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Blueshirt Prospects Get Taste of NHL, New York

by Staff Writer / New York Rangers


See photos from Development Camp >>

For more than a dozen Rangers prospects, their recent three-day trip to New York was an eye-opening experience. From the challenging off-ice conditioning sessions to the high-tempo on-ice workouts, to hanging with the New York Mets at Shea Stadium, these Blueshirt hopefuls left with a great Big Apple experience and a taste of life in the NHL.

The Rangers recently welcomed 14 prospects, all from the college and Canadian junior ranks, to the Madison Square Garden Training Center as part of a three-day Development Camp from June 2 to June 4.

Each day, the players participated in morning off-ice sessions that included weight and strength training, yoga-specific stretching and sessions with a nutritionist. Following lunch, the boys took to the ice for two hours of skating, shooting, stickhandling and passing drills led by Blueshirt interim head coach and Vice President of Player Development Tom Renney.

"I think this is the beginning of their education of what it takes to be a pro," Renney recently told The Journal News. "As much as they think they had an idea before, they have a better idea after this mini-camp and they'll have a better idea after Calgary."

The Rangers will also conduct a four-week Development Camp during the month of August in Calgary, Alberta, as they have done for the past few years.

"This camp was primarily college players that we either drafted or acquired in some of the recent deals that we made," said Rangers Assistant General Manager and Vice President of Player Personnel Don Maloney. "Generally, it was more of a mature camp than we've had in the past. It was very good. It seems to me that we have more potential players coming in here now; more of the type of players that we're looking to get - the proactive, aggressive guys. We had players like Jake Taylor, Hugh Jessiman, Dwight Helminen and Greg Moore, who all had good camps and were very impressive in our first look at them up close."

"All in all, I thought Tom (Renney) did a terrific job on the ice with the guys, putting them through various drills that allowed Glen and myself to kind of assess where they stand at this time," Maloney added. "(Rangers Strength and Conditioning Coordinator) Reg Grant really ran the entire program off the ice - from nutritional lectures to strength training and conditioning. It was terrific. I thought it really went well. That's part of what we're trying to do here - accelerate the development process. The resources are there for anything that we want to do, so we're going to be doing more and more of this in the future."

The three-day camp wasn't all business, however. After workouts, the Blueshirt prospects had the opportunity to take the 30-mile trip south into Manhattan, where they dined at the ESPN Zone in Times Square, visited the site of Ground Zero and toured Madison Square Garden, including the Rangers locker room. In their final night, the group was treated to an on-the-field experience at Shea Stadium, where they mingled with the likes of Mike Piazza, Tom Glavine and other Mets players during batting practice prior to catching the Mets-Marlins game.

"It's been a great experience," Helminen said while taking in the ballgame. "Everything from the training facility to the workouts to this, it has been a good week for me. It gives us a taste of what the future might hold but also reminds us of the sacrifice and hard work that we need to put forth to make it to the NHL level."

Lee Falardeau, New York's second round pick in the 2002 NHL Draft out of Michigan State University, echoed similar sentiments.

"It's really shown us how hard we have to work and what we have to do to really get here. We're here for a visit. But to actually get here and stay, there are so many things to do."


NYR DEVELOPMENT CAMP ROSTER:
Joseph Crabb - RW / Colorado College
Lee Falardeau - C / Michigan State University
Rob Flynn - RW / Harvard University
Nate Guenin - D / Ohio State University
Dwight Helminen - F / University of Michigan
Chris Holt - G / University of Nebraska-Omaha
Hugh Jessiman - RW / Dartmouth College
Rick Kozak - RW / Kamloops (WHL)
David Liffiton - D / Plymouth (OHL)
Greg Moore - F / University of Maine
Corey Potter - D / Michigan State University
Dylan Reese - D / Harvard University
Ken Roche - C / Boston University
Jake Taylor - D / University of Minnesota

RELATED LINKS:
Catching Up with Jessiman (6/3/2004) >>
Development Camp Photo Gallery >>
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