Rangers forward Enver Lisin is an interesting paradox. He is lighthearted and quick with a smile and a joke when he is off of the ice. But when Lisin is at work on the ice, he brings an intensity and passion to his craft that he hopes will catch the attention of the Rangers’ coaching staff when training camp opens up on Saturday.
|Enver Lisin, 23, has shown remarkable offensive ability in his brief NHL career to date, including three two-goal games with Phoenix last season and a goal in his only previous game at The Garden. |
• WATCH LISIN HIGHLIGHTS
“I want to show them my effort and that I am willing to sacrifice for wins,” stated the 23-year-old Lisin, who was acquired by the Rangers from the Phoenix Coyotes this past summer in exchange for Lauri Korpikoski. “I will do whatever it takes to win every game, game after game. I will not stop working until 60 minutes, or 65 minutes, has passed.”
That hard-working approach has been evident already as Lisin was one of the early arrivals in New York, weeks before the official start of camp. He has been a regular member at the club’s informal workouts and scrimmages at the MSG Training Center since landing in New York.
“I had spent enough time in Russia this summer,” joked the Moscow-born Lisin. “It was time to get settled in to my new home.”
Lisin is settling in quite nicely in his new surroundings. His hard work and impressive skills have captured the attention of his new teammates, as has his engaging personality, though he credits his smooth transition to his fellow Rangers.
“Ever since I arrived in this locker room, everyone has been so nice and so friendly, and they have tried to help me,” Lisin said. “My teammates are my friends. We are like brothers.”
Now that the 6-foot-2, 200-pound Lisin has won over his teammates, the next step is for him to impress head coach John Tortorella and his staff, and earn a spot on the opening-night roster.
Lisin is an exceptional skater who has a definite offensive flair to his game. The Coyotes selected him with the 50th overall selection in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft because of his offensive upside, and he recorded 18 goals in 78 games spread out over three seasons in Phoenix.
“I love to skate, and have always been able to skate well ever since I was little,” said Lisin, who notched 13 goals in 48 games -- including one against the Rangers at The Garden – last season. “I can carry the puck and shoot, too, but there are so many great players here, I don’t have to think or worry about anything. All I have to do is work hard and keep skating, playing my game.”
The Rangers would love to see Lisin’s explosiveness take root on a regular basis this year as he matures as an NHL player. Last season in Phoenix, he had three two-goal games, including one against the Western Conference champion Detroit Red Wings in January. Lisin also torched the Dallas Stars for a three-point (2-1-3) night on March 30.
Not bad for a player who often saw his ice-time in the 12-15 minute range each game.
“I expect a lot from myself each night,” Lisin said. “And in this city (the fans) expect a lot, so I look forward to giving my best every day.”
In Phoenix, Lisin had the opportunity to be guided on and off the ice by two of the league’s classiest gentlemen: Coyotes head coach Wayne Gretzky and team captain Shane Doan. It is an experience that Lisin feels very fortunate to have had.
“Wayne Gretzky was the greatest player in the world, but he is just a really great man, a great guy,” said Lisin. “I tried to take the opportunity to listen to what he said all the time because he has such a great hockey mind.”
As for Doan, the Coyotes veteran captain took Lisin and the other young Phoenix players under his care and taught them how to act in public, as well as advise them during games. Lisin professes tremendous respect for Doan.
However, despite these relationships and important experiences, Lisin has embraced the trade that brought him to New York City and to the Rangers. And he is looking forward to the challenge that lies ahead.
“I know about this team’s history,” he said. “And I am just honored to play here and be a Ranger.”