How far will the Rangers get this season?

Evaluation Period Over; Now It's In The Details

Communication between Dan Girardi and his new defensive mates will be paramount

Communication between Dan Girardi and his new defensive mates will be paramount

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 season.

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 defense. 

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:

Training Camp Roster And 6 Battles To Watch >

Training Camp Opens With "The Test" >

Staal Injury Overshadows Encouraging First Scrimmage >

Scrimmage Lines Provide Strong Clues To John Tortorella's Thinking >

Staal's Condition Growing Worrisome: Is A Veteran Defenseman Acquisition Coming? >

Rangers Contact Paul Mara's Agent As Concern Over Staal Grows >

Preseason Game #1 Preview: This Team Isn't Messing Around >

September 21 Training Camp Quick Hits >

Rangers Fall 2-1 In Underwhelming Preseason Opener > (9/21/11)

Dale Weise May Be Ready, But Is There Room For Him? >

Practice Lines May Reveal Where Everyone Currently Stands > (9/22/11)

Preseason Game #2 Preview: Debut Of The Big Guns > (9/23/11)

Rangers Outlast Devils 4-3 As Offense Gets Warmed Up > (9/24/11)

Rangers Announce First Round Of Cuts > (9/24/11)

Don't Fret If Youngsters Don't Make The Team > (9/25/11)  

Preseason Game #3 Preview: Leaving On A Jet Plane > (9/26/11)

Sauer And Avery Hurt In Loss To Flyers > (9/26/11)

Preseason Game #4 Preview: Back In Action Overseas > (9/28/11)

Avery To The AHL Makes Sense > (9/29/11)

Preseason Game #5 Preview: Return Of The King > (9/29/11)

Lundqvist Saves Rangers In Return To Gothenburg > (9/30/11)

Rangers Cut 8: What It Means > (10/1/11)

Preseason Game #6 Preview: Evaluation Period Over; Now It’s In The Details > (10/1/11)


Click here for our full Summer 2011 Archive >

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Posted by Kevin Baumer | October 1, 2011 at 06:05 pm

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New York Rangers VS Chicago Blackhawks
Wednesday, October 7, 2015

  1 2 3 OT F
Rangers 3 0 0 - 3
Blackhawks 1 1 0 - 2

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