Vinny Prospal said it best about Head Coach JohnTortorella's skating drills, "None of them are easy."
The Rangers, split into four squads, took to the ice this afternoon for the second day of conditioning. While it is difficult to evaluate any players on only two days (and without pucks) we'll give it a shot.
The first group, predominantly rookies, had a few skaters that turned some heads.
Ryan Borque exemplified some fine skating and showed that he was very strong on his feet . Dan Girardi, though hampering a little, skated well and seemed in good shape. Michael Del Zotto, though not necessarily ready to make the jump to the NHL, showed a very wide stance that is critical of any successful NHL defenseman.
One player who didn't stand out much was Artem Anisimov. Likely to compete for a spot with the big club, he skated hard, but didn't seem to have the "jump" of some of the other rookies.
The next group had a few more NHL guys, but still composed of mainly rookies. Forward Brian Boyle, acquired from the Kings on draft day, had a very strong outing. His big frame didn't hamper his speed or his stride.
Michal Rozsival, who has something to prove coming off a less-than-impressive 2008 - 09 season, looked in good shape, but didn't reveal much emotion.
Forward Enver Lisin, acquired for Lauri Korpikoski, was very amicable and had terrific speed. He could be a pleasant surprise in the lineup.
Prospect Evgeny Grachev also showed a lot of speed for a big guy. While he may be destined for Hartford initially, he is close to being NHL ready and shows a
lot of promise down the road. Liken him to Nik Antropov with a cleaner skating stride.
Donald Brashear and Dan LaCouture both skated well, but were clearly a step behind the rest.
The final two groups had the majority of NHL-ready players.
Sean Avery, who trained hard all off-season, never looked winded and still had time to jaw it up with some of the other players. His conditioning is far better than last season and he may be amongst the most conditioned in camp.
Marian Gaborik missed his second day with some groin soreness and is listed as day-to-day, but did participate in off-ice testing.
Wade Redden, who like Rozsival has something to prove, looked in much better shape and had some confidence in his step. We will see if that can translate into a game.
Perhaps the biggest surprise was rookie defenseman Ilkka Heikkinen, (see interview below) who didn't seem fazed by the intense skating and was able to keep up with the fastest skaters. His time in the European pro leagues seems to have had a positive impact on his approach here.
Alexei Semenov, (see interview below) who is in camp on a tryout basis, also held his own. Tortorella later called his size "intriguing" and there appears to be a legitimate chance for the defenseman to make the squad as a sixth or seventh player.
In the final group, Captain Chris Drury looked a step ahead of last year and skated more similar to his time in Buffalo.
Hobey Baker winner Matt Gilroy, who may need a little refining on his stride, fit in well with the group overall (see interview below).
Bobby Sanguinetti skated well, but overexerted himself towards the end causing him to fight through some pretty intense cramps. But, as Tortorella commended, he did finish the drill. Sanguinetti has filled out a bit physically and looks more ready to handle the physical play of the NHL.
Overall a tough, but effective day. Most of the prospects will get looks in the first two preseason games before any cuts are made.
We will be bouncing between camp and the preseason all week so stay tuned here, on Twitter, and on our new Facebook page.
Tortorella on what he's seen so far: Download Tortorella
Semenov on his chances of making the club: Download Semenov
Sanguinetti on his tough end to Day 2:Download Sanguinetti
Heikkinen talks about coming to the Rangers:Download Heikkinen
Gilroy speaks after the skate:Download Gilroy