Thursday, September 30, 2010

Rangers Won't Make Final Cuts Until After Sunday

It looks like the Rangers may be having a difficult time deciding who exactly they should keep in New York to start the season.

According to Andrew Gross, "John Tortorella says team will wait until final two preseason games to make any cuts. Should be done on Sunday."

It could also be stall tactics by Sather giving himself more time to possibly make a trade. Rumors have been flying around the last few days because Sauer has played so well but would have to clear waivers if sent to Hartford. The Rangers wouldn't want to lose Sauer and get nothing in return. We'll know more after the weekend.

Drury Quote About What's Expected of Him

Larry Brooks has an article today with a lot of quotes from Chris Drury.
I might have a no-move in my contract, but I know I have to prove myself every single day in order to play.
Oh yeah? Well, this season might be as good a time as any to prove yourself Chris. No one expects the offensive production that you had in Buffalo in your final season (ok -- most people don't). But, considering that you're the captain it sure would be nice to see the Captain lead by example. Sure he's an excellent PKer, but like I said a bunch of times last season, Drury has become a glorified (to the sum of $7M) version of Blair Betts.

Read what fellow Puck Central blogger Jordan had to say about him earlier this week.

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Thrashers Release Enver Lisin From Tryout

Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal Constitution is reporting that the Thrashers have released Lisin from his professional tryout. Looks like his next move could be to the KHL.

Originally posted Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Rangers did not give Enver Lisin, who was a RFA, a qualifying offer this summer. As a result he is currently a UFA. There wasn't much news this whole summer about Lisin and it was expected by many that he'd likely head over to the KHL. But, Lisin may get another shot to make it in the NHL. According to Ben Wright, Thrashers "web guy" :
Thrashers have invited former Ranger Envers Lisin to training camp on a tryout basis. He skated this morning.  
Anyone that has seen Lisin play knows that the guy has ridiculous speed. Unfortunately, I think his legs move faster than his brain, or maybe even his hands. He gets himself into good scoring positions, but so far hasn't found a way to score on a consistent basis. He seemed like a good guy, so hopefully he gets a shot with Atlanta this season.

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Pre-Season Game 4: My Thoughts

  • These will be my final thoughts of the pre-season because I'm going on vacation out of the country from Friday until the following Saturday and won't be around to see the final two games against Ottawa. I was at the game last night at the Garden, my first game of the season, so excuse me if I missed something that was discussed during the Rangers broadcast on MSG.

  • Before I discuss the game, here's a good read talking about Redden's first day in Hartford yesterday. While on the topic of Hartford, Mats Zuccarello had a goal and an assist in his AHL pre-season debut.

  • Back to the game, it's hard not to be happy about winning a game, especially when you beat the Red Wings 5-1. However, I must point out that Detroit had only half their regular team playing. They were without Datsyuk, Zetterberg and Lidstrom. They did however have their number one goalie between the pipes (Jimmy Howard), he happened to see the little red light behind him go on a lot.

  • Yesterday I took a look at who the players remaining in camp were and who were likely to be cut today. I said that I believed that Sauer would be sent to Hartford, not because he hadn't played well but because I felt that others had played better and that the Rangers would likely go with the veteran Eminger as a 7th defenseman. However, Sauer had a hell of a game last night. Forget about the goal he scored (which was a nice one), he was excellent in his own end all night. I watched him closely away from the puck a bunch of times and he was always in position. In particular, on one penalty kill in the third period, he blocked several passes and positioned himself perfectly in front of Bertuzzi who was screening Lundqvist.

    There were rumors after the game that Sauer may be being shopped around the league. The problem with Sauer is that if the Rangers do decide to send him back to Hartford, he has to clear waivers. The Rangers could be thinking that if Sauer goes on waivers he'll be claimed by someone, so they might as well trade him and get something of value in return. I know it makes sense to carry a veteran as the seventh defenseman, but this kid has impressed me and I'd be sad to see him go just so the Rangers can dress Eminger sporadically throughout the season. I wonder now if the Rangers will keep Sauer and send either Valentenko or McDonagh down instead because they do not have to pass through waivers.

  • Derek Stepan had another solid game tonight (1g,1a) and he seemed to have good chemistry with Sean Avery. Ruslan Fedotenko was also on that line and he continues to play well enough to have probably landed himself a contract as a result of the tryout. My guess is a one year deal somewhere in the range of $750k-$1M. Stepan has to be on the Rangers roster to at least start the season based on the way he's played in the three games he's been in.

  • Valentenko didn't stand out as much to me tonight as he has in other games but he still threw his body around and seemed solid in his own end. What impresses me is that he got caught with a stick in the first period. I watched him skate to the bench and assumed he had a minor cut. I watched to see if he played next shift and he did. As far as I'm aware, he didn't miss any time. It wasn't until after the game that I saw that Valentenko broke his nose on the play. That's the type of crazy stories you hear about in the playoffs, but the fourth game of pre-season?!?!? The kid gets major bonus points for that. He knows that this could be his playoffs I guess. My guy tells me that he may be the odd man out when the season starts. But, that's not a terrible thing, he's another bright spot in the future even if that's the case.

  • Todd White is as good as gone in my opinion. I'm not sure what exactly the Rangers are expecting from him by continuously playing him in a fourth line role. But, whatever they were looking for, White didn't accomplish it. He was invisible again tonight. I can't see him sticking with the team, too many other players outperformed him in camp.

  • For as far back as I can remember there's been at least one Rangers defenseman that the Rangers fans jump all over. There was Tom Poti, then Marek Malik and most recently Wade Redden. Book it, this season Michal Rozsival is going to be hearing from the Garden boo birds A LOT. Rozsival is actually a semi-decent defenseman, another guy who is significantly overpaid but he's not as terrible as some fans would have you believe. Hopefully he has a strong start to the season because once those boo birds start, they are relentless!

  • Sean Avery was once again one of the better forwards on the ice. He scored a goal, had several shots and seemed to be all over the place. I'm not sure if the coaches plan on possibly keeping that line together, but if Christensen grabs the #1 center position and Anisimov centers the second line, Stepan could find himself centering the third line.

  • Speaking of EC, as you'll know if you've been reading the blog lately, I'm not his biggest fan. He's probably played well enough however to guarantee himself a spot with the big club and all signs point to him starting the year between Frolov and Gaborik. It's not that I have anything personal against the guy, it's just that he tends to be VERY inconsistent.

  • I hope the sporadic chorus of boos I heard tonight at MSG when Boogaard touched the puck were were similar to the "Pruuuuus" for Prucha and the "Beuuuuuu" for Beukeboom. It's unfortunate that the Devils had no one that would fight The Boogeyman and it was expected that the Detroit Ballerinas would have no one on their team willing to dance with him either. A good beat down will have the crowd cheering for him. Maybe he'll find a willing partner on Friday or Saturday in Alexei Kovalev :)
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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Video: Kovalev ummm Fights?

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So Who Gets The Chop? A Look At The Rangers

It looks like after tonight's Rangers pre-season game against Detroit that the Rangers will be making their final cuts from the Rangers training camp roster. Currently there are 27 players in camp and Tortorella has indicated that he wants to cut it down to 23 players (he could cut it down to 20 if he wanted).

Forwards: Anisimov, Avery, Boogaard, Boyle, Callahan, Christensen, Drury, Dubinsky, Fedotenko (tryout), Frolov, Gaborik, Kennedy, Prospal, Prust, Stepan and White
Defense: Staal, Girardi, Del Zotto, Rozsival, Sauer, McDonagh, Eminger, Valentenko and Gilroy
Goalies: Lundqvist & Biron 

We already know that the team is going to carry two goalies (Lundqvist and Biron). It's very likely that Tortorella/Sather intend on keeping seven defensemen on the roster, although they could carry six if they wanted to. Staal, Girardi, Del Zotto and Rozsival are who I would consider the four guaranteed spots. That leaves the Sauer, McDonagh, Eminger, Valentenko and Gilroy fighting it out for the final three spots on defense. Eminger in my opinion is going to get the seventh defenseman gig. While he may not be better than the other players he's competing with, he is the veteran and more than likely if the team carries a seventh defenseman to rotate in and out of the lineup on a nightly basis it's going to be a veteran, not a rookie.

At this point to me it looks like Gilroy is also likely going to be given a spot on the roster. He's gotten bigger physically since last season, he's playing similar to the way he did last pre-season when he impressed the Rangers by using his exceptional skating to jump up into the play. Gilroy has also been given time on the power play and given his offensive talent, I think he could be a very likely candidate to man the point on the second power play unit.

That leaves Sauer, McDonagh and Valentenko duking it out for the final spot being allotted to defensemen. Of the three I think that Sauer is the least likely to make the roster. He's had a pretty good camp so far, but I think that McDonagh and Valentenko have just been better. However, unlike the other two, Sauer will have to clear waivers if he's sent down to Hartford. The monkey wrench however may have been thrown into my analysis of Tortorella's plans because tonight the defensemen will be Gilroy-Valentenko, Del Zotto-Rozsival, Staal-Sauer. If the Rangers do intend on announcing their final 23-man roster tomorrow, would they really send McDonagh down without giving him another shot tonight? Would they not have just sent him down the other day when they made their second round of cuts? Is McDonagh now considered a lock for a roster spot and Gilroy the one competing with Sauer and Sauer for the final spot on the team? 

If I had a gun held to my head right now I'd say that the Rangers start the season with Staal, Girardi, Del Zotto, Rozsival, Gilroy, Eminger and then it's a toss up between McDonagh and Valentenko.

As difficult as it is to analyze what's going on in Tortorella's mind regarding defensemen it's just as difficult, if not more so, to try and figure out what forwards are going to be on the roster. If the Rangers carry seven defensemen, it means that they will be carrying 14 forwards going into opening night. I will assume that once Chris Drury is healthy that the Rangers will then send one of the other forwards back to Hartford and carry 13 forwards the rest of the way.

Right off the bat I have to assume that Anisimov, Avery, Boogaard, Callahan, Drury, Dubinsky, Frolov, Gaborik, Prospal and Prust are all going to be on the roster going forward. That leaves the six remaining players; Boyle, Christensen, Fedotenko, Stepan, Kennedy and White fighting for the remaining four spots.

Strangely, both Stepan and Christensen who have been considered candidates for the number one center position could either make the team or be sent to Hartford. At this point in camp, Christensen hasn't really impressed me. I've never been a big fan of his simply because he is so hot/cold. But, it's not me that he has to impress. I think that Tortorella is going to give Stepan at least a few games to show what he can do. If he's not producing then he'll be the guy sent to Hartford when Drury is ready to step into the lineup.

Another guy who hasn't shown me anything at all is Todd White, but Tortorella has been praising the guy a lot, talking about how versatile he is. Then there's tryout Ruslan Fedotenko, who was average in his first game against the Devils and then probably the Rangers best forward on the ice (a part from Ryan Callahan) in the second game.

Tim Kennedy is another guy who has had a pretty good camp and Tortorella has heaped a lot of praise on. But, where does he fit in? He's going to be given a shot tonight against the Red Wings playing LW on the third line next to Anisimov and Callahan. Brian Boyle looked to have improved drastically in his first pre-season game when he played center, but in the second game when Tortorella had him on the wing he was pretty much invisible. If the battle is between Boyle and someone else for the fourth line center role then I think the job will be Boyle's. But, I can't see him being placed anywhere else in the lineup. He doesn't seem like a guy that's able to adapt to the wing and he's still not capable of centering a third line, unless he starts playing like the way he did in the first pre-season game a hell of a lot more often.

I honestly think that tonight's game is going to factor a lot into whether one or two of these guys ultimately go down to Hartford or stay in New York.

If it were up to me Christensen and White would be the players heading to Hartford. Some of you will say it's a good thing because you want Christensen in the lineup. I think that Anisimov is going to show everyone that he's come leaps and bounds since last season and not only will he play big time top-6 minutes this year, he may be the guy who ultimately ends up centering Forlov and Gaborik. If Christensen isn't centering Gaborik/Frolov he has no business playing on the third or fourth line.

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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Video: Producer at Ovechkin Commercial Shoot Goes Off The Deep End

Behind-the-scenes video of Ovechkin during a commercial shoot for CCM. Had this sent over to me, funny video.

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Monday, September 27, 2010

Guest Blog Winner Announced

As you may know for the past month on Puck Central we were running a small competition which allowed people to Guest Blog on the site for a chance to win a $65 Gift Card.

We had a bunch of great entrants, all which provided entertainment for me and the many readers of Puck Central to read. The competition was much more popular than I expected; getting several great articles and generating thousands of page views for the site. Not only did it provide some interesting topics, it also added a new writer to Puck Central.

Unfortunately for Jordan, the fact that he came on board full time means that I had to remove him for the running for the competition.

Without further delay, the winner of the Guest Blog Competition is Bill Pulice with his blog post "Good-Bye to Avery? Debating the Scenario…"

Congratulations to Bill and hopefully he uses that $65 Gift Certificate to CSNStores wisely :)

Video: Sneak Peak Of Versus Hockey Commercial

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Rangers Make 2nd Round Of Cuts

The New York Rangers today announced more roster cuts as they trim the training camp roster closer down to the size they'll have on opening night.

Johnson, Grachev, Redden, Weise, Zuccarello are being sent to Hartford and will not have to clear waivers. Williams, Byers and Newbury were also sent down to Hartford, but each of these three will have to clear waivers before reporting to the AHL. The Rangers also annoucned that Brandon Manning, Garnet Exelby and Alexei Semenov had been released from their tryouts with the team.

This leaves the following 27 players in camp:
Forwards: Artem Anisimov, Sean Avery, Derek Boogaard, Brian Boyle, Ryan Callahan, Erik Christensen, Chris Drury, Brandon Dubinsky, Ruslan Fedotenko (tryout), Alex Frolov, Marian Gaborik, Tim Kennedy, Vinny Prospal, Brandon Prust, Derek Stepan and Todd White

Defense: Staal, Girardi, Del Zotto, Rosival, Sauer, McDonagh, Eminger, Valentenko and Gilroy

Goalies: Lundqvist & Biron 

If you've been reading my thoughts after each of the three pre-season games you'll know that I'm not surprised with any of these cuts. I thought Semenov might be signed to fill the 7th defenseman role but now if the team decides to go with a veteran for that role, it'll probably be left up to Eminger.I haven't seen anything special from Eminger but what probably worked in his favor in sticking with the team rather than Semenov is that he already has a contract.

MZA and Grachev were the two biggest disappointments in camp for me, I was expecting a lot and didn't see anything. I hope that all they need is some time in the AHL. Fedotenko is the only player left in camp who is there on a tryout and so far he's made a pretty good showing (especially in his 2nd game).
At this point in camp, in my opinion White should be sent to Hartford next. But, for some reason Tortorella keeps praising him which has me worried that they may still send Stepan down to Hartford and keep White around. The Rangers will likely start the season with seven defensemen, meaning that they still need to cut two more from the roster. I think that based on his play, Eminger should be the first one sent down, but because the Rangers will want a veteran to fill that role likely, I think that Sauer and the either Valentenko or McDonagh will be the remaining cuts on defense. I think Gilroy has shown enough improvement to stick around in New York and he might be able to man the Power Play from the point.

Sadly Christensen is still in the running for the #1 center position, but if I had my way he'd be on a bus to Hartford as well before the season starts.
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Forget about Dru

The (unfortunate) captain of the New York Rangers is Chris Drury, a guy who signed a big contract with the Rangers after having a career year with Buffalo in the free agent summer that saw him and former Ranger Scott Gomez come to Broadway. I'm sure that I am not the only Ranger fan that feels this way, but it seems like ever since he got here, Chris Drury has done less and less for this team. He blocks shots, scores every once in a while, and isn't vocal in the locker room. His point production sucks to say the least, and IMO his game is becoming too slow for this NHL, which has been getting faster and younger year after year. There are so many centers on this team right now it's ridiculous, and I would rather play each of them over Drury.

I'd prefer Christensen or Stepan on the first line, White/Prospal on the second line, Anisimov (who's been playing outstanding and looks to me like he should get a chance centering Gabby and Fro) on the third line, and Brian Boyle on the fourth line (another player who became quicker this off season). Why should we take away a spot from one of these more productive guys, minus Todd White, to give it to Drury? It just doesn't make sense. Oh yeah, he has a huge contract, way to go, Sather! Just how we waived Wade Redden because of his salary, there were younger and better players that were waiting to fill his spot. I am in favor of pulling Drury and leaving him out to dry. However, I am a realist and I know there's NO way Torterella or Sather pull this move just yet, so the best case scenario is that he plays a wing role and if someone goes down to injury, he could step in and play center.

This team is almost ready for the future. Now that Redden is gone, Rozsival, Drury, White and Prospal should follow suit over the next 2-3 years. Perhaps Drury will stick around longer than the rest of the rental crew, but I am ready to give the "C" over to Callahan or Staal whenever that time comes. Their are enough talented prospects to fill each of their roles, and the best part is that we'll finally have a manageable salary cap situation. No matter how much I dislike Sather, it seems that his dubious plan is actually taking shape. He has been saying that he wants to create room for the kids, and now with only a few players left to get rid of, perhaps we will have a team with a few older guys (I can live with Gabby and Frolov for as long as they're here) and the rest of the roster filled with homegrown talent.

Only time will tell where the Rangers go this season, but we only have 12 days to see how this team will show up to play for real points.

Posted by: NYRSU

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Pre-Season Game 3: My Thoughts

  • Oh well... the winning couldn't last forever. Man, talk about a let down after two physical and entertaining games against their cross river rivals. I wrote my thoughts about the first two games - I think I'll probably have a whole lot less to write about this one.

  • I thought the best forwards for the Rangers were Avery and Frolov. Avery scored the first goal and continued to play well after having a positive effect on Saturday in New Jersey. Frolov has continued to impress me. He played the entirety of his NHL career so far in  LA, so I didn't get to see much of him but he's a much better all around player than I expected. He's also a much bigger player than I thought and is able to use his body to push players off the puck and create space for himself. Not to mention, like Gaborik, so far he has been impressive on the backcheck.

  • Valetenko and Gilroy were the Rangers best defensemen. Valentenko is going to make it hard on the Rangers to make a final decision on which six or seven defensemen will start the season in New York. Valentenko has been pretty solid defensively, he's physical in his own end and he has a rocket of a shot. Gilroy looks to have gotten much stronger over the summer, he used his body much more effectively last night in Detroit than I saw all of last season. Gilroy led the rush several times and created a number of scoring chances, similar to the way he did last pre-season.

  • Stepan who played part of the game with Frolov and Gaborik and part of the game on a line with Dubisnky was not as noticeable as he was in his first game. But, despite the fact Stepan didn't provide much offense he was solid in his own end and showed that he can penalty kill if needed.

  • Grachev was much better than he was against the Devils on Saturday but he still hasn't impressed me. He made a few decent plays and used his body on a few shifts but in no way is he deserving of a roster spot based on his two games so far this pre-season. He could be part of the next round of cuts later today. Another player that many had high expectations of is Mats Zuccarello Aasen who to date has also done pretty much nothing. He's made a few nice passes and has speed which allows him to forecheck pretty well. But he comes to New York after being a star in the Swedish Elite League, their top scorer last season, so far he's not living up to those expectations. He may continue to stay in the Rangers camp, but as of now I have no doubt that he'll be in Hartford to start the season.

  • Semenov who has been pretty solid, remains in the running to earn a contract with the Rangers. McDonagh didn't do too much wrong and at this stage he's still very much in the running. Based on his performances so far I'd let McDonagh spend at least the first part of the season in Hartford. He hasn't played himself out of job, that's for certain. Sauer was much better in his first game than he was in Detroit. The one thing that makes the Sauer decision different for the Rangers than some of the other players is that like Brodie Dupont, if Sauer is sent to Hartford he'll have to clear through waivers.

  • Christensen scored a goal off a wicked wrist shot, but seriously, is there any other player in the NHL that is as effective as being good one second and average the next? He's done it throughout his career and he somehow manages to do it WITHIN games. He did pretty much nothing a part from that goal. This is a guy considered to be in the running for the number one center position on this team? That scares the absolute $hit out of me to be honest.
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Sunday, September 26, 2010

Video: Top 10 Knockouts of The Decade!

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10 Minutes For "Going After Star Player"?

According to the NY Post
Avery said referee Paul Devorksi told him that he had gotten his 10-minute misconduct for going after a superstar.

"He specifically told me I got it because [Kovalchuk] is a superstar, and I can't go after a superstar," Avery said of the dialog that took place in the box with 9:07 to go in the second. "I told him I make $4 million. I'm a superstar, too."
What's next, two minute minor for looking at Kovalchuk the wrong way? Catering to the star players of the league....gotta love it!

I had a lot more to say about last night's game earlier today
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Pre-Season Game 2: My Thoughts

  • Once again, a win versus the Devils is always a good thing, especially when it's a come from behind victory. Yeah, even if it means nothing in the standings.

  • Gotta love the patience that Del Zotto showed on that OT winner. Instead of just ripping the puck on net, he took his time and roofed it when he knew the goalie wasn't going to be able to reach it.

  • Avery pisses everyone off, even me sometimes. Once again last night I think he sould've dropped the gloves with Clarkson. Clarkson has wanted a piece of Avery ever since the "Avery Rule" fiasco in the playoffs a few years ago. But, you know what, I am convinced that it's 100% psychological now. The Devils were winning this game and Sean Avery threw them all off. Clarkson went berserk a few times trying to fight him, as did Kovalchuk. In the mean time, Avery kept his cool and helped screen the goalie for a goal and draw a penalty that lead to another goal.

    The theory that Avery is afraid of Clarkson to me is complete BS. He's fought him before. Yes, in their previous fight Carkson got the edge, but it was by no means the ass whipping that some would have you believe that Clarkson is going to deliver if Avery ever obliges him.

    If Avery fights Clarkson now, then Clarkson will probably forget all about him again once the regular season starts. But, with Avery refusing to fight and continuing to taunt Kovalchuk, this is royally screwing with the minds of the Devils. Avery is clearly in their heads and heading into the season where they meet the Devils at least six times, that can only be a good thing.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Video: The Collision That Cost Josh Harding His Season

According to the Wild "Josh Harding suffered torn acl and mcl last night and will need surgery. Likely out for season."
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Tonight's Rangers/Devils Lineups

Best Friends: Avery & Brodeur
Here are the Rangers' lines according to Andrew Gross:

Avery-Kennedy-J. Williams

Del Zotto-Eminger

Lundqvist will play the full game

Looks like the Rangers are really going to take a hard look at Fedotenko and White in this game putting them both on the top line. 

Just a reminder that Fedotenko, Semenov and Exelby are the three players in camp on a tryout basis. They are all in the lineup tonight. Out of the six defensemen playing tonight for the Rangers, only Del Zotto is a guaranteed roster player for opening night. 

Meanwhile, in Devils land the lineup is not yet set, but Tom Gulitti was at their morning skate and this is his predicted lineup for the game.



Hedberg (expected to play full game), McKenna.
After the game on Thursday night, I read several places that John Tortorella speculated that Derek Boogaard was given his ten minute misconduct for defending Brandon Prust. Apparently, Prust (who is capable of handling himself) was pestered all night long by Leblond and Mills. Mills and Prust eventually fought, while Leblond kept his gloves glued on. It'll be interesting tonight to see if Leblond and Boogaard have a dance at The Rock.
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Redden Will Be Placed On Waivers Today

Larry Brooks is reporting that Wade Redden will be placed on waivers at noon today.

In July I speculated along with many others that it looked like Glen Sather had created a situation in New York where Redden would have to be sent to Hartford. At the same time, even though I was writing that it looked likely, I wasn't 100% sold on the theory that Sather was going to do that. My stance was, "I'll believe it when I see it!" Well, according to Brooks, it looks like today I might just see it.

It's highly unlikely that any other team will make a waiver claim for Redden. Redden, who turned 33 this summer, has four years left on his contract, with a cap hit of $6.5M per season. The Rangers could've bought Redden out of his contract earlier this summer but that would have meant that $2.17M would count against their salary cap for the next eight seasons. So, it seems like Sather has decided to bury Redden in the AHL.

From Ranger Rants

Redden told Rangers general manager Glen Sather he would consider his options over the next few days. However, Redden must report to Hartford (AHL) in order to collect his Rangers’ salary and Sather said Redden would be allowed to play for the Wolf Pack. Redden, whose wife just gave birth to the couple’s first child this week, could also decide to continue his career overseas and the Rangers could wind up splitting the difference of his contract.
In my opinion Redden will not be heading to Europe. I don't know how much he wants to play in the AHL at this point in his life, but at the same time it's going to be hard to turn down $23M in guaranteed money.

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Friday, September 24, 2010

Video: Top 10 Pre-Season Goals

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Rangers Make 1st Cuts Today

According to Andrew Gross, the Rangers first cuts were made today. In total, 25 players were returned to either their Junior team or sent to the AHL.

The following players are being sent to Hartford:
Goalies: Parise, Talbot
Defense: Baldwin,Klassen, Kundratek, Niemi, Parlett, N. Williams 
Forwards: Chappell, DiDiomete, Dupont, Garlock, McKelvie, Soryal, Tessier

The following are being returned to their Junior teams:
Goalie: Stajcer
Defense: Maggio, McIlrath
Forwards: Bourque, Horak, McNaught, Thomas, Werek, Wilson, Yogan

According to Scotty Hockey "Brodie Dupont has to go through waivers, perhaps another NHL team will give him a shot."

There are now 38 players remaining at training camp. That includes 3 goaltenders, 13 defensemen and 22 forwards. 
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Video: Tortorella's Post-Game Comments


Also check out my thoughts from the first pre-season game.
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Pre-Season Game 1: My Thoughts

  • Watching the Rangers beat the Devils is always fun ... even if it means pretty much nothing.

  • It was only one exhibition game, but Derek Stepan just confirmed his spot on the New York Rangers roster. He got an assist on the first Rangers goal after making a nice pass to Frolov who set up Gaborik. Stepan looked poised making nice passes all game long and man was that a wicked wrist shot in the third period that somehow grazed off the goalie and into the netting.

  • Frolov looked good. Hopefully getting on the scoresheet early during pre-season will give him confidence. If he plays on a line with Gaborik this season and plays like that there's no reason why he can't score 30 goals again. Plus, he didn't look half bad killing penalties.
  • Tim Kennedy gave himself a major boost in his hunt to make his way onto the Rangers roster. MZA looked ordinary as did Fedotenko. I won't write off MZA after one game because that wouldn't be fair, he did look shifty at times and made a few nifty passes but every time he gets the puck along the boards I keep expecting him to get freight trained by someone. McDonagh made a couple of good plays but also coughed up the puck a few times. But, that has to be expected in his first game. No decisions will be made on any of these guys based on one game, the rest of the pre-season will be important for each of them to showcase themselves.

  • What the hell is the MSG Network doing with these new camera angles? On the Frolov goal and the second New Jersey goal (the breakaway by Kovalchuk) the camera angles were atrocious. I don't want the view that a mouse would have sitting on the blue line as a player skates in on a breakaway 50 feet away.

  • Joe Micheletti is from Minnesota. Ok, we get it! Do we really need to hear 9 million references to Minnesota each and every single game? Tonight was unbelievable, I think they talked more about Minnesota than they did New York! First it was every single kid that is from Minnesota then it was the Minnesota twins, then it was why McDonagh went to college in Wisconsin and not Minnesota and then...well you get my point.

  • The NHL really needs to get over itself quickly. The 10 minute misconduct to Boogaard was absolutely disgraceful. What a farce! The Adam Mair instigator penalty was also pretty damn pathetic. Yes, he jumped in for little Rod Pelley when Brian Boyle was challenging him, but c'mon.....

  • Speaking of Brian Boyle. Is that the same Brian Boyle that played for the Rangers last season? The big man was moving, he threw some huge hits and that goal was a thing of beauty. Not only that he fought Mair and didn't look like a complete clown while doing it. If Brian Boyle plays like that the rest of the pre-season then he will definitely be in the lineup on opening night.

  • Marty Biron looked sharp, he made a few solid saves.

  • Watching a Devils/Rangers game without Sean Avery and David Clarkson seems weird. Hopefully we don't have to do that again for awhile.

  • Man was that creepy when Chico Resch said that the Devils were going to tie the game and then less than five seconds later Zach Parise squeezed one through Chad Johnson's 5-hole.

  • Marian Gaborik looks like he wants to hit 50 this season!
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Thursday, September 23, 2010

Devils Lineup For Tonight's Pre-Season Game vs NYR

Yesterday the Rangers announced their lineup for tonight's pre-season game against the Devils. Today it's the Devils turn. According to Tom Gulitti the Devils playing tonight include: 
Forwards: Parise-Zajac-Kovalchuk: Rolston-Josefson-Tedenby; Zharkov-Mair-S. Gionta; Leblond-Pelley-Mills.
Defense: Gelinas-Volchenkov; White-Taormina; Davison-Corrente;

Goalies: Brodeur, Frazee.
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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Video: Komisarek Says "Have A Seat On The Bench!"

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Video: Boynton's Throat Slash Gesture


Fast forward to the 46 second mark if interested in the throast slash gesture that Boynton made on his way to the box after the fight. He also said what looked like "You're f***ing dead!"

Thanks to Clutch from for the video
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Rangers Lineup For Pre-Season Opener

Earlier Jordan speculated about what the actual Rangers lineup would be tomorrow against the Devils.

Here's the actual lineup according to Jim Cerny:
Biron and Johnson in goal; Staal, Girardi, Rozsival, McDonagh, Semenov, Sauer on defense
Forwards: Gaborik, Frolov, Christensen, Stepan, Prust, Boyle, Boogaard, Zuccarello, Weise, Kennedy, Dubinsky, Fedotenko 
According to Andrew Gross the lines to start the game will be:



Biron, Johnson

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NY/NJ Lineup Projection

by Jordan 

For the Ranger/Devil game on Thursday night, the NYR will carry a 20 man roster. It should consist of a nice veteran and rookie mix, don't be surprised if some of your favorite prospects don't make the cut for the first game. During preseason, the Rangers brass have different lineups for each game and shift guys in and out to see how they play on particular lines.

Maybe I'm looking too much into this, but I've been itching for hockey to start since that clown Olli Jokinen made that horrible move last April. Nonetheless, I am excited to see who will be playing with who and if some lines during training camp will crossover to preseason games.

Here's my opinion on who should be penciled in for the first preseason game roster, based on training camp success and chemistry thus far:
Frolov, Stepan, Gaborik
Dubi, White, Zuccarello
Fedotenko, Kennedy, J. Williams
Avery, Boyle, Weise

McDonaugh, Girardi
McIlraith, Semenov
Exelby, Sauer


Yesterday, Torts stated that both Todd White and Mats ZA needed to have a strong exhibition season and prove that they deserve to make the team. He also said Kennedy has impressed with his speed and playmaking, and would get a long look during preseason. The D pairs are interesting and management has been high on Semenov sice last year, as well as saying that McDonaugh and McIlraith have had excellent showings so far. I like to see rookie D men mixed in with veterans. Even if they are here on tryouts, they know the game very well and have been around the block.

Even if these are not the correct guys in the lineup, I'm hoping that at least one of the preseason games will feature a roster similar to this one. As far as Lundqvist not playing; well its pretty certain that everyone knows he can play, so why not give the new backup a chance to showcase his stuff?

I'm sure I'm missing some younger guys who might play instead of Avery and Fedotenko, but I'm thinking that the lineups will be different every night and that this particular roster has a great balance of grit, skill and speed.

Either way, tomorrow night should be fun to watch. As always, let me know how much you disagree/agree with me!

UPDATE: No Wade Redden in for today's Blue/White scrimmage because his wife is due to have a baby.

UPDATE: According to Tortorella via Steve Zipay - Between 22 and 26 players will be trimmed from NYR roster after Thursday's game, then a few more after Saturday's game.

Guest Blog: Just Relax Leafs Fans!

This is a Guest Blog as part of the current competition we are running here on Puck Central   

Last night marked the beginning of the Toronto Maple Leafs pre-season games versus their Provincial rival the Ottawa Senators.  Both sides dressed line ups mostly made up AHLers and kids straight out of Junior all vying for a chance to crack the line up.

The Sens beat the Leafs 5-0 with what would seem like a completely one sided affair.  The Leafs had ample opportunity to keep the game close if not outright win the game given they had EIGHT 5 on 3 power plays! 
That being said, it was after all, the first pre-season game of the year and everyone in Leaf Land is all up in arms quitting on their team already this season and even calling for the head of Coach Wilson. I get it Leaf fans are probably the most passionate fans in the game and are completely sick of backing a losing product that has been a loser for the past 5+ years and hasn’t smelt the Stanley Cup since 1967.

Rangers Announce 2010-11 Preseason Schedule

I posted this way back in June, but now it might actually be more relevant.

(All times Eastern Standard Time)
Day Date Opponent Site Time
Thursday Sept. 23 New Jersey Madison Square Garden 7 p.m.
Saturday Sept. 25 New Jersey Prudential Center 7 p.m.
Sunday Sept. 26 Detroit Joe Louis Arena 5 p.m.
Wednesday Sept. 29 Detroit Madison Square Garden 7 p.m.
Friday Oct. 1 Ottawa Madison Square Garden 7 p.m.
Saturday Oct. 2 Ottawa Scotiabank Place 7 p.m.


Impressive Fitness Numbers From NHL Players

We all know that it takes a lot of skill to become a professional hockey player. Over the years NHL players have gotten bigger and stronger. The sport has turned from something that players did for a few months of the year to one where once the season ends, the players have only a short break before they are working out during the offseason to be ready for the NHL training camps that are right around the corner. Of course there are always the rumors about players that are out of shape, recent stories that to come to mind involve Kyle Wellwood and Dustin Penner. But, one area of the NHL that has always interested me is some of the fitness numbers that these players put up away from the rink.

Here are some of the more interesting stories/numbers that I have seen in the past couple of years:
  • Last season during Boston's  training camp, Zdeno Chara, the hulking defenseman who is 6'9" and weighs in at 255lbs managed to do 31 pull ups [Link]

  • Dane Byers who is at training camp attempting to earn a spot on the New York Rangers roster this season finished first out of all players at the Rangers camp running two miles in 11:32 according to Jim Cerny.

  • At the St. Louis Blues camp "Erik Johnson maxed out at 300 pounds on the bench press which is the maximum allowed and Cam Janssen maxed out at 280 pounds." [Link]

  • Rod Brind'Amour and Chris Chelios [who both retired this summer] were fitness freaks. Chris

    Rod "The Bod"
    Chelios' workout was posted on, it didn't seem that out of the ordinary. But, what is out of the ordinary is what the 46 year old Chelios did AFTER his workout in the gym. According to the SIarticle, "Chelios's training days don't end when he returns to his beachfront Malibu home. He'll often take 40-mile bike rides along the Pacific Coast Highway, then spend the afternoon paddle-surfing for as much as 16 miles in the Pacific."

    Brind'Amour [featured in video below] always had a reputation in the NHL as being a guy that worked as hard as any professional athlete. There were stories even before he made the NHL that while he was in college the trainers had to lock the gym at night to keep Brind'Amour out of it.

      Have you heard any interesting NHL fitness stats/stories that impressed you? Doesn't have to be from this year. Would love to have some links if possible, for years I've heard rumors that Martin Lapointe bench pressed 450lbs regularly, but never saw it posted on a legit site. Send me an e-mail or drop a comment below.

      Update:   I got several e-mails already telling me that the bench press numbers above aren't impressive. I am aware that 300lbs is not an uncommon bench press, but it's not common to see player's actual weight room numbers, so that's why I think the numbers that I posted for Janssen and Johnson are interesting.

      After the jump I will post the best videos & stats that I get sent

      Tuesday, September 21, 2010

      Marc Savard Could Miss 2010-11 Season

      Statement from the Bruins:
      As I stated on Friday, Marc Savard is suffering from symptoms related to post-concussion syndrome. He is under the care of our doctors. Any reports that suggest that there are any other issues regarding Marc, or him not playing for the Bruins this season, are completely inaccurate.
      Thanks to PuckCentral reader Tommy B for sending over the statement 

      Update: Bob McKenzie says that the rumor is premature and that the Bruins will be issuing a statement denying that Savard is out for the year.

      ESPN is reporting
      Boston Bruins forward Marc Savard could miss the entire 2010-2011 season with post-concussion syndrome, according to a team source. The source stressed that there are many unknowns at this point.

      "It's not a good situation," the source said. "It's complex. Not sure how this will play out."
      This is the same Marc Savard that many NYR fans wanted Glen Sather to trade for this summer. Hopefully Savard recovers from this but I'm certainly thankful that the trade wasn't made.

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      Steve Valiquette Shows His Face

      Maybe I was the only one that didn't know that Steve Valiquette had signed to play in KHL way back in May. But, if not, then here's your update on Steve Valiquette.

      According to Laurie Carr from Beyond the Blueshirts, Valiquette is playing for CSKA of the KHL and "earned 2nd consecutive shutout in 4-0 CSKA win vs Avtomobilist."

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      Awesome Custom Table Hockey Game

      I wish I had the skills to make one of these for myself, this is a piece of art! Of course, the team logos would be different. This obviously required a great deal of planning, skill and time. It was made a few years ago but I just saw it posted over at the HFBoards and figured some others would like to see this.

      I can't post a photo directly to the blog because it's copyright protected and the owner of the photos has them posted on Flickr with no way to copy the images legally without buying the copyright. I like the table, but not that much :)

      Click Here to see lots more photos of the table before, during and after the finished product

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      NHL Network Pre-Season Schedule

      The NHL has released the schedule for all 35 pre-season games that will be shown on the NHL Network.

      The pre-season will kick off tonight on the NHL Network with three games in a row.

      Video: NHL Rule Changes Explained

      H/T Kuklas Korner for the video
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      Monday, September 20, 2010

      Drury Breaks Finger, Will Miss 4 Weeks

      According to the NYR official Twitter feed
      NYR captain Chris Drury broke a finger in this morning's scrimmage and will miss 4 weeks of action
      Four weeks isn't bad, but it means that Drury will miss the rest of pre-season and at least the first week or two of the regular season. How will that affect his play when he is ready to return to the lineup? It certainly gives the players competing for the forward roles on the roster a better shot of showcasing themselves in Drury's absence.

      Drury who had an abysmal season last year was hoping for things to break his way this season. Unfortunately, this wasn't the type of break either he or the Rangers were hoping for.

      Breaking Down Camp

      Training camp is basically a week-long tryout for the enormous 62 man roster that has been skating at the Rangers Training Facility. It ranges from very young kids, to veteran players, all striving to make an NHL squad with only 23 players on the roster.

      The biggest news IMO to come out of the first few days, is the strength and conditioning levels of certain players (and lack thereof) and the play of prospect Derek Stepan. It is expected of some players like Callahan, Dubinsky and Avery, all great skaters, to excel in the conditioning sprints. But Marc Staal and Wade Redden not excelling? Well, all that means is that these guys were NOT prepared for Camp Tortorella. In the coaches and GM's eyes, they want "Every player to be hungry, to win every game and to come out with a vengeance". I can't see Wade Redden playing hungry, going into the boards full throttle, doing anything he can for the team to win, can you?

      After Glen Sather's remarks yesterday with the media, he hinted that he may still have a few tricks up his sleeve with dealing/receiving players; also that a player's salary does not equal a spot on the team. Let's hope he was directly referring to Wade Redden, as at this point, with the Rangers over the summer cap by $4.1 million, they must either send players to another squad or demote them down to the Hartford Wolf Pack (soon to be Connecticut Whale).

      As much as I liked the acquisition of veteran center Todd White, I'd rather give Stepan the nod to play center this season. Let's throw him into the fire and see what he can do. If he dissappears the first 9 games of the season, then we can bring White back in and let Stepan chill on Hartford ice for awhile. No harm, no foul and no strings attached.

      During the last scrimmage, Frolov- Stepan - Gaborik clicked instantaneously, accounting for 4 goals between them. At today's scrimmage, the line of Frolov- Christensen - Gaborik were completely shutout, along with the rest of the "Red" squad, in a 2 - 0 loss. It could be just a fluke, but Stepan clearly clicked with the teams top two offensive threats, and Christensen did not. I'm pulling for Stepan to make the team this year, but where does he go? With all of these potential centers in the way, (Christensen, Prospal, Drury, Anisimov, White, Kennedy), its tough to place him. But let's play with the lineup card for a second and see what we can come up with:

      Frolov - Stepan - Gaborik
      Dubinsky - Prospal - Avery
      Drury - Christensen - Callahan
      Boogaard - Anisimov - Prust

      First call ups: Kennedy, Fedotenko, White


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      Hartford Wolf Pack To Be Renamed Connecticut Whale

      Update 9/20/10: An announcement is expected today according to However, there is a slight change to the original story that was reported over the summer. Originally it was believed that the team was going to be renamed the Connecticut Whalers, apparently it will now be changed to the Connecticut Whale. Strangely the team will start the season as the Hartford Wolf Pack and then change the official name during the season.
      The name, a new logo and uniforms are expected to be in place by Feb. 19, when the Whale face the Providence Bruins.

      Thanks to The NYR Blog for the link & @MotherPucker for the image above

      Video: Some Fighting In Traverse City Part 2

      Another fight video found at the Hockey-Fights boards

      Saturday, September 18, 2010

      Losing Weight For Camp Torturella!

      Jim Cerny, writer for the Rangers website, is providing top notch coverage of the Rangers training camp so far. According to Cerny both Ruslan Fedotenko (at camp on a tryout) and Derek Boogaard have lost substantial weight prior to taking part in training camp.
      Derek Boogaard reports that he has lost about 25 pounds heading into this season, putting his weight at 265 pounds, the same weight from his first several years in the NHL as a member of the Minnesota Wild.

      Boogaard said that the Rangers asked him to play at a lighter weight then he had been at last season because of the up-tempo style of game Tortorella favors.
      I knew The Boogey Man was big, but I never realized that he was playing at 290lbs!
      Another veteran newcomer who has shed some weight (15lbs according to Steve Zipay) is winger Ruslan Fedotenko, who is in camp on a tryout basis. However no one asked Fedotenko to lose any weight. He decided to do it on his own during this past off-season.
      Fedotenko played for John Tortorella before when he was in Tampa, so he knows what a Tortorella training camp is all about. He knew that in order to have any chance of getting a contract offered to him by Sather that he'd have to impress in training camp. Showing up in excellent shape can only help his cause.

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      Friday, September 17, 2010

      Picture: MSG Center Ice 85th Anniversary Logo

      Thanks to TrueBlueJoe89 of the HFBoards
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      Meet Mark Messier, Mario Lemieux, Brian Leetch, Adam Graves & Gordie Howe @ Iona College

      Update: This was posted last month, I'm re-posting now to remind anyone that was interested. Also, to update you that Mike Richter is a late replacement for Ed Giacomin who won't be able to attend.


      NEW ROCHELLE, NY – It will be like a summit meeting of the Hockey Hall of Fame when Rangers’ Stanley Cup hero Mark Messier, two-time Penguins Stanley Cup champion Mario Lemieux and “Mr. Hockey” Gordie Howe are among the ice icons convening at Iona College on Saturday, September 25, for Steinerfest IV.  

      Steiner Sports ( will present its fourth fanfest, which has grown in popularity with hockey zealots.  

      In all, 14 stars of the ice will be on hand to meet fans Iona’s Mulcahy Gym, beginning at 10:00 AM through 5 PM. Joining Messier, Lemieux and Howe, an elite trio which has amassed a staggering 6,199 total career points, will be fellow-Hall of Famers Brian Leetch, Brett Hull, Paul Coffey, Andy Bathgate, Harry Howell and Scotty Bowman, as well as past standouts Adam Graves, Ron Greschner, Jeremy Roenick, Chris Chelios and Mike Keenan.

      Admission is $10, and $5 for children 12 and under. Fans will be able to purchase player autographs, win raffle prizes, participate in silent auctions, take pictures and more. Tickets can be purchased at the Steiner Sports Store and at Last Licks locations. For more information contact Steiner Sports at 914.301.1000 or

      Mulcahy Gym is located at 715 North Avenue in New Rochelle, NY 10801.
      Had this press release e-mailed to me and thought some of you might be interested 

      Click here for information about how much each player charges per autograph

      Rangers Training Camp Opens Today!

      Rangers training camp opens today, a sign that we are edging closer and closer the start of the NHL regular season. The good news is, with camps opening around the NHL this weekend, there will be much more hockey news. For the Rangers, the main focus will immediately be on deciding which forwards will make the cut, whether Wade Redden is sent to Hartford and who is going to start the season on the Rangers blue line.

      The Rangers training camp roster was released earlier this week with additions being added yesterday. There will be six goalies in camp, although it's certain (barring injury) that Henrik Lundqvist is the #1 goalie and Martin Biron will serve as his backup. 21 defensemen have been brought into camp seeking the 6-7 spots that are available; Staal, Girardi, Del Zotto and Rozsival are locks to be in the top six, outside of that it will be a battle for the final few positions. On top of this there are 34 forwards in which it looks like there are ten different players who could realistically have a shot at one of the final roster positions.

      Since I'm not a beat writer I don't have access to training camp. I'm as much in the know on what's going on as you are. If there is any big news I will try and get it posted here as soon as possible. In the mean time I suggest that if you are on Twitter you follow the guys below to keep you updated with what's going on at camp because they will be there watching as it unfolds.

      @thenyrangers adding this late because I now see this is probably most detailed feed so far
      @JimCerny who is the beat writer for the NYR website and will certainly have many updates
      @AGrossRecord lots of Twitter information & blog posts will be available throughout camp
      @SteveZipay will have information via Twitter, beat writer for Newsday
      @NYDNRangers  is the newest addition to the Rangers beat, working for the Daily News
      @NYP_Brooksie may or may not be at all of camp but he'll have some analysis regardless
      @jaygeemsg  will be there conducting interviews for the MSG Network, he may have some Twitter
       @HFNYRangers Hockey's Future being represented & they've had updates so far

      And as usual you can follow me @PuckCentral and the new member the Puck Central team @JordanSchoem

      Hockey's Future has released their latest NYR Prospect rankings. According to their rankings, Kreider, Grachev, Stepan, Zuccarello-Aasen, McDonagh and McIlrath round out the top six prospects in the system.

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      Thursday, September 16, 2010

      Exclusive Interview With Dancin' Larry

      If you've ever been to a Rangers game at MSG then you have no doubt seen Dancin' Larry in action. He's the bald guy up in Section 407 that dances when "Strike It Up" gets played at all Rangers games. Over the years he's become as much part of the experience of being at a Rangers game as the "Potvin Sucks" chant.

      I reached out to Larry asking him if he'd answer a few questions for Puck Central via e-mail and he was kind enough to do so.

      Larry, how long have you been a Rangers fan?

      Rangers fan since 1982.

      How long have you been a Rangers season ticket holder? Have you always sat in the same section? How many games do you attend on average per season?

      Season ticket holder since 1988 and I have only missed 5 games in that time. Last home game I missed was back in April of 2002.

      When did you start doing the "Dancin Larry" routine? Did it become a regular thing every game or was it sporadic? Did you coin the nickname yourself or did someone else pass that onto you?

      I started the dance during a game back in 96 and Sam Rosen called me Dancin' Larry on one of the broadcasts.

      I know you aren't affiliated with or paid by the New York Rangers in any way. But, have they ever reached out to you?

      The Rangers ask me to come to certain season subscriber events.

      Is there ever a time you regretted dancing at Rangers games but felt that now that you've done it for so long you have to continue?

      I never regretted dancing and I must always continue because the fans depend on me.

      You were on cable television one time to do the weather report, any other cool things you've got to do because of your "fame"?

      Besides doing the weather for Channel 11, I was in two books; A Day in the Life of the NHL and New York Characters.

      Who is your favorite current Ranger? Favorite Ranger of all-time?

      I have so many favorite Rangers...Some are Mark Messier, Adam Graves, Mike Richter, Brian Leetch, Esa Tikkanen, Nick Fotiu, John Vanbiesbrouck, John Davidson and of course some of the current Rangers...Henrik Lundqvist, Sean Avery, Ryan Callahan, Marc Staal and Marian Gaborik.

      Do people at your job know what you do in your free time?

      Everyone at work knows my alter ego lol.

      Anything that I missed that you'd like to point out to our readers?

      All I ask for is to dance for the Stanley Cup one day!

      Amen to that Larry!