TARRYTOWN – The entire MSG training center became silent, which made Igor Shesterkin’s angry blow with a stick in the boards even more noisy.
For a moment, fear engulfed the first brawl at the New York Rangers training camp. The last thing they need in this early turn is an injury to their most important player, who came in favor of his right leg after colliding with striker Johnny Brodzinski and defender Jared Tenordi on Thursday. But after a brief display of frustration and pauses in play, the Visina Cup winner netted back and carried on.
“I knew he was fine,” coach Gerard Gallant said. “Obviously you get a little anxious and say, ‘I hope he’s OK.’ But you know right away. I got scared when Chris Kreider fell on the board in the first shift at the other end, but that’s hockey. This is training camp. Have a good boot camp, work hard, and hope you stay healthy.”
Aside from one incident that happily turned out to be minor, her first day was smooth on the Blueshirts on the ice.
The 66 players in camp were divided into three groups, with two squabbling in the morning while the third trained in the afternoon. They were able to get straight into hockey activities because all participants reported early enough to complete the standard on-ice test before Thursday.
Can we interpret early access as a sign that these Rangers are eager to get it back in the wake of last season’s trip to the Eastern Conference final?
“I think so,” said striker Barclay Goudreau. “I’ve been here for a month and there’s been a bunch of guys here. Some guys stayed here all summer. I think the more you get that far and you end up not doing it all the way, it leaves a hunger in your stomach that you kind of want to come back right away and quit The job we almost got done last year. It’s good to see.”
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Since the Rangers didn’t waste any time jumping into action, we wouldn’t waste either. Here are some key notes from the busy first day.
children grow up
The last group to take on the ice was all three members of Kid Line, who were reunited after an unforgettable playoff together.
The relationship between Alexis Lafrenire, Filip Chytil and Kaapo Kakko seemed to pass, as they whipped the disc with confidence and purpose in every practice. The trio also stayed behind after training to work overtime with skills coach Mark Ciaccio.
“We only know each other,” Kaku said. “I think we play roughly the same style.”
Gallant hopes they can fill in those positive vibes from postseason and provide the squad with evenly distributed scoring.
Early signs were encouraging. Kakko’s wrist shot seemed to have some extra power behind it – “I think it’s getting better,” he said with a smile – while Gallant noted the added strength of all three previous picks in the first round.
“It’s not that they were in bad shape last year, but they’re a little more like a man’s body now,” he said. “Phil looks really big to me now, Capo looks bigger and Lavi definitely looks. They all look older, as they are.”
With a height of 6 feet 2 and 196 pounds, Lafrenière is actually the smallest of the trio. But in the playoffs, Gallant called him “one of our most aggressive players.”
“Every shift I was in was physically involved,” the 21-year-old said. “I was playing plays when I was at the net. I was always around the disc, so when I play well I try to remind myself before each shift, ‘Be engaged and be near the puck and good things happen.’ ‘
Gallant has indicated that he does not expect Lafrenière to play this way in all of his 82 regular season games, but he is proud to see the No. 1 pick overall from the 2020 NHL Draft assert himself in this way.
His post-season appearance has led to curiosity as to whether he might move to the right wing and move into the top six, which is still a possibility. But at the moment, children who are growing up are happy to be together.
“I’ve always said I can play with everyone, everywhere,” Lavrinier said. “Right, left winger, I don’t care. I’m ready to play with the team. Wherever I play, I will do my best to play hard.”
Barkley Goudreau plans to play in pre-season
Goudreau also trained with the latter set and showed no ill effects from the left ankle injury he sustained in May.
The 29-year-old striker will not be involved in scuffles on Friday and Saturday, but Gallant stressed that this was only out of extreme caution.
Goudreau echoed those sentiments and said he plans to play in “some” pre-season games next.
“It feels good,” he said of the ankle. “How does it feel today compared to last month even at night and day. If the season starts tomorrow I can play, no problem. But we just talked about slowing it down and making sure it’s 1000%. It’s a long season. It’s a long season. It’s not something I want to deal with. With him and I’m staying this season so I might as well let him fully heal and make sure he’s 100%.”
The second line appears with a new and promising look
Thursday’s brawl ended in a 3-3 draw, but the most impressive streak belonged to Group B.
This will be the second new line featuring Artemi Panarin, Vincent Trocheck and Rookie Vitali Kravtsov. They have often been linked to the top row of Kreider, Mika Zibanejad and Sammy Blais and have spent most of these turnovers maintaining pressure in the attacking area.
“They were talking a lot on the bench, from what I heard, and having fun,” Gallant said. “Again, I think it’s going to be the show game where you’re going (see how it intertwines) — and they might not play together. I don’t know. The last game they’re going to do, sure, if everyone is healthy. We’ll see what the show match lineup will be, but I think there’s a harmony well “.
Panarin danced with the puck and was undoubtedly the most dangerous player on the ice. He set up Trocheck and Kravtsov for several scoring opportunities, as they both showed a knack for entering and searching for Panarin essences from the ocean.
After a lopsided performance the 30-year-old said gave him “new motivation”, he brought some extra juice into the first day of camp.
“It’s good to see him smiling there and having fun,” Gallant said.
Vincent Trochek is likely heading to PP1
Galant wasn’t shy about revealing his squad plans, including the power game.
Rangers ranked fourth in the league with a conversion rate of 25.2% and they don’t want to mess with a good thing. That’s why it’s inevitable that four members of the best force-playing unit – Panarin, Kreider, Zibanegad and Adam Fox – will retain these roles this season.
The only question is who will replace Ryan Strom, who signed with the Anaheim Ducks over the summer, at the clash site.
It looks like Trocheck will get the first crack.
“He played that place with Carolina as well last year,” Gallant said. “He deflects the pucks really well. He’s got a good shot out of the slots area. Like I said yesterday, he fills in that spot. … He’s very similar to Strommer in the power game.”
Vincent Z. Read more of his work at lohud.com/sports/rangers/ and follow him on Twitter Tweet embed.