Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The Little-Champs and Only the Beginning

Our determined team of 22 little-Rangers prospects left Traverse City, Mich., last night with a well-deserved championship in the annual Traverse City Prospects Tournament. One year after finishing fourth in their first trip to this event, the Blueshirts were unstoppable, winning four straight games, including a 5-1 win over defending champ Columbus on Tuesday night.

NY Rangers activities began today with Tom Renney talking to reporters about the prospects and training camp which begins tomorrow
(press here for a good recap, Blueshirt Bulletin) -- it will be interesting over the next couple of weeks to see who 'makes-the-cut' and who gets sent to Hartford. Sam Weinman of Rangers Report makes a supporting observation that Darius Kasparaitus is looking fit and fancy (press here), which will bring a little $3 million salary cap dilemma if he impresses the coaching staff, questions of whether Marc Staal will be brought up from the minors as part of our much-needed defensive lines, and questions still abound as to what lines Chris Drury and Scotty Gomez will fit into. Apparently, our Boy-Jagr-Wonder is coming off a summer looking fit and ready to play.

The Rangers of the last two seasons, through the impressive coaching of Tom Renney, have been a team built around it's superstar - Jagr (a European style of system). What will be fun to observe in the first half of the season is whether the team remains a Jagr-centric level of perimeter play, with the roster now having more North American-style players on the team willing to throw themselves into the net. The Dark Ranger thinks the latter.

In regards to the roster at the moment, Steve Zipay On The Rangers Beat (press here), shares the roster of today -- this will change day to day.
Goalies---(6)---Lundqvist, Valiquette, Montoya, Wiikman, Zaba and Holt.
Defensemen---(18)---Rozsival, Malik, Mara, Tyutin, Girardi, Kasparaitis, Pock, Strudwick, Staal, Sauer, Sanguinetti, Hutchinson, Baranka, Busto, Liffiton, Taylor, Potter and Clayton Barthel, a 21-year old free agent who made camp off a surprising Traverse City showing, said coach Tom Renney.
Wingers---(18)--- Jagr, Shanahan, Avery, Straka, Prucha, Callahan, Hossa, Hollweg, Orr, Dawes, Dupont, Bourret, Korpikoski, Jessiman, Byers, Moore, Lessard and Fritz.
Centers---(9)----Drury, Gomez, Betts, Dubinsky, Anisimov, Pyatt, Barnes, Graham, and Owens.


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