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The Final Tune-Up

Will Mike Sauer return to the lineup on Monday?

Will Mike Sauer return to the lineup on Monday?

When: Monday, October 3, 2:00 p.m.

Opponent:  EV Zug


UPDATE: Sean Avery, Wojtek Wolski and Mike Sauer will be scratched today.  Marty Biron will be in net. (12:40 p.m.)

EARLIER: The Rangers seemed caught off guard on Sunday when HC Slovan Bratislava came at them with NHL-level speed and physicality during the first period of the team’s second-to-last exhibition game.

New York’s early morning flight from Sweden surely didn’t help matters, but the Blueshirts will be in the same situation Monday when they fly into Switzerland to take on EV Zug of the National League A in the final tune-up before the regular season.

The biggest concern surrounding the organization right now is the health of three key players: top defenseman Marc Staal, second-pair stalwart Mike Sauer and first-line left wing Wojtek Wolski.  Staal probably won’t be ready for the start of the season, but both Sauer and Wolski are day-to-day and at least Sauer could play tomorrow.  The Rangers desperately need him to return to the lineup without missing a beat after suffering a shoulder injury last Monday against the Philadelphia Flyers.

Sauer’s potential return would be the big story of the game, but the Rangers will also continue to monitor the play of Brendan Bell and Stu Bickel, who could be forced into the lineup in Staal’s absence, and Sean Avery, who should get a final shot to impress the coaching staff after Erik Christensen played today.

Those will be the key personnel issues the Rangers will look to address in their final preseason action, but the team also has plenty of other problems to sort out.

The Blueshirts have taken far too many penalties lately, which they won’t get away with against the high-powered offenses of the Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks this weekend.  New York also must tighten up its own zone play, find a rhythm on the power play and generate some confidence heading into the season. 

The Rangers have gotten by with some subpar play because they’ve faced less-talented opponents and because the additional space provided by the bigger European rinks has given the team more time and room to operate. 

EV Zug features ex-NHLers Josh Holden, Glen Metropolit and Jussi Markkanen but doesn’t have the same history of being a powerhouse as HC Slovan.  Still, the Rangers shouldn’t take their opponent lightly and should treat this game as a final opportunity to work out any kinks in advance of Friday’s opener.  New York won’t be able to use a difficult travel schedule as an excuse when the season begins, so they’d do well to take tomorrow’s game seriously and deliver a full 60-minute effort.


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)

Blueshirts Struggle Early But Score 4 Unanswered To Beat HC Slovan >(10/2/11)

Preseason Game #7 Preview: The Final Tune-Up > (10/2/11)


Click here for our full Summer 2011 Archive >

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Posted by Kevin Baumer | October 3, 2011 at 11:06 am

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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

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