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Wolski excited for new opportunity with Rangers

Tuesday, 01.11.2011 / 6:06 PM / NHL Insider

By Dave Lozo - NHL.com Staff Writer

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Wolski excited for new opportunity with Rangers
After flashing ability but not living up to his potential, Wojtek Wolski is eager to be the player he is expected to be as he comes to the Rangers.
NEW YORK -- Wojtek Wolski was expected to arrive in time for his first practice with the New York Rangers on Tuesday morning, but a cancelled flight kept him from getting to the Greenburgh, N.Y., training facility on time.

A delay in Wolski's arrival is pretty fitting.

The 24-year-old has flashed immense talent and promise, but it hasn't shown up consistently. That inconsistency is why he was dealt by the Colorado Avalanche at the trade deadline last season and sent packing once again by the Phoenix Coyotes on Monday. Wolski will make his Rangers debut Tuesday night against the Montreal Canadiens and is looking for his second fresh start in less than a year.

"I didn't expect it to be New York, but I'm happy it was," Wolski said Tuesday, just two hours after he arrived in Manhattan. "I love being here. ... It's something that happens in hockey, you get traded. You move teams and I'm hoping for a new opportunity here."

That opportunity will begin with him playing on a line with Marian Gaborik and Artem Anisimov against the Canadiens. Wolski had a career-high 23 goals and 65 points in 80 games with the Avalanche and Coyotes last season but just 6 goals and 10 assists in 36 games this season.

Wolski tried to explain his poor season.

"I think off the bat, I had a tough start," said Wolski, who had 1 goal in his first 15 games. "I kind of figured things out and started playing well. I think overall, the system that we played was a little more defensive than I'm used to. That obviously didn't help my game.

"I just think I personally struggled a little this year. I think as a team we were very inconsistent up and down. I knew there was going to be some changes just to kind of shake things up and move the team in the right direction."

Rangers coach John Tortorella didn't have a chance to talk right away with Wolski, who said he was looking forward to playing in a system that wasn't as defensive as the one in Phoenix, but wants him to be as creative as he can within the confines of the Rangers' system, which is anything but run and gun.

"It's funny, huh? Perception," Tortorella said when told of how Wolski imagined the Rangers playing a wide-open game. "We certainly will not get in his way offensively. We want to see his skill. He's going to be taught situational play, as we always do to our guys. It's going to be a give and take as far as understanding how we play. It will take a little time, but we're certainly are looking for him to express himself with his skill and the creativity."

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo
Quote of the Day

The groove of being behind a bench is going to be interesting at first, but thank God we have a few exhibition games to get rid of those cobwebs. Overall the excitement of it all and the freshness and coming back refreshed, all those things are going to be assets. If [the players] come ready to give their best effort in practice and games, good things are going to happen. I'm always looking for results. It's not always on the scoreboard. It's winning and building something.

— Bryan Trottier on making his return to coaching as an assistant with the Sabres