Meszaros as alternate captain
I've had a couple of e-mails asking about defenseman Andrej Meszaros being named an alternate captain. Some found it strange because he is so young (22) and that he just joined the team. I asked coach Barry Melrose today about Meszaros being elevated and he repeated many of the themes from yesterday.
I truly believe they are grooming the kid as a future leader. He clearly is the best defenseman going into the season. Paul Ranger also has that potential, but he is hurt right now. And if a player is going to be on the ice 25 to 30 minutes a game, as Melrose said Meszaros will be, it seems to follow you would want someone like that in a leadership position.
"He's an emerging star," Melrose said. "People in the states don't know him that good because he played in Ottawa. But he's our guy. he's our stud on defense. We need him to be great."
Seems pretty straightforward to me. The guy is going to be on the ice a lot, they are grooming him, he has huge skills and big upside. I don't have a problem with it.
Other stuff: Defenseman Jamie Heward signed a one-year, two-way contract for $475,000. ... Mike Smith will start in goal Saturday and Olaf Kolzig is expected to start Sunday. That doesn't mean anything more than giving Kolzig a start on a back-to-back game after a terrific preseason. The job is not up for grabs. It never has been. Mike Smith was named No. 1 during the summer. Nothing has changed. ... I would expect Steven Stamkos to start on a line with Ryan Malone and Radim Vrbata. Stamkos played with Vrbata and Mark Recchi at today's practice, but someone said he believed Melrose was dealing in a bit of deception for the benefit of the Rangers coaches. We'll see. ... Enforcer David Koci will play, Melrose said.