The New York Rangers are prepared to “Embrace the Grind”

On the night before the start 2020-21 season, New York Rangers President John Davidson, GM Jeff Gorton, and Head Coach David Quinn held a virtual town hall to talk about their expectations for the upcoming season.

Among the many topics discussed, much was talked about the many difficulties that the Blueshirts face in this very different kind of season.

Unfortunately, one of the biggest tasks that the Rangers and the NHL will face is dealing with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Davidson addressed that by discussing the many protocols and procedures that the NHL is requiring of teams this season.

Some of the procedures that the NHL have put in place include:

• Home teams must make their home rink or practice rink available to visiting teams. Visiting teams are not permitted to use rinks owned by third parties. Team practices will also not be open to the public.

• Players will be prohibited from carpooling to games, there will be no road trip roommates, and teams must secure an additional two hotel rooms on road trips in the event of a positive COVID-19 test.

• Players will also only be permitted to go to the rink and hotel on road trips. No other destinations, including bars, restaurants, clubs, etc., will be permitted.

• During the regular season, the NHL will announce the names of players that test positive, but will not do so during training camp when it will simply release league-wide numbers.

• Coaches must wear masks while on the bench.

In addition to the protocols, other procedures mandated by state or local governments need to be considered in the day to day operations of the team.

Davidson listed off many questions that the Rangers will have to deal with, including questions such as “How do we get the players who live in Westchester County to the Garden?” “What is the best way to get the team out to play the Islanders and the Devils?” Simple questions to answer in previous years but not so simple during a pandemic.

When it comes to these procedures and the necessity to follow them to make sure that the season runs as smoothly as possible, Davidson’s message to the team was “Don’t let your guard down because if everyone does their part, there is a good chance we finish the season.”

Head Coach David Quinn also addressed what the pandemic has meant to design practices for training camp and the preparation for the start of the season. Quinn talked about the coaches’ meetings and how there have been some things that they have not been able to implement yet. While he is concerned about this, he also mentioned that he feels that the Islanders are in the same situation.

“Our sport is so driven by hard work, especially now since you don’t have the chance to work on the structure and the things that you normally work on in a three-week training camp and six exhibition games,” Quinn said.

Another factor that the Blueshirt’s brass discussed was the 56 game season and the fact that they are going to face some very familiar foes eight times this season. Davidson was reminded that this was customary during the time in which he tended net in the NHL.

“The element of nastiness will come back” Davidson predicted, making a point of mentioning that in April, the Rangers will face their old friends, the New Jersey Devils, in four consecutive contests. “That breeds contempt.”

“Familiarity will bring some more intensity to each game,” Quinn also said of the different schedule. “When you see a team eight times in three-and-a-half months, you will probably see some chippiness.”

Davidson also talked about what he feels the Rangers will need to navigate through this unusual season.

“I think one of the main keys is going to be discipline,” Davidson stated. “not only playing as hard as you can and competing, but discipline can make a difference when you are playing in high energy, highly physical games.”

All of these challenges have led the players to adopt the motto “embrace the grind” as they try to navigate through the intricacies of a very unusual season.

The “grind” begins Thursday night in a season that many will “embrace the effort” as the Rangers face more than just who they play on any given night in order to finish a season faced with so many challenges.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New York Rangers announce training camp schedule

New York Rangers hockey is back! On Friday afternoon the club announced its 2020-2021 training camp schedule which will begin on Sunday, Jan.3 at their Tarrytown, NY facility.

Team President John Davidson and general manager Jeff Gorton will meet with the media via zoom conference on Saturday to discuss training camp along with their expectations for the upcoming season.

Training Camp Schedule

Players will be broken down into two groups throughout camp, which have yet to be announced.

Sunday, Jan. 3

All Day – Off-Ice Testing

Monday, Jan. 4

10:30 a.m. – Group A on-ice
11:30 a.m. – Scrimmage between Group A and Group B
12:30 p.m. – Group B on-ice

Tuesday, Jan. 5

10:30 a.m. – Group B on-ice
11:30 a.m. – Scrimmage between Group A and Group B
12:30 p.m. – Group A on-ice

Wednesday, Jan. 6

10:30 a.m. – Group A on-ice
12:30 p.m. – Group B on-ice

Thursday, Jan. 7

10:30 a.m. – Group B pre-game skate
11:45 a.m. – Group A pre-game skate
7:00 p.m. – Scrimmage between Group A and Group B

Saturday, Jan. 9

10:30 a.m. – Group B on-ice
11:30 a.m. – Scrimmage between Group A and Group B
12:30 p.m. – Group A on-ice

Sunday, Jan. 10

10:30 a.m. – Group A on-ice
11:30 a.m. – Scrimmage between Group A and Group B
12:30 p.m. – Group B on-ice

Monday, Jan. 11

10:30 a.m. – Group A pre-game skate
11:45 a.m. – Group B pre-game skate
7:00 p.m. – Scrimmage between Group A and Group B

Wednesday, Jan. 13

11:00 a.m. – full team practice

The team will have two off days Friday, Jan.8, and Tuesday, Jan. 12. There will not be any preseason games played prior to opening night on Jan. 14 at MSG.

Training Camp Roster

The Rangers announced the player invited to training camp on Thursday which can be found in this article by fellow ESM writer Jim Bay.

 

Former New York Rangers’ radio voice, NHL announcing legend, “Doc” Emrick retires

Mike “Doc” Emrick is leaving the broadcast booth after a play-by-play career that dates back to 1973, Emrick and NBC Sports announced in a shared statement Monday. In addition to his many duties calling NHL teams for a variety of teams and networks, Emrick called more than 100 New York Rangers games on WNBC/WFAN Radio from 1983-88.

Emrick also served as the New Jersey Devils first voice, arriving for the 1982–83 NHL season, and stayed there until 1986. In 1993, he returned to the Devils to replace Gary Thorne and continued to be the Devils’ voice until July 2011.  He announced the Devils’ 1995 Stanley Cup victory alongside color commentator and current Ranger’s president John Davidson for the national United States broadcast on Fox.

“I hope I can handle retirement OK, especially since I’ve never done it before,” Emrick told the New York Post. “But I’ve just been extremely lucky for 50 years. And NBC has been so good to me, especially since the pandemic when I was allowed to work from home in a studio NBC created.

“Now, into my golden years, this just seemed to be the time that was right.”

Emrick joined NBC Sports on a full-time basis in 2011, after serving as the television voice of the New Jersey Devils for the previous 18 seasons (21 overall), and is the lead play-by-play voice for NBC Sports’ NHL coverage. Emrick joined NBC Sports’ NHL coverage in the 2005-06 season, is currently in his 47th year covering professional hockey, including nearly 40 in the NHL, and has called more than 3,750 hockey games in his broadcast career.

Emrick has called some of the most important and most-watched games in the modern era of hockey, including:

-the most-watched NHL game on record (Game 7 of the 2019 Stanley Cup Final);
-the most-watched Stanley Cup Final on record (2013 Blackhawks-Bruins)
-the most-watched hockey game in the last 40 years (2010 Vancouver Olympics Men’s Gold Medal Final – the USA vs. Canada)
-the most-watched NHL regular-season game on record (2011 NHL Winter Classic)

On December 12, 2011, Emrick was one of five individuals, and the first-ever broadcaster, inducted into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame. Emrick has also won a record eight Emmy Awards for “Outstanding Sports Personality, Play-by-Play,” including an unprecedented seven consecutive Emmys in the category from 2014-2020 and seven New York region Emmy Awards for “on-camera achievement.

New York Rangers’ John Davidson says Alexis Lafreniere is the ‘complete package’ (Video)

Alexis Lafrenière

New York Rangers team president John Davidson spoke with MSG’s Steve Valiquette and John Giannone following the club’s selection of Alexis Lafreniere with the number one overall pick in Tuesday’s NHL Draft.

J.D.’s glowing smile represented how all Rangers fans felt the moment they heard general manager Jeff Gorton anounced the pick a few minutes after 7 p.m.

The president started the interview by stating the obvious, ” It only seems to just happen maybe once in a lifetime, you know, the good part for me and the great part of the wonderful part was when he put the jersey on, but he put that jersey on it just looked like it fit him, It was perfect.”

Davidson continued by talking about the kind of person Lafreniere is. The soon to be 19-year-old is a mature player for his age. A “no maintenance” guy who is already looking forward to working with the organization and set up a plan during the offseason with times being so vastly different as everyone tries to work through the Covid-19 pandemic.

The break down of Lafreniere by Davidson was as candid and truthful when whenever he talks about a player among the Rangers organization.

“We’re talking about a player that does everything really well.  A 200-foot player, and not full of what you call complete flash and dash, but really knows the way to get things done the right way very strong lower body’s good with leverage because of that very high IQs, as far as hockey goes very driven without question, and has when you have skill and power at the same time you’re and you’re going to be the 200 pounder, that’s a pretty good package. And then I see at his age for just the way he carries himself it’s a complete package. You know we just are going to do things the right way with them we’re going to develop him we’re going to work on all aspects of what you have to do to be a great Pro, our, our group is really excited about having the opportunity to work with him, and he’s very excited about being a New York Ranger.”

Lafreniere will have plenty of pressure on him when he joins the rest of his teammates in training camp. For now, the youngster will continue to work on his game and wait for the opportunity to visit New York when the time allows it to happen.

The first overall pick will have plenty of time to get to know New York City and the fans of the Blueshirts look forward to the opportunity to see the newest Ranger grow into the superstar he anticipates to become. The newest star on Broadway will take the stage when the NHL returns early next year.

Vitali Kravtsov to re-join the New York Rangers for camp

New York Rangers president John Davidson confirmed Tuesday that Vitali Kravtsov will be back with the team after being loaned to the KHL mid-season and returning to Harford in December. The 2018 first-round pick will be a part of the team’s training camp next month and compete once again for a role with the team.

“I think with Kravtsov, he’s going to come to our camp and we’ll see how it goes,” Davidson said. “We’re going to need some depth and skill as we march along here.”

In June of 2018, Kravtsov was drafted ninth overall by the New York Rangers in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft. He signed with the Blueshirts the following year on April 15, 2019.

Kravtsov made his debut with Hartford in the AHL to start the 2019-20 season. Registering 1 assist in 5 games, Kravtsov opted to continue his development back in Russia, securing a loan for the remainder of the season with former club, Traktor Chelyabinsk of the KHL. He rejoined the Wolf Pack in December of 2019 and ended with six goals and 15 points in 39 games with the team. He had two goals and three points in 11 games with Chelyabinsk Traktor.

Can Kravtsov help the New York Rangers?

The first thing that will indicate if he can help is to check how his psyche is after a frustrating season. Kravtsov sulked when he didn’t make the team in training camp, then left Hartford to return to Russia before coming back. His game did get better late in the season, and even if the Rangers don’t use him ahead of other forwards, it certainly would be good for his development if he came to camp to be around the coaches and teammates to see if he can regain confidence in the skills that the Rangers saw in him when they selected him ninth overall in 2018.

Kravtsov is no stranger to playoff-type hockey.  He represented Russia at the 2019 World Junior Championships and ended the tournament with 6 points in 7 games, helping Russia claim the bronze medal against the Swiss national team. Also, during the 2018 KHL playoffs, Kravtsov broke the KHL record for most points by an 18-year-old in the postseason.

The Rangers hope that Kravtsov could be part of expanded rosters when they take on the Carolina Hurricanes in the first round of the NHL playoffs in July.

 

 

 

 

Rangers’ Igor Shesterkin, Pavel Buchnevich arrive in New York

New York Rangers G Igor Shesterkin and forward Pavel Buchnevich arrived in New York last weekend and should be on the ice later this week.

New York Post’s Mollie Walker reported on Tuesday that the Rangers rookie goaltender returned from Florida as that state is dealing with a spike in COVID-19 cases. The Florida Department of Health revealed that the number of known coronavirus cases in the state rose by 3,289 since Monday morning. There were 64 more COVID-19 deaths in Florida since Monday’s update, bringing the total number for the state to at least 3,237.

Shesterkin had been practicing with Washington Capitals’ Alex Ovechkin, Colorado Avalanche defenseman Nikita Zadorov, Florida Panthers winger Evgenii Dadonov, and retired Rangers defenseman Darius Kasparaitis.

Shesterkin and Buchnevich will have to wait to hit the ice at the Rangers training facility in Tarrytown, NY until they are cleared to play after getting tested for COVID-19 under the NHL’s Return-to-Play protocol.

Newsday’s Colin Stephenson twitted on Monday that Alexandar Georgiev and Kaapo Kakko should be arriving from Finland on Friday. They both will have to be tested and cleared before they can partake in the voluntary workouts.

 

They will join Artemi Panarin, Chris Kreider, Brendan Smith, Brendan Lemieux, Marc Staal, Adam Fox, and Philip Di Giuseppe who have been practicing in small groups since Phase 2 of the NHL’s RTP protocol began on June. 8

Training Camp Rosters

It is believed that when training camp begins on July 10 Vitali Kravtsov will get an opportunity to make the squad. Team President John Davidson stated that Vitali Kravtsov will attend camp and certainly has a shot to make the team for the Qualifying Rounds scheduled to begin on July 30.

“I think with Kravtsov, he’s going to come to our camp and we’ll see how it goes. We’re going to need some depth and skill as we march along here,” Davidson said in a video via the team’s official Twitter account on Tuesday.

One player who will not attend training camp is Lias Andersson. Following a tough season that saw him play on opening night for the Blueshirts, along with a trip over a wire on the ice when he was announced to the sellout crowd at MSG, the former first-round pick saw his ice time decreased and eventually was demoted to the AHL. He then walked away from the Hartford Wolf Pack and after receiving permission from the organization played in Sweden for HV71.

Andersson requested that he stay in Sweden instead of competing for a spot on the team in training camp. The Rangers granted his request to stay overseas, but his future with the team is unclear currently.

New York Rangers 2020 Playoffs: Who Starts in Goal?

When the New York Rangers return to action and face the Carolina Hurricanes in the playoffs, head coach David Quinn will have an interesting decision. With three capable goaltenders on the roster, he will have to choose one to start the series at their designated hub city. It will not quite be such an easy decision after the NHL has taken a long break due to the coronavirus pandemic. With players scattered across the globe in isolation, Quinn cannot be sure what will be returning to him when training camp resumes.

Ranger’s president John Davidson acknowledged this on Thursday during a video press conference. “I know that we’ll have the three guys here, [Georgiev], Shesterkin and Hank, and I think all three are excited,” Davidson said. “I know Hank has been skating. This is going to be a coach’s decision. That’s who it’s up to. The coaches make decisions. I think they’re going to watch and see how camp goes. This is going to be a battle.”

While acknowledging that the decision is going to be made during the resumed training camps, there is a case to be made for each of them heading into the resumption of play.

Henrik Lundqvist

It doesn’t matter that Lundqvist hardly played the final weeks of the season before the league was shut down. This could be about the experience, and the King has plenty of that.

He also has a solid track record against Carolina during the last two seasons. In 2018-19, he was 2-1 with a .964 save pct. and 1.34 GAA, while this season he went 3-0 with a .947 save pct. and 2.33 GAA. vs. the Canes.

As noted earlier, Lundqvist has actually been on ice while home in Sweden, skating with his brother. It is not known, but also not likely that Shesterkin or Georgiev has been on ice. This may give him a bit of an advantage heading into camp.

His effort on Nov. 7 against the Hurricanes was one that stands out, as he recorded 45 saves in a 4-2 win at PNC Arena.

“Without question, that one game down in Raleigh, he actually stole the game,” Davidson said. “He was outstanding. It was the best game I saw him play all season long.”

Lundqvist deserves and will get the chance to show that he should be the starting goaltender against Carolina.

Igor Shesterkin

Shesterkin was anointed the number one goalie by Quinn back in February, something that was well-deserved. Since being recalled from Hartford in January, he has compiled a record of 10-2-0 with a 2.52 GAA and .932 save percentage in 12 starts.

Shesterkin also has some playoff and international experience to help him. While playing Juniors in Russia, he had a 12–7 record in 19 playoff games, along with a 1.75 goals-against average and a .937 save percentage, along with four shutouts to help MHK Spartak win the league championship. Shesterkin also represented Russia and was one of the best goaltenders at the 2018 World Championships in Denmark. He finished with two victories, both shutouts, and a 1.46 goals-against average with a .942 save percentage.

The 24-year-old has faced the Hurricanes once this year, recording 27 saves in a 5-2 win at PNC Arena on Feb. 21.

Alexandar Georgiev

It is likely that the only way Georgiev gets the start is if he completely outplays the other two during training camp.

It is not like Georgiev has been poor this year, as he has gone 17-14-2 with a 3.04 GAA and .910 save percentage, but has also not faced Carolina this season.

Georgiev does have international experience, helping Russia win the silver medal at the 2016 World Juniors, and then helping the Russians take the bronze medal at the 2019 World Championships.

“We’ve got three guys going in and I like our depth in that position,” Davidson said. “I can hardly wait, so whenever the puck drops for training camp, just to watch. There’s going to be a lot of subsets, a lot of small stories that are going to turn into big stories. Who is going to go and be the starting goaltender? If it’s a best-of-5 series, that’s not a long series and you want to get off to a good start. The coaches are going to have to make that decision.”

It is actually a nice decision to have, coming off an unwanted, long break in the season.

 

 

New York Rangers Kappo Kakko May Be Sidelined Due to COVID-19 Health Concerns

In Thursday’s Zoom press conference, New York Rangers president John Davidson was asked about the health status of Blueshirt forward Kaapo Kakko. The nineteen-year-old native of Finland has diabetes and celiac disease, underlying conditions that put him at risk if he was exposed to the coronavirus.

During the conference video, Davidson stressed that: “If he, hypothetically, cannot play, he can’t play. We’re going to take care of him, he’s a big part of us. If he can play, he’s going to play, and I’m sure he’s going to want to play. But we listen to science, we listen to the medical people, they’re going to tell us what to do.”

COVID-19 and the Diabetes risk for Kaapo Kakko

According to the American Diabetes Association, the problem people with diabetes face is primarily a problem of worse outcomes, not a greater chance of contracting the virus. In China, where most cases have occurred so far, people with diabetes had much higher rates of serious complications and death than people without diabetes. In general, people with diabetes are more likely to experience severe symptoms and complications when infected with a virus, like COVID-19.

This concern, as well as the concern to all Rangers players, was underscored by Davidson’s comments on Thursday. “I know that he’s skating and working out like madmen to try to get ready to come back. I’m sure he’s going to want to play, but at the same time, again, it’s important for everybody to be taken care of regarding their health,”  Davidson also stated that: “It doesn’t matter if you’re a 19-year-old young player or if you’re an older executive. Everything has to be done in the right fashion.

COVID-19 and Celiac Disease

In addition to diabetes, Kakko also suffers from celiac disease, an immune disease in which people can’t eat gluten because it will damage their small intestine. The good news is that according to the Celiac Disease Foundation, there have been no studies or reports suggesting patients with celiac disease are at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19 compared to patients without celiac disease. However, gluten intake will still have to be monitored strictly as with the coronavirus, anything that compromises the health of a person puts them at greater risk.

Remember that comment Davidson made about “everything has to be done in the right fashion”? The New York Rangers and the NHL have been working hard to have this covered. On Monday, the NHL released a 22-page memo outlining the health and safety measures to which teams and players must adhere. The policy covers everything from masks, the number of players allowed at a time in a facility, and cleaning protocols that the Rangers must follow.

“One thing we all have to remember here is, this is a fluid situation regarding dates of when we’re going to have a camp, and when we’re going to play,” Davidson said. “Who knows?

New York Rangers legends John Davidson and Mike Richter featured on MSG Network

New York Rangers, Mike Richter

Former New York Rangers goaltenders Mike Richter and John Davidson will be guests on MSG Networks “MSG 150 at Home” on Wednesday night.

As part of “Goalie Week”, Madison Square Garden Network will have a roundtable discussion hosted by Steve Valiquette. Richter and J.D. will share some of the fondest memories of their time wearing the famous Rangers sweater. From NHL debuts and rookie seasons, players they looked up to growing up, staying connected to others during this pause, and more.

John Davidson

Davidson talked about the time when he was traded to the Rangers in June 1975.

“My second year I played so well that I got traded to the Rangers after the season. And that was the best thing that happened to me. Aside from my family, that was the best thing that ever happened to me. I was blown away when I got to New York. I had never seen anything like this. Madison Square Garden, New York City, the busy streets, oh baby. It was quite something.”

Davidson was part of the great team that made it all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals in. 1979 where they lost the series to Ken Dryden and the Montreal Canadiens.

The president of the Blueshirts also talked about the current team and how he has been staying connected with the scouting staff and some of the prospects thanks to platforms look Zoom.

Mike Richter

Stanley Cup Champion Mike Richter was asked about his NHL playoff debut during the 1989 playoffs.

“It was good to get the opportunity to play. I’m indebted to Phil Esposito who gave me it. I didn’t expect that I was necessarily going to get in there. I didn’t expect it. I was so thrilled and excited. I had so much energy.”

Esposito was the Rangers General manager at the time but was fired following the team’s elimination for the playoffs in May 1989.

Richter also spoke of the players he looked up to in the NHL, namely Eddie Giacomin. Richters idol was the team’s goalie coach when he was called up to the Rangers.

Two of the last three goalies to reach the Stankey Cup Finals in the last 41 years (Henrik Lundqvist was the third) talk about the great memories playing for this original six franchise.

The show will air Wednesday night at 5:00 p.m. an again at 7:30 p.m.