If you thought there wouldn’t be much going on at the end of August in Rangerstown, you’d be wrong. With a few short weeks until the beginning of training camp, things are starting to pick up. And I’m happier than Eddie Money running a travel agency.
Let’s get into it:
1. Let the informal practices begin!!!!!
2. While there’s obviously been some action on the ice, there’s also been some off it, as prized free agent center & former Devils draft pick Alex Kerfoot dissed the Rangers in order to sign with the lowly Avalanche.
Wait, the Rangers not signing a Boston area college unrestricted free agent?
Looks like Kevin Hayes did as good of a job convincing his Beantown brethren to sign with the Blueshirts as he does backchecking.
3. One free agent who will be in Rangers training camp is agitator Bobby Farnham, who was extended a professional tryout. The 5′ 10″ former Devil has more fights (11) than goals (8) in his 67 NHL games played. That’s a Grade “A” troll job by the Rangers organization on the fancy stat crowd who are still celebrating their freedom from Tanner Glass.
4. Speaking of our old friend Tanner, he was offered a professional tryout with the Calgary Flames. The Flames fan base seems to be taking the move in stride.
Brandon Pirri was offered a tryout by the Florida Panthers, but I just assume no one cares.
5. In other signing news, there are mixed reports (here & here) that the Rangers are interested in pursuing 36-year-old Russian forward Danis Zaripov who was suspended two years by the KHL for doping. When asked about testing positive for banned substances, Zaripov stated “I’m shocked.” Yeah, you know who else was “shocked” when he tested positive for a banned substance…
Zaripov has recorded 121 goals and 135 assists for 256 points in 436 KHL games.
6. According to The Athletic (via Pro Hockey Rumors), there have been “no substantive discussions” between the Rangers and Rick Nash on a contract extension. I’d say the Rangers should force the aging Nash to prove his worth before offering a new deal, but the last thing we need is him playing while under pressure…
7. It’s good to see an outdoor hockey game being utilized to raise money for those in need instead of as a money grab for the NHL:
8. The Summer Classic isn’t the only extra curricular game Lundqvist is hoping to play in next year (via TV2)…
“For ice hockey, it’s definitely best if we are going to the Olympics, because it will mean a lot when it comes to marketing in a part of the world that I think is open to a new sport. Ice hockey is small in Asia, but now we have an opportunity to send the best players in the world and promote the sport. I think we will earn it in the long run.”
While the NHL has stated it won’t allow its players to participate in the 2018 Winter Olympics, Lundqvist feels there will be additional discussions this fall.
For me, while injury is always a concern, the spectacle of the best hockey talent from around the globe playing for their home country is just too good for the NHL to pass up.
9. Wait, he can make saves…
AND handle the puck?!?!?!
10. So how’s 21st overall pick Filip Chytil doing at the U20 Four Nations Tournament?
Here’s his lone goal of the tournament:
11. While Chytil is currently listed on the roster for the North Bay Battalion of the OHL, his plans for the season are still up in the air according to Battalion head coach Stan Butler (via Bay Today)…
“I think we will have a better indication on him by October 1st once he has played some games with the Rangers. I think you have to realize it is a little different situation when you are a first round NHL pick, those kids, their focus right now is to try to make the NHL at 18, it’s not their junior team or wherever else they want to play. I feel pretty good if it does not work out in New York that we will be a very viable option.”
If Chytil, who will be on the Blueshirts Traverse City Prospects Tournament team in two weeks, doesn’t make the Rangers out of camp, his options are to play in the AHL, go back to play professionally in the Czech Republic or possibly join the Battalion.
12. With all the fanfare surrounding Chytil, it’s easy to forget the Rangers have another first round pick playing in Europe as Lias Andersson finally participated in his first game for Frolunda of the Swedish Elite League…
While Chytil might be getting all the accolades now, Andersson could end up being the key to a successful 2017-18 season for the Rangers.
13. Meanwhile, it looks like the Rangers might have the next Sean Avery in their system as Dominik Lakatoš (6th – 2017) has been featuring scoring ability and an edge to his game this early season…
14. In the better late than never category, the Rangers have announced that they will finally be retiring Jean Ratelle’s #19 prior to the team’s game against the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday, February 25.
Looks like it’s back to #91 for Jesper Fast.
I was at the Harry Howell/Andy Bathgate retirement ceremony back in 2009 and it was, in a word, embarrassing. Unlike the raucous affairs for Messier, Leetch, Graves and Richter, it took place in front of a half empty MSG with half-hearted applause and little to no emotion in the building. While I don’t blame the current fan base, many of whom never witnessed these all time greats in person, I do blame the Rangers organization for waiting so long to bestow this sacred honor on layup recipients. If the ceremonies for Howell, Bathgate and now Ratelle rightfully took place in the early 90s, they would have received the fan recognition and admiration they deserved. Instead, these Hall of Famers were/are reduced to watching their jerseys raised to the rafters in virtual anonymity.
15. Two defensemen in the Top 20? I can get used to this.
And with the way things are going, we might see Brady Skjei on that list before we know it.
16. Who says McDonagh isn’t a vocal leader?
17. Hockey players – They’re just like us.
They play video games.
18. They go to the U.S. Open
19. New Hartford Wolf Pack GM Chris Drury is trying to build a winner with the Rangers struggling AHL affiliate (via Hartford Courant)…
“First and foremost, it’s a development league,” Drury said, “but at the same time, you try to balance wins and losses. With the AHL, I’m a big believer in our guys to play in meaningful games. We’re certainly going to set the bar high.
“Part of getting to the next level is not only becoming the best player you can be individually, but also learning how to win, be a great teammate and develop leadership skills.”
Not sure there’s a better person to rejuvenate the Wolf Pack than a guy who has been a winner his entire life.
20. My tweet of the week: