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Well, it’s the last day in the good old USA for awhile. After tonight’s game it’s off to Prague, where I’ll provide daily updates from what is sure to be a memorable trip.
New York City has been absolute gridlock since we arrived due to all the dignitaries in town for meetings at The United Nations. The bus ride from the airport last night seemed to take forever and the ride back from the morning skate today was so bad everyone eventually got off the bus and walked.
Based on the players who came off early at today’s skate, this appears to be tonight’s lineup:
Forwards – Gratton, Konopka, Jokinen, Stamkos, Malone, Artyukhin, Ouellet, St. Louis, Bochenski, Vrbata, Koci, Recchi.
Defensemen – O’Brien, Smaby, Meszaros, Niskala, Hutchinson, Carle.
Goaltender – Ramo, Kolzig.
Ramo came off first so it looks like his game. Head coach Barry Melrose made it sound like there will be more cuts tonight after the game, but he didn’t say how many. Melrose also addressed the imminent European swing.
“We’re as prepared as we can be,” he said. “We’re still in camp but I want it to be a positive experience too, so I’m not going to be cracking the whip every day. I expect it to be a bonding time.”
Melrose also revealed he plans to start Kolzig against Berlin, his former team. Of the four games played, the first two (Berlin and Bratislava) will be played on the larger, international ice surfaces, while the two games against the Rangers will be on NHL-sized ice.