Monday, September 20, 2010

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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