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Dubinsky ready to take it up a notch

by Staff Writer / New York Rangers
One of the standout Rangers players during the 2008 preseason has been second-year center Brandon Dubinsky, who made a big splash as a rookie and appears poised to reach even greater heights this season.

Brandon Dubinsky became a fan favorite as a rookie, and his play in this year's preseason has helped bolster that status.
Through three preseason games, Dubinsky has scored two goals and added an assist, with both goals coming in the preseason opener. Not bad for a player who lost his top-scoring winger from a 2007-08 season in which he erupted for 14 goals and 40 points to earn the Rangers fans’ selection as the Steven McDonald Extra Effort Award winner.

Dubinsky came into camp this season determined to prove that his rookie year was no fluke. He recently told about his preparation for the 2008-09 season and his thoughts on this year’s roster. What did you do over the summer and how does it feel to be back in New York?

Dubinsky: Summer went great. I basically went home (to Alaska) and took some time off after a long grind here during the season. So I was able to enjoy myself for a little while, but it didn't take long and a couple weeks after I got back I was right back to the grind of making sure I was ready to go for this season. So I did some training up there, and then ultimately I went down to Portland (Oregon) where I have a great training staff down there that helps prepare me for the season. They did a tremendous job of it and here I am feeling great. How many weeks early did you get here and what motivated your decision to show up when you did?

Dubinsky: I actually only came about 10 days earlier than camp. Part of the reason was housing and making sure I had a place to go and stuff when I got here, but it was definitely motivating because so many of the guys were here already and really starting to get after it and get excited about the season. Although I wasn't here, I was certainly excited about the season and ready to get going, so I wanted to come here and share that same feeling with my teammates and find a way to maybe get an edge heading into the season having skated together and spent some time together earlier. Did you talk to a lot of your teammates during the offseason by phone? Did you guys stay in touch?

Dubinsky: I think I talked to a lot of them. I certainly didn't talk to them a lot, but we stayed in touch. Just how things are going, how things have been. Some of the guys got together over the summer, so it was great and certainly around the time when our team started changing and evolving into a new team there was obviously some phone calls on feelings about how that was going and everything else. Like any of the guys have said so far, we got a pretty tight group and we're really happy with the character we have in here. That's pretty special. What went through your mind in that first week of July as you saw all these new names being added to the roster? Were there any ones that jumped out at you or that you were particularly excited to find out were going to be teammates?

Dubinsky: It's really exciting when you have a former NHL MVP candidate who's going to be a part of your team, a couple of All-Stars and everything else, so it was real exciting. It was something that occurred to make us a better team so I think we were really happy about it. It's just one of those things where it's really funny how it works out. I guess the timeline of it and how fast it changes and everything kind of comes together. Like I said, I was really excited to find out the players that we got and it kind of rejuvenated me to keep working hard and be ready to go this season. Do people in Alaska watch a lot of Vancouver games, and if so, did you get to see a lot of Markus Naslund growing up because he was there so long?

Dubinsky:  I don't think it's just Vancouver, I think we watched a lot of hockey in general. I've watched a lot of hockey and so I've had a chance to watch a lot of Markus play during his time in Vancouver. He's a special hockey player. He brings everything to the table. He works hard; he forechecks hard and can score goals and make plays. Like I said he has been a runner-up for MVP of this league, and there's not too many guys around who can say that. So he's definitely a special player. You played on a line with Jaromir Jagr for much of last season but you’ll have some new linemates this year. Are there any guys particularly who you would like to see on your line for opening night?

Dubinsky:  To be honest with you, as far as guys to play with ... to me, it doesn't make a difference. It's entirely up to Tom (Renney) and the coaching staff. Obviously, there's going to be some guys who fit well with other guys and it's just a matter of finding that. I think things are going to get juggled around a lot until we find those good combinations and that chemistry. So I'm just going out there optimistic every day. I certainly don't know who I'm ultimately going to end up playing with and jell with the best, so it's a great time and it's a lot of fun to do that as well.
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