It was hard for any of the Blueshirts Faithful not to be excited Wednesday as nearly all of the players who likely will make up the 2013 Rangers roster took part in an up-tempo intense workout at the MSG Training Center, just days in advance of training camp. With the arrivals of Marian Gaborik and Martin Biron, and the additions of Chris Kreider and Matt Gilroy, who had been playing with the Connecticut Whale, 21 players took part in the informal practice run by NYU coach Chris Cosentino. Only veteran Jeff Halpern was missing, and his excuse was quite legit---his wife just gave birth.
Gaborik reported that his surgically-repaired shoulder "feels good---knock wood" as he proceeded to knock a fist on his head and then his locker after practice. He added that he can not wait to take part in contact drills once training camp starts to fully test his rehabbed wing.
Biron was his usual chatty self in the dressing room, entertaining reporters for the first time this year after arriving from his home in Buffalo on Tuesday. In typical hyper-excited fashion, Biron chatted about returning to work, staying in game shape, the NFL Playoffs, Tim Raines' candidacy for the Baseball Hall of Fame, and so much more after finishing a fairly exhausting workout on-ice with fellow netminder Henrik Lundqvist.
As for Hartford additions, Kreider mainatined after the skate that he enters camp needing to win a job, despite his great playoff run last spring. And Gilroy, who is on an AHL contract with the Whale, expressed hope that he will land an NHL deal---and job---with the Rangers later this week.
"I got a call and was told to join Kreids and come on down here, so here I am," explained Gilroy. "I am happy to be here."
Kreider paid an early price for rejoining the big boys on Wednesday---he accidentally took a puck in the mouth and had his swollen, bloody lip stitched up after practice. Still that did not dim the smile he often wore on his face, happy to have a crack at the NHL once training camp opens up in a few days.
The workout lasted roughly 80 minutes on Wednesday, with fast-paced drills and some scrimmaging preceding the players practicing for the fitness testing which awaits them at the start of camp. Impressing in the sprints were sophomeore forward Carl Hagelin, team captain Ryan Callahan, veterans Brad Richards and Taylor Pyatt, and game-conditioned Whale players Kreider and Gilroy.
The players will be back on the ice together prepping for camp on Thursday morning.
So what do you think of nearly the entire roster working together already? How much will this help the Rangers in the long run this season? Share your commentary below.