When: Sunday, October 2, 11:00 a.m.
Opponent: @ HC Slovan Bratislava
With just two preseason games remaining, the Rangers’ roster
is pretty well set. The drama surrounding
position battles is largely over and now it’s about fine-tuning for the regular
For the remaining two preseason games more attention will be
paid to details like the communication of the defense, developing chemistry, execution of the system
and special teams.
The Rangers have been deploying a five-forward power play
recently and plan to this season, but so far the big guns haven’t had a whole
lot of work in game action. Tomorrow’s
game against HC Slovan Bratislava will be an opportunity for the new Brad
Richards-led unit to find a rhythm before it really starts to count.
The defense must also gel quickly with the status of Mike
Sauer and Marc Staal very much in question. The coaching staff is surely reluctant to break up long-standing pairs Staal/Dan
Girardi and Sauer/Ryan McDonagh, but they might not have a choice. Some of the defenders that may be forced into
duty to start the year haven’t spent a whole lot of time together on the
blueline, but they’ll have to adapt quickly and learn how to play with one
another to hold down the fort until New York is back at full strength.
Though the time for talent evaluation and roster tinkering has
generally passed and the Rangers now feature a team that closely resembles the
one that will take the ice for the season opener on Friday against the Los
Angeles Kings, there are still a couple of roster decisions to be made. The remaining battles are between Erik
Christensen and Sean Avery for
the 13th forward job and Brendan Bell and Stu Bickel on
Michael Del Zotto appears to have won the sixth-defenseman spot,
but both Bell and Bickel could stick around depending on the status of Staal
and Sauer and at least one will remain with the team as the seventh-defenseman.
Bell and Bickel both figure to be in the
lineup tomorrow as the coaching staff tries to determine who is best suited to
start the year with the Blueshirts.
The only uncertainty of line combinations is the left wing
situation on the third- and fourth-lines. The top two lines of Wojtek Wolski/Brad Richards/Marian Gaborik and
Brandon Dubinsky/Artem Anisimov/Ryan Callahan appear written in stone, so the
only question up top is whether Ruslan Fedotenko will remain with Brian Boyle
and Brandon Prust, or if Mike Rupp will take that spot while Fedotenko moves to
play with Derek Stepan and Mats Zuccarello.
The season is nearly upon us and for the most part,
individuals are no longer being examined. Now the play of this team as a whole is what matters.
For more from training camp:
Camp Roster And 6 Battles To Watch >
Camp Opens With "The Test" >
Injury Overshadows Encouraging First Scrimmage >
Lines Provide Strong Clues To John Tortorella's Thinking >
Condition Growing Worrisome: Is A Veteran Defenseman Acquisition Coming? >
Contact Paul Mara's Agent As Concern Over Staal Grows >
Game #1 Preview: This Team Isn't Messing Around >
21 Training Camp Quick Hits >
Fall 2-1 In Underwhelming Preseason Opener > (9/21/11)
Weise May Be Ready, But Is There Room For Him? >
Lines May Reveal Where Everyone Currently Stands > (9/22/11)
Game #2 Preview: Debut Of The Big Guns > (9/23/11)
Outlast Devils 4-3 As Offense Gets Warmed Up > (9/24/11)
Announce First Round Of Cuts > (9/24/11)
Fret If Youngsters Don't Make The Team > (9/25/11)
Game #3 Preview: Leaving On A Jet Plane > (9/26/11)
And Avery Hurt In Loss To Flyers > (9/26/11)
Game #4 Preview: Back In Action Overseas > (9/28/11)
To The AHL Makes Sense > (9/29/11)
Game #5 Preview: Return Of The King > (9/29/11)
Saves Rangers In Return To Gothenburg > (9/30/11)
Cut 8: What It Means > (10/1/11)
Preseason Game #6 Preview: Evaluation Period Over; Now It’s
In The Details > (10/1/11)
here for our full Summer 2011 Archive >
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