By Jim Cerny, newyorkrangers.com
Back at the MSG Training Center after the three-day Labor Day Weekend, 24 players took part in an informal on-ice workout on Tuesday. And one stood head and shoulders above his teammates -- 6-foot-8 Derek Boogaard.
“It’s just a great feeling being here,” said Boogaard, who signed with the Rangers as an unrestricted free agent on July 1 after spending his first five NHL seasons with the Minnesota Wild. “It’s important for me to be here early because I need to get used to the stuff here and get to know the guys. It’s a definitely a change for me; and it’s a lot different from the Midwest, that’s for sure.”
|New Rangers forward Derek Boogaard is determined to show Blueshirts fans that he can contribute in more ways than his best-known role as an enforcer. |
Known as perhaps the most feared heavyweight in the National Hockey League, Boogaard is excited to serve as the Blueshirts’ new on-ice policeman this season. And he is eager to show The Garden Faithful that he can be a trusted player out there, as well.
“I really think that it’s a great opportunity for me to show everyone that I can play,” said Boogaard, 28. “Everyone will see that I work hard night-in and night-out, and that starts right from training camp.”
Boogaard, who has taken batting practice prior to Minnesota Twins -- showing “warning-track power”, in his own words – went through intensive training this summer to prepare for his first season in New York. From boxing to martial arts to working with kettle bells, he made sure that his workouts pushed his limits.
“It was quite the workout, for sure,” Boogaard said with a laugh.
Boogaard also made sure to check in with his former Wild teammate Marian Gaborik
, the current resident sniper on the Rangers roster. Gaborik’s words have made Boogaard all the more excited to get the 2010-11 season underway.
“He said it’s a first-class organization,” Boogaard recounted. “They do everything top notch and very professional here. I am excited to get going.”Wolf Pack veterans join in workouts
Several Rangers’ prospects who are trying to make the team out of training camp, and others who are preparing to play in the Traverse City Tournament later in the week, took part in Tuesday’s group workouts along with the veterans.
|Dale Weise was one of the 2009-10 Hartford Wolf Pack players at the Training Center on Tuesday. |
Winger Dane Byers, who was captain of the Hartford Wolf Pack a year ago, was joined by Dale Weise, Evgeny Grachev, and Kris Newbury
in a mini-Hartford reunion on the ice. Newcomer Jeremy Williams was also in the mix, as were first-year pros Derek Stepan
and Pavel Valentenko
. Rookie defenseman Ryan McDonagh
was at the training facility, but worked out off the ice.
Clearly John Tortorella’s stated hope of adding to the team’s young core has caught the attention of these top prospects, and that is why each is here 10 days prior to the official start of training camp.
“Torts said that he wants to get more youth in the lineup, and I think that’s a great opportunity for a guy like me to step into the lineup and win a job,” said the 22-year-old Weise, who recorded 28 goals and notched 50 points in 73 games with the Pack last season. “I’m a little better prepared this year, and I think I have a really good shot to make this team. Obviously that’s my goal.”