With each passing day the Rangers team continues to mould itself into a finer well oiled machine, one that looks to be without 1st round selections Pavel Brendl and Jamie Lundmark. Brendl has been less than impressive of late due to his conditioning or lack of. His skating needs work as it appears he is NOT ready for NHL action. During the Rangers latest day of practice Captain Brian Leetch had Brendl lead the skating group in laps. Veteran Kevin Stevens started a group chant that included “come on Pavel, you can do it…”. It seems as the one time roster lock has just about had his bags packed and is headed back to the Western League and Calgary Hitmen for an encore. Many outside of the Rangers management believe that Brendl can still score 15-20 goals at the NHL level this year if he is given the proper amount of ice time but not under John Muckler`s system. With Brendl just about out of the running one has to wonder about the draft day trade that sent a first rounder as well as up and comer Daniel Cloutier and Niklas Sundstrøm to Tampa. The positive is Brendl can learn from his first NHL camp and flourish in the WHL and hone his skills for the 2000-01 season in NYC and open a spot on the wing allowing Mike Knuble to gain more ice time as he has deserved with a strong pre-season.
Erstwhile Jamie Lundmark has been most impressive and looks most ready for the NHL although his size(strength) has been his downfall. Another year of Juniors and an NHL strength training regimen could very solve this problem.
Two players supposedly ticketed for Hartford, goalie Jean-Francois Labbe and center Mike York, may remain with the Rangers longer than anticipated. “Labbe has been terrific. He’s playing the way we thought he would all last season,” Maloney said. “[Kirk] McLean is on a big ticket [two years, $1.7 million plus incentives], but Labbe is really pushing for that No. 2 spot behind [Mike] Richter.” York, who played three games with the Wolf Pack last season after being runner-up for the Hobey Baker Award at Michigan State, could stay as a third or fourth center. “He’s making it really hard for the Rangers to keep him off the roster,” Don Maloney stated after the Baby Rangers played in South Windsor, CT before a standing room only crowd of 1,100 at South Windsor Arena.
Tough defender Dale Purinton received a five minute major and a game misconduct for high sticking. Although slight on skills Purinon may return to New York this season as the Rangers and Coach Muckler are searching for a tough player. The 6-2 220lb defenseman recorded 1 goal and 3 assists and 401 penalty minutes in the last 61 games covering 2 seasons. The Wolf Pack went on to defeat the Worcester Ice Cats and former Yale Goalie Alex Westlund 5-4 on a goal from Brad Smyth. David Oliver (6-2 205) (one goal) and Richard Scott were noted as the best players. Goalie Jason Labarbera made 17 saves and back up Jeff Heil kicked out 15 of 18.
The New York Rangers began the 1999 Exhibition season splitting their first two games. In Game one, Free Agent Signee Steve Duchesne broke a 1-1 tie early in the second period to guide Detroit to a 3-1 win over the Rangers. The loss did not overshadow Theoren Fleury, as he scored his first goal in a Rangers jersey at 3:54 of the first period off a pass from Valeri Kamensky. The Rangers however managed just one shot in the third period.
Game 2 featured some offense from more of the Rangers newly signed players. Stephan Quintal scored two goals and Valeri Kamensky added a goal and an assist. Mike Knuble sent a pass to Quintal, whom one timed his first goal in a Rangers jersey. Valeri Kamensky tipped a shot by defenseman Sylvain Lefebvre for his first goal as a Ranger. Quintal made it 4-1 with his second goal and Adam Graves added his first 1:12 later to ice the game for the Blue Shirts. Goalies Milan Hnilinka and J.F.Labbe played superb hockey combining for 20 saves and the win. Kim Johnsson again played tremendous hockey adding two assists. The Swedish import is moving closer to securing the no.5 or 6 spot.
1999 New York Rangers Training Camp Roster and Reserve Roster has been announced. This list is as of September 8,1999. Some changes have already been made and squads split into groups run by Coach John Muckler(NYR), Bob Crocker(NYR Scout) and John Paddock(Hartford-AHL). Rangers training camp roster/reserve list:
Milan Hnilicka-Sparta Praha (Czech)
Jean-Francois Labbe-Hartford (AHL)
Kirk McLean-Florida (NHL)
Mike Richter- N.Y. Rangers (NHL)
Alexander Korobolin-Mechel (Russia)
Johan Asplund- Gavle (Sweden)
NOTES: Jeff Heil and Jason Labarbera have been assigned to John Paddock and look to start the season in Hartford(AHL). Also it is expected that J.F.Labbe and Milan Hnilinka will join Paddock`s Hartford Wolf Pack.
Terry Virtue- Providence (AHL)
Brian Leetch- N.Y. Rangers (NHL)
Patrick Aufiero-Boston Univ. (HE)
Arto Laatikainen-Espoo (Finland)
Alexei Vasiliev- Hartford (AHL)
Mathieu Schneider- N.Y. Rangers (NHL)
Tomas Kloucek-Cape Breton (QMJHL)
Stephane Quintal-Montreal (NHL)
Mario Joly Hull- (QMJHL)
Rumun Ndur-NY.Rangers(NHL)**NOT IN CAMP**
Jeff Brown-Charlotte (ECHL)
Sylvain Lefebvre-Colorado (NHL)
Jason Doig-Springfield-Hartford (AHL) Read more»
It has been called a crap shoot, it has been called a game, but the one thing it has never been called was easy. The NHL entry draft is a sport onto itself. Unlike other sports where many kids come out of college as more mature 21 year olds (and sometimes older), the NHL draft features baby faced 18 year olds. It has been a subject of controversy for year and is now begining to stir up media attention as the NHL ponders raising the draft age. Each and every draft we see “blue chippers” and “risks” and despite their draft day labels we only discover the draft day winners and losers years later. The Rangers are a team that took a huge gamble this past year and, rightfully so, there was a lot of controversy over it. In the end the
Rangers got two blue chip prospectes, but the real questin is “Will they ever make it?” The answer to that question is probably a lot more
interesting than you think.