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Posted On Monday, 09.26.2011 / 6:55 PM

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

Bags are packed, time to fly

PHILADELPHIA -- Welcome to a blog that will focus strictly on the world tour the New York Rangers will embark on beginning Monday night from Philadelphia. I'll be on this 13-night, four-country trip the team and will be taking you through their days, providing some color on what the boys are up to, who makes the final roster, and of course, how they the beginning of their season in Stockholm against Los Angeles and Anaheim.

This is my fourth straight season going over to Europe to cover the Compuware NHL Premiere. It's my second time traveling with the Rangers as we were together in 2008 when they opened the season in Prague against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The trip begins Monday night from Philadelphia, where the Rangers are playing a preseason game and earlier in the day the 2012 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic was officially announced. Shortly after the game at Wells Fargo Center concludes, we'll be bussing to the airport, where a plane awaits to take us to Prague.

We will land in Prague Tuesday afternoon local time. The schedule from there remains up in the air, but the first of New York's four preseason games in Europe is Thursday night at Tesla Arena against HC Sparta.

The Rangers also play in Gothenburg, Sweden on Friday, Bratislava, Slovakia on Sunday and Zug, Switzerland next Monday before traveling to Stockholm. They open the regular season Oct. 7 against Los Angeles and then face Anaheim on Oct. 8.

As long as you follow here you'll know exactly where the team is, what they're up to, who they're playing, who's playing well, who is not, what foreign cuisine I'm trying, and anything else you're interested in, however small it may be.

That said, there is already some major news. Marc Staal is not here in Philadelphia and will not be making the trip overseas with his team.

Staal, the Rangers No. 1 blueliner, has been having headaches believed to be from a concussion he suffered in February. The Rangers remain hopeful that Staal will join them in Europe sometime before they open the regular season against Los Angeles on Oct. 7.

The Rangers also trimmed two forwards off their current roster before the plane leaves the tarmac, Andreas Thuresson and Andre Deveaux. Coach John Tortorella was adamant prior to Monday's game that he knew who the team was going to take to Europe and provided there are no monumental surprises or debilitating injuries, the list is set.

Tortorella plans to have three goalies, 10 defensemen and 19 forwards in Europe for the final four preseason games. Some of them will obviously be coming home before the regular season begins.

To find out who, and anything else about the Rangers world tour, make sure you follow along with me. We'll go on this journey together.

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
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Posted On Monday, 09.26.2011 / 6:22 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Classic chatter

Torts is into it

John Tortorella is all for the drama surrounding the 2012 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic, but using his plain and simple terms, the Rangers coach summed up the importance of the game between his squad the Flyers on Jan. 2 at Citizens Bank Park.

"At the beginning of January it's going to be a huge two points," Tortorella said with a deadpan look. "Our players will know that we're supposed to win this game to grab those two points."

He is, of course, accurate. The two points are big, especially when you consider the Flyers and Rangers are the first division rivals to play in a Winter Classic since Chicago and Detroit in 2009.

That said, Tortorella understands there are bigger elements at play here. Most notably, the rivalry between the Flyers and Rangers.

Tortorella agreed that the games against the Flyers are more intense than your average regular season game.

"Well, yeah, you're just down the street and it is a pretty bitter rivalry as it's gone on," he said. "I'll just leave it at that."

Imagine what he would have said had he gone on?
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Posted On Monday, 09.26.2011 / 6:13 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Classic chatter

Ancillary events planned at Citizens Bank Park

Comcast Spectacor President and COO Peter Luukko announced Monday that the 2012 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic won't be the only major hockey event to take place at Citizens Bank Park this winter.

Luukko said the Flyers and Rangers are planning to have an alumni game on Dec. 31. The Adirondack Phantoms, the Flyers' AHL affiliate, will also return to Philadelphia to play the Hershey Bears at Citizens Bank Park on Jan. 6 at 7 p.m. ET.

The Flyers, Phillies and the City of Philadelphia are also trying to secure some high school and college hockey at the ballpark, as well as some public skating.

The League is expected to have the rink ready by Dec. 31, so save for the alumni game, the ancillary events at the ballpark will likely be happening after the Winter Classic game is played on Jan. 2.

"We don't want to make this just one great game, but really a celebration and festival of hockey," Luukko said. "In 1967 when Ed Snider started the team, there were probably a couple of rinks and a handful of players (in the Philadelphia area). Today, there are 51 rinks in the area, 71 sheets of ice and over 35,000 kids registered to play hockey in the Philadelphia market. We are a hockey town."
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Posted On Monday, 09.26.2011 / 1:31 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Classic chatter

HBO returns with '24/7'

HBO is back this season with its Emmy Award winning 24/7 series.

The Flyers and Rangers will be featured in four episodes that air every Wednesday beginning on Dec. 14 at 10 p.m. ET.

The final episode on Jan. 4 will feature footage of the 2012 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic between the Atlantic Division rivals on Jan. 2 at Citizens Bank Park.

HBO 24/7 documented the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals last year. It was the first time the network went inside two teams during the season.
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Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 3:26 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Super Saturday

Rangers camp: Tortorella looking at young guys

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Signing Brad Richards and Mike Rupp during the summer was a needed and warranted step in the evolution of the current New York Rangers. But, coach John Tortorella is still banking on a number of young players to win roster spots in this training camp.

"We have to try to continue to try to infuse more youth into our lineup," Tortorella said. "During the summer we went in a direction and got a couple of veteran guys. That's where we are in our process. We're still a very young team now, but we added some people at the other end that can mentor. There are spots open and there is going to be competition along the way because we want to continue to try to get young guys in there.

"They have to earn it, but it's a good situation for them," he continued. "There are a number of young kids out there that are going to vie for a spot depending on how they play."
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Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 3:18 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Super Saturday

Rangers camp: Sauer testing himself

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Rangers defenseman Michael Sauer waited until both sessions of on-ice testing were complete to finally get on the ice to test out his injured knee. Sauer, who worked with assistant coach Mike Sullivan, even got to skate with pucks, which weren't supposed to show up until Sunday's scrimmages.

Sauer, who has tendinitis in his knee, is not doing any of the on-ice testing, but if he feels good enough after he skates Saturday, Rangers coach John Tortorella said he will participate in the camp's first scrimmage Sunday.

"We didn't want him to jump into the type of skate like that today when he hasn't skated a whole bunch," Tortorella said. "We'll get him tested sooner or later, but we'll see if he can get into the practices and scrimmages tomorrow."

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
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Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 2:28 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Super Saturday

Rangers Camp: Anisimov relieved knee is OK

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Rangers center Artem Anisimov didn't need the doctors to tell him Friday he needed an MRI. Anisimov wanted to go get one just to be sure there was nothing structurally or otherwise wrong with his left knee, which didn't bother him when he was skating but did hurt a bit when he walked.

Anisimov on Saturday expressed his relief when he found out that the MRI was negative, that his knee was clean and that he could resume his normal routine, which included getting on the ice with his group for the day’s round of fitness testing.

"I don't understand what the doctor was saying, but he just said, 'You're alright, you can skate and go,' " Anisimov said with a smile. "I had some concern, but I feel fine."

Asked what he wants to show coach John Tortorella in this training camp and preseason, Anisimov talked about confidence. He was only semi-happy with how he played last season (44 points in 82 games) and he wants to improve on everything in what should be his third full season.

"I want more points, more ice time," he said. "I need to show it on the ice. I can talk forever, but I need to show it on the ice."

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
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Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 2:14 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Super Saturday

Rangers camp: Gaborik skating with last group

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Marian Gaborik was scheduled to skate with the first group on the ice here Saturday, but he was instead doing some off-ice testing to catch up from missing all of Friday's activities. The Rangers star right wing, who said he feels good and is ready to go, is instead skating with the last group that will do the on-ice fitness testing Saturday.

Gaborik returned to New York on Friday after spending six days in Slovakia to attend the funeral for his good friend and former teammate, Pavol Demitra, who was killed in the Central Russia plane crash that wiped out the Yaroslavl Lokomotiv hockey team on Sept. 7.

"To get back with the guys, with the group and to get this skating and testing done and jump right back into the preseason games -- hopefully I'll recover from the jet lag as quick as I can and be ready," Gaborik said.

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl

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Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 1:34 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Super Saturday

Rangers Camp: Anisimov on the ice, Gaborik is not

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Marian Gaborik is in the building after returning from Slovkia, where earlier this week he attended the funeral for good friend and former teammate Pavol Demitra. However, the Rangers star right wing is not on the ice with his group.

There is no word yet on why Gaborik is not skating.

After sitting out the first day of fitness testing as a precaution, Rangers center Artem Anisimov was on the ice with his group Saturday afternoon, doing the sprint drills that everybody else was doing.

Anisimov was kept off the ice Friday after the doctors felt he needed to go for an MRI on his knee (it was not specified which knee). The MRI came back clean, so Anisimov was cleared to participate.

Rangers coach John Tortorella said that at some point Anisimov will have to make up the fitness testing he missed Friday.

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
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Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 12:25 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Super Saturday

Rangers camp: Del Zotto's swagger leads to success

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Rangers coach John Tortorella talked Friday about third-year defenseman Michael Del Zotto needing to "have a swagger about himself, but it also needs to be the proper swagger."

Del Zotto addressed that same topic Saturday in a brief chat with the media, saying he knows that he has to "bring my swagger back. It seems like a broken record here, but when I have my swagger I know what I can do and I definitely fit in."

That's interesting rhetoric, but Del Zotto knows he has to use training camp and the preseason schedule to prove to Tortorella and the Rangers brass that he fits into the team's blueline plans for the start of the season. He had a tremendous rookie season as an 18-year-old in 2009-10, but Del Zotto admittedly made mistakes both on and off the ice last season and it cost him a roster spot as he was sent down to the Connecticut Whale on two separate occasions.

He wound up breaking his finger in early March and then required sports hernia surgery in early May. Del Zotto, who was humbled by his experiences last season, said he worked harder than ever this past summer to bulk up and get in the proper shape in order to show the Rangers that he belongs.

"I learned from my experiences, my mistakes last year," Del Zotto said. "It's a whole different year and I'm a whole different person this year."

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
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Quote of the Day

I feel that responsibility, I've felt it for the last two years. We core guys get a lot of minutes, we get a lot of opportunity out there. Our teammates, the organization and fans look to us to be the guys to put the puck in the net and to create momentum out there.

— Jordan Eberle on taking his game and the Edmonton Oilers to the next level