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Rangers on the ice for practices, scrimmages

by Staff Writer / New York Rangers

Marc Staal digs for a puck during Friday's scrimmage between the Rangers' Red and White teams.
The New York Rangers' 2006-07 training camp continued Friday at the Madison Square Garden Training Center with all players hitting the ice for the first time.

The more than 60 players were broken up into three groups - Red, White and Blue. The Red and White groups practiced in the morning and scrimmaged afterward. The Blue team scrimmaged against the White team before practicing in the afternoon.

Jaromir Jagr, the Rangers' leading scorer last season, took part in his Red team practice, but was unable to join his teammates for the scrimmage. Jagr is still recovering from off-season shoulder surgery, and was still not ready for intense contact on Friday. Jagr expressed optimism that he would be ready to play in some of the team's preseason games - the first of which takes place on Tuesday night in New Jersey.

Rangers head coach Tom Renney met members of the media following the two scrimmages, and addressed a number of issues surrounding the team. One of these involved the new offseason additions of free agents Brendan Shanahan, Matt Cullen and Aaron Ward.

"I think their experience really helps," said Renney. "They've played in the league a long time, and are Cup winners. They will bring that to us right away and we need that. We need a reference point of what it takes, especially in this new game. We will certainly use them as resources to identify what it was they did last year that they really liked, or whatever the case may be. I think the experience that Brendan, Aaron, and Matt have will really help us, though not to express for a second that we don't have guys in our room right now that can deliver already."

Renney was also asked about the style of hockey the Rangers might play in 2006-07.

"The red line is unique to our game," he said. "We have to continue to play a hard-working game, and a game that pays attention to the details regardless of what zone you are in and who has or hasn't have the puck. Having said that, we will also pay attention to some tactics that might elevate our team speed in the attack for example."

Renney also commented on the play of Brandon Dubinsky, one of the impressive rookies in Friday's scrimmages.

"I think there is a race amongst good young players to crack this lineup, and I am not sure who is going to cross the finish line first, but I think there is a race there and Dubinsky is certainly one of them," Renney said. "He thrust himself into the forefront last year, and all I've done to suggest to him is exactly what he should do here. When I get the opportunity to talk to these young guys it will be the same message. Don't sit and wait. Do everything to make our team now. Brandon, I think, is one of those young fellows that has clearly gotten that message and is trying to bring his A game every day and he sure will.

"... I hope that we bring so much out of these young fellows that the big boss has tough decisions to make in terms of what we do with contracts and things. That's my job."

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