Day 1 of Rangers Training Camp got right under way with a scrimmage between two of the three squads. It hasn’t typically been the case that the team goes straight into simulating game experiences, but this time around the team seemed to be well prepared, with alll the players reporting before Camp officially got underway.
Some like Vitali Kravtsov have been here much of the Summer, and with last season’s success on everyone’s mind, and the first hopefully normal season ahead of them, it appears that everyone was eager to get started.
As it happens, the Blue and White teams skated to a 3-3 tie, with Igor Shesterkin and Jaroslav Halak in net for all six goals against. The rookie duo of Dylan Garand and Olof Lindbom each pitched partial game shutouts in the second half of the game. Bennan Othmann scored the first goal, Julien Gauthier added one as did Adam Sykora. With no scorekeeping, it’s unclear who got the others.
Igor Shesterkin got run into a couple of times, including by Sykora…who reportedly drew some attention from the benches and immediately apologizes. It’s hard to imagine Sykora doing anything at half speed, but injuring the reigning Vezina Trophy winner is probably not what he had in mind in terms of making an impression.
Shesterkin is reportedly fine, even if he looked like he was limping a little after the second collision.
The first two squads featured the top two offensive and defensive line-ups respectively, along with a number of other players from camp. The third squad practiced later in the day, and included Barclay Goodrow on the ice participating without any signs of after effects from the ankle he fractured in Game 1 of the series against the Penguins last Spring.
As expected, the Kid Line was reunited and headlines the likely third line entering the preseaosn. The trio have a chance to rekindle their success from last year’s playoffs, and make a case for remaining together to start the season. Also of interest in the third group, were two of the key competitors for the sixth defensive spot. While most have projected Zac Jones being the leading candidate, it was interesting to see that today’s practice pairings saw Braden Schneider lining up with Libor Hajek, while Zac Jones skated alongside depth veteran Andy Welinski.
Still plenty of time before the October 12th season opener, so we should all take these observations with a grain of salt for now, even if it does create a few new things to talk about. One thing’s for sure, nice to see some players on the ice again, and to have some new insights into how the season might start to unfold.