BERNE – Lauri Korpikoski, the Rangers 22-year-old forward was happy to arrive in Berne, Switzerland. He was happy when the Rangers took on SC Bern in front of 16,000 fans, and he’ll be delighted to be on the ice for the inaugural Victoria Cup game against Metallurg Magnitogorsk on Wednesday.
But he’ll be happiest if he’s on the ice for the Rangers’ regular season opener in Prague in the Czech Republic.
“These are important games for us as a team, to find our system and get our game together, but also for me personally, so I can show the coaches that I can play,” he told IIHF.com.
The New York Rangers still carry 15 forwards on their roster, and Korpikoski expects that to go down to 13 or 14 when the regular season kicks off.
The Finn has had a good start of the season, with two goals and an assist in the preseason this far, earning him a spot in the Rangers’ third line, together with Ryan Callahan and Fredrik Sjöström.
“It’s been going well, I’ve got a couple of goals and got to play a regular shift which is important for me right now. It’s hard to impress people when you’re sitting on the bench,” he says.
Korpikoski, and other Rangers, are fully aware of the quality of the Russian team they’re going to face on Wednesday night. Still, Korpikoski says the most important thing for them is to focus on their own game, and do the simple things right.
“We haven’t gone through the Metallurg game yet but it’ll be interesting, with the big ice surface and their Russian style of play. Naturally, we always go into a game to win it,” says Korpikoski.
A win would help Korpikoski in his own pursuit as well. Everybody looks good on a winning team.