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By Jim Cerny, newyorkrangers.com
The Sept. 17 opening of the Rangers’ 2010 training camp is still a little more than two weeks away, but that didn’t stop 11 players from gathering at the MSG Training Center on Monday for an informal on-ice workout.
One of the veteran Blueshirts taking part was Russian center Artem Anisimov
, who has been a regular visitor to the club’s training facility for more than a month. Anisimov reported that he has fully recovered from off-season surgery to his hand, a procedure that became necessary after the 22-year-old suffered an injury while winning a silver medal at the 2010 World Championship tournament in Germany.
|Rangers center Artem Anisimov stands next to new teammate Todd White during an informal pre-camp workout on Monday at the MSG Training Center. |
“The hand feels great, there are no problems at all,” said Anisimov, who appeared in all 82 games as a Rangers rookie last season. “I’ve been working hard in the summer and I am in good shape. I am ready to go and am very excited to start training camp.”
Anisimov was in a cast from his elbow to his hand for six weeks following the surgery, but as soon as the cast came off, he departed his native Russia and headed to New York to prepare for his sophomore season in the NHL.
“I need to prove myself again by working hard,” said Anisimov, who notched 12 goals and 28 points a year ago.
“All that matters is that the team wins. I just want to help my team win. I don’t think about statistics, goals, or assists.”Eminger at Training Center
Newcomer Steve Eminger
also took part in Monday’s workout. The 26-year-old defenseman, acquired from Anaheim earlier this summer, split his off-season between Toronto and Philadelphia.
|Defenseman Steve Eminger, acquired by the Rangers in an off-season trade, got his first taste of the Blueshirts' practice facility on Monday. |
While he was living in Philly, Eminger took advantage of its proximity to New York City by taking the train into Penn Station several times this summer to get to know his new in-season home better.
Eminger is also eager to get to know his new organization and teammates, which is one reason why he showed up well before the start of camp.
“It can be tough, but I think hockey players are a good group of guys where it makes it pretty easy for new players to come in and feel at ease,” said Eminger, who will be playing for his sixth organization since breaking into the league with the Washington Capitals during the 2002-03 season.
“There are a lot of opportunities for guys here, especially on defense, so nothing is set in stone,” Eminger said of looking to make the team out of training camp. “It’s been that way for me in the past on different teams. Training camp is not a time to come in and get in shape. It’s a time for business.”
Asked what number he would wear for the Rangers this season, Eminger said that he did not know, further adding that he would be happy to snag No. 7, his number with the Ducks last season. Unfortunately, Eminger soon learned that he can’t have that number because it is retired in honor of Rangers legend Rod Gilbert
After hearing about the unavailability of No. 7, Eminger showed his quick wit in response.
“I don’t expect a big ceremony on opening night where the jersey is brought down (from the rafters at Madison Square Garden) and he hands over his number,” Eminger dead-panned.
Eminger also dismissed any notion that that No. 77 might be an acceptable alternative to his favorite number, since he feels the No. 77 would be “too flashy” for him.
The other nine players at the Training Center on Monday included captain Chris Drury, alternate captain Vinny Prospal, forwards Brandon Dubinsky
, Evgeny Grachev, Todd White, and Mats Zuccarello
Aasen, defensemen Wade Redden
and Pavel Valentenko
, and goaltender Henrik Lundqvist
. More players are expected to arrive throughout the week.