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Furrer hopes to make good impression

by Dan Rosen

"I'm excited to play and see what the difference is between those players and me. I'm just really excited about the game (Tuesday)."
-- Rangers prospect Philippe Furrer

BERN, Switzerland -- Philippe Furrer probably doesn't have as much at stake Tuesday night as he thinks he does, but SC Bern's defenseman is still looking at the game against the New York Rangers as a grand showcase.

Furrer was a fourth-round pick by the Rangers in 2003 and he's hoping to make a lasting impression on the executives in attendance.

"I don't feel pressure, but I'm excited," said Furrer, who has never competed at a Rangers training camp, but is hopeful to do so next year. "I'm excited to play and see what the difference is between those players and me. I'm just really excited about the game (Tuesday)."

Furrer's only experience with the Rangers came at the 2006 Traverse City Prospects Tournament, where he played with Brandon Dubinsky, Ryan Callahan, Marc Staal and Lauri Korpikoski.

All four could be in the Rangers lineup Tuesday.

"It's fun to see them, but they made it and at the same time I want to be there, too," Furrer said. "It's a big goal for me to dress in that jersey."

Furrer said he remains in touch with Christer Rockstrom, the Rangers’ director of player personnel in Europe, at least twice a month. He was invited to training camp after playing in Traverse City, but was told by SC Bern's management that he couldn't go because they needed him at the start of their season.

"The Rangers contacted me after (this year's) World Championships and they said maybe next year I can take the chance to change from here to there," Furrer said. "If my body is good and I feel good maybe I'll get that chance to go over there and show them what I have."

Furrer hopes to talk with some members of the organization before the Rangers leave town. As of Monday afternoon, that hadn't happened yet.

"It's special to have the whole team here, so there are several eyes looking at me," Furrer said. "It's really important (Tuesday), but at the same time the whole season has to be important for me, especially the World Championship because it's there that you can see how good you are."

Play tight and attack
– The ice surface inside PostFinance Arena may be 15 feet wider than what the Rangers are used to, but Rangers coach Tom Renney's hope is for his players to make it smaller than it actually is.

He said there are ways to create that feeling, too.

"We want to make sure everyone understands it's the same size inside the dots," Renney said. "We have to protect that part of the game and attack it, and actually use the width that is available to you from an offensive perspective to put them on their heals. But, at the same time, we really have to prepare to play in the National Hockey League, so that's why you bring it back within the dots."

We're not dumbChristian Dube, a former Ranger who is SC Bern's leading scorer, hopes his team just plays its usual speed game Tuesday night without too many frills attached.

"If not," Dube said, "we're going to look ridiculous out there."

Dube expects the Rangers to take the game seriously considering their season starts in less than a week and they are 1-5 in the preseason. Plus, New York still has a few jobs up for grabs.

"You can't rock and roll with them. We're not on the same level," Dube said. "We can't be overly physical. They're bigger and stronger and better than us. We're going to try to play our game. I think we'll try to skate and bring our speed. We'll try to do that, but I'm sure they can play with us."

Blind ambition – Renney admitted during a joint press conference Monday with SC Bern coach John Van Boxmeer that other than watching SC Bern's practice in the morning that he has not scouted the Rangers' opponent at all.

But Renney, who has coached in the World Juniors, Olympics and World Championships believes his international experience should help.

"I have a little bit of international experience so I know the concepts of how to play here," Renney said. "We do know a bit of the players on their roster, and at the same time we have respect for John and how he coaches. We know we'll have our hands full. It's important for us to play our game."

Asked by a Swiss reporter if the Rangers will take it easy on the hometown boys, Renney looked over at Van Boxmeer, a former NHL player and coach, and said, "I think the coach of the Bern team will be awfully disappointed if we didn't challenge his team."

Van Boxmeer smiled.

"You always want to test yourself against the best," Van Boxmeer said.

Coaches like blended rules – Tuesday night's game will be the first ever played under blended IIHF and NHL rules.

The IIHF rule of no-touch icing will be enforced, but so too will the NHL rule that restricts teams that ice the puck of making a line change. There will also be no trapezoid restricting the goalies.

The four-man officiating crew is made up of one referee and one linesman from each organization.

"I love the idea of no changes after icing," Van Boxmeer said. "I think here the players like to ice the puck needlessly. We need to speed up the game."

Renney is hopeful one day the IIHF and the NHL can have the same rulebook.

"We're trying to marry the two continents here," Renney said.

Extras – Metallurg Magnitogorsk arrived in Bern Monday morning and practiced at PostFinance Arena later in the afternoon. … SC Bern will take the ice Tuesday morning for an hour-long, pre-game skate at 10 a.m. local time. The Rangers have the ice for 90 minutes starting at 11:15 a.m. Magnitogorsk will practice from 1-2:30 before Renney and Magnitogorsk coach Valery Belousov hold a joint press conference. … The game begins at 6 p.m. local time.

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