Last night about 250 Rangers season ticket holders attended an invitation only event with the Head Coach, Tom Renney and his Assistant coaches, Perry Pearn and Mike Pelino in the lobby of the WaMu Theater at Madison Square Garden.
The discussion was often light and comical as the coaches were loose and somewhat surprisingly candid as to their feelings on a number of issues. For a breakdown of those issues that were focused on New York and not Hartford, including assessments of some former Pack players now in New York, you can read that at BlueshirtBulletin.com.
The topic did come back to the youngsters currently on the roster in Hartford. One hot topic that was brought up rather quickly was the demotion of Nigel Dawes. Renney spoke extensively in his belief in the young man and that he was in charge of the draft when he was selected. They had originally slotted Dawes as a 6th round pick but that they were so impressed with his character and the potential upside that he had to his game that they decided that rather than take a chance on his not being available in the 6th round that they took him in the fourth instead. Renney said, "there is no doubt that he has a terrific offensive knack, without question. What we're looking for in the young man is to be more consistent in all three zones with and without the puck." He added, "we're fortunate that we have a lot of depth on this team and he has options so that we can send him to Hartford to improve that area and then bring him back without fear of losing him as we would have with other players."
Pearn talked about building a system where the team can have a stable of players "in-house" that the team can draw from so that it doesn't become as necessary to go out after free agents. He stated, "there are 7,8 maybe 9 players right now in Hartford that we see as NY Rangers of the future."
When the name of Alex Bourret was brought up Pearn had his strongest and most direct words for him. "He has a LOT of skill, there is no doubt about that. We were not pleased at all in his preparation for training camp...It was not as good as others as he was competing against for jobs on the team. However, he is a VERY talented player. He is very skilled and has a nasty side to his game. He can agitate a lot like Sean Avery and we like this young man. We just need to get him committed to the game if he is going to get to the next level."
First round pick from this past season's draft, Alexi Cherepanov, who's nickname is "Siberian Express" who has broken all kinds of scoring records in Russia including surpassing the Russian league rookie goal scoring record previously held by Pavel Bure, was also addressed, this time by Renney. "He has a VERY good chance of being here (NY) next year although he might be in Hartford. He has seen what (Artem) Anisimov is doing and how getting into the North American game has benefited him and we're pretty confident he'll be either in NY or Hartford next season."
Overall, the coaches were open and informative and for those who attended a good insight into how and where these prospects are seen by the Rangers organization.
(Rangers coaches photo by Mitch Beck, Nigel Dawes, Michael Sauer, Dane Byers photo courtesy of viewimages.com, Alexi Cherepanov photo courtesy of newyorkrangers.com)