Here's some "news" you may have heard about. We'll do it round-up style, cause there's a handful of stuff, and I'm busy. I promise I'll post more regularly when there's anything to talk about.
--September 12 is the first day coaches are allowed to work with players. However, there's an "unofficial" training camp that's been going on since the beginning of this week: Rangers players have been skating at the practice facility (no coaches allowed, by NHL regulation). Steve Zipay's Blue Notes has some day-to-day reporting on this unofficial camp, if you're interested. Basically, it just means pre-training camp has begun. Woo.
--Dave Maloney hosted a fan forum with Drury, Gaborik, Kotalik, Higgins, and Brashear the other night. True to form, Ranger fans booed Brashear the moment he walked on stage. When he got to the stage, Brashear responded "those fans that are booing, I'll take you one by one," which admittedly warmed them up to him some. The situation seems to me to be one of mutual "well we hate you, but we can help each other, so, here we go." And so, the Gollum to our Frodo had a pleasant interview. Other highlights: apparently some fan asked Higgins if he was single? Blah blah blah.
--The Traverse City Tournament begins Sunday. The what? The Traverse City Tournament is a 5-day prospects tournament hosted by the Red Wings in Traverse City, MI. It's a pretty neat idea: teams send their prospects up to practice and play each other. Rangers prospects will play against the prospects of the Hurricanes Sunday, Thrashers Monday, and Red Wings Wednesday (as well as a fourth game, to be determined, on Thursday). Fun times! Here is a list of the roster we're sending. The names you care about, most likely, are Evgeny Grachev and Michael Del Zotto. Depending on performance, we could theoretically see anyone at all from this camp find their way near a Rangers roster, but Grachev and Del Zotto are probably the only 2 that might.
--While we talk about those two other camps, actual actual training camp is coming up soon. Today, the Rangers released the actual training camp roster. It contains 44 men (26 forwards, 12 defensemen, 6 goalies) and will be bolstered somewhat by the addition of some prospects from Traverse City (that tournament ends 2 days before training camp starts). No real surprises here, but it's nice to have an official list of names, for what it's worth. Interesting fact: the average age of our training camp roster, not counting the prospects, is 25.8. Keep listening to your friends about how the Rangers are a team full of old men. Other interesting fact: the oldest player on the team (by a good 3 years)? Donald Brashear, 37. Third interesting fact: we have another hockey player named Nigel!
--Aaaaaand the Dubinsky saga continues. In the Post today, Larry Brooks points out that our numbers have been somewhat off, and that Dubi's qualifying offer isn't the $698,500 figure that everyone has been using, it's actually $522,500. Which, as Brooks (and everyone else) calls it, is a squeeze. Yes, everyone, Dubinsky deserves more than that. Yes, he does. Okay? The Rangers probably know that too. Here's the deal: no one is giving Dubinsky an offer sheet. Dubinsky is a restricted free agent. Dubinsky can sign with us for $522,500, or he can not play in the NHL. Those are his choices.
Yes, we should pay him more than that. And we will: when we have to. All summer, he's been "completely off the table" in any trade discussion with us. We're not throwing him under the bus, we're just underpaying him as long as we can. We'll sign him to a bigger contract, effective next season, once the season starts and it won't count under this year's cap (like we did with Lundqvist), or we'll wait until next off-season and sign him to a bigger contract when he seeks arbitration (like we did with Callahan).
Sure, it's still the Rangers, and it's still Glen Sather, and at any point we could do something incredibly stupid to prove me wrong. But this really just sounds like run-of-the-mill Ranger fan paranoia to me. All signs point to Dubinsky in a prominent roster spot come October 2, and to Sather being a shrewd businessman, not paying more than he has to, and not signing a lengthy contract extension before he has to. Pre-training camp has started: Let's Go Rangers.