Archive for Preseason

brady skjei

Skjei (Photo: Blueshirts United)

Per Pat Leonard, the Rangers practiced with the below lines in anticipation of tonight’s preseason opener against the Devils.

Chris Kreider-Derek Stepan-Viktor Stalberg
Tanner Glass-Dominic Moore-Marek Hrivik
Ryan Bourque-Oscar Lindberg-Jesper Fast
Brian Gibbons-Jayson Megna-Luke Adam

Keith Yandle-Dylan McIlrath
Brady Skjei-Dan Boyle
Chris Summers-Raphael Diaz

I’m intrigued by this Yandle-McIlrath pairing. When I saw the roster for tonight’s game, I thought that could be an interesting pairing, if it happened. Also very excited to see how Skjei does with Boyle. Both excel greatly at moving the puck.

At forward, that third line of Bourque-Lindberg-Fast should be fun to watch. All three are solid skaters, and could eat up inferior competition.

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Roster for tonight’s preseason opener

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The Rangers released their roster for tonight’s preseason opener against the Devils.

Brian Gibbons, Tanner Glass, Luke Adam, Jesper Fast, Chris Kreider, Derek Stepan, Jayson Megna, Oscar Lindberg, Viktor Stalberg, Dominic Moore, Ryan Bourque, Marek Hrivik

Dylan McIlrath, Dan Boyle, Raphael Diaz, Chris Summers, Brady Skjei, Keith Yandle

Antti Raanta, Magnus Hellberg

Lines and pairings haven’t been disclosed, but we can infer some combos from the last two days of camp.

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dylan mcilrath oscar lindberg

Big chance for McIlrath, paired with McDonagh

The second day of training camp is underway, and Alain Vigneault has divided the team into three groups. Each group will partake in their own set of drills, but the construction of each group and line combinations gives us a glimpse into AV’s thought process.

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Notes from the first day of training camp

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Vigneault loves messing with everyone at this time of the year.

Vigneault loves messing with everyone at this time of the year.

Today was the first day of training camp for the New York Rangers, and all players –except for those being held out— participated in conditioning drills. Here are some notes from camp, from the various beat writers:

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Rangers training camp schedule

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Training camp has officially arrived. The Rangers took their physicals yesterday, and Alain Vigneault spoke rather candidly about some players and the team, stating that failure is not an option this year. The players hit the ice this morning, and below is the full training camp schedule.

Fri., September 18
On-Ice Testing: 9:00 a.m.; 11:30 a.m.;2:00 p.m.; 4:30 p.m.

Sat., September 19
Group 1 Practice: 10:00 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.
Group 2 Practice: 12:15 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Group 3 Practice: 2:15 p.m. – 3:15 p.m.

Sun., September 20
Group 2 Practice: 10:00 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.
Group 1 Practice: 12:15 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Group 3 Practice: 2:15 p.m. – 3:15 p.m.

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viktor stalberg

Stalberg (Photo:

As training camp is set to open this week, all eyes will turn to the roster and which kids could potentially steal a roster spot. The biggest battle will be for the last two roster spots, in which the Rangers realistically have four players competing for those spots. But beyond those that make the roster, there are spots to be won up and down the lineup from those expected to make the club. We’ve seen the discussion here, as folks are penciling in their lines already.

Let’s assume, for the time being, that Alain Vigneault isn’t going to make any changes to his top-six. The lines of Rick Nash-Derick Brassard-Mats Zuccarello and Chris Kreider-Derek Stepan-J.T. Miller performed very well in the short period they were together, and there’s no reason to break up those lines. All six are very talented, and they seemed to have chemistry together.

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rangers blackhawks 2015

It’s almost Lindberg time.

August is at an end, and with September beginning tomorrow, we enter a month where there will be hockey on television. The Traverse City Tournament will be held from September 11-15 in Detroit, and the training camp will open almost immediately after. It is so nice to know we are two weeks away from hockey.

With that we can start looking ahead to the only two battles in camp, those for the 12F and 13F spots on the roster. This assumes that Viktor Stalberg makes the lineup as this year’s Benoit Pouliot/Lee Stempniak, though.

There are the incumbents, there are favorites, there are dark horses, and there are wild cards alike. So let’s break them down.

The Incumbent

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Rangers pre-season schedule

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For those of you that missed it, the Rangers announced their preseason schedule this week. If you’re into meaningless hockey games, played at a half pace, in half empty arenas you’ll be excited. If you get turned on by watching prospects duke it out for a roster spot you’ll be excited. Or, if you’re just glad that hockey is back on the ice, you’ll be delighted.

The Rangers play a pair of games against the Devils, with the Devils visiting the Garden on September 21st, and the Rangers in Jersey on the 26th.  The Rangers also play two games against the always pleasant Flyers (22nd and 28th September) and take on the Bruins twice as well (Sept. 24th and 30th).

Expect the regular season schedule next week. Which means I have plenty of advanced notice to schedule my next New York trip…

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McIlrath, Hrivik, Lindberg, Haggerty cut

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Per Andrew Gross, Dylan McIlrath, Marek Hrivik, Ryan Haggerty, and Oscar Lindberg did not survive training camp, and have been assigned to the Hartford Wolf Pack. All of them had strong camps, but it became a numbers game after a while. All four will get big minutes in Hartford instead of sitting in the press box with the Rangers. It’s also very nice to have injury reserves ready for duty.

There will be more cuts coming as well, but Jesper Fast, Kevin Hayes, Anthony Duclair, and Chris Mueller have all made the roster.

Update 11:25: Here are the lines from practice, courtesy of Gross:

Carl Hagelin-Derick Brassard-Mats Zuccarello
Chris Kreider-Martin St. Louis-Rick Nash
Anthony Duclair-J.T. Miller-Lee Stempniak
Tanner Glass-Dominic Moore-Jesper Fast

Update 12:20pm: Chris Mueller has been placed on waivers. Looks like he didn’t make the team after all.

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Preseason Game 6: Rangers at Devils

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Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Tonight is the preseason finale for the Rangers in New Jersey, as the Rangers take on the Devils. There are still a lot of tough roster decisions to be made, as the team will be trimmed to 22 players on Monday. Kevin Hayes, who was supposed to play tonight, is being replaced in the lineup by J.T. Miller. Hayes is out due to a tweaked shoulder.

In case you need a refresher (click here for all systems posts), Alain Vigneaulthas his guys playing a moderate 1-2-2 forecheck and a strong-side overload in the DZ (man-on-man when the puck is below the goal line). With a lead, AV will back the 1-2-2 forecheck up to the neutral zone, forcing turnovers while keeping five bodies back for defense. As for special teams, the Rangers run a 1-3-1/umbrella hybrid powerplay and a hybrid (diamond/wedge+1) penalty kill).

As for the Devils, Pete DeBoer has the Devils playing a 1-2-2 forecheck which they’ll use aggressively in the offensive zone or passively in the neutral zone as a trap depending on game situation. In the defensive zone, Deboer employs a hybrid overload/zone defensive system depending on whether the puck is along the boards or at mid-ice. On special teams, the Devils employ an umbrella/1-3-1 power playOn the penalty kill, the Devs rotate between a box and a diamond depending on puck location and the setup of the opposition.

Rangers lineup:

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