With the Rangers' pre-season schedule having come to an end last night with a 3-2 win in Philadelphia, the immediate question is who will be among the last three cuts? All three goal scorers from last night -- Brandon Dubinsky, Nigel Dawes, and Marc Staal -- are on the bubble. One is likely to start the season in Hartford, although there is a small chance two might be sent down and an even smaller chance that all three will stick for the start of the season. We'll find out sometime on Monday which way the brain trust decides to go on these players, along with Artem Anisimov, Thomas Pock, and the backup goaltenders, where Al Montoya may end up starting the season in New York because of Steve Valiquette's injury.
But the bigger question heading into the regular season is whether the Rangers are going to be treated as rudely on a routine basis as the Islanders and Flyers have treated them. Conventional wisdom says that teams cannot risk points in the standings to go after players the way some Rangers have been targeted. But Ryan Hollweg just does that to people -- and so does Sean Avery. Last night, Chris Drury and Brendan Shanahan dropped the gloves coming to the aid of teammates, joining frequent flyers Colton Orr and Jason Strudwick. In the past three games, unlikely pugilists have included Fedor Tyutin, Thomas Pock, Marcel Hossa, and Montoya. Fasten your seat belts, Ranger fans -- it's going to be a bumpy ride.
Not many game recaps today -- only Blue Notes, NYR.com, and the AP. Season preview season is upon us -- see the Daily News, Newsday here and here, FoxSports, SportsNet, and the AP. The Sports Ticker has an interview with Henrik Lundqvist on a few personal matters. And Larry Brooks in the Post runs down the Rangers' lawsuit against the NHL over control of its web site, including excerpts of a letter Jim Dolan wrote to other NHL owners. On the prospect front, the Courant has an article on Hugh Jessiman, and Prospect Park has a round-up of last night's action.