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Posted On Sunday, 10.02.2011 / 11:48 AM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Rangers World Tour

HC Slovan holds 1-0 lead after first

BRATISLAVA -- The road weary Rangers showed very little jump in the first period and trail 1-0 heading into the dressing room for the first intermission. Ivan Svarny's power-play goal at 8:22 is the difference. Slovan holds a 12-6 advantage in shots on goal.

The Rangers penalty kill, which was burned by Svarny, got better later in the period when it had to kill off back-to-back minors to Brian Boyle and Steve Eminger that including a 5-on-3 for 21 seconds.

Boyle went off for boarding at 15:59 and Eminger was called for cross checking at 17:38.

Near the end of the 5-on-3, Henrik Lundqvist came across his crease to make a sharp pad save on a redirect to keep the deficit at only 1-0.

The atmosphere inside Slovnaft Arena is spectacular. The fans are cheering just about everything. They, of course, love Marian Gaborik.

Second period coming soon.

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
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Posted On Sunday, 10.02.2011 / 11:28 AM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Rangers World Tour

Slovan grabs 1-0 lead

BRATISLAVA -- With Mike Rupp in the penalty box for hooking, HC Slovan struck for a power-play goal to take a 1-0 lead with 11:18 to play in the first period.

Ivan Svarny set up shop at the top of the blue line and rifled a low snap shot that cleared the screens in front of Henrik Lundqvist and beat the Rangers goalie on his glove side. Michal Macho and ex-NHLer Miroslav Satan picked up the assists.

With just under 10 minutes remaining now, Slovan holds a 1-0 lead and a 7-3 advantage in shots on goal.

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
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Posted On Sunday, 10.02.2011 / 10:31 AM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Rangers World Tour

Christensen in, Avery sits against HC Slovan

BRATISLAVA -- Rangers coach John Tortorella said Saturday that Sean Avery and Erik Christensen are vying for the final roster spot before the team gets to Stockholm to open the regular season.

Well, Christensen is in the lineup tonight against HC Slovan, and Avery is scratched. Read into that what you will, but I'll find out more of Tortorella's reasoning after the game.

I thought he would play them both tonight and Monday in Zug, and judge off of those performances, but clearly Tortorella has a different plan.

Wojtek Wolski is the other forward scratched, but he played in both Prague and Gothenburg.

Henrik Lundqvist will start in net for the Rangers and be backed up by Martin Biron.

Dan Girardi, who hasn't played yet here in Europe, will be on the top defensive pair with Ryan McDonagh. The Rangers have only six healthy defensemen here with Michael Sauer still out with a shoulder injury and Marc Staal back in the U.S.

Michael Del Zotto, Steve Eminger, Brendan Bell and Stu Bickel round out the Rangers D corps tonight.

Brian Boyle will get a look as the left wing on the top line with Brad Richards and Marian Gaborik. Brandon Dubinsky, Ryan Callahan and Artem Anisimov will play together again. That seems to be the Rangers second line for the moment, and will be to start the season provided Tortorella feels comfortable with either Wolski or perhaps even Boyle on the top line with Richards and Gaborik.

Christensen, Brandon Prust and Ruslan Fedotenko make up the third line. The fourth line is Derek Stepan with Mats Zuccarello and Mike Rupp.

One noticeable name on the Slovan roster is Miroslav Satan.

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
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Posted On Sunday, 10.02.2011 / 8:49 AM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Rangers World Tour

Three in one

BRATISLAVA -- Three countries in a span of about 12 hours. Holy smokes.

That's what today is all about, three in one, with a game in the middle.

We have arrived in Bratislava and the Rangers are in the process of getting ready for their game against HC Slovan at Slovnaft Arena in a little over three hours.

We woke up this morning in Gothenburg, had breakfast and headed to the airport for our roughly two hour flight to Bratislava. We touched down here around 1:10 p.m. local time.

We bussed to a hotel, which is attached to Slovnaft Arena, so the Rangers could have a pregame meal. More on that in a bit.

There were plenty of autograph and photograph hounds waiting at the hotel for the Rangers to arrive. There were also several photographers and TV cameras waiting for Gaborik, who happily did interviews with them all and signed as many autographs as he could.

In fact, as Gaborik was walking up a flight of stairs to a scheduled pregame meal, a kid in a wheelchair came into the lobby and screamed out his name. Gaborik turned around and quickly made a beeline down the steps to sign the kids cards and take a picture with him.

Speaking of the pregame meal, after eating breakfast and then getting the chance to eat again on the plane, I'm not sure how many Rangers at again at the hotel. I'm not exactly sure who ate and how much they did, because it would have been their third meal in about four hours, which seems a bit crazy to me.

Anyway, even with the arena only a two-minute walk from the hotel, it was still a chore to find the right way to go. For some reason myself, Rangers website writer Jim Cerny and MSG photographer Scott Levy decided to follow a crew that included Mike Rupp, Martin Biron and Scott Stajcer.

We should have just waited for Gaborik considering he has played here before and probably would have been a better guide.

But, we digress. We found our way into the press center and I must say, it is really nice and the wireless internet access is first class.

The game begins at 5 p.m. local time and when it's over, we'll be back on the bus, heading back to the airport to fly to Zurich tonight. The Rangers play in nearby Zug on Monday night, their final tuneup before the regular season begins Friday in Stockholm.

Three countries in one day with a game in the middle. Just your average day.

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
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Posted On Saturday, 10.01.2011 / 11:27 AM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Rangers World Tour

Fog, Gothenburg's vibe and some people watching

GOTHENBURG, Swe. -- With a full day off built into the schedule, Henrik Lundqvist had planned to take all of his teammates on a boat cruise around Gothenburg this afternoon, but fog ruined his plans.

The guys were supposed to leave around 11 a.m. local time, but Lundqvist had to break the bad news to them that it was a no-go. A team dinner is still planned for tonight at Lundqvist's favorite restaurant in town.

Most of the Rangers spent the morning and afternoon walking around Gothenburg. I did the same thing with Rangers website writer Jim Cerny.

Today is a beautiful day and Jim and I took a walk up to the main street in the city, which is filled with restaurants, bars and shopping. Since it was a gorgeous Saturday afternoon, there were thousands of people milling all around.

Every restaurant, even Subway and 7-Eleven, had outside seating. We found a place right on the street, and for 150 Kronas each, the equivalent of about $20, we ate a full buffet lunch and did some awesome people watching.

We had to get back to the hotel by 4 because Rangers coach John Tortorella was conducting a conference call to talk about the eight cuts and give some injury updates on Marc Staal and Michael Sauer.

With the work now complete (I know, tough day), it's time to hit the street again. My own personal rule is when I have time in foreign cities, I have to walk around to get a feel for the place.

Gothenburg has a great vibe. Now I finally know what Lundqvist has been talking about all this time.

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
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Posted On Friday, 09.30.2011 / 5:56 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Rangers World Tour

An amazing night in Gothenburg

GOTHENBURG, Sweden -- Considering the Rangers are expected to be making cuts in the next 24 hours, there were other storylines to watch from their perspective tonight. It just wouldn't be right to lump them in with what was an incredible homecoming for Henrik Lundqvist.

So instead, I'm going to push off the other news until Saturday, when the Rangers have a scheduled off day because Lundqvist has planned activities around Gothenburg for all of them. Tonight I'm going empty my recorder right into this blog.

Here are quotes about Lundqvist's night that I didn't use in my main story:

Lundqvist on the experience: "So many memories came up. I had my parents here and my closest friends, but also the Rangers. To have them here feels amazing. It's just a great experience. I will never forget it."

Lundqvist on getting an "A": "They were hiding my jersey until I had to go on. Then I saw it. There were so many things that meant a lot to me today and that was one of them, getting an 'A' here. To have the crowd welcome me like that and the players play a great game. I was very nervous. I wanted to win this game so I don't have to come back next summer and hear about it. Right now I'm just trying to reflect about everything that happened. It's going to take a couple of days."

Lundqvist on facing his twin brother, Joel: "I don't know if it's tough, but it's weird. Somehow I can always tell when he's on the ice and I always get a little more nervous when he gets closer to the net. I definitely don't want him to score. I really don't want him to score so it feels good that he did not score today."

Brian Boyle on Lundqvist: "You just feel happy for the guy. I can't imagine it's easy to go to across the ocean and play, and he's really made a name for himself. He's obviously a great athlete, a great goaltender and he means so much as a player on our team, but he's just a great guy. He's a great teammate, friend and he treats everybody with a lot of respect, it doesn't matter where you are in the organization. He's a good person so you want him to do well and you want good things to happen to him. It's obvious that they have and he's earned it."

Brian Boyle again on Lundqvist's plans for his team-only activity in Gothenburg on Saturday: "He wants us to see it so he has a lot of things set up for us. I know he's done a lot of work in that regard just to get us all together. That's a big thing for a team, and for him to go through a lot of work and make plans to get us involved, he just went out of his way to make sure we enjoy this trip as much as he does."

Tim Erixon on being a part of the experience: "It was exciting to see the ceremony before. You realize just how much they like him here and how big he is here. That was special."

Mike Rupp on seeing Lundqvist in this environment: "It's really neat to see. This is a part of the world that I'm not too familiar with, and you get to see what these guys mean. Sometimes I think we forget how fortunate we are when we play this game that you can look back on your career and see how many different players you've played with and what they mean to their country. It's pretty impressive."

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Posted On Friday, 09.30.2011 / 3:02 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Rangers World Tour

Rangers lead Frolunda, 3-1

GOTHENBURG, Sweden -- The Rangers had to kill four straight penalties going back to the end of the first period, but Henrik Lundqvist made eight saves and came away unscathed. They faced three separate 5-on-3 disadvantages, of 73 seconds, 19 seconds and 48 seconds.

Soon after the final penalty came off the board, the Rangers got on the board, as Michael Del Zotto rifled home a shot from between the circles at the 5:24 mark of the second to give New York a 2-1 lead. Mats Zuccarello and Kris Newbury picked up the assists. Zuccarello made a great pass to get the puck to Del Zotto in space.

Erik Christensen made it 3-1 with 8:16 to play in the second with a shot from a similar spot as Del Zotto. Zuccarello again had the primary assist, with Stu Bickel also picking up the second assist.

The Rangers nearly cashed in with a power-play goal at the buzzer, but Predators prospect Magnus Hellberg made the save for Frolunda, keeping the score 3-1 heading into the third period.

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl

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Posted On Friday, 09.30.2011 / 2:02 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Rangers World Tour

Rangers, Frolunda tied 1-1 after first

GOTHENBURG, Swe. -- They chanted "Hen-ke, Hen-ke, Hen-ke" for Henrik Lundqvist, who was made an ambassador of Gothenburg in a ceremony prior to Friday night's game. He was introduced to a huge ovation and got a chance to wave to the crowd while video clips of his part in Frolunda's celebration after the 2005 Swedish Elite League title were shown above him.

The moments prior to Friday's game here at the Scandinavium were touching, so emotional. I could only imagine what it felt like to be Henrik Lundqvist, who had been looking forward to this game for so long, both with excitement and nervousness.

He got a louder ovation than his old team. Everyone in the sold-out crowd was standing, including media members.

Lundqvist's brother, Joel, who is Frolunda's captain, took part in a ceremonial puck drop with Brian Boyle. The guy dropping the puck was Frolunda legend Ronnie Sundin, who played one game with the Rangers in 1997-98. He also played 67 with Hartford, but he spent the bulk of his playing career in Sweden.

It didn't take the Rangers long to score either. Kris Newbury buried a shot off the rush from the left circle just 2:24 into the game to give the visitor's a 1-0 lead.

However, two-and-a-half minutes later Lundqvist lost the puck after making a save and Jonathan Johnson buried a rebound shot from the high slot to make it 1-1.

The game remains 1-1 after the first period, but Frolunda has a two-man advantage for the first 71 seconds of the second period. Dylan McIlrath (cross checking) and Brandon Prust (interference) are in the penalty box.

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl


 

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Posted On Friday, 09.30.2011 / 12:44 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Rangers World Tour

Lundqvist has a letter

GOTHENBURG -- With captain Ryan Callahan and alternates Brad Richards and Marc Staal all not playing Friday night, Henrik Lundqvist led the Rangers out onto the ice with the letter 'A' sewn onto his game sweater.

Lundqvist, of course, does not normally wear a letter for the Rangers, but this is his night in Gothenburg, in his old building against his former team, and the Rangers deserve credit for recognizing that by giving him the honor of a letter.

I wonder if Lundqvist even knew he was getting it, or it was just on his jersey when he got the arena. I'll have to ask him after the game.

The game is sold out, but when Lundqvist led the Rangers onto the ice for pregame warmups only half the stands were filled. Still, he got a loud applause.

Lundqvist only needs to look up at the championship banners here to remember one of the best times of his career. He led Frolunda to the 2005 Swedish Elite League championship. The banner will hang over his head in the second period.

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
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Posted On Friday, 09.30.2011 / 12:40 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Rangers World Tour

Rangers aren't rookies in Gothenburg

GOTHENBURG, Sweden -- Don't let the headline fool you, because nobody on the current Rangers roster even was out of diapers in 1981. Heck, only four of the 33 players on the roster now even were born around this time 30 years ago.

So the players likely wouldn't know that this isn't the New York Rangers' first visit to the Scandinavium here to play the Frolunda Indians.

On Sept. 22, 1981, in the Rangers' first training camp under coach Herb Brooks, the Rangers beat Frolunda 7-1. It was part of a nine-game NHL/Europe tournament that included the Rangers, Washington Capitals, HIFK Helsinki, AIK Stockholm, Djurgarden Stockholm and Oulu Karpat.

Dave Maloney, who currently works for MSG as a Rangers radio and TV analyst, played in the Rangers' game against Frolunda. He's back in New York doing analysis on MSG on for Friday's game.

Speaking of Friday's game, outside of hometown hero Henrik Lundqvist, the Rangers will dress a thin lineup that won't include Marian Gaborik, Brad Richards, Ryan Callahan, Brandon Dubinsky, Dan Girardi and many others. However, Sean Avery and Brian Boyle will play. Avery had been nursing a sore foot and Boyle had the flu in our first few days in Prague.

Swedes Carl Hagelin and Tim Erixon will play in front of their countrymen.

Frolunda's roster has some familiar names on it, including Lundqvist's twin brother, Joel, who used to play in Dallas. Joel Lundqvist is Frolunda's captain. Christian Backman, who played for the Rangers near the end of the 2007-08 season, is on defense for the Indians. Former Flyer Mika Pyorala will be the left win on the second line. Former Boston Bruin P.J. Axelsson is on the roster, but he's not in the lineup Friday.

Frolunda has five wins and an overtime loss in the first six games of its Swedish Elite League schedule.

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl

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