Dubinsky preparing to take next step
Notebook: 24-year-old eyes breakout season; Drury seeks a quick return
|Rangers forward Brandon Dubinsky said he has never been more prepared for a Rangers training camp than he was for this year -- and the results are already showing in his play during the scrimmages.|
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By Jim Cerny, newyorkrangers.com
Brandon Dubinsky has had an extremely strong start to training camp this year, which does not surprise the 24-year-old forward at all, because he believes that he has prepared himself for just that, and much more, this season.
“Personally I think this is the best I have felt in camp before, and this is the best shape I have come in to camp before, so hopefully that will give me a little bit of an edge,” said Dubinsky. “I’m not a young guy any more. I can’t lay back on that. I need to step up and contribute the way I should.”
Dubinsky’s take on his age stems from the fact that he has played three full NHL seasons. He believes it is time for him to step forward and play a consistently strong game for the Rangers in order to help the team reach its goals.
Last year, Dubinsky scored 20 goals for the first time in his career. He also notched a career-best 44 points over 69 games. More consistency in his game could make those totals rise much higher this season, according to the fan favorite from Anchorage, Alaska.
“It’s all about maturing and understanding that even keel a lot of veterans have,” said Dubinsky. “And touching on consistency, that’s my biggest focus going into this year. Making sure that I score more consistently. It’s been pretty sporadic through my first few years here. It’s time for me to step up.”
Off the ice, Dubinsky is looking to become one of the leaders of the team, as well.
“I want to try and find my place amongst the leadership group in the locker room,” Dubinsky said. “You can never have enough leaders. If everyone takes a little bit of that role and pushes in the right direction, the team will be much better off.”
Drury eager to get back on the ice
“Obviously I’d rather be out there, but it’s going to be three weeks, four weeks at most, and I’ll be fine,” said Drury. “Once you start on Sept. 16 no one wants to miss anything. But if something does have to happen, or does happen, it’s better to miss exhibition games than the real stuff.”
Drury expects to begin “dry land” workouts off the ice on Wednesday to maintain his conditioning. And because the injury is to a finger and not to his lower body, he is hopeful to be able to skate on his own in the not-too-distant future.
“I know they will keep me busy,” Drury said.
When he does return from the injury, Drury is not sure exactly what role head coach John Tortorella has in mind for him this season. It is a question that was expected to be at least partially answered during the preseason.
Whatever on-ice role he will be asked to fill, Drury is ready to accept the responsibility with 100 percent commitment.
“My job is to do whatever (Tortorella) says, and that goes for all of us,” said Drury. “If that’s a more offensive role with more power-play time, then great, I’ll try to do the best I can with that role. If it’s similar to last year where it’s more of PK and a defensive role, that’s fine, too.”
Blue edges Green in overtime shootout
In the morning scrimmage, Dubinsky scored a hat trick, plus another goal in the shootout, as the Green Team defeated the Blue Team 7-6 in extra time. However, Dubinsky’s team had to survive letting a 5-1 lead dissipate into a 6-6 tie when Tim Kennedy scored a pair of goals in the final minute of play for the Blue squad.
|Newcomer Tim Kennedy has made an impression on Rangers head coach John Tortorella at training camp, and the coach is looking forward to seeing Kennedy in the upcoming NHL preseason games.|
After 2010 draft pick Jason Wilson scored the game’s first goal 2:52 into the scrimmage, Dubinsky put the Green squad up 2-0, scoring on a penalty shot against Cam Talbot. Dubinsky then scored twice during the final period, including a quick snap shot that beat Parise to the stick side.
“Hopefully there’s more of that to come this season,” Dubinsky said with a laugh after the scrimmage.
Kris Newbury and Williams also scored for the Green Team. Ryan Callahan, Alexei Semenov, Jyri Niemi, and Horak scored the first four goals for the Blue squad until Kennedy netted a pair to pull his team even.
Kennedy’s first goal came with 59.2 seconds remaining when his bad-angle shot deflected off Stajcer’s pads and across the goal line. The game-tying score came with 21.2 seconds left when he scored on a penalty shot after a Garnet Exelby penalty.
“I am impressed with his skill level, the quickness on his skates,” Rangers head coach John Tortorella said of Kennedy. “I am anxious to see him play in the exhibition games.”
Horak, one of two Rangers fifth-round picks in the 2009 draft, has now scored a goal in each of the first three scrimmages. Although he knows a return to his major-junior team in Chilliwack awaits, Horak has benefitted greatly from his experience at this year’s training camp.
“It’s a great opportunity for me,” said Horak, 19. “I am just trying to do my best. Look at those guys who are my linemates, Vinny Prospal and (Ryan) Callahan. Those guys know how to play hockey, and it’s way easier to play with them. They helped me a lot.”
Goaltending duel in afternoon scrimmage
Both of the veteran Rangers goalies were sharp throughout the scrimmage. Lundqvist twice denied Marian Gaborik on separate breakaways, and he also stopped Chris McKelvie’s penalty-shot in the final period.
Biron had a shutout until late in the final period when Todd White beat him with a pinpoint top shelf shot to the short side from left wing. He also faced two penalty shots during the scrimmage. Sean Avery’s attempt hit the left post, and Michael Del Zotto pushed his shot wide of the net.
The White Team scored twice in the opening period. Evgeny Grachev opened the scoring by banging in a rebound 8:30 into the contest. Several minutes later, Grachev set up Erik Christensen with a perfect feed off a 3-on-2 rush to put the White squad on top 2-0.
After the veteran White scored against Biron to make the score 2-1, Alexander Frolov sealed the win for his squad with an empty-net goal.