After two years of fans thirsting for Jamie Lundmark`s entry to the NHL it has finally happened. Lundmark who registered six goals in the preaseason was a dynamo and in fact played better in camp with proven NHL ability players than in Hartford with some garden variety AHLers. Lundmark will likely start as Mark Messier`s side arm and with either Mikael Samuelsson or a host of others as the third piece of the line puzzle.
Other news and notes featured Richard Lintner much to the suprise making the Rangers as the no. 7 defender. The Rangers defense features only Sylvain Lefebrve, Dale Purinton and Darius Kasparitis as “D” first blueliners. Lintner a more offensive minded lanky defender will see little action unless ofcourse Purinton struggles. The odd thing is that Rangers have struggled for years in their own end, a pure stay at home defender is the best medicine but Coach Trottier and more importantly Glen Sather prefer the rushing defender. Only Kasparitis and Purinton can hit on defense and Lintner does not bring that much to the table, at least regarding the physical part of the game. Tomas Kloucek struggled for most of the camp after a shoulder injury and was assigned to Hartford of the AHL.
Roman Lyashenko and Rico Fata who played decent hockey in the pre-season were also placed on waivers and if they survive the cut they will be assigned to Hartford. Fata who has the speed again returns to his status as perennial “prospect”. Lyashenko saw ice time with Dvorak and Rem Murray (originally a 4th line choice). Ted Donato was assigned to Hartford but will likely make a return to New York when penalty killing begins to struggle. Donato played solid hockey after donning skates for the first time since the loss of his father-in-law.
David Karpa was placed on the DL with multiple problems including an infection in his elbow. Karpa survived waivers and will likely be sent to Hartford upon return from injury.
As of now the lines are still suspect but it appears Eric Lindros-Pavel Bure-Petr Nedved, Holik-Dvorak-Murray/Lundmark, Messier-Lundmark-Samuelsson/Dixon Ward, Oliwa, Barnaby, McCarthy? A mix of the group with either Ward & Murray as center.
D pairings that have functioned in camp have been Leetch-Poti, Kasparitis-Malakhov, Purinton (also on wing)-Lefebrve. Purinton played a solid game at wing using his physical tools.
The role of “enforcer” is up for grabs. None of the above showed that they wanted the job or deserved it more than the other. Although Purinton played inspired hockey he was not on the winning end of his matches. Oliwa and McCarthy did not earn any kudos. Matt Barnaby and undersized enforcer cannot be counted on to lead the way but does bring a team first mentality to the club. McCarthy seems more apt to showing his scoring skills than fists does have the ability to repeat his 10-15 goal seasons but is needed badly as a pugilist. Oliwa appears to be on the roster only to keep him from playing somewhere else in the Eastern Conference.