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Rangers Head North to Lake Placid for Team Building

by Matt Calamia @MattCalamia /

With more than a week between the preseason finale and the regular season opener, Alain Vigneault and the Rangers are getting out of town for team building exercises at Lake Placid.

The trip, which begins Sunday and runs through Tuesday that includes practice Monday morning, will allow new teammates to get to know each other while emphasizing the importance of teamwork.

"Part of coming together is knowing one another a little bit more, the respect factor a little bit more," Vigneault said Sunday. "Any time you come to the rink, there's always hockey related activities. Here, we're going to do some other things where we'll be able to pick up who's got leadership qualities, who are the guys that go around [together] and like being around [each other]. It'll give us another opportunity to get a read on our team outside of the hockey area."

Included in those activities are a speech from mountain climber Ed Viesturs, who has reached the top of Mount Everest seven times.

While the learning experiences are a plenty, the players are looking forward to the opportunity to get to know the new faces inside the locker room.

"There's a lot of guys here I haven't spent a lot of time with," said Henrik Lundqvist. "We've been on different teams. It's just the last couple days here we've just been one group at the practice rink. To go away and sit down and talk to one another and get to know - especially the new guys - it's very important."

One of the newest Rangers, Kevin Shattenkirk, is looking forward to just that. After arriving in New York this summer, he's still the new guy and is looking forward to learning more about his new teammates and this type of trip early in the year will help speed that along.

"I think I'm looking forward to it the most for that reason," Shattenkirk said. "Just to get away. We're all kind of scattered here with our families and guys being in the city and Westchester. For me, it's a chance to be with these guys for a few more days and really just get to talk to them and get to know everyone and just let loose and have some fun, which is going to be the best part."

Lake Placid holds a special place for American players, especially those who have skated there in the past, including Shattenkirk, who took part in a World Junior Championship camp there in his late teens.

"It's still kind of has that mystique to it," he said. "It's really fun to go up there. They still have all the jumps and the training center … so there's still a lot of history there. It's a beautiful place."

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