Thursday, March 21, 2013

Kreider Rejoins Rangers, Lundqvist Back In Goal Tonight

Chris Kreider officially rejoined the Rangers today at practice after being recalled from the Connecticut Whale (AHL) yesterday. Kreider practiced on the third line tonight against the Florida Panthers and will take Michael Haley's spot in the lineup after he was optioned back down to the Whale.

Here were the lines from practice today:

Rick Nash-Brad Richards-Marian Gaborik
Carl Hagelin-Derek Stepan-Ryan Callahan
Chris Kreider-Brian Boyle-J.T. Miller
Taylor Pyatt-Jeff Halpern-Darroll Powe

Ryan McDonagh-Dan Girardi
Michael Del Zotto-Steve Eminger
Roman Hamrlik-Anton Stralman

An interesting quote from Kreider today came courtesy of Andrew Gross, which I believe is very telling:

“I was able to play big minutes and play in all situations. Any time you can do that, it helps your development, I guess.”
 “[Being recalled] was not something I was really thinking about. Obviously it’s something you want but you focus on the day to day stuff.”

Kreider hit the nail on the head in that it's imperative for his growth as a player that he gets big minutes, otherwise there's really no point for the Rangers to bring him back up. Kreider needs to be getting 15 minutes a night, in my opinion, with some power play time. There's no reason guys like Darroll Powe, Jeff Halpern and Taylor Pyatt should be finishing regularly with more ice time than Kreider.

Meanwhile, in a bit of a surprise, Henrik Lundqvist will be back in goal tonight against the Panthers after most people assumed Marty Biron would get the call. Tonight seemed like a perfect game to rest Lundqvist and give Biron a start considering the Panthers really aren't a very good team and the fact that Lundqvist was banged up with a sore neck after inadvertently being elbowed in the head by Dan Girardi against the Devils on Tuesday night. John Tortorella clearly doesn't want to take any chances, though, and wants Lundqvist in there so that the Rangers can continue to build on their back-to-back wins earlier this week. I suspect there's a good chance we'll see Biron in net come Sunday against the Capitals considering how well he played against them a few weeks ago, but if the Rangers are still riding a win streak by then it wouldn't shock me if Torts just relies on Lundqvist the rest of the way here.

And finally, some terrible news to pass along. Rangers General Manager Glen Sather, it was reported yesterday by Newsday, will undergo surgery sometime today for prostate cancer. Sather was not in attendance for the general managers meetings that took place in Toronto on Wednesday, and instead was represented by Rangers Assistant GM Jeff Gorton. Obviously, I speak for all Rangers fans when I say my thoughts and prayer are with Sather during this time. Hopefully, he can beat this terrible disease and we never have to hear anything about it again.


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