This week, many of the Rangers' top young prospects are participating in extensive physical and mental drills aimed at preparing them for life in the NHL.
For these young players, including 2006 first-round draft pick Bobby Sanguinetti, this week's camp at the Madison Square Garden Training Center is an important milestone in their "next step" toward the NHL. And for the Rangers' braintrust, it's is an opportunity to instill the type of work ethic, conditioning, and character needed to succeed in the "new NHL".
After making the playoffs in 2005-06, the Rangers coaching staff began to project how the organization could continue to improve. The coaches determined that after establishing the Rangers as one of the most hardworking, fit, and disciplined teams in the league, it was important to build on that reputation for many years to come.
"The idea behind the camp is to expose our young prospects to the Ranger culture," explains Head Coach Tom Renney. "It's an initiation of how we intend our players to take care of themselves in the summertime and off-season, in terms of their strength and conditioning in general. We give them a process to work on during the summer months."
When the players arrived at the Rangers Training Facility on Monday, they were split into four groups (Red, White, Blue, and Green), and underwent a bevy of tests. While Head Trainer Jim Ramsay collected each players' measurements and vitals, the coaching staff conducted on-ice assessments of each player's speed and quickness on the blades.
In the morning session, the Blue and Green teams hit the weights with Strength and Conditioning Coach Reg Grant, while the Red and White squads hit the ice with Assistant Coach Mike Pelino, Special Assistant of Prospect Development Adam Graves, and Hartford Wolf Pack Assistant Coach Ken Gernander. After lunch and some video sessions, the teams switched for the remainder of the day.
Graves, known for hard work on and off the ice throughout his long NHL career, has played a key role in the development camp over the last two years.
"June, July, and August are the most important months for a hockey player," he said. "They learn what it is they need to get stronger at, and our goal is to help them better prepare themselves for training camp."
Each player at the camp meets individually with the coaching staff to discuss what they have accomplished, and what they need to work on in the coming months.
"We try to give them an idea of what we look for from an individual prospective in terms of the conditioning and fitness they must have in order to one day compete for a job," said Renney.
All in all, Renney believes that the Prospect Development Camp exemplifies the new mentality that surrounds the Rangers organization.
"We are continuing to stay true to our philosophy of redefining the Rangers through good, young players who are talented and are made up of the type of character that we believe are symbolic of what the city is all about. As much as we are in year two of this new look team, this camp itself identifies the process of our long term goal and what we want to be."
|Player ||POS. ||HT ||WT ||DOB ||2005-06 Team (League) |
|Zdenek Bahensky ||RW ||6-2 ||195 ||1/3/86 ||Saskatoon (WHL) |
|Greg Beller ||RW ||6-3 ||213 ||1/22/87 ||Green Bay (USHL) |
|Dane Byers ||LW ||6-2½ ||194 ||2/21/86 ||Prince Albert/Hartford (WHL/AHL) |
|Marc-Andre Cliche ||RW ||6-1 ||190 ||3/23/87 ||Lewiston (QMJHL) |
|Marvin Degon ||D ||5-11 ||175 ||7/20/83 ||Umass/Hartford (HEA/AHL) |
|Brandon Dubinsky ||C ||6-1 ||224 ||4/29/86 ||Portland/Hartford (WHL/AHL) |
|Brodie Dupont ||C ||6-2 ||206 ||2/17/87 ||Calgary (WHL) |
|Jordan Foote ||W ||6-3 ||213 ||3/7/85 ||Michigan Tech (WCHA) |
|Bruce Graham ||C ||6-6 ||224 ||12/2/85 ||Hartford/Charlotte (AHL/ECHL) |
|Ryan Hillier ||LW ||6-0 ||197 ||1/25/88 ||Halifax (QMJHL) |
|Chris Holt ||G ||6-3 ||237 ||6/5/85 ||Hartford/Charlotte/NYR (AHL/ECHL/NHL) |
|Eric Hunter ||C ||6-1 ||188 ||8/11/86 ||Prince George (WHL) |
|Hugh Jessiman ||RW ||6-6 ||224 ||3/28/84 ||Hartford/Charlotte (AHL/ECHL) |
|Lauri Korpikoski ||LW ||6-1 ||194 ||7/28/86 ||Turku/Hartford (Finland/AHL) |
|Trevor Koverko ||D ||6-3 ||203 ||3/2287 ||Owen Sound (OHL) |
|Greg Moore ||F ||6-1 ||230 ||3/26/84 ||Maine/Hartford (HEA/AHL) |
|Corey Potter ||D ||6-2 ||200 ||1/5/84 ||Michigan State (CCHA) |
|Tom Pyatt ||C ||5-11 ||182 ||2/14/87 ||Saginaw (OHL) |
|Ryan Russell ||C ||5-10 ||165 ||5/2/87 ||Kootenay (WHL) |
|Bobby Sanguinetti ||D ||6-1 ||178 ||2/29/88 ||Owen Sound (OHL) |
|Michael Sauer ||D ||6-3 ||206 ||8/7/87 ||Portland (WHL) |
|Marc Staal ||D ||6-4 ||204 ||1/13/87 ||Sudbury (OHL) |
|Kevin Westgarth ||RW ||6-5 ||254 ||2/7/84 ||Princeton (ECAC) |
|Miika Wiikman ||G ||5-11 ||177 ||10/12/84 ||Hameenlinna (Finland) |
|Player ||POS. ||2005-06 Team (League) |
|Mitch Fadden ||C ||Seattle-Lethbridge (WHL) |
|Andrew Gallant ||G ||Manhattanville (ECAC Div. III) |
|Don Maloney Jr. ||F ||Brewster Bulldogs (EJHL) |
|Lyon Messier ||D ||Texas Tornado (NAHL) |
|Joe Pavone ||F ||Canterbury School (Conn. H.S.) |
|Mark Schacker ||G ||N.Y. Apple Core (U.S. Junior) |