Rangers open training camp with fresh new mindset, coach at the helm
Rangers training camp began today in Tarrytown with new faces and a different feel.
New head coach Gerard Gallant wasted no time seeing who can handle the "hard work" he's demanding.
The Blueshirts are thinking playoffs with hopes younger talent will show growth and gain experience - bolstered by offseason moves to bring in physical players.
“We have to make the playoffs,” said forward Mika Zibanejad. “I feel like we have the team to do it, and I think that's something we're all aiming at and that's our goal.
Gallant added to Zibanejad’s statement. The Rangers’ new bench boss brings a championship pedigree, having coached the expansion Vegas Golden Knights to a Stanley Cup Final appearance back in 2018.
“We're like any other team,” Gallant said. “We expect to make the playoffs. That's what our goal is. But you just don't say it. Talk is cheap. You’ve got to get ready to work hard, play hard and get ready for every day.”
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">And hockey is back! The Rangers on the ice as camp gets underway in Tarrytown. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NYR?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NYR</a> <a href="https://t.co/PUdZV3W0yi">pic.twitter.com/PUdZV3W0yi</a></p>— Pete Ruf (@PeteRuf12) <a href="https://twitter.com/PeteRuf12/status/1441059896737271808?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">September 23, 2021</a></blockquote> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
Alexis LaFreniere, who’s entering his sophomore season, is excited for this new chapter. The Rangers are looking for him to have a big impact.
“Get to meet a couple of new guys and get to see the guys from last year,” he said. “So, it's a lot of fun and a lot of new faces, so I'm trying to learn as much as I can and get ready for a big year.”
No one might be under more spotlight to perform than Chris Kreider. The veteran forward had a huge season last year, and he feels things will fall into place for the rest of the team as camp progresses.
“The best way to get in game shape is to play games,” Kreider said. “So, it was very up-tempo. Guys were working hard and obviously the execution will come and everyone will settle down as the camp gets going and become more comfortable with each other. But I think it's the best way to find your legs and get into game shape.”
The Rangers announced Thursday they'll honor the late Rod Gilbert at their home opener on Oct. 14. It will mark the 42nd anniversary of Gilbert's No. 7 being retired.