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Rangers know how much practice means

by Dan Rosen
ZUG, Switzerland -- John Tortorella said originally the Rangers were supposed to play in Budapest on Monday night, but that game got cancelled. Instead of keeping Monday as an open date, the Rangers worked with the NHL to schedule their game against EV Zug at Bossard Arena.

From an atmosphere and money-making standpoint, packing the arena and selling all kinds of merchandise made the night a success. From a coaching standpoint, Tortorella now wishes the game were never scheduled only because he would have loved to use it as a practice day.

The Rangers lost the game, 8-4.

"We played four games in five nights and you tell me how many countries we've been in … I don't know," Tortorella said. "When we were doing the schedule, we added this one and I wish we had this as a practice day. I think we need to practice. We haven't practiced."

The Rangers last good, long, hard practice came last Wednesday in Prague. They played Thursday against Sparta Prague and Friday in Gothenburg against Frolunda. They were given Saturday off and then played Sunday in Bratislava against HC Slovan and Monday here against EV Zug.

They will travel to Stockholm on Tuesday and will not skate, but Tortorella has grand plans for practice sessions Wednesday and Thursday at Ericsson Globe Arena.

"It's going to be good to recharge our batteries and refocus our energy and efforts into some practices on Wednesday and Thursday before the weekend comes," Brandon Dubinsky said.

The Rangers have some work to do with their power play and keeping their sticks on the ice so they stop taking some unnecessary penalties. They've got to figure out exactly who is going to play left wing on the line with Brad Richards and Marian Gaborik.

Wojtek Wolski likely has the edge in that race, but he's been dealing with a sore groin, so he needs to get back on the ice and practice. The same goes for defenseman Michael Sauer, who has worked out only once since spraining his shoulder last week in Philadelphia.

Tortorella expects Wolski and Sauer to practice with the team on Wednesday.

"Every city that we've been in has been very hospitable," Dubinsky said. "The hotels have been great, the service great and obviously the crowds in the game have been an excellent experience. It's been great, but I can't wait to get ready, get our season under way, to play for points. We're just excited to get to Stockholm."

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter: @drosennhl

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