Life in the bubble for the New York Rangers

The New York Rangers are in Toronto getting used to life in the “Bubble”

The New York Rangers flew to Toronto on Sunday afternoon and are set on preparing for their first game in months, taking on the Islanders on Wednesday night.  With the team in the virus-free bubble, they will be separated from any reporters or press coverage so what we learn about the team will come in organized Zoom calls and social media from the team and the players themselves.

The Rangers were actively tweeting during the trip to Toronto.

Tony DeAngelo weighed in as well.

In an interesting twist, the hotels were assigned the teams by the standings.  The top five teams in the East will be staying at the five-star Hotel X in Toronto.  The other seven teams  including the Rangers are in the Fairmont Royal York.  The Royal York is a nice hotel,but the consensus is that Hotel X has the better facilities.

In the Royal York, each team will have its own floor.

The Blueshirts’ hotel is closer to Scotiabank Arena, but further away from the BMO Field complex where there are recreational facilities.  All practices will be held at the Ford Performance Centre where there are four ice rinks. Players will need to be bused to that location.  The Rangers held their first practice there on Monday morning.

The rules will be pretty strict for the players.  Only authorized personnel can enter or exit the hub, players cannot enter other players’ rooms.  Meals are available at the hotel bars and restaurants and the player can also order in from outside the bubble.

Coach David Quinn reflected on life inside the bubble, saying “It really is going to be unique, I  think our guys are doing a good job of keeping it as normal as possible under these circumstance…it’s got the flavor or a NCAA tournament.  Whether it be basketball or hockey….you’re going to be in a hotel and your going have some meals and you’re going to watch hockey.”

As for the players, Quinn said  “It’s an opportunity to show your selflessness.  There going to be circumstances you’re not used to.   Obviously, everybody knows the consequences if you veer off the protocol.  Our guys have done a great job of it in New York and I’m fully  confident they are going to continue to  follow the protocol and do what they are supposed to do.  It’ s all about winning hockey games.  There’s plenty of time after the season ends…take a vacation and do what ever you want to do.”

The bottom line is that Quinn feels that the commitment this off season, although under unusual circumstances,  is no different from the commitment that a player has to make during any Stanley Cup Playoffs. He said “Selflessness is a big part of this moving forward, as it is with any playoff.”

The goalie situation

Quinn also  said that coaches and players will be allowed to watch practices as well as any other games being played within the hub.  You can be sure that opposition coaches will be watching to see what the Rangers are going to decide about their starting goalie.

In the Blueshirts’ last practice in Tarrytown, it was Henrik Lundqvist and Igor Shesterkin playing while Alexandar Georgiev practiced with the “Black Aces.”   Quinn said that there was no significance to that lineup, they he just “wanted them to get shots.”

When pressed by reporters about a decision, his answer was “We’re going to have a goalie in game one…that’s all you’re going to get out of me.”    As for the exhibition game against the Islanders, Quinn said that they haven’t decided if they were going to go with one goalie or split the game.  Obviously, if they go with one goalie (like Shesterkin), it will be a sure indication that he has won the starting job.

Again, if you follow the Rangers Twitter feed, you may get a feeling that they know who it is by who they are highlighting.

When it comes to social media and the Rangers, it is definitely the Igor Shesterkin show.

Sad news

Tragedy struck the New York Rangers family this weekend.   Former Blueshirt Eddie Shack passed away at age 83.  Known as “The Entertainer,” Shack began his 17-year NHL career with the Rangers in 1958.  He played three seasons in New York,  before a trade to Toronto where he was one of the most popular Leafs in franchise history.

In a horrifying story, the son of former Ranger Barry Beck was stabbed to death in Canada early on Sunday morning.

Barry Beck wrote about his son in a post on Facebook.  Beck played for the Rangers for seven seasons in the early 1980s.  He has lived in Hong Kong for years, teaching kids how to play hockey.

Blue Line Station extends our deepest sympathies to the Shack and Beck families.

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