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Gaborik back in the swing of things

Notebook: Forward takes part in all testing, can't wait to skate with Frolov

Saturday, 09.18.2010 / 6:41 PM / Team
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Gaborik back in the swing of things
Training Camp Roster
Conditioning the Story of Day One
Drury Views 2009-10 as Important Lesson

By Jim Cerny, newyorkrangers.com

Marian Gaborik was back on the ice Saturday for the second day of training camp after a sore back idled him the day before. Gaborik reported that his back tightened up after lifting weights earlier in the week, and both he and the training staff decided that it did not make sense for him to over-extend himself during the three-lap sprint conditioning test on Friday.

But on Saturday, Gaborik took part in a series of grueling sprints on the ice with the fourth and final group of the day. And afterwards he reported that his back felt fine.

Rangers forward Marian Gaborik said the back concerns that had kept him out of the first day of training-camp testing were not an issue, and he was able to fully participate in the tests on Saturday.
“It felt pretty good except for the fact that I hadn’t been on the ice for four days and that was a little tough for my legs,” said Gaborik, who still put forth an impressive skating performance during the day’s testing.

Should his back not tighten up overnight, Gaborik will take part in one of the two scrimmages taking place on Sunday, and the Slovak sniper is greatly looking forward it.

“A scrimmage is there to mimic a game in terms of finding the right fit,” said Gaborik, who scored a team-high 42 goals for the Rangers last season. “It starts to help to put the whole puzzle together. It will be fun to have pucks on the ice finally.”

As per head coach John Tortorella’s mandate, Gaborik will play on a line with former Los Angeles Kings winger Alexander Frolov on Sunday. Tortorella is eager to see how his potentially two biggest-scoring forwards will mesh right from the first scrimmage of camp.

Gaborik is just as eager as his coach to see how he will fit with Frolov.

“It’s important no matter who you are playing with that you connect mentally, thinking-wise, that everything becomes instinctive out there,” said Gaborik. “You have to be on the same wave of thinking. That’s the No. 1 thing. But he’s a great player, and can do so many things. It will be interesting.”

Frolov cautioned that chemistry is not always immediate between linemates, but that he is very much looking forward to playing alongside Gaborik.

“It’s not our first year in the NHL and it’s not the first time we have to play with someone and get some chemistry going,” said Frolov, who twice scored 30 goals with the Kings. “I think we need to get used to each other, figure out what to expect from each other out on the ice and where to be for each other.”

Staal happy to move past testing phase

Marc Staal
Count defenseman Marc Staal as one of the legion of Rangers players happy that two days of conditioning tests are in the rearview mirror and that actual hockey will be played on Sunday.

“It’s nice to get the tests over with and now it’s time to do what we came here for,” said Staal.

The 23-year-old defenseman is also looking forward to building upon the foundation he and other young core players in the Rangers organization have put together the past several seasons.

Staal, fellow defensemen Dan Girardi and Michael Del Zotto, and forwards Ryan Callahan, Brandon Dubinsky, and Artem Anisimov have been growing together within the organization and are clearly seen by Tortorella and Rangers President and General Manager Glen Sather as keys to the present and future success of the team.

“Obviously I think that’s great,” said Staal. “We have gotten to know each other really well on the ice as well as off. I think the more you are around guys and you play with them the more respect you have and the more you want to win for them. I think that plays a big part in trying to build a successful team.”

Boogaard’s weight right where he wants it

Derek Boogaard
Hulking newcomer Derek Boogaard reports that he has lost about 25 pounds heading into this season, putting his weight at 265 pounds, the same weight from his first several years in the NHL as a member of the Minnesota Wild.

Boogaard said that the Rangers asked him to play at a lighter weight then he had been at last season because of the up-tempo style of game Tortorella favors.

“My first four years that’s where I was at, and that’s fine with me,” said Boogaard, who stands 6-foot-7. “It’s pretty much that I’ll do whatever they say. But I feel good.”

Boogaard is looking forward to showing the coaches that he is a complete hockey player, too, and not solely one of the most feared fighters in the NHL. He plans on proving that point throughout camp and during the preseason, although he doesn’t plan on forgetting his main responsibility either.

“You have to be able to play, not just fight, and that’s what I want to show,” said Boogaard. “But that’s not going to dissuade me from doing what I have to do. I was brought in (to fight) and I have no problems doing that.”

Fedotenko also lighter for this camp

Ruslan Fedotenko
Another veteran newcomer who has shed some weight is winger Ruslan Fedotenko, who is in camp on a tryout basis. However no one asked Fedotenko to lose any weight. He decided to do it on his own during this past off-season.

“I consider myself to be in the best shape I have ever been,” said Fedotenko, who scored 11 goals and 30 points for the Pittsburgh Penguins last season. “I feel like the league has been changing and it’s a much quicker game. You need to be a good skater and be quick on the ice now. Before I felt that I had to bulk up and get stronger to compete, but now the game is more about quickness.”

Fedotenko also admitted that he is motivated, in part, by the fact that he had, in his words, a “subpar” season a year ago and he wants to bounce back with a strong 2010-11 campaign. Playing a more consistent game is Fedotenko’s personal goal this season.

“Throughout my career there have been ups and downs,” Fedotenko said. “If I am on my game I’m great, and if not I am average. So I am trying to work on being more consistent. When I am on my game I can score goals and play physical, be aggressive. That’s what I can do.”