Steve Zipay takes you inside the locker room, home and on the road, with the New York Rangers, and also writes about the NHL, off and on the ice.
D Kevin Klein, starts tonight; surprised by trade
Kevin Klein, who is making his Rangers debut tonight---had heard about being traded from Nashville from the team, but his destination ---New York---wasn’t immediately known until he received a text from Shea Weber.
“Honestly, I had no clue,” the 29-year-old blueliner said after a quick morning skate at MSG. “My wife and I were kinda guessing. She was a little distraught obviously, because we’ve got two young boys and it was up in the air… it was like, ‘Where are we going?”… I was texting with Webby saying goodbye and he told me I was traded for Del Zotto… then (Preds GM) David (Poile) called me back a little while later.”
Klein’s sons, who are 4 ½ and a year old, will remain with his wife until the Olympic break, he said, to not disrupt their routine. He said the older one already wanted to know who the Rangers’ mascot was, and might have to make something up, “like a knight.”
Personally, said Klein, “I was surprised, disappointed at first. They originally told me I was traded, but I didn’t know to who. All of a sudden my phone started blowing up because it got on social media. I was there for 10 years in that organization, was drafted there. So it’s a sad day. At the same time, I know three or four of the guys, which makes it easy for transition.”
A Kitchener, Ontario native, Klein played with Ryan Callahan and Dan Girardi on the Guelph Storm’s run to the OHL championship in 2003-04. “Got texts from both those guys,” he said. And he said he knew Rick Nash and Dan Carcillo.
Klein said he had “a good chat” with coach Alain Vigneault in the morning. “We had a lot of battles against him in Vancouver, played some playoff games against them.”
Coming to New York, Klein said, is “a change for sure, it’s not too congested in Nashville, not too many high-rises, but it’s a great hockey market. It’s going to take a little getting used to. I’m looking forward to the challenge.”
On ice, Klein described himself as “more of a shut-down guy than offensive guy, make the first pass, play physical, chip in when I can.” He is known as a penalty-killer as well, and is 22nd in the NHL in blocked shots, with 94.
Because Nashville played in the Western Conference, he said he played here about three times. “It’s going to be amazing; there’s so much history in this building, there’s gonna be a little bit of nerves.”
The Rangers, he said, are a “hardworking team; they play fast, are always competitive. It starts from the goaltending out, they have a lot of offensive weapons, they play four lines, play D as a five-man unit. I’ll fit myself in where I can.”
Vigneault did not seem concerned. "He’s got a lot on his plate today, he’ll be fine, he’s an experienced guy…"