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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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Posted On Friday, 09.30.2011 / 12:03 PM

NHL.com - Roster Call

Roster Call for September 30, 2011

The following NHL teams have announced the following roster moves today.

  Anaheim Ducks

Re-assigned to AHL: Bryan Rodney.

  Calgary Flames

Re-assigned to AHL: Lance Bouma, Paul Byron.

  Los Angeles Kings

Signed to contract: Trent Hunter.
Re-assigned to AHL: Andrei Loktionov.

  Montreal Canadiens

Re-assigned to AHL: Joonas Nattinen.

  New York Islanders

Signed to contract: Steve Staios.

  St. Louis Blues

Recalled: Jonathan Cheechoo, Anthony Peluso, Brett Sterling, Mark Cundari.

  Winnipeg Jets

Re-assigned to AHL: Carl Klingberg.
Placed on waivers with intention of being re-assigned: Brett Festerling, Spencer Machacek.
Released: David Koci.
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Posted On Friday, 09.30.2011 / 8:40 AM

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

Thin lineup expected for Rangers

GOTHENBURG, Swe. -- Henrik Lundqvist will be the star of the show Friday night here at Scandinavium, but he won't have much of his NHL buddies playing for him. Rangers coach John Tortorella wants to get a look at some of the guys who for now are targeted for the AHL, a lot of the forwards that played Thursday in Prague will not be in the lineup against Frolunda.

The scratches who skated in the afternoon here include:

Marian Gaborik, Brad Richards, Artem Anisimov, Ryan Callahan, Brandon Dubinsky, Derek Stepan, Ruslan Fedotenko, Dan Girardi, Ryan McDonagh, Steve Eminger and Mike Sauer.

Odds are that Dylan McIlrath and Blake Parlett, who has not played in a preseason game yet, will draw in on defense for McDonagh and Eminger. Girardi also didn't play Thursday. Brendan Bell, Stu Bickel, Tim Erixon and Michael Del Zotto will join McIlrath and Parlett on the blue line.

Since the Rangers won't dress seven forwards that played Thursday night, I would venture to guess that Sean Avery (sore foot) and Brian Boyle (flu) will play Friday night along with Carl Hagelin, Dale Weise, Ryan Bourque, Kris Newbury and John Mitchell.

Mike Rupp, Brandon Prust, Mats Zuccarello, Wojtek Wolski and Erik Christensen should fill out the 12 forward spots. They all played Thursday as well.

Seeing Sauer skating with the scratches is interesting because he has been out with a sprained shoulder. I hope to have more from him once the guys are off the ice.

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
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Posted On Friday, 09.30.2011 / 8:16 AM

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

Lundqvist, Rangers arrive in Sweden

GOTHENBURG, Swe. -- Henrik Lundqvist has been waiting for this day ever since finding out the Rangers would be traveling to Europe to begin the season. He's back in the town where his star was born, where he won a Swedish Elite League championship, where his brother is now the captain of the local team.

Lundqvist will be in net Friday night to take on his old team, the Frolunda Indians, at his old stadium, the Scandinavium, in front of many old friends and family members. He has admitted there are some nerves to go along with his excitement.

I saw him this morning at breakfast at the hotel in Prague and, clad in his designer suit, Lundqvist looked as calm as ever. I saw him again when the team was unloading their luggage off the team bus in front of their hotel here in Gothenburg, and again he looked calm.

I likely won't see Lundqvist again until he hits the ice Friday night. I gotta imagine that at some point that look of complete composure will crumble just a little.

The Rangers lineup for Friday's game hasn't been made known yet, but odds are some of the top forwards will not be on the ice because they played Thursday night in Prague and coach John Tortorella wants to see guys like Dale Weise, Carl Hagelin, John Mitchell, Kris Newbury and Ryan Bourque.

It will be interesting to see if Sean Avery and Brian Boyle crack the lineup. Avery has been bothered by a sore foot and Boyle is getting over the flu.

I'll have more information on the lineup soon enough.

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
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Posted On Thursday, 09.29.2011 / 5:50 PM

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

Del Zotto, Erixon play well, but ...

PRAGUE -- Michael Del Zotto and Tim Erixon were noticeable all game as they helped the Rangers to a 2-0 win against HC Sparta Prague on Thursday. Del Zotto had a key assist on Ruslan Fedotenko's power-play goal and Erixon was credited with a pair of assists -- his most important play was the pass that set up Artem Anisimov for the Rangers first goal.

However, Rangers coach John Tortorella wasn't exactly throwing out the superlatives to his two young defensemen, who are still trying to make the opening night roster.

Tortorella said evaluating Del Zotto and Erixon off Thursday's game is tough because of the larger international ice surface. Both are skilled skaters and puck-movers -- the kind of players who are always going to fare better when they have more room to operate.

"There is more room and it's hard to take time and space (away)," Tortorella said. "You could see we struggled with that in the first period. When we start playing in North America there is not going to be a lot of room -- and these situations, Michael and Erixon, players like that, are going to have to thrive in if they want to continue to get ice time.

"But they did some good things (Thursday)."

Tortorella already knows what Del Zotto is capable of in an NHL game on NHL-sized ice. Erixon is coming to the Rangers from Sweden, so he was noticeably more comfortable on the larger surface because that's all he knows.

That said, Tortorella did give the kid some praise, an obvious sign of how badly he wants Erixon to make the team.

"He's improving," the coach said. "He's playing a system that he hasn't played before. We've asked him to do some things he's not comfortable with. He's improving along the way here."

It's highly probable that both Erixon and Del Zotto will play again Friday in Gothenburg. The ice sheet will again be big, but there's nothing the coach can do about it.

"It's a puck-control type of situation where you're not going to have a lot of the same puck-control when you play in a North American arena," Tortorella said. "It's a different game playing in a big rink. My biggest fear is we don't get into bad habits because we're going to be playing on small ice once the season starts."

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He seemed to thrive on his own and didn't really need any push from me. I certainly don't want to get in the way of the coaches. You see how that goes sometimes. I never really worried about it and just enjoyed the ride.

— David Ekblad on his son's [Aaron Ekblad] journey to the NHL, signing with the Florida Panthers