In many ways Darroll Powe and Marek Hrivik are quite dissimilar. Powe is 28 years old, a five-year NHL veteran out of Princeton University by way of Saskatoon. Hrivik is a 22 year old from Slovakia, an undrafted free agent who has never played an NHL game and who spent as much time on the sidelines injured as he did playing in his first minor pro season a year ago.
Yet today they find themselves in the same exact situation: waiting to find out whether or not they will be on the Rangers roster when the regular season opens up in Phoenix on Thursday. Today is their day of waiting. Tomorrow they should know their individual fate.
"It's out of my hands now," Powe explained following Friday night's 4-1 pre-season loss to the Kings in Las Vegas. "I just did all that I could and it's now up to them (coaches and management). I hope to be here, but we'll see what happens."
Powe, an excellent penalty killer and tenacious forechecker, finds himself "on the bubble" following a season in which he suffered a pair of concussions and was held without a pint depsite playing in 42 games. In fact many discounted his chances of making the team heading into training camp, something that Powe admits motivated him. Now after an extremely strong training camp and pre-season---yes, he even scored a goal---Powe has earned the praise of his new head coach Alain Vigneault and very possibly a spot on the Blueshirts roster.
"I'm happy with my effort," Powe said of ther past couple of weeks. "My goal was to come in and just work as hard as I could, and that's what I did. I'll let the chips fall where they may now."
Vigneault singled Powe out by name in a pre-game session with reporters on Friday, perhaps a sign that the veteran of more than 300 NHL games is going to make the team. Powe won;t read into the coach's comments until he receives final word one way or the other on Sunday.In the meantime he plans on spending Saturday with his wife, looking forward to "some home cooking" after the long road trip out west.
Hrivik, who may or may not be fighting for the same roster spot as Powe, is equally as philosophical about Sunday's decision day. He impressed Vigneault right from the start of camp with his strong work along the boards, creative skill set, and intelligent two-way play. It didn;t hurt that he produced a pair of assists in the four pre-season games he played.
"I did my part out there and now it's up to the coaches to decide how they are going to work this out," Hrivik told me Friday night. "Either way, it's going to be the same story for me---I am going to work hard, play the best hockey I can, no matter where I end up."
An assignment to the Hartford Wolf Pack would seem on the surface to be less devastating to the up and coming Hrivik than for the NHL veteran Powe. It is a notion that Hrivik, who is hungry for a shot at playing in the NHL, does not disagree with.
"It was a great experience, completely new hockey for me in a higher league, the highest league you can possibly play in," stated the chiseled young froward. "I've got a lot to learn and it's probably going to take some time for me. Whether it's here or there, I'm going to be learning a lot."
Of course Powe and Hrivik are not the only players waiting to learn of their fate this weekend. From first round picks like J.T. Miller and Chris Kreider, to rookie pros like Conor Allen, to long-tenured NHL veterans like Arron Asham, there will be a string of players spending an off day Saturday with the nagging question of whether or nt they will be in New York past another day.
As Vigneault said, "Now we have decisions to make."
Just one more day until we all find out.