants to play more.

commonsense12
09-21-2010, 06:45 PM
Commonsense, who were Prucha's line mates this year. No one special, now im not saying that Prucha will be any type of all star but it shows the amount of pressure taken off of him when he had Jagr on his line as opposed to a non elite player. But when moved to third line responsibilities and line mates of course he's not going to get to back to 30. But give him first line time and line mates and I could see those numbers coming back.

With Gabs and Frolov on the wings there is alot less pressure for him to put the puck in the net because that line SHOULD have plenty of scoring. Having to wingers who are considered snipers are going to have the defense concentrate more on them then on Stepan, which in turns takes defensive pressure off of him, which gives him a little more room on the ice. As long as the line is producing it doesn't matter if, who's stick the puck comes off does it? Which takes the pressure off of him. However if you expect him to be 3rd line and produce the same amount your not going to get it and its going to add pressure on him.

Lets get out on the New York State of mind that the player has to spend time in the minors cause he's needs to adjust to playing against men. When really there's just playing against guys that never made it or others that arent ready. Throw them to the wolves and see how they respond. Winners will respond and losers will shy away.

I cant disagree with you more on Prucha. He was moved to the 3rd line because he couldnt put the puck in the net. He reminds me a lot of Higgins in the fact he played with energy but just couldnt score. Also if a player can only score when he is on a line of Superstars, he really isnt that good to be honest. Bottom line is he is not good enough to be on a 1st line. I mean crap we can put Avery on the 1st line and i am sure he will score more but it doesnt make the team better.

Thats also a big if. IF that line doesnt produce its going to add crazy pressure to him. 3rd line players are not expected to produce as much. There is a big difference in whats expected from a 1st line to a 3rd line. 1st line has much much higher expectations, so that creates more pressure. It should produce with those players but if it doesnt, then that could lead to problems. You are correct in your evaluation but there is also a flip side. Either way its a hard decision.

fingerbang
09-21-2010, 08:48 PM
I'm not sure you can define sending someone down to the minors patience. Especially when the player could have signed with any team in the league and chose the rangers to play under Torts.

LOL great point. Gilroy wasn't bad at all. I really didn't understand the demotion. He played well in Hartford and made it back onto the team in no time. I know he's older than MDZ but he made a much harsher transition into the pro's coming from college (different rink size, different rules). Aside from the burning Buff gave him he really wasn't bad in his own end. He was all over the ice in the first few games. I hope he makes the team I really don't see the advantage of starting a guy like Exelby or Semenov over him.

Isca92
09-22-2010, 03:44 AM
Commonsense, Ill say were not gonna agree on Prucha's ability to put the puck in the net. His shooting percentage is solid. The changes in numbers tells the story of who he played with and shows that it takes the pressure off of a player to come into his own when he's playing with first line talent as opposed to a 3rd line player to develop. I think putting a guy like that one the first line and moving a player who can carry the line better to the second line gives the offense more a better attack. Plus if he is expected to play the first line, then learn the first line roles instead of the 3rd line role.

IMO they are still a couple pieces away from a true cup contender so let the pieces (which are in the system) develop instead of trying to short term fix them and stick the players in the minors. If these prospects spend 2-3 years in the minors there still going to come in the league and need to adjust to the NHL level, slowing their progression.

I think part of the problem is the emphasis to make the playoffs every year because if you get in you have a 1 in 16 chance of winning it all and because then Dolan can raise prices on the tickets. I have no problem being a bottom team if were developing talent, as opposed to being a mediocre team with band aide players. So I think it depends on what you want to see out of the team.

Isca92
09-22-2010, 03:55 AM
I think Gilroy has the skill to play in the NHL but the role he was expected to play was taken by MDZ. IMO the demotion of Gilroy was based off of the role that the team needed as opposed to how he played his role. I'd like to see Gilroy on the team even if its as the 7th defenseman and 12/13th forward. Id wouldn't mind seeing him inserted when Boggy is not needed because the opposition doesnt have a heavy weight.

nyr1980
09-22-2010, 09:29 AM
If you recall, Renney was also criticized heavily for switching lines. Both coaches did so, in my opinion, because for the most part, they had only average forwards to work with, in terms of offensive production. Outside of Gaborik and Prospal, there was a great deal of inconsistent play from the forwards; I think it behooves a coach to make line changes when guys go on 3-5 game droughts without creating anything.

This is an area where I don't think the coaches deserve the criticism. Tortorella, for example, showed a lot of patience with Gilroy and Del Zotto last year; I think he will manage Stepan a bit differently than veteran wingers.

I agree with the line changes over a stretch of slump games. But both Torts and Renney do it way too much in games, from period to period and shift to shift. Now, I think a big part of that has to do with this teams lack of scoring over the past 2+ seasons and the coaches need to find an offensive spark, but I would like to see guys play together for longer stretches to develop things a bit more. Over the 20 years I've been watching the NHL, I've seen very few instances where that amount of line juggling really produces legit results on a consistent basis. When you do see the results, it typically comes from moving your best offensive center around between other wingers. And even then, youre looking at more along the lines of isolated instances for a period or so in the course of a game, and this is done to produce favorable matchups, that over the course of a game, a coach knows that the averages will eventually shake out and produce scoring chances and a goal. The teams that are really successful offensively don't do a ton of switching, they find the combos and play them with little tampering and things average out in the end, though you do need the talent to pull that off.

messleetch94
09-23-2010, 11:30 AM
I have nothing against Stephan centering the first line. If we all cry about how we should get younger, why would we not want them to perform at their best whether it be 1st or 3rd line. That is what training camp is for. We have too much youth with talent to wait their turn playing the third line. Put Stephan on the first line, he will be fine.

bsi
09-23-2010, 12:54 PM
I have nothing against Stephan centering the first line. If we all cry about how we should get younger, why would we not want them to perform at their best whether it be 1st or 3rd line. That is what training camp is for. We have too much youth with talent to wait their turn playing the third line. Put Stephan on the first line, he will be fine.

Agreed...we're supposed to be in a youth movement, this is currently our best young player IMO, leave him there for the year, Gabs and Frolov will get points no matter who they are playing with, so it definately won't hurt. It would only be a waste of his talent to have him on the third line playing reduced minutes, he may as well be in the AHL IMO.

Bleeds MSG
09-23-2010, 04:26 PM
I still have to see something out of Stephan at this level before I'm ready to jump on the 1st line bandwagon. Last time I saw him play Krieder (who I think might be the better player) put him face first into the boards in a crumpled mess in the NCAA championship game. Im not trying to say that this kid doesnt have what it takes but I'd just like to see it first at this level starting tonight. I'd also like to see AA get a shot with the top line in pre-season. He really made strides last year and I feel like HE was wasted on the 3rd line....I'd like to see more of what he can do with 1st or 2nd line talent in the exhibition games.

Please dont kill me for this lol.

ps. If Stephan does show that he belongs to start the season with the big club then I really see no need for Christansen on this roster to start the year. W/ Stephan AA Drury and a host of other guys that can fill in at the pivot from the wing, I just dont see it unless he is gonna play a fourth line center and it bums me that he is already penciled in for a spot that might be better suited given to another winger where I think our scoring depth has really improved.

bsi
09-23-2010, 04:33 PM
Bleeds, I know what you are saying, and if we were a team with a couple of real options for a skilled first line center I'd agree, but really, Stepan is our best chance at having something resembling a first line center. Anisimov had a decent year, but I don't think it would be a bad thing to have him center Dubi and say Cally or Prospal this year. Kreider and Stepan are 1a and 1b IMO, but Stepan is more ready right now. IMO, players that are used to logging big minutes never seem to get their rythm on the third line, and especially skilled players like Stepan. I just don't think him dumping and chasing for 7 minutes a game is gonna do much for his level of play, and if it were me, I'd have him on one of the top two lines in NY or on the first line in Hartford or whatever it's called now. This guy needs big time minutes and needs to be playing on the PP this year, somewhere so he doesn't lose his edge, whether that's here in NY or in the minors.

Bleeds MSG
09-23-2010, 05:00 PM
I agree about the min BSI and I think 3rd line time hurt AA last year. In a perfect world where Stephan shows he can do it then my centers would be Stephan/AA/Drury/rotating door.

I just dont see where EC fits in with that and Stephan is def a long term piece of this team where as EC is not.

bsi
09-23-2010, 05:09 PM
Ya, well I still think EC is a good piece to have around, Drury can play wing so if he were to move over, a third line of Prospal/Callahan, EC and Drury wouldn't really hurt us, or maybe EC can play wing, either way that's a pretty nice third line IMO. Also, I think AA's minutes were cut back and he was put on with SHelley and Prust mostly to ensure he never got run over, he had his head down so much and he was getting clobbered. I think Torts wanted to ensure that didn't happen to him as much and put the tough guys on with him. I like Anisimov but if he can't keep his head up he'll never be more than a third liner, he was getting rocked.