NHL training camps open today and here’s a roundup of news worth
noting, starting with the metro New York clubs.
Up at their Greenburgh training facility, the Rangers come into camp
with some significant agenda items for the season, as Jeff
Z. Klein writes in today’s Times. One is to reduce the workload on
goalie Henrik Lundqvist, and to that end one of the best moves by any
team this offseason was the signing of Martin Biron as backup. But they
still lack a top-line center and, unless Brandon Dubinsky blossoms into
one, it’s a glaring weakness.
Also, the signing of Marc Staal puts the Rangers $4 million over the
salary cap and that means one or two players will be dispatched. Wade
Redden’s name comes up, of course (will the Rangers eat his massive
contract that still has four years to run?), but it does make
you scratch your head over Glen Sather doling out $1.6 million a year
for four years to oft-injured heavyweight Derek Boogaard, whose main
talents don’t blend with the N.H.L.’s current style.
In Newark, the Devils need to make cuts as well to accommodate the
salary cap space occupied by Ilya Kovalchuk. Rich
Chere in The Star-Ledger lists five things Kovalchuk has to do to
justify his mega-deal, including score 40 goals, excel against the
Rangers, dominate in the playoffs, win over his teammates (is that an
issue?) and stay healthy.