Mike Morreale of NHL.com is out in Michigan for the annual Traverse City Prospects Tournament, where a group of New York Rangers prospects currently holds a 1-1 record after playing a pair of games against the Carolina Hurricanes (5-3 L) and Atlanta Thrashers (4-1 W). Morreale caught up with Rangers prospect Evgeny Grachev, who’s expected to be one of the offensive leaders on the team, and asked him about the upcoming season, what he learned in his first year in North America, and whether he aspires to the same level of NHL success as some of his more famous Russian countrymen:
“Everybody who plays hockey wants to be the best and not everybody can be, but we all try real hard and I want to be like those Russian players in the League,” Grachev told NHL.com. “Those guys are some of the best players in the League and the world.”
Fact is, it appears as though Grachev is on a fast track to stardom — he’s certainly mastered the English language pretty well. He never even reported to his Ontario Hockey League team in Brampton for the start of training camp. Instead it’s likely he’ll begin the 2009-10 campaign in Hartford, the Rangers’ American Hockey League affiliate, or else earn a spot right out of the main camp that begins Sept. 12.
“I’m trying to not think about it,” Grachev said. “I just want to get ready and work hard in camp and we’ll see what happens. When I got here, I saw the guys and how the organization worked. I want this to be a part of my life.”
For more from Grachev, plus comments on the 19-year old forward from Rangers Director of Player Personnel Gordie Clark and Hartford Wolf Pack head coach Ken Gernander, see Morreale’s full article at NHL.com.
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