Rangers News & Notes 7/14/11: Gaborik, Dubinsky & Lepisto


Marian Gaborik has spoken publicly for the first time about his prospective future partnership with newly-acquired center Brad Richards during a phone interview with the NY Post’s Larry Brooks yesterday.

In the interview, Gaborik spoke of his “excitement” at the possibility of playing alongside Richards on the Rangers’ top-line next season while also touching upon the importance of off-ice chemistry and giving his thoughts on Richards’ game.

Join me after the jump for some choice quotes and additional news on Brandon Dubinsky and free-agent defenseman Sami Lepisto.

Speaking to Brooks yesterday, Gaborik said:

"I respect all the players I’ve been with but I am very excited to get the chance to play with Richie. I’ve watched him play throughout his career and always admired his game; the way he sees the ice, the way he moves the puck, the way he makes his teammates better.If I’m with Richie, it’s going to be very exciting. You can never say how much time it might take to develop chemistry, you need to spend time together away from the ice and develop trust in each other, but I’m really looking forward to getting out there with him."

Brooks mentions the importance of the top-line’s left-wing in his article so as to not place all of the pressure on Gaborik and Richards. Be that Brandon Dubinsky, Ruslan Fedotenko or even Sean Avery, Gabby notes that it is an issue:

"The whole unit is important. Last year was very disappointing, but I’m using that as a learning experience and as motivation.Adding someone of Richie’s caliber will make us a better team. I’m very excited about it. I can’t wait to get started."

The biggest hope for the Richards-Gaborik partnership is that they can develop the kind of chemistry that Gaborik and Artem Anisimov/Erik Christensen/Vinny Prospal/Derek Stepan never really had the chance to do last season. Maintaining consistency with the lines will play an important part in that, of course, and that’s on Tortorella to not shift bodies around just because something hasn’t worked for a period or two. Give the duo their left-winger and let them get to work.


Elsewhere, Brandon Dubinsky spent Wednesday on the ice at the Rangers’ Summer Youth Hockey Camp. Blueshirts United talked to Dubinsky about a host of subjects, including the Richards/Rupp signings and his feelings on possibly wearing a letter on his chest next season.

"It would be exciting and it would be an honor if that was bestowed on me. But that being said, I think everyone who is around me and knows me knows that I will be the same guy with or without (a letter). I will voice my opinions, I will be loud, I will be emotional, and I’m going to keep bringing that same effort I do every day."

I’m firmly of the opinion that a leader doesn’t necessarily need a letter to define their position, so Dubinsky’s comments are very encouraging here. Of course it would be a great honor for any player to be given the C or an A, but it shouldn’t alter how they act on the ice and Dubinsky clearly understands that.

On Richards and Rupp, Dubinsky, perhaps surprisingly, says he was more excited to see the latter signed by the Rangers;

"I think I was smiling bigger when I heard we signed (Rupp) than when we signed (Richards)! He’s just such a tough guy to play against. He’s always working so hard, and it seemed like he always scored against us when we played them. I’m really excited that he’s here now."

Both are big signings for the Rangers, but it’s particularly pleasing to see Rupp being acknowledged by one of the Rangers’ most important players. Richards fills the teams two biggest needs while Rupp gives the Rangers another big bottom-six body that can hit, fight and provide important offensive support at crucial junctures. Dubinsky also discusses Richards’ leadership abilities and gives his thoughts on the Rangers’ confidence at this point, so be sure to check out the full article at the link above.

Touching on free agency for a second, Finland’s MTV3 mentioned that discussions were apparently taking place between the Rangers and former Phoenix/Columbus defenseman Sami Lepisto. At this point it should be strictly treated as a rumour given that no other outlet has mentioned Lepisto and the Rangers in the same breath this summer. Nonetheless, he could perhaps be seen as a serviceable option for the 6th/7th defenseman role on a low salary, short-term deal. Despite not being as physical as say, Steve Eminger, Lepisto does provide solid puck-moving abilities that could benefit the Rangers’ second powerplay unit. One to sit on at this point though.