Practice: Wojtek Wolski Skating Again

Update: 12:25PM: Wolski is OUT tonight.

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Update: 11:52AM: Henrik Lundqvist is the first goalie off according to Andrew Gross

Update: 11:33AM: The Rangers have 11 forwards, 4 defenseman and two goalies on the ice according to Pat Leonard.

Besides Wolski, Mike Rupp, Erik Christensen, Derek Stepan, Brandon Prust, Marian Gaborik, Ryan Callahan, Ruslan Fedotenko, Artem Anisimov and Mats Zuccarello are on the ice.

The only defensemen not on the ice are Ryan McDonagh and Dan Girardi.

Original Post: Andrew Gross tweets that Wojtek Wolski is skating again but that he isn’t expected to play tonight.

Mailbag: The Rangers Chances This Season

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Honestly, I think that the Rangers will actually meet expectations and have the kind of season that we are expecting them to. To me, that means finishing in sixth place or above, I pick sixth, and winning one round and going deep into the second round of the playoffs before being eliminated.

I think that they are gonna be better, more consistent, but that there are teams that have more experience and are better than them. I would love to be wrong and see them go to the Conference Finals or beyond, but I still a see young team that needs more experience in the playoffs. Next year might be a different story……

Quote: A Top Four Team

“I think we have the team that can be and should be a top-four seed instead of being the fight somewhere between sixth and ninth.”

Brian Boyle to the NY Post

Read: Looking At The Season

Darren Elliott of SI picks the Rangers to win the Atlantic Division and says:

This is an emerging outfit built largely on an identity of hard work and being hard to play against on a nightly basis. If the Rangers can survive an October on the road and put up more wins at the under-construction Madison Square Garden — like they did two seasons ago — a top three seed in April is possible.

Katie Baker of Grantland picks the Rangers to make the playoffs but also calls them one of the teams most likely to disappoint.

The NY Times thinks that the Rangers are a good hockey team, but not in the class of Stanley Cup contender yet. They predict a breakout season for Artem Anisimov.

Adam Kimelman thinks that the Rangers will fall to the Sharks in six games in the Stanley Cup finals.

More from Carp at Rangers Report.

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There is a really interesting point in the Times article about judging a team by their second line center. Really good teams like Vancouver with Ryan Kesler, Detroit with Henrik Zetteberg and Chicago with Patrick  Sharp all have awesome players centering their second line. This is the role that long-term I think JT Miller will have, but if AA can continue to progress as a player there is no reason he can’t join a category like that.

Read: Keys To The Season

At Rangers Report and Newsday, Carp and Steve Zipay list their keys to the Rangers season.

Both talk about health and Marian Gaborik, while Carp mentions the young defense and Zipay mentions getting better at MSG.

Stu Hackel at SI wonders about the lack of a veteran on defense, the impact that Brad Richards will have and if Michael Del Zotto will make smarter plays.

Puck Daddy wonders if the trend of a team starting the season in Europe and then winning the Stanley Cup will continue.

Katie Strang at ESPN wonders about the left winger for the Gaborik and Richards line.

All three writers at Pro Hockey Talk pick the Rangers to finish seventh in the East.

Zipay picks them to finish in sixth.

The biggest key to me, and I have said this before, is winning games at home. Good teams win games at home and if the Rangers really want to be a good team, they will take care of business at home and on the road. I don’t worry that much about the D. Not having Marc Staal hurts, but if there is a commitment to defense and Henrik Lundqvist is in net, I am not all that worried.

Read: Predicting The Season

In the NY Post, Larry Brooks predicts the Rangers to finish in sixth place in the Eastern Conference and fall to the Penguins in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Mark Everson picks the Rangers to finish in seventh and Brett Cyrgalis picks them to finish in fourth.

Brooks lists the Rangers eleventh in his power rankings.

The NY Times thinks that the Rangers will finish fifth this season.

Elliotte Friedman joins Brooks in picking Henrik Lundqvist to win the Vezina trophy.

At Puck Daddy, of the six people making predictions, all had the Rangers in the playoffs, three had them finishing second in the Atlantic, three in third place and finishing anywhere from fourth to seventh in the Eastern Conference.

Justin Bourne predicts the Rangers to finish in 12th place.

At ESPN.com, John Buccigross picks the Rangers to win the Atlantic Division. Craig Custance and Scott Burnside pick Lundqvist to win the Vezina. Linda Cohn schockingly doesn’t pick the Rangers to win the Atlantic or the cup but does pick Ryan Callahan to win the Selke trophy.

[jbutton color="red" link="http://www.snyrangersblog.com/category/2011-12-predictions/" size="xsmall"]CLICK HERE[/jbutton] for more predictions about this season.

Read: End Of The Season Award Odds

At Puck Daddy, they list the odds that have been set for awards in the NHL this season.

For Ranger players, they have:

  • Tim Erixon at 10-1 for the Calder
  • Brad Richards at 30-1 for the Hart, 45-1 for Art Ross
  • Henrik Lundqvist at 8-1 for the Vezina

Marc Staal is not listed for the Norris and Marian Gaborik is not listed for the Rocket Richard.

I would put some money down, not a gambler, on Hank at 8-1. I would not however put money down on Tim Erixon since he is currently not with the team.

Read: Ranking The Rangers This Season

At USA Today, the Rangers are ranked 13th in their first installment of their power rankings.

In their predictions, two of the twelve people asked, including USA Today’s Kevin Allen pick the Rangers to win the Eastern Conference.

One picked Henrik Lundqvist to win the Vezina Trophy.

Fair predictions and placement to start the season, IMO. Just like a lot of teams, there is a lot of hype around them and the Rangers need to show everyone that the hype that is surrounding them is fair and something that they deserve. I would bet that we see a lot more predictions of the Rangers winning the Atlantic before the week is out.