Saturday, September 20, 2008

Preseason #1 Game Day: Rangers @ Ottawa


The first of many game day threads here on the blog. The New York Rangers travel to Ottawa to play the Senators. 
New York has been split up into two squads, White and Blue. The White team will be in Ottawa tonight. This squad doesn't have the big name free agents but should still be fun to watch. Here is the roster as of yesterday:

Dawes-Drury-Prucha
Byers-Dubinsky-Callahan
Voros-Betts-Orr
Rissmiller-Moore-Sjostrom

Staal- Rozsival
Mara-Potter
Del Zotto-Fahey

Valiquette
Wiikman

Like I mentioned, only a few of the free agent signings from the summer but still a good squad. Tom Renney will personally be behind the bench for this one. The first line has been reported as being one of the better ones in training camp so far and could end up being the second line on the opening night roster. On the other side of the spectrum players like Sjostrom and Rissmiller are playing for spots on the team. Should be an interesting night on the offensive side of things.
The defense looks very solid. Last year's top pairing of Staal and Rozsival reunite and will be tonight's minute eaters on defense. They will likely be the second pairing on the regular season unit. Paul Mara and Corey Potter, a sleeper for the 7th defenseman role, will play together. I am excited to see Mara back as he seems ready to go and hopefully be able to get some of his offensive abilities back. Ranger fans will get a first look at Corey Potter. Playing in Hartford last year, he really turned into a good defensive defenseman. Putting him up against a talented Ottawa squad will be a good measuring stick for himself. This year's first round draft pick for the Rangers, Michael Del Zotto, will be on the bottom pairing with Brian Fahey who was signed as a free agent from the Chicago Wolves of the AHL. Del Zotto won't be making the team this year but these preseason games will certainly go a long way in giving Tom Renney and the coaching staff a first look at what made him a first round pick. 
Spiderman Steve Valiquette will probably start tonight although it is unknown if he will play the entire game. He will have to play well tonight if the Rangers want to win this game.
Going up against a full Ottawa team is no easy task. While the big guns Spezza. Heatley, and Alfredsson may not play the entire game and at 100%, Ottawa still boasts some heavy duty competition:

Heatley-Spezza-Winchester
Vermette-Foligno-Alfredsson
Ruutu-Fisher-Neil
Hennessy-O'Brien-Bois

Phillips-Schubert
Smith-Kuba
Picard-Lee

Gerber (Periods 1 and 2)
Elliot (Period 3)

On paper, it looks as if the Rangers are in for a rough night but what is on paper is different than what is on the ice. 
Tonight's game will be televised on MSG for NYR fans at 7pm. Make sure you tune in to try and quell that need for hockey for the time being. Thanks to the Ottawa Citizen, HFboards NYR, and HFboards OTT for all the information about tonight's game. Check out the NY Post and the rest of the New York media outlets for more information on tonight's game. 

LETS GO RANGERS!!!!

Image found here via Google image search here

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