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Posted On Wednesday, 09.28.2011 / 5:33 AM

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

Is that Sean Avery in the stands?

PRAGUE -- Petr Rada has the light goatee, the dark-rimmed glasses, the short hair and the No. 16 on his back.

If you didn't know better, you would think that he was Sean Avery. That's exactly the reaction Rada, a buyer for a sporting goods company, is going for.

Avery is Rada's favorite player and the obvious influence behind his look.

"He's a very funny guy," Rada said. "For example, if you remember four years ago in the playoffs, Rangers-Devils, his thing with Martin Brodeur, it was very funny. Sean also likes fashion and I like fashion. The last time the New York Rangers were in Prague he wasn't here, but he is now and it's great."

Rada, who was among the roughly 2,000 people at Tesla Arena watching the Rangers practice Wednesday morning, said he caught up with Avery prior to the skate and was able to convince him to take a picture together.
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Posted On Tuesday, 09.27.2011 / 5:34 PM

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

Enjoying some fine local cuisine

PRAGUE -- This blog will be focused mainly on the Rangers, but from time to time over these two weeks I will interject some of my own experiences from this trip away from the team. As much as it is about them, it's also about the experience here and I want to do my best to bring you here with my words because I can't bring you, the readers, here physically.

So, after finishing up my work around 8 o'clock Tuesday night (still only 2 o'clock my time), I met up with good friend and media colleague Jim Cerny, who covers the Rangers for the team's website and does a darn fine job at it may I add. We headed out for dinner, with both of us looking for some traditional Czech food.

Hey, when in Rome, right? Or, when in Prague? You get the point.

Thanks to the helpful English-speaking gentleman at the front desk of the hotel, we made our way up the street to Kolkovna, a restaurant that advertises itself as being a traditional Czech eatery.

Sounds perfect...and it was. The guy at the front desk was spot on, even though I found out later that it was a chain.

I started out with an assortment of starter meats, including pickled sausage, ham, some type of cheese, and a few other things on the plate. To be honest, I didn't care what was there, I was hungry, it was good, I was happy.

Keeping with my traditional theme, I ordered Pilsen Goulash for my main course. The meat was succulent, the sauce was fantastic, the potato pancake was spot on and the bread dumpling pulled it all together.

Forgive me if I feel like I'm on the Food Network right now, but it was just really good. What made it even better was the Pilsner that I washed it down with.

Hey, again, when in Rome...or Prague.

After taking a long walk around the cobblestone streets, we made it back to the hotel, where I am now blogging about the meal.

The Rangers have an 11 a.m. practice tomorrow. That means it's 5 a.m. ET.

By the time you guys are either awake or at work, I'll likely have a new blog post up and be itching to do more.

The Pilsner Pub is calling my name for tomorrow night.

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
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Posted On Tuesday, 09.27.2011 / 1:11 PM

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

Sauer still a possibility for preseason game

PRAGUE -- Rangers coach John Tortorella didn't want to rule out defenseman Mike Sauer playing in one of the team's four remaining preseason games before the regular season begins Oct. 7. Sauer sprained his right shoulder early in Monday's game in Philadelphia and has been ruled out for at least a week, but that's not set in stone.

"It depends," Tortorella said. "His injury, we're talking about a week, but you never know how he'll heal. If he feels well enough, we want to try to get him some action."

Sean Avery also sat out Tuesday's practice after injuring the big toe on his right foot blocking a shot in the second period Monday night. Avery, who did not wear a shoe on his right foot when he got on the plane, may have lost the entire nail.

"He's got a sore foot," Tortorella said. "I'm not sure where he'll be (Wednesday)."

There was no update on Marc Staal's status on Tuesday. He remains in New York. I'll try to get an update Wednesday because maybe Tortorella will know more by then.

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
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Posted On Tuesday, 09.27.2011 / 1:07 PM

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

Rangers make it through Day 1

PRAGUE -- The Rangers started Tuesday's practice at Tesla Arena with some skating drills. They did laps around the ice to get their legs moving, the blood flowing.

The pucks came out a little later and they did some basic passing and shooting drills, including 2-on-0s. The practice closed with a game of mini 3-on-3 with the nets situated on each blue line and the players jumping on and off the ice rapidly.

It wasn't exactly light-hearted because Tortorella did some yelling and made sure to get his message across in a pair of impassioned speeches, one during practice and one after practice, but the workout was crisp and there was a purpose to it.

"We're trying to get into the time zone," Tortorella said in front of a larger than anticipated media throng. "We had a long, good travel night. It worked out very smoothly, but we're trying to keep them up, get them accustomed to this time zone and just get a sweat.

"Sometimes when you switch venues, especially coming this far, we forget what we're doing. It's not to look at a beautiful area out here; we're here to get ready for a hockey season. We have a lot of work to do."

After months of talking about the trip, the Rangers are just happy that they're finally here and it's under way.

"It's really nice to get a practice under your belt, get off the plane, just relax and get organized and settled in the city," captain Ryan Callahan said. "We've been talking about the trip now for a long time, so to be here now and get settled, it's a good feeling."

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl

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Posted On Tuesday, 09.27.2011 / 9:52 AM

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

Rangers have arrived, time to sweat

PRAGUE -- The flight was about as uneventful as it gets. The players sat in the first-class seats of the giant 767 we flew to Prague while the Rangers coaches, executive staff, doctors, trainers, equipment managers and NHL personnel such as myself lounged in coach, each with our own row.

Dinner was served shortly after we took off from Philadelphia and then it was lights out until the captain said we were close to Prague and the breakfast service began.

We landed here at 1 p.m. local time, which for us was 7 a.m. The crew on the tarmac seemed genuinely thrilled to see the Rangers. One of them even had a jersey that he was getting signed. They were all using their camera phones.

The bus ride from the airport to the hotel was long and eventful as the drivers of our giant buses tried to navigate through the narrow, hilly roads that were further constricted by construction.

Once we got to the hotel there was a sizable contingent of autograph seekers waiting for the Rangers. They all had their binders with hockey cards and they were eager. The Rangers obliged on their way into the hotel.

After taking about 45 minutes to shower and refresh, the players met to head over to Tesla Arena.

Rangers coach John Tortorella wants to put his team through a practice so they can get a sweat and get the jet lag out of their systems.

That's where we are heading now.
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Posted On Monday, 09.26.2011 / 8:27 PM

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

Rangers lose Sauer to shoulder sprain

PHILADELPHIA -- New York Rangers defenseman Michael Sauer left Monday's preseason game against the Flyers early in the first period with what was diagnosed as a right shoulder sprain.

Sauer was run into the boards by Flyers forward Zac Rinaldo. He hit the end boards awkwardly and was immediately taken to the dressing room.

With the Rangers set to travel to Europe after Monday's game, Sauer reported to the security screening at Wells Fargo Center wearing a sling. Rangers coach John Tortorella said X-rays on his right shoulder were negative, but he is thought to be out at least a week.

The Rangers are already without No. 1 defenseman Marc Staal, who has been suffering from headaches that are likely a result of a concussion he suffered last season. Staal will not travel with the Rangers to Europe, but the team remains hopeful that he will join them overseas before the start of the regular season on Oct. 7.

Sauer is one of 10 blueliners the Rangers are planning to take to Europe. The list also includes Ryan McDonagh, Dan Girardi, Steve Eminger, Tim Erixon, Michael Del Zotto, Dylan McIlrath, Brendan Bell, Stu Bickel and Blake Parlett.

Rangers forward Sean Avery also had X-rays on the big toe on his right foot, which came back negative. He blocked a shot in the second period and spent the rest of the game icing his toe, which was bloody.

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

I remember the first time at Wrigley Field all of us had the long johns, the turtlenecks and the extra equipment because we were afraid of being cold. Halfway through the first period everybody's ripping everything off and we just ended up wearing what we would normally wear for a game at the United Center.

— Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp on the 2009 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic