Blue Notes

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.

Derick Brassard's status uncertain; more updates from NYR practice

Derick Brassard of the Rangers checks Jakub Voracek

Derick Brassard of the Rangers checks Jakub Voracek of the Philadelphia Flyers during the first period at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday, March 26, 2014. (Credit: Jim McIsaac)

GREENBURGH, N.Y -- Two days before the start of the first-round series against the Philadelphia Flyers, Rangers center Derick Brassard may not be 100 percent healthy for Game 1.

After about 40 minutes of practice, Brassard left the ice limping and holding his lower back and was not available to the media afterward.

Asked if Brassard would be ready to play on Thursday, coach Alain Vigneault responded, “I would say yes,” but offered no update on the issue. To me, that indicates a muscle problem, and we’ll see if he skates Wednesday.

Brassard played in 81 games this season, with 18 goals and 45 points.  He was the team’s leading scorer in last year’s playoffs with two goals and 10 assists.

J.T. Miller, called up from the AHL on Monday, replaced Brassard between Benoit Pouliot and Mats Zuccarello on shifts and the second power play unit. Right wing Jesper Fast remained on a line with Brad Richards and Carl Hagelin. Dan Carcillo rotated in on the fourth line of Brian Boyle, Dom Moore and Derek Dorsett. Projected defense scratches: Raphael Diaz and Justin Falk.  

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Ryan McDonagh, who missed the last five games of the regular season with an injured shoulder, was paired with Dan Girardi and was at the point on the first power play unit, so he will be ready.

That’s not the case with Chris Kreider, who had surgery on his left hand March 28. Wearing a black brace under his glove, he skated after practice on his own, using his right hand for stickhandling, and Vigneault said he remains “out indefinitely.”

And, as tweeted this morning, defenseman Mat Bodie, captain of the NCAA champion Union Dutchmen, is officially in the fold. He signed an entry-level deal and will report to development camp after the draft.

***

Down in Philly, the goaltending situation for Game 1 remains unclear. No. 1 tender Steve Mason, who fell backwards and struck the ice with his head and shoulder in the season finale and played only a few minutes in the third period of that game, practiced early and then left. Veteran Ray Emery would replace him if he can’t go.

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