Steve Zipay Newsday columnist Steve Zipay

Steve Zipay is an award-winning journalist who has covered events from Super Bowls to World Series and issues from sports marketing to stadium financing. Based in New York for 25 years, Steve also has been a news editor, a business editor and sports media columnist for Newsday. In 1997, Steve was a member of the Newsday team that won a Pulitzer Prize for spot news reporting on the crash of Flight 800. He has covered the Rangers and the NHL since the 2005-06 season. Show More

Rangers rookie Chris Kreider is the latest NHL player to wear Bauer's Re-akt helmet, which uses new technology to absorb and dissipate three types of impact: high-energy, low-energy and rotational.

"We wore them all year at Boston College," said Kreider. "It's pretty comfortable, seems like more padding, but it's light," he said. "Some [B.C.] players liked it, others didn't. I got used to it, and if it helps prevent injuries, that's good."

The helmet shell is adjustable and can lock for a better fit; inside are two types of foam and a suspended, free-floating, stretchable liner, attached at four points. Bauer last week also began selling the Re-akt in stores after more than two years of development and testing.

Giroux, who missed four games after a concussion from an accidental knee from teammate Wayne Simmonds in December and switched to a Re-akt, said: "It just feels like you're safer out there . . . It's harder for the helmet to move if you get hit along the boards. If I had the helmet before I got hit, it could've helped."

Rangers 6-7 center Brian Boyle, who missed three games after suffering a concussion on a high hit from Ottawa's Chris Neil in Game 5 on April 22, has wanted to switch to a Re-akt helmet, and would, he said, but "the Bauer representative said they don't have my size yet."

Since January, about a dozen NHL players, including Washington's Alex Ovechkin and Philadelphia's Claude Giroux, have been wearing a new helmet designed to absorb and dissipate blows suffered during games.

According to a Canadian television report last month, about 90 NHL players suffered concussions and 1,700 man-games were lost because of them during the regular season.

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In mid-March, the NHL, which doesn't release the number of head injuries, acknowledged only that the number was on par with last season.

The NHL and the NHLPA continue to look for ways to reduce the number of head injuries through punishments by suspensions and fines for dangerous hits, as well as potential changes in equipment such as softer shoulder pads.

Parise's number?

If the Devils' Zach Parise, who will be among the coveted free agents this summer, signs a long-term contract with the Rangers, he'll have plenty of zeros after the dollar sign.

But Parise will have a numbers dilemma. With the Devils, he wears No. 9, the same digit when he played for the U.S. national team, and that's been retired by the Rangers in honor of Andy Bathgate and Adam Graves. Parise wore No. 11 when he played for the University of North Dakota. Uh, that's hanging in the Garden rafters, also.

One possibility: No. 14, which Parise wore for Shattuck-St. Mary's, the renowned school in Faribault, Minn., that nurtured such players as Sidney Crosby. Among the former Blueshirts to wear 14? Brendan Shanahan, Theo Fleury, Mike Allison and Don Murdoch.

The black hat roster

Before yesterday's game, seven different Rangers were awarded the black fedora that players give to a teammate who is key in a victory. (None was awarded after the triple overtime Game 3 win in Washington or in Game 6 in Ottawa, due to Brian Boyle's concussion.)

Here are the recipients:

Ryan Callahan

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Game 1 vs. Senators at MSG

Brian Boyle

Game 3 vs. Senators in Ottawa

Henrik Lundqvist

Game 7 vs. Senators at MSG

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Chris Kreider

Game 1 vs. Capitals at MSG

Marc Staal

Game 5 vs. Capitals at MSG

Brad Richards

Game 7 vs. Capitals at MSG

Dan Girardi

Game 1 vs. Devils at MSG

Anisimov becomes fan of the Four Seasons

In order to assimilate American culture and learn English, 22-year-old Artem Anisimov, who was born in Russia, has watched TV, listened to tutors and teammates from Hartford to Manhattan and dabbled in cooking. "Now he loves Broadway," said pal Brian Boyle. He liked Rock of Ages and The Lion King. But Jersey Boys captivated him. "He's seen it four times," said Boyle. The Four Seasons were stars before he was born; after seeing the musical Anisimov went out and bought the quartet's discography. After all, said one writer to Boyle, how could he know? There's only one season in Russia: Winter.