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