11:39 am, Wednesday, October 1st
I woke up late this morning and rushed through breakfast to get to the rink on time, where the cleanup from last night continued. I, of course, got there on time and the Rangers went on the ice 20 minutes late ... typical luck, right?
This morning skate was much more typical than yesterday's grinder. The Rangers stars took it off and Renney wasn't running it so there was less of a crowd on the ice and no line drills ran. The skate lasted less than an hour but the last guys on the ice were Aaron Voros, Colton Orr, Corey Potter, Miika Wiikman and I think Brian Fahey so you can expect them to ride the bench. I guess they aren't expecting a physical game by the Russians so they are keeping Voros and Orr out while keeping an experienced defense on the ice just in case. I eavesdropped on a conversation by one of the Rangers scouts and he said that someone was out with a bad stomach but I didn't catch who - I think Lauri Korpikoski but don't quote me on it.
In the extra drills Voros scored on a sweet shot over Wiikman's shoulder, which got Nik Zherdev banging on the boards in approval. Zherdev hung out for a while talking to Valley on the bench and watching the boys finish their work outs. I spoke with Rod Gilbert for a bit and among the things he said - at least the ones that I can type in this family-friendly blog (let's just say he wasn't impressed with the Swiss atmosphere) - was that 20 goals is a more realistic expectation for Z than the 30 that has been floated.
Gilbert was hilarious. He was hanging out talking to Mike Pelino's dad, who had mistaken me for some Swiss chocolatier that he had met. He gave me a puck and I felt obligated to tell him the truth anyway, that I was just a Ranger season ticket holder. Some cameraman came over and shot me smiling holding my new souvenir so who knows, maybe it will make tonight's broadcast?
Gilbert later asked if I was headed to Prague and I explained the cost was too high; he just kind of nodded. I wasn't all that broken up about it initially but now I'm disappointed at having cheaped out, no matter the cost. Ah well, cest la vie ...