|RANGERS ON DEMAND
|Gaborik Talks About Upcoming Season ||Watch |
|Highlights from Wednesday Morning Scrimmage ||Watch |
• Boogaard Eager to Make Presence Felt
• Traverse City Tournament Starts Saturday
By Jim Cerny, newyorkrangers.com
A healthy and happy Marian Gaborik
took part in his first unofficial group workout with his Rangers teammates on Wednesday morning at the MSG Training Center. A bit jet-lagged after arriving in New York from his native Slovakia the previous day, Gaborik, nonetheless, displayed his elite skills during drills and a full scrimmage.
|Rangers forwards Brandon Dubinsky, left, and Marian Gaborik chat during an informal workout at the MSG Training Center on Wednesday. Gaborik made his first appearance on the Training Center ice after spending the summer at home in Europe. |
“It’s good for the guys to get in some skating and scrimmaging, get ready for a hard camp,” said Gaborik, who equaled his career-best with 42 goals last season and set a new career-high in points with 86. “Definitely the goal is to be (in the playoffs), but we have to, right from the start, take it step by step. Hopefully we can be more consistent this year.”
Gaborik stated that he is excited by the moves the club made during the off-season to bolster its roster, most notably the free agent acquisitions of forwards Derek Boogaard and Alexander Frolov. The Slovak sniper had high praise for both players, though acknowledging that Boogaard and Frolov bring very different skills to the table.
“He’s the best at what he does,” Gaborik said of Boogaard, the intimidating winger who was his teammate for four years with the Minnesota Wild. “I don’t think you want to be on the other side as a defenseman playing against him. I’ve seen some huge impacts with him. We’re going to gain a lot of confidence as a team being in games that are chippy because he gives us that edge. We are lucky to have him.”
As for Frolov, who is a two-time 30-goal scorer in the NHL, Gaborik said: “He’s strong one-on-one, especially playing in the corners, and he wins battles. He’ll bring a lot overall to (the Rangers). He’ll open up space and create more room.”
Reportedly Frolov will join his new teammates in New York by the end of the week. Gaborik believes that will be the start of a happy relationship this year.
“I believe that we are going to score a lot of goals,” said Gaborik. “And with Hank in net, we won’t allow as many goals. So it’s going to be fun.”Christensen back on the ice, too
|Erik Christensen |
Frolov is one of the players expected to help lighten the scoring burden that rests on Gaborik’s shoulders this season. Another player who made his first appearance at the informal workout on Wednesday says he wants to assume more scoring responsibility this season, too.
“I want that on me,” Erik Christensen said emphatically after the morning scrimmage. “I want to score points. It’s what I have always wanted to do since I played at this level. I think I have shown I can do it on nights, but it’s just a matter of working hard enough to keep getting the opportunities.”
Christensen was claimed off waivers from the Anaheim Ducks last Dec. 2. In 49 games with the Blueshirts he registered eight goals, 18 assists, 26 points, and a plus-14 rating. In July, he agreed to a multiyear contract to remain with the Rangers.
Like Gaborik, Christensen said that he was happy with the club’s off-season moves. But he pointed out that he was just as happy that not too many changes were made from last season’s roster.
“I know with every team and in every city the media and the fans think that ‘we need this, we need that, to succeed’,” said Christensen. “But where are you going to get that No. 1 center or top defenseman all the time? It’s tough. There are only so many legit guys like that. So you have to build your team, mostly, from within. And watching some of the young guys we have here, that is definitely the way to go. Bring the kids along. You don’t need to do it always by trading or buying other guys.”