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2022 New York Rangers Training Camp

What Gerard Gallant said on Wednesday about Kravtsov, expectations and more

Gerard Gallant met with the media on Wednesday’s first day of Training Camp and said (NYR):

  • Is there anybody who won’t be available to start camp, “No, everybody is good to go to start camp.”
  • Can you hit the ground running faster this year, “yea, definitely. They know us a little better, our drills a little better, especially the players who were here last year. It should be smoother, but it doesn’t mean it’s going to be easier. We’ve got to do our job and try and prepare our team the best we can and get them ready for day one.”

  • What can you say about Trocheck, “He’s a good hockey player, plays a 200-ft game, kills penalties, plays PP. He’s a competitive guy, firey guy and he’s competitive and really wants to win hockey games. I like him, he’s a good talented player and when I had him he was a young kid in Florida and his game developed really good. He’s a real good hockey player that we added to our group.”
  • How can his style of play change the style of the top-six, “I wouldn’t say it’s going to change the look. Between him and Strome, they are different players, both see the ice real well, both skilled offensive players. Trocheck is a little more aggressive than Strome, and not taking anything away from Strome, but just different players, but similar players. Both right shots, Trocheck will probably play a lot of the places where Strome played, he’ll fill in that PP spot and we’ll see where it goes, but he’s a talented player and we are real happy to get him, for sure.”
  • How anxious are you to see how the young guys developed, “They got a ton of experience last year, last year was a great year for all of our young players, they all got better during the season and the playoffs helped them a lot, too. We’ll see what happens this year, it’s a new year, they are a year older and you are hoping that the progress, as a coach, that these players are going to be better this year. Start tomorrow, get on the ice, get ready for the exhibition games and play well and get ready for this season. Hopefully they are all going to be better hockey players this year because of the run we had last year.”
  • What does the RW depth chart look like, “I don’t know (laugh). Honestly, I put some lines together and you guys are going to look at them tomorrow and say that is first line, second line, third line, Laffy is going to play LW, this is what we are doing for the first three days. There are some lines together, some lines you are familiar with and we’ll go from there after three days. Once the exhibition games start you are going to see different people in different spots. I can’t say what the first game against Tampa what the lines are going to be, but you are going to see some familiar combinations tomorrow.”
  • Lafreniere will be on the left side, “Yes…tomorrow. Those first three days you put teams together and line combinations together, Fil, Laffy and Kaapo. Kreider’s line will be together.”
  • Who is on Kreider’s line, “I don’t know (laugh). Sammy Blais is going to be there tomorrow and we might as well say it, Goodrow isn’t going to play in the scrimmage games. He’s fine, skating, but we are going to hold him back a little bit from the scrimmage games.”
  • Did you check in with any of the players over the summer, “No. Did I talk to a couple of them? Maybe, but nothing…I like to leave them alone, I really do. It’s been the way I’ve been all the time. I knew the players had a successful season, a long season. Our message to them was ‘make sure we are ready and hungry next season,’ be in good shape coming into training camp and let’s get off to another great start. But I didn’t bother anybody.”
  • Did you spend a lot of time reviewing last year, “No.”
  • But you know what you saw last year, “I’m very happy with what I saw last year.”
  • Are there things you think you need to change, “I’m not changing a whole lot. I hope our players got a lot of experience from it, that is the biggest thing. I know we are still a young team, but they are a year older and I think we are going to grow with that. Did we change a few players around? Yes. Chris and his staff made a few big moves for our team, we really like them. Is it going to be the same team? No, but we are going to try and play the same way, same style.”
  • Goodrow isn’t playing in the scrimmages, “Scrimmage games? No. He’s going to practice every day.”
  • Any reason he isn’t scrimmaging, “Just lingering injury from last year, we just want to make sure we give him more time, but he’s been skating for two weeks. There is no issue with it, but we are just being on the safe side.”
  • Is Kravtsov with Panarin and Trocheck, “Yea, Kravtsov is with them.”
  • How is Sammy Blais looking, “He’s 100%, we got good news on him about a month ago, everything is good, he looks lean, he’s skated, worked out. He’s tired of doing that and he’s ready to play hockey, real positive.”
  • How anxious are you to see what he can bring, “We’ll put him up with those guys and get him into the games as much as possible, but we are excited. He’s a big, physical guy and he can play the game pretty well. I know he is more excited than we are, so it’s going to be fun to see him back.”
  • How do you view Kravtsov coming into this camp, “he came in here in early July and started working out and skating. He’s been a big effort to come here and work hard and do the things we want for our team. I talked to him a little bit about a month ago and basically said that there is opportunity here, we want you to be a good player on our team, but you gotta take it. We’re not going to give you nothing, you’ve seen how our team played last year, that is what we expect from every player. He was really good, worked hard, everything, the reports I got from everybody around here said he’s been real positive and he looks good on the ice. Good opportunity for him.”
  • What does the third pair on defense look like, “I don’t know, training camp will decide that. Schneider is going to be there, I know that. Top-five is there and a fight for that spot.”
  • So it’s that one spot that is open, “6 and 7 if you want to call it that.”
  • What factors will you weigh for that sixth spot, “Gotta play well, the best players play. You look at our lineup and you say the team is set, well, the team is set unless somebody comes in here and blows you away. Then, as management and coaches you sit down and say ‘what are we going to do here? This person or this kid deserves a chance to be on our team. It’s tough, we had a great team last year, pretty much everybody is back, but when there is opportunity there and somebody comes in and takes a job, you gotta look at it.”
  • How comfortable are you with a potential young third pair, “No issue, I’m not worried about age. I wasn’t last year and I’m not this year. They are both good players, I know who you are talking about, obviously, he played some games and he’s a good player. We’ll see what happens.”
  • On having new faces on the PK, “We traded for a couple of guys that are going to play the PK, Carpenter is a guy I had in Vegas and he came over as a free agent and he can play that role, he can fill that role. I’m not worried one bit, not one bit at all.”
  • Will Othmann and Cuylle get exhibition games, “I haven’t even looked at the list yet with Dru. I shouldn’t say that I’m sure they will, but I’d be surprised if they didn’t. Once we go over things and look at it, obviously they both had great seasons and World Juniors, won Gold Medals, good hockey players, good young players, but we’ll see how it goes, see how they get along in camp.”
  • Are you more comfortable with a goalie you accepts being the back up, “I was fine with the way it was last year. Obviously Georgie had a good year when we really needed him and he wanted to be a number one and that is how it turned out now. Our goaltending played great for us last year, it was a strong part of our team and we got Shesterkin coming back and, obviously, being the Vezina Trophy winner is huge for our hockey club and the way he played last season. He got some experience behind him, so that is really good.”
  • Do you feel pressure to live up to last year, “I feel more comfortable, but last spring is over and I think we can all sit here and look at each other and say, ‘did we have those expectations last year?’ Probably not, most of you guys didn’t. I can’t lie to you, I didn’t. We had a great run, played great hockey. I knew we were a great team, but we beat some great teams, but we deserved to beat those teams in the playoffs. Our first 40 games wasn’t the best, but after that I thought we played better hockey and our team got better at the trade deadline. We had a chance to beat those teams and we did. It’s a great experience for our players to get that playoff run and all that, but that means nothing. There are a lot of teams that are going to be a lot better in our division. From Day One on, your goal is to try and make the playoffs. It’s not like we won 52 games, we’re gonna win 60 this year. I wish that was the case, but that isn’t how I’m looking at it.”
  • Is your expectation to get back to the Conference Finals, “no, I mean, we were playing for First Place, that is what the goal is when you start the season, but, again, I know every team got better, a lot of teams in our division that got a lot better so it’s going to be a battle.”
  • How do you mentally manage expectations, “well, we’ve got a meeting tonight at 6PM and the guys don’t need to be told that, they know, they see what other teams did in the division, some teams got a lot better and the other teams are all good hockey teams. You can’t worry about what happened last year. Chris Kreider scored 52 goals last year, I’m gonna be on his ass to score 52 again this year, but you can’t worry about that, you gotta worry about getting one goal and playing the first game and going from there. A lot of guys had great years, that is in the past.”
  • Does anything change now that you have a Captain, “I don’t think so. Listening to Troubs talk about it a little bit, he’s the Captain of our hockey team, but we have a leadership group that is really important to us. We really leaned on that group last year and I think it’s going to be the same. Troubs will be our leader, but there is a great group of guys around him. Last year there wasn’t an issue, when the group needed something they came to me and asked for it. There were no issues at all, but I think it’s important to give Trouba the “C” and I think that as the year went on, the more you see what he’s doing with the team, how thing were evolving. He was our Captain.”
  • What was he doing that made him The Captain, “I’m not there 90% of the time, but our guys around us, they talk to Trouba more than they talk to me, they are a little intimidated. They’ll talk to Trouba and the trainers and say that if we ever name a Captain, Trouba is our guy. He just does the right things. I think he had a party for Fox when he won the championship, he arranges stuff like that. He does the right thing for our team, but the way he played the game, I think he showed. He’s one of a real good choice, the way he’s physical, brought our team together all the time, did the right things at the right time and in the dressing room, the few times that he had to stand up, he stood up.”
  • How do you think the run last year benefits them, “it definitely benefits them, but you gotta forget about it. It gives those young kids a lot of experience. Hopefully we are in a position again this year and nobody is going to say that Pittsburgh’s got all the experience and New York Rangers don’t have experience, they are too young to win against that team. I downplayed it last year, I know experience is important, but again, you go into the series and you don’t worry about a 20-year old vs a 30-year old, you worry about playing your best hockey and that is what we did last year. I think it’s going to help our group. We’re playing regular season games and you gotta play 82 games and try to get back to that spot.”
  • Would you like to see them be less reliant on Shesterkin, “Yea, as long as we win I don’t really care. (Smile) No, definitely….”
  • Can you expect the same save percentage from Shesterkin, “yes, and I expect Kreider to get 52-goals (laugh). I expect our team to be better in all areas, to be honest with you. Those kids got another year under their belt and I’m not blaming the kids for 17 scoring chances against and some of the numbers you see weren’t great, but we are not a young team anymore. We are getting more experience and the kids are 22-23-21 now instead of 19-20-21. They are growing. K’Andre Miller is getting to be a man now. You’ve seen the growth in those kids in the second half of the season and playoffs, I think they’ll all be better players and that will benefit our hockey team.”
  • Is the challenge for Shesterkin to do it again, “I don’t think he worries about that, he’s going to come in and play one game at a time and have fun like he does. I’ve never seen him up high last season and I’ve never seen him down there. He just comes in and does his job and enjoys what he’s doing and having fun with his teammates. I don’t think Igor cares if people think he’s number one or where he’s at, he just wants to win games for his team.”
  • What concerns you going into training camp, “I’m not concerned one bit right now. I like our team a lot. We put it down on paper all the time, if this happens, if this happens, line combos, d-pairings, I really like our team. We’ll see where it goes. Hopefully we stay away from injuries, that is the biggest thing.”
  • What do you see as the next step for this team to get on Tampa and Colorado’s level, “You don’t think we’re there? I just said it earlier, the kids take another level. We’re not a young team anymore. We’re still a young team, but they got that experience, they have playoff experience. I don’t know, we’ll see. I don’t know where we’re going to be, I don’t know where people have us ranked this year, I don’t really care, but I know we are a good team and can compete with anybody in the league.”