STOCKHOLM -- Jeff Woywitka was wide awake and excited Saturday morning. Nothing could wipe the smile off his face, not even the jet lag he had to be feeling or the thought that he'll be back on a plane after the game against the Ducks, heading to another hotel bed.
The Rangers claimed Woywitka off waivers from Montreal on Thursday. He didn't play Friday and he won't play tonight either, but he's here and he's excited to be a Ranger despite his whirlwind last two days.
"It's been interesting and also exciting," Woywitka told NHL.com after taking part in his first optional skate as a Ranger. "I was put on waivers the other day, and you never know what can happen. If you clear you can end up going down, but obviously your main goal is to stay in the NHL. To get picked up and have another opportunity to play it's exciting for me, especially with an organization like the Rangers. I know a few of the guys here, and things are good."
Since Woywitka was in Toronto with the Canadiens, he left from there on an 8:50 p.m. ET flight to Copenhagen. After an hour and a half layover, he flew to Stockholm and got here around 1 p.m. local time Friday.
Woywitka didn't walk into the Rangers team hotel here until 2:30.
"Most of the guys were already in their pregame naps," said Woywitka, who played the last two seasons in Dallas with Brad Richards. "I got to the hotel and saw Brendan Bell, a guy I played World Juniors with. I hung out in the lobby, talked to him, met a few of the guys -- it was good. I came to the game, saw a good one, and Stockholm looks like a very historic, unique city. It's nice to get a chance to experience that and see a new part of the world."
Woywitka experienced his first team meeting with Rangers coach John Tortorella on Saturday. He was also one of 12 guys to skate after the meeting.
He'll get a better crash course in the Rangers ways when the team gets back on its routine in New York next week. For now, though, he couldn't stop raving about how well he is being treated.
"Everything was set up perfectly," he said about his travel here. "Everything was straightforward, lined up. You can just tell these guys do it first class here. That's all you can ask for. It makes you feel comfortable."
It also makes him feel confident that once he gets to New York, Woywitka will have some help setting up his life there. He's a single guy so he doesn't have to worry about moving a family, but the adjustment is still taxing.
"That's part of the NHL," Woywitka said. "There are a lot of movements here and there, but I'm excited about it. The way I've been treated here already, I'm sure it's not going to be a big issue getting settled. Obviously there is going to be a change, but I'm looking forward to it."
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