Monday, June 27, 2011

Welcome to Camp Tort-Or-Ella

Oh boy are some people going to be in for a rude awakening when they go from John Tortorella to Coach Tortorella as the New York Rangers open up their annual Prospect Camp.

The camp many see as a fluff media event is way more than people realize as this camp has become so much more importance. This is where the Rangers start to build chemistry with the most basic of ideas.

They do it not with hockey but the off-ice things like a ball game, a tour of MSG, and cookouts. When Darius Kasparaitis was a Ranger they would hold a huge party over it his house.

You will see the Rangers pairing up players who play the same position but play in different leagues. The hope is that when the prospects go back to their junior or NCAA team that they will remain in touch.

It has worked almost to perfection as you find guys talking to each other all the time and offering each other encouragement when times are tough. Chemistry works best when you like the guy on the ice playing with you.

Besides the making friends, the training staff will run them through a series of tests, it is a kind of combine without the torture. Those tests are geared so the training staff can develop individual training guides geared to help the prospects improve on how they train, how they eat and along with specific suggestions on what the Rangers would like to see them improve on.

And of course there is the annual John Tortorella "Welcome To My World Abandon All Hope" fun run. All kidding aside what looks like a torture of a run is a message sender about the prospect's need to get in the best possible shape.

As you can tell from this clip the warmer fuzzy side of John Tortorella shows.

For newcomers it is an eye opener but for those in their 2nd or 3rd appearance at the camp, they will have more than just John Tortorella to worry about as a guy 90% of you have never heard of will want a "chat" with them.

That gentleman's name is Reg Grant who is the Ranger's strength and conditioning coach and he as we have discovered over the years has had more of an impact than the coaching staff. Grant is the guy who puts together these training guides for each prospect and it is a guarantee that your life is nicer if you follow it to the letter.

Since putting this program into place after the NHL lockout, it is paid huge dividends in helping Ranger prospects adjust and learn what will be asked of them when they try for their Ranger career.

Who Are These Guys?

The first change that I noticed was that nobody who played professional hockey for all of last season is attending this camp. The one player who is going to be talked about the most is going to be the one player not attending the camp, Chris Kreider.

If anything you will find that while the Rangers would rather have Kreider in the camp, they will acknowledge his sticking to his committments. Kreider is taking a full credit load this summer and to us it is a signal he wants to be in a position to join the Rangers next summer.

It is though an interesting roster but it is also one that is quite puzzling because of how the Rangers have broken away from their typical manner of invites for the non-roster. You have the annual "doing a favor" invites to Victor Kamensky (son of Valeri) and Donnie Maloney (yea son of you know how)

We can skip the players who are draft picks as well as the signed players Tommy Grant, Kale Kerbashian, and Jonathan Audy-Marchessault (Bourque's linemate on the Remparts) as they are CT Whale bound.

So looking at the rest starting with the defenders, there is one I was told to keep an eye Nikita Zaytsev as he is supposed to be a 2 way defender who actually shows up. Not super physical but most Russians are not.

You will notice Andrej Sustr as he is only 6'8 and is a Czech playing for University of Nebraska-Omaha. He was a freshman in 2010-11 and held his own in a very good WCHA.

The goalies that the Rangers brought in Ilia Ejov and Jared Coreau are more bodies so they have 2 goalies for each squad at practice. They are hard to consider as prospects given their backgrounds.

Among forwards Austin Fyten comes from Lethbridge in the WHL, his decision making is not the fastest but he has his moments. Nice 6'2 210 body who is worth bringing in as he plays with an edge.

Fyten was a WHL Player of the Week this past season which is how come I remember him. 2nd leading scorer on Lethbridge who missed 18 games with injuries otherwise would have had better than 24-30-54 which is over a point a game.

Ryan Flanigan is another kid who caught our attention from Merrimack as he scored 5 goals in the games against Kreider's Boston College. Barely 6' but his offense came against the better teams in the NCAAs.

The rest are long shots who odds are had good games whil the Rangers were scouting others. Wish them the best because some have good size which the Rangers can always use more of.

Going to be an interesting week for sure.

(Gunny Hartman courtesy of Full Metal Jacket/Warner Bros)


sae1856 said...

Larry Brooks says that Cameron Hope is leaving the Rangers. Any truth to that?

sae1856 said...

Larry Brooks says that Cam Hope is leaving the Rangers. Any truth to that?

Jess Rubenstein said...

Yes Hope is leaving, not sure when or if he will stay to help with this year's contracts.

He is a loss because he knew how to work the cap. Going to be hard guy to replace.

Really nice guy who I got to meet a couple of times, man was a walking calculator

oz said...

you might want to check your background information. goalie ilia ejov was signed by ska st. petersburg of the khl and played on their farm team for the last 3 years. he was considered as the best goalie in that league while playing on the youngest team. it appears the only reason he didn't play for ska was that they had robert esche and then nabokov as number 1's and they wanted ejov to develope. don't be surprised if ejov doesn't go to the main rookie camp and possibly to the main ranger camp

Jess Rubenstein said...

Sorry Oz

But the NYR do not have a spot for Ejov anywhere in the system. With 5goalies under contract there is no place for him to play.