New York Rangers stay loose with outdoor practice in Central Park

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NEW YORK — Shades under the visor, eye black and classic outdoor hockey. That’s what the New York Rangers’ Saturday practice entailed when the team packed up and relocated outside to Lasker Rink in Central Park, N.Y.

With the sun bright and the skies clear, the Blueshirts skated for over an hour in front of fans who braved the cold and filled bleachers surrounding the outdoor rink, which recently opened for business this week.

“It reminds you a little bit of why you started playing,” goaltender Henrik Lundqvist said. “A lot of laughter, a lot of enjoy-the-moment type of thing. . . this is an opportunity to really enjoy the game. That’s what you do when you come out here. You play under a lot of pressure, there’s moments where you need to enjoy it.”

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New York (7-6-2) has been skating hard to start the season and working on a number of aspects of its game, trying to get back on track while it’s still early. The Rangers seem to be doing just fine of late, getting points in five of their last six as they recover from a slow start to 2019-20.

Greg McKegg noted that it’s been a lot of hard work, but getting the opportunity to go back to his hockey roots — as is likely the case with a number of players — is something that gives the team incentive and helps them to reset and unwind for a moment.

“It’s awesome. Any chance when you get an opportunity to get outside, it’s always a lot of fun. I mean, I did that a lot as a kid, and it’s pretty cool to be outside interacting with the fans,” McKegg told Sporting News. “It seems like since the first part of the season, we’ve been practicing a lot. So to change things up and get outside, there’s always something positive.”

Saturday’s skate also made Lundqvist reminisce on his time with the organization and gave him the opportunity to reflect on the meaning behind his career with New York, including “finding ways to win together” among other things.

“Appreciate everything. Not only playing the game but everything that comes with it, the travel, the people you meet, the organization, the way they teach us. That’s part of growing up. You start to appreciate a lot more things in your life and being part of the Rangers is definitely one of them.”

Here are some photos from the team’s Lasker Rink skate.

  • The Russian winger took the ice in sunglasses.

  • The 2019 second-overall pick is getting the hang of the NHL.

  • The 37-year-old goaltender said skating at Lasker gave him a chance to look back at his career as a whole.

  • Strome has been off to a hot start in 2019-20 and continued the celebration outside on Saturday.

  • Fast and Buchnevich talk after hugging it out at practice.

  • Chytil and Kakko share some words during Saturday’s skate.

  • Lundqvist makes a save during practice.

  • Kreider looks on during practice.

  • McKegg said he’s enjoying his time with his new team. “It’s always an adjustment coming to a new team, but the guys in the locker room have been great, coaches have been great. I’m hoping to be on a roll here soon.”

  • Georgiev throws t-shirts into the crowd at Lasker.

  • The 19-year-old scored his fourth of the season on Sunday.

  • Trouba takes the ice for the Rangers at outdoor practice.

  • Andersson looks on during the skate at Lasker Rink.

  • Artemi Panarin and his dog, part 1.

  • Panarin and his dog, part 2.

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