Monday, September 22, 2008

Rangers Host Ottawa (Game 2), Coyotes (Game 1) travel to Los Angeles

A full slate of preseason hockey tonight for you Ranger and Coyotes fans (Oh wait, I'm the only one). 
The New York Rangers main squad will take on the Ottawa Senators team that beat the "B" squad with a few little changes. According to Steve Zipay, here is tonight's roster for your New York Rangers:




Most of the guys playing tonight were not in the lineup on Saturday night but a few managed to impress enough to make it. Brandon Dubinsky certainly earned the right to play tonight after scoring both goals on Saturday night and being the best player on either side of the ice. Aaron Voros will also play tonight after seemingly impressed with his style of play on Saturday. I am very happy to see him getting another shot because his style of play could really be a spark to ignite this offense and he will definitely protect our younger players from the big boys in the East.
However, the main headline tonight for the Rangers will be the first look that fans get as the highly anticipated line of Scott Gomez centering Markus Naslund on the left and Nikolai Zherdev on the right. Despite reports of Zherdev having a tough time, it will be alot of fun to watch these guys in action for the first time. Every Ranger fan has been dreaming about this line coming together. But of course, nothing is guaranteed after last year where one of Gomez or Drury was supposed to center Jaromir Jagr. 
The "other" acquisition from Columbus, Dan Fritsche, will also make his debut as he plays with his good friend Dubinsky and a late blooming prospect Dale Weise (more on him in a second). Fritsche has been known has a gritty guy who will go to the net. Knowing Dubinsky from USA hockey could lead to some good chemistry between the two. Read an interview of Dan Fritsche on the Ranger website here
Rookie Dale Weise will be on the other side of Dubinsky and has been an eye opener these past few weeks. He was the Rangers' 4th round draft choice at this past draft after scoring 51 points (29 goals and 22 assists) for the Swift Current Broncos of the Western Hockey League. Scoring 2 goals in the last game of the Traverse City tournament and has played well enough in camp to have earned an entry level deal. Look for him to be noticeable on the ice tonight. 
On the third line, Aaron Voros will be with PA Parenteau and center Petr Nedved. Parenteau played in Hartford last year and was very good after being acquired from the Chicago Blackhawks for a draft pick. He had 81 points for the Pack last year (34 goals, 47 assists). He will certainly be looking to jump to the NHL after dominating the AHL last year. 
Petr Nedved, being on a tryout offer, will have to look impressive tonight if he wants any chance of playing for the Rangers this year. He has looked good in camp (not thrilling...but nice). I personally would like to see him make the team but he has to play well and tonight is where he must start.
The 4th line has my favorite Ranger prospect at center, Artem Anisimov. Maybe thinking that he is the next Pavel Datsyuk is a little much (I really think he is) but certainly a very good player who could make the team is not out of the question. He needs to bulk up a bit more but he has all the makings of a very good center for the Russian future of this team. 
Colton Orr will make a reappearance after showing signs of definite improvement over the summer. Prospect Lauri Korpikoski will round out the forward ranks for the Rangers as he looks to make this team.
Defense will look alot different tonight. Wade Redden will make his debut tonight vs his former team. He is on a mission for redemption which will start tonight. He will be paired with Dan Girardi
The second pairing will be interesting as Dmitri Kalinin will be paired with prospect Bobby Sanguinetti. Kalinin looking to show his worth to the team early after coming via free agency while Bobby Sanguinetti will be playing for his spot in Hartford but also, Renney will be using this preseason as a measuring stick for his development to see if he is ready for full time NHL duty next season. 
Brian Fahey will get another shot at showing the coaching  staff what he has to offer. Thomas Pock will be battling with Fahey for that 7th defenseman's spot. 
In goal, Lundqvist will eat some time while Matt Zaba will get a shot at the NHL level.
The Ottawa Senators roster:



The Senators are keeping their big offensive guns out of tonight's game but that is no reason for the Rangers to play lackadaisically. The defense of this team and the Rangers' tendency to turn mediocre goalies into Patrick Roy should keep them on their toes. 
Winning these games is not necessarily the primary focus of the preseason as much as learning and developing as a team. The Rangers will have plenty of chances to do that this preseason and right now is another big step after Saturday night considering most of the free agents the Rangers signed will be playing tonight. Lets Go Rangers!
As for the Coyotes, they will be traveling to Los Angeles tonight to play the Kings. The lines have not been set yet for Phoenix but the players traveling to LA are: 
Forwards: Todd Fedoruk, Brett MacLean, Alex Bourret, Adam Keefe, Kyle Turris, Steven Reinprecht, Kevin Porter, Garth Murray, Mikkel Boedker, Peter Mueller, Chad Kolarik, Viktor Tikhonov
Defense: Jonas Ahnelov, Matt Jones, Keith Yandle, David Hale, Zbynek Michalek, and Nick Ross
Goalies: Al Montoya and Josh Tordjman 

Much of this team is the same as the one who played vs the Kings rookies this past week but with a couple of veterans thrown in. This is considered the B team of the Coyotes who will be going up against the LA Kings actual team (for the most part). The young guns for Phoenix will have to start impressing considering many good young players are fighting for a few spots on the Coyotes roster. The veterans will get their first licks soon.

It is a fun filled night for this Ranger/Coyote fan. I hope they both win. Make sure you check the beat writers for the Rangers to get more information for the game. Also check the official websites of the teams for more information about tonight's games...links are at the right. 
One other bit of news today was Glen Sather offering a try out agreement to Brendan Shanahan who has turned it down thus far but for Shanahan's sake, he should take it just to get into camp and get used to the new style of play. Otherwise, Brendan will be packing his bags. 

Image found here via Google image search. 

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