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Miller makes cut, Nash expected to play Sunday

J.T. Miller of the Rangers, left, is congratulated

J.T. Miller of the Rangers, left, is congratulated on his second goal of the game and career by Ryan McDonagh and Marc Staal. (Feb. 7, 2013) (Credit: David Pokress )

Welcome, J.T. Miller.

The idea of burning a year of eligibility of J.T. Miller's entry level contract was "never an issue" , coach John Tortorella said today, as the the 19-year-old is one of 12 forwards on the roster going into Sunday's game against the Capitals.

Tortorella said Miller, who has been moved to wing rather than center, simply was playing better than Chris Kreider, who needs more playing time in the minors to lift "his whole game", but stressed that it was "not a criticism". Tortorella likened sending Kreider to Hartford for a while to Michael Del Zotto's return to the AHL after a promising start. Right now, Torts said that Kreider isn't any better than any of the 20 players on the roster.

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Rick Nash, who didn't attend a season subscribers' forum at the Beacon Theater on Friday and skipped practice (Stu Bickel skated in his spot) was given a "body" maintenance day, but is expected to play Sunday, Torts said. "He's played a lot of hockey." Nash played 17 games in Davos, Switzerland during the lockout before returning to North America on Dec. 7. He missed three games in late November with a nagging groin strain. He had 12 goals and 6 assists with Davos. 

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Brad Richards, benched for all but 47 seconds of the third period on Thursday, said he needs to simplify his game, an assessment to which Tortorella agreed. "He was trying too hard."...Henrik Lundqvist will face the Caps Sunday at 6 at MSG. He was 2-1 against Washington during the regular season last year and 4-3 with a 1.66 GAA in the seven game playoff series.

More later, and my weekly full-page Rangers Insider, with a column, quotes, notes and stats in Sunday's Newsday... 

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