by Patrick Hoffman on 09/22/10 at 05:32 PM ET
Well wouldn’t ya know it? The New York Rangers will be back in action tomorrow night in their first pre-season game against the New Jersey Devils.
While the pre-season doesn’t mean much in the grand scheme of things, it is a good chance for the team and its fans to see how players have either progressed or not improved, get a look at some potential lines and more importantly, it’s a great opportunity to see some hockey again since the Blueshirts haven’t played since losing to the Philadelphia Flyers in a shootout back on April 11.
According to Jesse Spector of the Daily News, Blueshirts prospect Mats Zuccarello is expected to make his Madison Square Garden debut tomorrow night against the Devils. It also sounds like Zuccarello is primed and ready to make an impression:
“On the first day, I felt like it was tough, and I wasn’t used to this stuff,” Zuccarello said. “After the first day, I’m pretty pleased with what I’ve done. I think the scrimmages have gone well. I’ve had some good passes, made some good plays. It will be nice to play a game.”
Rangers’ head coach John Tortorella acknowledged that while it is only a pre-season game, he does want to see his club start performing well again at the Garden:
“We want to put a decent lineup in our home building,” Tortorella said. “But there’s also a process we go through as far as sorting out these exhibition games. Like, (Henrik) Lundqvist isn’t playing. But we want Marty (Biron) to get a look at the Garden, have him play at the Garden and get a game right away.”
It’s nice to know that backup netminder Martin Biron will get some action right away because the team needs for him to be ready to play upwards of 20-25 games this year to help give Lundqvist a rest every once in awhile.
Spector also mentioned that there is a chance that the Garden crowd will see a line of Marian Gaborik, Alexander Frolov, and Derek Stepan. Although they didn’t do much in the scrimmage, Torts wants to have them in there and is willing to try different players on that line as well.
Remember folks, it’s only pre-season so don’t read too much into anything right now. Just enjoy the fact that hockey season is back and that the Blueshirts have been given a clean slate for 2010-11.
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Patrick has a tremendous passion for hockey. Besides covering the Rangers and the NHL for Kukla's Korner, you can also find Patrick's work over at Sportsnet.ca, The Red Light District Hockey Blog, NHL Home Ice, and Liam Maguire's Ultimate Hockey web site.
Prior to writing for the above mentioned outlets, you could find Patrick's musings at hockey web sites/outlets such as TheHockeyNews.com, TheFourthPeriod.com, Spector's Hockey, Hokeja Vestnesis, Blueshirt Bulletin, SNYRangersBlog.com and many more.
For questions, comments and hip checks, feel free to e-mail Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org.