Rangers’ Preseason News

By Brandon LeBourveau
Well, the waiver draft came and went, and like I said in my early
article, not many players change teams and only 5 did this year. I’m very
pleased to see no one got taken from the Rangers, especially JF Labbe who I
thought for sure would be taken. I might have liked to see Rich Pilon or John
MacLean be selected, but because of their age and salaries, all 29 teams
passed. However, the Rangers did select a player, 27 yr. old Swede Andreas
Johansson. Johansson spent the ’99-00 season with the Tampa Bay Lightning and
then the Calgary Flames. But don’t expect Johansson to be a Ranger any time
soon, as he signed with a team in Sweden for this upcoming season. Maybe he
has a job with the Rangers in the future, but not as of now.

To touch up on an earlier note, JF Labbe now will likely be the backup to
McLean on the opening night roster because stud prospect Johan Holmqvist, who
I thought played well enough to make it, was sent to Hartford of the AHL on
Wednesday. I am kind of disappointed by the move, however it probably will be
best for Holmqvist so spend this season in the AHL, than fight for the backup
job next season when McLean likely won’t be a Ranger as he is in the last
year of a 2 year contract.

I didn’t get to see last night’s 2-2 tie with New Jersey, but I heard
that Jason Labarbera, who was called up when Holmqvist was sent down, had a
great game. He gave up 2 soft goals in the first period, but shutout the
Devils from that point on. I don’t really know if Labarbera has a chance to
make the team. I think the Rangers just brought him up from Hartford to get a
little work in. But hey, you never know, it could happen. As for tonight’s
game at home against Atlanta, I expect a lot of rookies to be in the lineup,
but have not heard anything definite. The game is televised on Metroguide, so
all you New Yorkers can tune in and watch the game. I’m going to miss likely
the first two periods, as I have roller hockey tryouts for the school team
tonight. Anyway, I’ll end this article here but look for another one from me
in the next day or two about the outcome of the Rangers-Thrashers game.